A Letter From Professor Andrew Samuels to the Convener of Professional Forum

Professor Andrew Samuels
148 Mercers Road,
London N19 4PX
Tel: 020 7272 1292
Fax: 020 7272 2122
e-mail: andrew.samuels@virgin.net

18th. June 2004

Dear Convener,

Our profession has certainly suffered from divisiveness in recent years and, in the spirit of Ann Scott’s words (BJP Vol20 No 3), I would like to draw the attention of practitioners, in Professional Forum, to the following:

1. The foundation of BCP itself, which had been long prepared in secret and was triggered by the refusal of an AGM at UKCP to accept what was termed (by the BCP-to-be) as the ‘Security Council’ model for the organisation of the profession of psychotherapy. In this model, all serious power and responsibility were to reside in a small number of long-established training bodies, all of which were psychoanalytic. The intent was to dominate the whole field of psychotherapy; not only psychoanalysis.

2. BCP’s adoption of its ‘Single Membership Policy’ (no organisation could remain in BCP if it was also in UKCP). This policy caused splits in nearly all of its constituent societies, was of dubious legality, and causes friction to this day that could well damage attempts to achieve proper regulation of the profession: whether statutory; or via the Health Professions Council; or by enhanced voluntary models.

3. The announcement made by BPA-S (as it was then) to its members, making it seem very dangerous for them professionally if they continued to participate in the training of organisations that were not aligned with the policies of BCP. The threat was that they might lose their memberships of BPA-S and IPA.

4. The attempts by ACP to halt new developments in child psychotherapy, including making malicious complaints against the newer organisations in the field; instructing its members and trainees not to work for such organisations (and not to continue with their ongoing work). This culminated in ACP’s withdrawal from UKCP, rather than accept the decision of the Registration Board to grant the use of the label ‘Integrative Child Psychotherapist’.

5. The attempts (written and verbal) made by the Royal College of Psychiatrists (via its Psychotherapy Section in which psychoanalytically-oriented psychiatrists predominate) and the Tavistock Clinic to bring pressure on UKCP not to permit its Registration Board to allow the use of the label ‘UKCP Registered Psychoanalyst’. The threat was, and continues to be, that these organisations might leave UKCP, were the contentious label to be granted.

I believe that what the profession as a whole needs to debate, and in respectful and creative terms, is the present distortion of our field by the power and influence of BPAS. The current dispute over The College exemplifies the historical problem.

Yours faithfully,

Andrew Samuels