Meeting of The College of Psychoanalysts – UK with Health Professions Council

13th October 2008

Darian Leader and Jacques China, representing The College
Marc Seale (Chief Executive) and Sam Mars (Policy officer) representing HPC

MS welcomed DL and JC and introduced himself and SM.

MS asked what The College is and also for an explanation of what psychoanalysis is: neither MS nor SM knew what psychoanalysis consisted of or how it was different from other therapies. DL explained what The College is, detailing this in terms of our numbers and pluralism. JC explained, in addition, that our members are registered from across the profession of psychoanalysis with UKCP or BPC and that we regard ourselves as a professional body looking after the interests of psychoanalytic practitioners, rather than as a regulator of practitioners, albeit we do have standards of professional conduct that must be adhered to.

MS said he would outline the process now being undertaken by HPC as the proposed regulator but wished to be clear that the process would be open to all interested groups. He went on to refer to the nine regulators of different professionals now in place in the UK. HPC, however, is unique among those regulators in being required to advise the Secretary of State about new professional groups that might be regulated by HPC. The current process arises out of that requirement. Psychologists are the latest professionals to be regulated by HPC and their HPC register is expected to operate with effect from 1st July 2009. There are now between 20 and 30 other groups of professionals who seek regulation by HPC and it is within this context that HPC has now turned its attention to counsellors and psychotherapists. However, if regulation of counsellors and psychotherapists does come about, this is not expected to come into operation before 2011, following the introduction of enabling legislation.

As a result of the process now begun, the objective will be to determine the following:

Thresholds for education.
Standards of proficiency – there can be more than one. The aim of HPC is for around 70% of these to be in common and for around 20% of these to be more specific. It is HPC that has the final say on these issues and not any other body such as SfH.
Protected professional titles. It is not professional function that is protected but only professional titles. However, HPC clearly recognise that it is possible for practitioners to avoid regulation by adopting a professional title that is not registered.
A final package of proposals for submission to government, following proper consultation of the professions concerned. The final proposals might be that the professions concerned should be regulated or that those professions or certain parts of them e.g. psychoanalysis, should not be regulated.