Response From The College Of Psychoanalysts – UK to Skills for Health Briefing Sheet for ‘Psychological Therapies National Occupational Standards Development Project’

Darian Leader

June 2009


This SfH Briefing aims to reassure its readers that the consultation process has been successfully concluded for the psychological therapies, and that National Occupational Standards have been carefully developed and are now accepted across the profession as an accurate description of what a practitioner needs to do to practise effectively and safely as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist. The Briefing states that the NOS have to be “accurate, complete and clear, practicable as a day to day tool, and acceptable as a standard ensuring client safety” and suggests that these criteria have been met.

The Briefing, however, is filled with false statements, inaccuracies, erroneous implications and outright contradictions. All the existing critiques of the NOS are more or less made to disappear, despite the Briefing’s claim that SfH “undertake extensive and intensive consultation”. ’The SfH consultation has been highly controversial from the start, involving the exclusion of those parties who did not share the narrow view of clinical practice of those who drafted the NOS. The new briefing is a travesty of a proper reflection of the situation concerning the NOS, which have in fact already been rejected by the majority of commentators and by the UK’s largest organisation of analytic practitioners.

The descriptions and definitions of the NOS in this briefing are effectively ‘Healthcare Service Delivery Standards’ or ‘Knowledge and Skills Audit Templates’, and can be appropriately applied only in a very narrow context. The conceptual framework and terminology are entirely unsuited to psychoanalytic psychotherapy, a point made time and time again by commentators on the NOS to date. They do not reflect the diversity of the field and the real clinical practices that form the large part of psychoanalytic therapy today in the UK.

The Consultation Process

The consultation process was hijacked from the start by a small grouping within the profession and it is now being spun as a fully inclusive consultation. A summary of this process follows, the full details of which are contained in a report by The College of Psychoanalysts-UK and attached to this as an appendix.