The Role of Skills for Health in the Process Towards State Regulation

As part of the move towards regulation of psychotherapists and counsellors by the state via the Health Professions Council (HPC), the Department of Health has involved Skills for Health (SfH). Skills for Health is the Sector Skills Council for the UK health sector. They claim that their purpose is to help the whole sector develop solutions that deliver a skilled and flexible UK workforce in order to improve health and healthcare. Arising from this, they have set out to specify competences and national occupational standards (NOS) for psychotherapists and counsellors, whether working in the NHS or in private practice. SfH claim that national occupational standards define what a person who is competent at a particular activity is able to achieve and that they also indicate the knowledge and understanding that such a person will need.

The website of SfH may be accessed by clicking this link.

SfH published an initial outline of how they proposed to go about the above project. To access this outline, please click here. (link now closed)

SfH have also published a newsletter regarding development of the NOS. To access this, please click here. (link now closed)

Recently, SfH published some draft NOS for psychotherapists, including those who work in what they have decided to term the psychodynamic modality, which is presumably intended to include psychoanalysts and psychoanalytic psychotherapists for whose ability to practise in the way they have always done so, there are worrying if not fatal implications. To access the draft NOS in Word format, please click here. (link now closed)

The College has now prepared an important appraisal and critique of the above draft NOS. To access this, please click here.

The College has also issued the following Press Release in relation to these matters:

Under proposed new government guidelines, most forms of psychoanalysis could become illegal in 2009. The Government aims to regulate talking therapies next year and has already started the process of assessing the field. The Health Professions Council has been given the task of regulating talking therapies, with its partner Skills for Health (SfH) charged with developing National Occupational Standards for therapeutic work. Nearly all the psychotherapy and psychoanalytic organisations protested that HPC was inappropriate for talking cures, yet this has been totally ignored and HPC imposed as the regulator.