The Psychotherapist and the Professional Complaint: The Shadow Side of Therapy

Editor : Adah Sachs, Editor : Valerie Sinason

The Psychotherapist and the Professional Complaint: The Shadow Side of Therapy

Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : January 2023
  • Cover : Paperback
  • Pages : 256
  • Category :
    Individual Psychotherapy
  • Catalogue No : 96576
  • ISBN 13 : 9781913494612
  • ISBN 10 : 1913494616
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The patient’s word was once easily dismissed against the word of the psychiatrist, doctor or therapist, leaving the patient vulnerable. Recognising this inherent risk in the relationship between clinicians and patients, professional regulations have gradually been established to facilitate patients’ access to information, support and recourse. However, while most professions also explicitly protect their own members, there are, notably, no systems in place to protect psychotherapists. The current complaint procedure presumes the therapist’s guilt until proven innocent, rather than the reverse.

The Psychotherapist and the Professional Complaint explores this problem with sensitivity and rigour. In these chapters, the contributors examine ways to address serious conflicts in the psychotherapy relationship and the role of professional bodies in protecting their members while regulating their performance. Acknowledging both strengths and flaws, they outline the historical context and future prospects of the current complaint procedures. This book invites us to think and speak on the controversial subject of complaints, supporting patients, therapists and policymakers alike.

Reviews and Endorsements

This outstanding book is an update on where the mental health profession’s complaints system is now. Its timely analysis follows in the wake of prior work on reform, which include the attempt in 2001 at the House of Lords to statutorily regulate psychotherapists in the UK.
Professor Ann Casement, LP, Past-Chair UKCP

Patients who feel hurt or even abused and exploited by their treatment, need a place to be heard and for appropriate action to follow. Therapists who have been complained about, also need a place where they can be heard. All too often accrediting bodies try to be both a protector and a prosecutor. This engaging and authoritative book draws together thoughtful contributions from barristers, NHS psychiatrists, union members and therapists who have been complained about, and seriously questions whether complaints processes are currently adequate to the task.
Professor Sheila the Baroness Hollins, Former President of the Royal College of Psychiatry, Former President, the British Medical Association (BMA)

This book is not about criminal exploitation and abuse of patients, which requires the law rather than a complaint system. Rather, it is about what happens when something goes wrong in the therapist patient relationship, or some past trauma cannot be resolved or tolerated and how these situations can increasingly lead to a complaint. What happens then? A complaint is something many Psychotherapists and counsellors are ill equipped to understand or face. In this book, Psychotherapists, psychiatrists and barristers ask if the system is fit for purpose. It is timely for it to be here with us when so many people now turn to complaints.
Dr Pat Frankish, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Psychotherapist, Former President, British Psychological Society (BPS)

Table of Contents

About the Authors
A Note From The Editors

1. The psychotherapist, the profession and the professional complaint
Adah Sachs

2. When healing is halted by fear
Fiona Farley

3. Love and hate in the time of Covid: who will watch the watchmen?
Anne Kearns

4. A constructive way of dealing with conflict
Kay Beaumont

5. Complaints in the field of dissociative disorders: six key categories
Valerie Sinason

6. Filing psychoanalytical complaints: from verbal assaults to the crushing of the larynx
Brett Kahr

7. Reflections on a 25-year-old professional complaint
Leslie Ironside

8. Then and now – a historical perspective 113
Emerald Davis in an interview with Valerie Sinason

9. The unique nature of boundaries in psychoanalytic therapy and the implication for ethics and complaints procedures
Philip Stokoe

10. Complaints and incident procedures in the NHS
Romanie Nedergaard-Couchman and Rajnish Attavar

11. Uses, misuses and abuses of fitness to practise processes
Philip Cox

12. The Psychotherapy and Counselling Union: therapists supporting therapists through complaints processes – emergent learning and new possibilities for regulatory change
Philip Cox, Richard Bagnall-Oakeley and Sasha Kaplin

13. Reform
Julie Norris and Andrew Campbell-Tiech

About the Editor(s)

Adah Sachs has worked for many years as a psychotherapist in psychiatric hospitals, first at St Clements (the Royal London Hospital) and then at Huntercombe Manor, a special hospital for adolescents. She is a visiting lecturer and a training supervisor at the Centre for Child Mental Health and at the Centre for Attachment-based Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy, as well as in her private practice.

More titles by Adah Sachs

Valerie Sinason is a poet, writer, child psychotherapist and adult psychoanalyst. She is Founder Director of the Clinic for Dissociative Studies and President of the Institute for Psychotherapy. She is an Honorary Consultant Psychotherapist at the University of Cape Town Child Guidance Clinic and Chair of Trustees of the First People Centre, New Bethesda, South Africa. She is a Patron of Dorset Action on Abuse (DAA), editor of Trauma Dissociation and Multiplicity and co-editor of Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy after Child abuse. She has published numerous articles and books, including two poetry collections. Valerie Sinason was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the ISSTD (International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation) in April 2016.

More titles by Valerie Sinason

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