Why a therapist struck off for malpractice can still 'treat' clients
Posted Monday 17 August 2009
It was recently reported that Derek Gale, an arts therapist and psychotherapist, was struck off the Health Professions Council's (HPC) register of arts therapists for abusing the people in his care. The list of claims made against him is huge and some are truly shocking. I think we can safely say that the HPC made the right decision.
However, what really concerns me is the fact that nothing is stopping Derek Gale from continuing to practice as a psychotherapist. Arts therapy is statutorily regulated by the HPC and as such their rulings have the backing of law.
Derek Gale cannot legally carry on as an arts therapist. But psychotherapists are not statutorily regulated. In fact, anyone can be a psychotherapist - you need no basic training, don't have to adhere to a code of conduct and have no obligation to join a professional register. Technically, my cat could practice as a psychotherapist although I admit it's unlikely she could gain any clients!
Yet, things are set to improve. The Government has promised to make the statutory regulation of psychotherapy and counselling a priority, and Mind supports this. Ultimately, the public deserves better protection and statutory regulation sends a clear message that abuse by mental health professionals will not be tolerated by the public, the profession and, most importantly, the law.
Have you ever been treated by a therapist you suspected of malpractice? If so email us and find out how to join our campaign.
Mariam Kemple, Policy and Campaigns Officer
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