Letter: Therapist registers

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Jack O'Sullivan, in his article "Far too long on the couch" (4 August), refers to the need for a respected regulatory framework for therapists in the mental health field; yet he fails to mention the two registration organisations that have been formed, precisely to protect the public.

Firstly, there is the United Kingdom Committee for the Registration of Psychotherapists which covers a wide variety of psychotherapeutic approaches, and secondly, the British Confederation of Psychotherapists, which includes the well-established analytic psychotherapy organisations. Both provide registers that are available to the public.

While psychoanalytic training, under the auspices of the British Psycho- Analytical Society, is a most demanding and rigorous procedure, O'Sullivan is correct in that, at present, anyone can call themselves a psychoanalyst. If in doubt of anyone's qualifications, the public should consult the registers.

Of course, no one treatment approach precludes another. Many people with depression, as well as being given antidepressant medication, receive supportive counselling.

There is no difficulty within the NHS in accessing advice through one's GP.

DR RICHARD LUCAS

Consultant Psychiatrist

St Ann's Hospital, London N15

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