Letter: Standards set for psychotherapists

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Sir: Your leading article 'Remembering sexual abuse in childhood' (25 May) is wrong when it states that the profession of psychotherapy does not have a register and that it lacks control over training. The United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy celebrated the launch of the first National Register of Psychotherapists on 20 May at the House of Lords, in the presence of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, Tim Yeo.

The register embraces all forms of psychotherapy. The member organisations have to demonstrate that their trainings are up to at least the UKCP minimum standards: entry to training is at graduate level; the content and duration of training is roughly equivalent to a masters degree; during training, trainees are required to have supervision appropriate to the form of therapy which they practise; every training must show that its trainees become aware of, and learn to manage, their own personal contribution to the psychotherapy which they will practise.

For my own organisation, this means being in personal therapy at least three times a week for the duration of the training.

These minimum criteria have been agreed by more than 70 organisations throughout the UK because of their concern about the very issues you raise of inappropriate and/or harmful intervention by poorly trained or non-trained therapists.

Those seeking therapy are at their most vulnerable and need protection. Your article only helps to increase the confusion that already exists where anyone can call themselves a therapist. The public should be aware that a therapist who is listed by the UKCP Register will have completed a recognised training and will be working to a strictly regulated code of ethics which will be enforced.

Yours faithfully,



Arbours Training Programme

London, NW2

26 May

The writer is a UKCP-registered psychoanalytic psychotherapist.