Psychologists Facing Tighter Regulation
Hall, Celia, The Independent (London, England)
Escalating complaints against therapists and psychologists, ranging from sexual impropriety to minor differences of opinion, have been rising at a rate of 30 per cent a year, the British Psychological Society says.
As a result, the BPS yesterday launched a campaign for the statutory regulation of its members and published a draft Bill based on its own rules and code of conduct for its 7,900 chartered psychologists, with the power to deprive guilty psychologists of their livelihood.
However, some complaints brought to the attention of the society do not involve its members at all. "The problem is that anyone can call themselves a psychologist," Graeme Geldart, assistant executive secretary and clerk to the BPS disciplinary board, said. "Members of the public are often surprised to find there is nothing we can do. I have to explain there is no one for them to complain to.
"But if we do expel a member there is nothing to stop that person continuing to practice," he said.
Three recent cases of members being disciplined include complaints lodged by three GPs about a "counselling psychologist" who had made physical examinations of three female clients. He was expelled, but this only meant that he could no longer claim to be a "chartered psychologist".
In another case it was alleged that a chartered psychologist working as a sex therapist had suggested a female client had sex with him as part of her therapy. He resigned his membership the day before his hearing. In a third case a member was convicted on two criminal charges of physical abuse and indecent assault of children in his care at a residential home. …