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Vol 10, No 3, Article 08, PDF

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Towards the Statutory Regulation of Psychotherapy in the UK: Lisa Wake, with Courtenay Young

In this article, the aims are to provide a historical overview of the debate and the actions surrounding the statutory regulation of psychotherapy in the UK, in order to provide a contextual perspective of some of the other factors that are influencing the drive towards statutory regulation and to share with you the progress that the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) is making, including some of the future steps that it aims to take over the next 12 to 18 months.
Given the history and strength of psychotherapy as a practice in the UK, and also its relative independence from state funding, the basic goal has been away from the imposition of any particular “law” about psychotherapy, as has happened in some European countries, but more towards the statutory registration of ‘psychotherapist’ as a protected title, with a registering body with a government mandate or ‘charter’ to hold this function and to set appropriate standards and ethics. These chartered bodies either carry both a regulatory function and a service or support function for their members (like the British Psychological Society for psychologists), or this is split into two separate bodies, as for doctors in the General Medical Council (regulatory) and British Medical Association (service & professional association). This is how the various professions of doctors, dentists, vetinarians, psychiatrists and psychologists (amongst others) are currently regulated in the UK.

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