Opposing the Section 60 Order which will make psychology a function of the state – as it was in Soviet Russia.

by Julia Evans on April 16, 2009

Letter of protest sent across both Houses of Parliament : Amended 6th November 2012

Julia Evans: Flat 1 (Basement Flat), 32 Nevern Square, Earl’s Court, London, SW5 9PE

Web-site: www.LacanianWorks.net

To: Members of the House of Lords (See end of this letter)

Cc Members of the House of Commons

16th April, 2009

Dear Honourable Member,

Opposing the Section 60 Order which will make psychology a function of the state – as it was in Soviet Russia.

The psychologists will be presented on Tuesday May 5th to the House of Lords in the Draft Health Care and Associated Professions (Miscellaneous Amendments and Practitioner Psychologists) Order 2009 (Available here ). The Government anticipates complete control of the psychologist from July 09. The Government need the psychologists as ‘protected’ practitioners (with ‘protected titles’) in order to staff their Happiness Factories (Increased Access to Psychological Therapy or iapt ). The reasons the Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee (See here) (Now reformed as the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, available here) referred the Order back to the House of Lords are given here (The report:House of Lords, Merits of statutory Instruments Committee, 11th Report of Session 2008-09, drawing special attention to, Draft Health Care and Associated Professions (Miscellaneous Amendments and Practitioner Psychologists) Order 2009  : available here)This report seeks to explain why this is bad legislation, will not achieve its objective and will not produce patient safety. Except to provide a centrally-driven system of control, there is no other evidence that this legislation is needed. The psychologists are the first of the psycho-practitioners (counsellors, therapists, psychoanalysts, etc) to be captured. If the psychologists go under, the rest of us follow.

And the psychologists do not want it in this form: From the bps‘s (British Psychological Society’s) statutory regulation web-site/ 9th March (I can no longer find this on the bps’s web-site: www.bps/org.uk However, a copy saved by JE is available here: January 2009: The bps’s plea to Parliament not to cosh it with regulation by Julia Evans on January 9, 2009  or here) : ‘Extract from a letter sent by the bps to Chair of Joint Committee on the Statutory Instruments on 9 January 2009: We, therefore, feel that the proposed Statutory Instrument would not achieve its purpose of fully protecting the public from the full range of existing qualified practitioner psychologists; it may disbar existing Chartered Psychologists from future employment; and it may force some 2,000 existing Chartered Psychologists to go through potentially costly HPC grand parenting scrutiny..’

I am writing so that you have the opportunity to become aware of some of the arguments against this legislation. I request that you attend the debate on 5th May and speak out/vote against this Order. Thank you.

The Aim of My Letter

To enable sufferers from symptoms of psychic (mental) distress to choose the treatment or practice which works for them rather than the One prescribed and defined by the government.

To resist the top-down imposition by the law of the One Standard driving practitioners’ training, development, practice, ethics, complaints procedure, etc to produce uniformity.

N.B. The Department of Health (DoH) Scoping Project (July 2005) [available here] found 571 training organisations (including the British Psychological Society bps). This strategy seeks to support this healthy diversity rather than protect or prioritise one or a section of its variants.

CONTENTS

Background

1.0 Credentials

2.0 Four areas of Govermental legislative activity in the area of human psychic distress.

2.1 The Health Professions Order 2001

2.2 NICE clinical guidelines

2.3 Skills for Health

2.4 Happiness Factories (IAPT)

3.0 that it is politically or legally important or gives rise to issues of public policy likely to be of interest to the House

3.1 Issues of public policy – the role of the Government

3.10 What is the task of a Government?

3.101 Is the production of health and well-being a proper area for legislation?

3.102 Government promoting well-being, health or choice?

3.013 Well-being is a fortunate by-product. It cannot be produced to Government Order.

3.104 Government hoodwinks by offering to safeguard wellbeing.

3.11 What is the evidence that this legislation is needed?

3.12 The use of fear in drawing up this legislation

3.13 The murderer, Dr Shipman, is the single example.

4.0 Issues of public policy – the objective of HPO2001

4.1 The context for the Government’s use of wellbeing

4.11 ‘Measure smiles, not just GDP: British least happy in Europe’

4.12 The problems with safeguarding

4.13 The Government’s basic mistake is to assume that efficiency in the pursuit of health and wellbeing is unambiguous.

4.14 There is no certain relation between government action and the production of wellbeing.

4.15 What are the limits to the Government’s ability to increase subjective well-being?

4.16 Conclusion: The Government’s absolute interpretation of wellbeing

5.0 Method of legislating

5.01 As the House of Commons has been dominated by one party, legislation is unchallenged and has become oppressive

5.1 Use of Privy Council

5.2 The empty knowledge behind the enforcing system.

5.3 A further example of Empty Knowledge

5.4 From Physics: Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle

5.5 Consequences of the use of Empty Knowledge

5.51 The use of the One Knowledge criminalises – a non-health example

5.52 The One Knowledge as used in HPC fitness-to-practice courts on an Occupational Therapist, a Paramedic and a Psychotherapist

5.53 How many psychologists are aware of their fate: being tried under the Privy  Council procedures?

5.54 The cost of employing these people, witnesses and lawyers does not count.

5.55 The One Knowledge eliminates any form of relationship

5.551 Practices do not use the One Knowledge

5.552 A practitioner pictured totally enmeshed in the Government’s commands

5.553 Example of applying industrial job definition techniques to a relationship

5.554 The use of fear in the implementation of HPO2001

5.555 The practitioner controls the use of knowledge (a savoir-faire or knowing-what-to-do) within a relationship of trust and care

5.556 The practitioner is responsible for their praxis (knowing-how-to-do) and its use within their practice.

5.56 The limits to the use of the One Knowledge

5.6 There is no independent third party evaluation by human networks or professional associations (bps). Thus the Government’s application of the One Knowledge goes unchallenged.

5.61 The One Solution proposed by the Government in HPO2001, disconnects as it outlaws relationships

5.62 The One Solution as predicted by the One Knowledge is invalid

5.63 A case study from the Financial Sector applied to CHRE which shows the results to a practice of destroying external accountability and connections.

5.64 Because connections and a third party view are eliminated, the One Knowledge is blind

5.641 External scrutiny & professionalisation

5,65 The exclusion of the psychologist’s third party, the bps, has already begun

5.66 The reduction of psycho-practice to Management

5.67 Mutuality is excluded. Where is meaning?

5.68 The One Knowledge isolates. Psycho-practice is based on connection

5.69 The One Knowledge is a lure and deceives

5.70 The One Knowledge does not support difference in either the Practitioner or the Sufferer

5.8 HPO2001 is based on contiguity and not a causal relationship

6.0 The One Knowledge and Con-sultations

6.1 Evidence that con-sultations and citizen’s juries (listening events) have been rigged

6.2 How the HPC achieves total compliance to the One Knowledge

6.3 Other examples of HPC con-sultation processes

6.31 Objections to the legislation are not actioned

6.32 The One Knowledge drives the HPC’s consultancy agenda

7.0 The One Knowledge and the negative portrayal of anyone who opposes

7.1 Examples of how the media is being used to support the negative image of psycho-practitioners

7.1 Examples of this abuse of power from elsewhere

8.0 The One Knowledge and complaints

8.1 How the One Knowledge treats dissenting submissions to con-sultations

8.2 Con-sultations are not to verify the legislation: they are manipulations to paint the Government as electable.

8.3 Examples from bps of how these manipulative processes are being played out.

9.0 A practice relies on the psycho-practitioner’s individual judgement. Each sufferer is a unique human being. The One Knowledge does not recognise the uncertainty endemic in a human being’s freedom to act.

9.1 Principles are derived from the Government’s One Knowledge rather than the practice of psychology. This is forced from the top downwards rather than integrated from the bottom up.

9.2 This emphasis on group standards is the antithesis of the way many psychopractitioners work

9.3 NICE on evidence-based practice and clinical judgement

10.0 that it may imperfectly achieve its policy objectives: parties who are affected by a regulation (this Order), particularly when the issue raised relates to the practicability of the proposal or unintended consequence

10. 01 A probable future scenario if HPO2001 controls all psycho-practitioners.

10.1 The HPC takes away responsibility from the practitioner and gives it to a system

10.2 The difference between managing certainty and uncertainty (example from finance)

11.0 How the Government paints future provision in the Media.

11.1 A practitioner’s viewpoint – a pointer to the future? CBT approach is seen as the norm, while we know that it is not at all suitable for everyone and that it can cause great distress in some clients

11.2 How this imaginary future is sold by the Government

11.4 Some reality being shone into the Government’s position: This ideology is fundamentally totalitarian, although the uniform of the familiar military dictator has been replaced by the tweed jacket and business suit of the expert and the technocrat, and the secret policeman has given way to the psychiatrist and behavioural therapist.

11.5 The Government’s vision is built on false assumptions: The picture of 10,000 hastily trained cognitive-behavioural therapists let loose on the British public is a frightening one – like 10.000 semi-skilled plumbers taking charge of brain surgery in the UK. It’s a politically popular gimmick because (a) it is a lot cheaper than letting the mentally ill be treated by properly qualified professionals, and (b) it involves large numbers and motion – the illusion of decisive action

11.6 The Government’s advisor justifies the expense of implementing HPO2001. The assumption: Respect is produced by an enforced code?

11.7 The institutionalisation of therapy and therapists is based on exacerbating a climate of fear and uncertainty.

11.8 The independence of the Health Professions Council from the Government

11.9 An example of the protection of patient safety using current legislation

11.10 Reasons given by the bps for the introduction of statutory processes for use with those seeking psycho-practitioners’ help

11.13 The House of Lords’ Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee states this Order gives rise to issues of public policy

11.12 The British Psychological Society states this Order is not fit for purpose

12.0 What is the shadow side of this Government-controlled and Government protected market?

13.0 Ethics and this legislation – comments borrowed from the financial crash

 

1.0 Credentials

 

1.1 I, Julia Evans, have a degree in Psychology and a Masters degree in Organisational Psychology. I worked for private sector organisations from 1973 to 1993 in Organisational Development work. I was a Chartered Organisational Psychologist from mid-1980s to 2001 when I resigned over the issue of regulation and the regimenting of Continuous Professional Development. From 1988, I retrained as a Lacanian Psychoanalyst. I was registered with the UKCP from 2000 to 2002 when I resigned over the issue of regulation. Currently, I am in private practice and am a member of (registered with) the London Society of the New Lacanian School. This can be viewed here

 

2.0 Four areas of Govermental legislative activity in the area of human psychic distress.

 

2.1 The Health Professions Order 2001 [available here]

The main objective of The Health Professions Order 2001 (HPO2001) is ‘to safeguard the health and wellbeing of persons using or needing the services of registrants or health professionals’ (S3.4). This is enacted through the Privy Council by the creation of the Health Professions Council (HPC) [Now HCPCHealth and Care Professions Council]. The principal functions of the HPC are:

(1) There shall be a body corporate known as the Health Professions Council

(2) The principal functions of the Council shall be to establish from time to time standards of education, training, conduct and performance for members of the relevant professions and to ensure the maintenance of those standards.

(3) The Council shall have such other functions as are conferred on it by this Order or as may be provided by the Privy Council  by order.

2.2 NICE clinical guidelines

From the National Institute for Clinical Excellence web-site: ‘In clinical practice, it (NICE) provides guidance on the appropriate treatment and care of people with specific diseases and conditions within the NHS cost effectively.’

Thus, symptoms of Anxiety and Depression are linked, on the advice of accountants, to Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) which produces the Government-standard of ‘normally’ functioning human being or ‘good health’ or ‘well-being’ cost effectively. The government adopts a system of satisfying human needs via prescribed systems which control the link between human suffering and its treatment. This system owes much to Tesco’s rigid control systems. Those suffering are usually linked to CBT as the only government-sanctioned treatment for trauma, ME, Multiple Personality Disorder, etc. Psycho-practice (psychologists, counsellors, therapists, etc) is declared a dangerous treatment by charlatans as it does not register in the framework used by government-funded research.

 

2.3 Skills for Health

(From SfH’s or S4H‘s web-site – available) help the health sector develop solutions that deliver a skilled and flexible UK workforce in order to improve health and healthcare.

SfH have drawn up 450 competencies for Psychological Therapies using the usual bizarre machine/operator-interface-based top-down method. A practice where one human being helps a fellow human being is materially different to a machine/operator interface. Sufferers cannot be analysed in the manner a machine can. A practitioner does not deliver a uniform solution. Practitioner involvement in developing solutions is limited to 2 or 3 Government-nominated grandees on the committee. From SfH emerges the One standard role. This role is supposed to improve well-being. Unfortunately, in the area of psycho-practice, it is the person filling that role who makes it work. Each individual will operate differently. SfH imposes the One System derived from a knowledge which is fixed and true for all cases, (the One Knowledge) onto a practice which is based on individuals and difference – the One-by-One. A practice never ceases to be developed. Once you freeze a practice by writing it down, you destroy it.

How does this impact on safety? Providing the practitioner works within the 450 competences, then their practice is defined automatically as safe. Whereas, the reality is that the practitioner must respond to the sufferer and in doing will take risks and develop new approaches. Those who refuse to be bound by the SfH‘s handcuffs are automatically deemed charlatans and unsafe. The State not only refuses to legitimise their practice but also actively demonises it.

These rigid, systematic competencies are also used by the Health Professions Council for entry criteria and fitness-to-practice cases.

 

2.4 Happiness Factories

From the web-site The Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT available here) programme seeks will test the effectiveness of providing increases in evidence based psychological therapy services to people with ’common’ mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, in providing improvements in health, well-being and in maintaining people or returning people to employment and community participation.

Thus, Happiness Factories combine SfH’s competencies and NICE (available here) clinical guidelines to deliver well-being and happiness. The government defines and measures these products so is straying into ‘Animal Farm’ or ‘Brave New World’ in controlling the population to its One Standard. These arguments are based in accountancy:

Accountants decide which is the cost-effective therapy and whether enough money has been saved on the government’s unemployment/sickness Benefit Bill for it to be considered successful. The reason why the Government wish to entrap (enact the section 60 order on the psychologists) is that they need the psychologists to manage/supervise the Happiness Factories. The psychologists are volunteering to act as collaborationists. (From positions to the Vichy Government: collaborationist – those who agree to be driven and give up taking responsibility for their actions, collaborator – those who are forced into relating to those in control, and resistance – those who refuse to be driven by the system) They are motivated by the bribes the Government are offering in the form of paid jobs.

 

3.0 that it is politically or legally important or gives rise to issues of public policy likely to be of interest to the House

 

3.1 Issues of public policy – the role of the Government

 

3.10 What is the task of a Government?

In HPO2001 the Government promises to safeguard health and well-being by the imposition of several systems or codes of practice based on Government defined standards.

 

3.101 Is the production of health and well-being a proper area for legislation?

Professor Willem Buiter (Willem H. Buiter CBE, FBA, Professor of European Political Economy, European Institute, London School of Economics) considers not. [‘Car manufacturers: the case for doing nothing for the sector : December 20, 2008 2:02 am : or here: or here] 20 December 2008: the final paragraph: What not to do: the hubris of the social engineer on steroids]: Quote:

‘Individual morality is qualitatively different from the ‘morality’ of government or the state, if the words ‘morality’, ‘government’ and ’state’ can ever be used together at all. The state (the government) cannot do something useful or effective every time someone loses their job or a small business fails. This is the most awful hubris – a grotesque overestimation of what the state can do for us. Businesses failing is a natural and inevitable occurrence in a market economy with risk and uncertainty. It may be an individual or family tragedy, but it is not a social or economic problem, and it should not be a political issue.

Even if the government could do something about individual cases of unemployment or small business failure, God forbid that they should try. The responsibility of government is not to provide security at all cost – to keep us safe from all harm. It is to defend and safeguard our freedom. The main threat to our freedom is not Al Queda, other mad terrorists or the acknowledged totalitarian threats of the past and the present. It is government itself – the well-intentioned, paternalistic, we-know-what’s-good-for-you, we’ll-ram-your-happiness-(as-we-see-it)-down-your-throat apostles of benevolent despotism that are in the ascendant throughout what I used to think of as the free world.’

JE: The risk of working with a psycho-practitioner is not a political issue. A measure of risk and uncertainty is inevitable. Clearly, if a criminal act has been committed, this must be prosecuted under current laws. The responsibility of the Government is not to safeguard our health and wellbeing at any cost.

 

3.102 Government promoting well-being, health or choice

Comments from Samuel Brittan, Financial Times: April 6 2006 ‘On J. S. Mill, liberty

and choice’ : available here : which support Professor Buiter’s conclusion.

Quote: ‘It is in my view presumptuous of legislators or social scientists to tell us how to promote our happiness. Their objective should be to promote conditions in which people have the maximum of options. What they make of these opportunities is their business; and whether they then fill in questionnaires saying that they are happier or not is interesting, but not the final criterion.

It is necessary to go even further. The bedrock value on which classical liberals ought to rest is freedom. Someone who attaches importance to freedom is committed to attaching importance to choice, but it does not necessarily work the other way round. You can have a lot of choice but be fundamentally unfree. What matters is freedom of action and speech among consenting adults. A society is unfree if your income has increased but you can be put in jail for expressing beliefs contrary to the prevailing political or religious ideology. It is also unfree if you are prevented from travelling abroad either by edict or by an exiguous official travel allowance. Choice among hospitals, or even among varieties of cereals, may not have the same importance, but it is still part of a free society.’

HPO2001 restricts choice of Psychopractitioner to those trained and controlled by the Government through the Privy Council and HPC. HPO2001 severely restricts freedom of action and speech among consenting adults.

 

3.013 Well-being is a fortunate by-product. It cannot be produced to Government Order.

Dr Shipman clearly made the politicians itch to intervene. Surely well-being and health are not matters for political interventions.

From ‘Happiness is a fortunate byproduct’ By Samuel Brittan Financial Times December 14 2006 [available here]: ‘In advanced western countries it is reasonable to expect governments to concentrate on their core functions of internal and external security, providing public goods, which the market cannot do, and trying to correct for the worse spill-over effects of our activities upon each other. I would also include redistribution towards the less fortunate, which need not depend on envy and resentment. But surely matters such as obesity, respect and so much else on the Blairite agenda ought to be left to individuals? Quite a lot of politicians of all parties would agree with these general sentiments, but when it comes to specifics – such as disliking things they see from their car windows on the way to the airport – the itch to intervene becomes unstoppable.

 

3.104 Government hoodwinks by offering to safeguard wellbeing.

From Cross purposes, The Guardian, Wednesday October 8 2008 by Stuart Jeffries. [Available here] The article discusses the Archbishop of Canterbury’s book Dostoevsky: Language, Faith and Fiction. ‘In the Grand Inquisitor episode in Dostoevsky’s masterpiece, Ivan Karamazov imagines Jesus’s second coming. The Inquisitor tells Jesus in his cell that the church has made humanity happy by hoodwinking it with miracle, mystery and authority. Christ, by contrast, offered the masses not happiness, but a more frightful gift, their freedom. The Inquisitor explains that the Son of God is too reckless a character to have around risking the church’s good work.’

HPO2001 offers wellbeing and Happiness factories promise Lord Layard’s ‘Economic Happiness’. Those that oppose HPO2001 are called charlatans and worse. The Government (Inquisitor) criminalises those who oppose the hoodwinking of the population with promises of safeguarding via regulation and registration.

 

3.11 What is the evidence that this legislation is needed?

There is none. The Government rests its case on a series of reports on medics who acted criminally. See Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer, in the Foreward to the White Paper: ‘Trust, Assurance and Safety – the regulation of Health Professionals in the 21st century’ [Available here]. Medics have been statutorily registered for hundred of years. It is an impossibility to legislate against the repetition of these extreme criminal acts. Someone determined enough will find a way through. Psychopractitioners (including psychologists) talk to sufferers. What evidence is there for abuse or murder or rape or other criminal acts being prevalent enough among psychologists to support this legislation? There is none.

 

3.12 The use of fear in drawing up this legislation

By its action in legislating in the area of the relationship between psycho-practitioner and sufferer, the Government assumes that the greater part of psycho-practitioners are not to be trusted. Indeed, the Government states it has overwhelming reasons to distrust psycho-practitioners and is willing to put in expensive control systems to protect sufferers. The Government tells the population that psycho-practitioners are a bunch of malevolent tricksters. There is no evidence for this assertion though it is reinforced by advertisements displayed on public transport inviting the public’s complaints of abuse. Thus, the Government invents this fear, stuffing terms such as charlatan, abuser, high-risk into psycho-practitioners. There are over 100,000 practitioners in this country. This defining psycho-practitioners as to be feared, is no way for a Government to make laws. It reminds me of the Third Reich. They used fear of a section of the population as justification for their law-making.

 

3.13 It appears that the murderer, Dr Shipman, is the single example which motivates HPO2001.

To listen to a very good summary: Could Shipman Happen Again?, Radio 4, Thursday 12 February, 2009, available here

Some points to consider:

a) The loopholes through which Shipman operated have to be plugged to stop another madman from murdering his patients. Underlying assumption is that it is possible to plug loopholes and that someone else intent on murder would use the same loopholes.

b) What needs to happen to better protect patients? Seems to be an assumption that the Government can make consulting a doctor risk-free. Also that this protection from risk carries over from medicine into psycho-practice.

c) Shipman was well-loved. When transference or love or a relationship is involved, how do you regulate a relationship between two consenting adults?

d) The description of the interview at Halifax Police Station about the murders at Todmorden contrasts with this ‘Shipman was well-loved’. Can a legal system tell the difference between a well-loved human being and a well-loved mad man. Are legislative systems the way to tell the difference? See the preface to ‘Trust, Assurance and Safety’ [Available here].  for confirmation that a system is more capable than the Police of distinguishing criminals from non-criminals.

e) Dame Janet Smith states that the enquiry is to explain to the families and to stimulate discussion within the profession. Is there a rational explanation for what happened? Can legislation promote a sense of responsibility for a colleague’s practice? Does not this rely on relationships?

f) In the late 90’s there were a series of well-publicised scandals and little changed… (These were all medical.) The culture (within medicine) was one not to criticise or investigate. Are systems with legal backing the way to promote these changes in the way colleagues relate? This colleague-to-colleague relationship is a human, fallible one. Is it possible to affect a relationship with a legal system?

g) The GMC had no power to suspend from practice… How does a remote Committee tell the difference between human error and criminal/mad intent? Shipman was misusing tranquillisers. Where is the evidence he was a murderer?

h) “ The GMC had failed as a system and nobody spotted it. It was too busy protecting their own doctors”. So the system is now changed to all doctors are of criminal intent and have to prove their honourable, caring intentions. Is this an improvement? There is news of a doctor who has killed more than 8 patients. So this tarring of all doctors does not seem to work.

i) ‘Systems of revalidation when in place will pick up these criminals.’ (See preface to ‘Trust, assurance and safety’ [Available here].) ‘Not based on Shipman which may be a one-off but based on a range of behaviours’. Seduction was a word used in the programme and is appropriate. It is seductive to think that a system can pick up these cases.

j) Donaldson’s comments were interesting. Everything will be redesigned to prevent another Shipman from harming. There will be changes to death certificates. The lack of external scrutiny is blamed. When this is changed then it is alleged that future Shipmans will be picked up. External scrutiny is just what HPO2001 removes. The third parties, that is, the training/professional organisations are removed. The Government controls through the use of Skills for Health‘s competencies  and NICE defined clinical standards. External scrutiny in the form of an experienced practitioner is replaced by the HPC‘s fitness-to-practice standards, entry criterion and enforced Continuous Professional Development.

k) “The whole thing is being made into a market – so patients become consumers and become empowered. Away with the old paternalism.” And where does the relationship between doctor and patient fit in? The assumption that becoming a consumer is empowering is not examined. What removes the sufferer’s power? The relationship to another human being, a psychologist or the relationship to a government-controlled market surveyed by a system?

l) “Prof from M/c: There has been an emphasis on Science and health care is about society”. Absolutely correct. The One Knowledge as Science is defined within the framework of HPO2001 operating with NICE and SfH. This One certainty excludes subjectivity, difference, development, and relationships. This is the Stalinist uniform model of relationships between human beings.

 

4.0 Issues of public policy – the objective of HPO2001 : to safeguard health and well-being

The following is from Psychoanalytical Notebooks: A review of the London Society of the New Lacanian School: Issue no 16, London, May 2007 Regulation and Evaluation: Julia Evans “Wellbeing and Happiness as used by the UK Government” page 143 Available here

Wellbeing and health are two words, constructions, or concepts in use by Government in changing the practice of all health professionals. In exploring wellbeing, the question is raised of whether the government’s intention is either desirable or achievable.

 

4.1 The context for the Government’s use of wellbeing.

There is a Cabinet Chair for Wellbeing. So someone in the Government is in charge of ensuring you have the Correct Standard of Well-being. This is the One Knowledge or Science gone mad. How is Standard Well-being defined? How is it measured? Why are policy decisions being made on it? Some more examples:

 

4.11 ‘Measure smiles, not just GDP: British ‘among least happy in Europe’ The Guardian, Saturday January 24 2009 by Amelia Gentleman : available here

‘Tired, suspicious, bored and lonely: the British fare poorly in a new, detailed study which ranks European countries according to a sense of national contentment. Britain comes third from the bottom in western Europe in the National Accounts of Wellbeing report, published today. The report, by independent think-tank the New Economics Foundation (Nef), is one of a number of projects aiming to study the concept of wellbeing. Researchers asked 42,000 people in 22 countries around 50 questions based on two concepts: personal wellbeing, and broader social wellbeing, looking at how relationships with others contribute to personal happiness.’

This is the sort of information on which HPO2001 is based. This is the Government operating in a ‘scientific’ delusional world of being able to measure someone’s wellbeing. Subjectivity, difference and individuality are discarded. Certainty, Standards and Scientific Evaluation are substituted. I recall ‘Scientific’ experiments carried out in Concentration Camps which sought to justify the Third Reich’s definition of a standard human being.

 

4.12 The problems with safeguarding

In the act of safeguarding, it is assumed the safe-guard has superior knowledge, strength or power. The safe guard (HPO2001) can protect the sufferer from risk. Thus the Government becomes the repository of Knowledge and its implementation. Tim Gill  : Growing up in a risk averse society (Publisher: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation Oct 2007 available here) argues that childhood is being undermined by the growth of risk aversion and its intrusion into every aspect of children’s lives. This restricts children’s play, limits their freedom of movement, corrodes their relationships with adults and constrains their exploration of physical, social and virtual worlds. Adults who permit Government proscribed activities are branded as irresponsible. ‘No Fear’ advocates a philosophy of resilience that will help counter risk aversion and strike a better balance between protecting children from genuine threats and giving them rich, challenging opportunities through which to learn and grow. Is HPO2001’s safeguarding of sufferers possible? Even if it is possible, is releasing sufferers from taking responsibility for themselves desirable?

 

4.13 The Government’s basic mistake is to assume that efficiency in the pursuit of health and wellbeing is unambiguous.

(From Samuel Brittan op.cit.: available here) ‘It can only be so if there is one very clear objective to be pursued at the lowest possible cost. This is decidedly not the case with treatments based in psycho-practice. It is not even possible to measure efficiency until people reveal their own values and trade-offs. It is worth emphasising, however, that if the dogma of providing services “free at the point of delivery” is upheld, choice must remain limited. With zero prices there can be no limit to what is demanded. So some rationing and selection are inevitable. When political parties discuss extending choice for public services they really mean allowing people to choose between a number of carefully selected packages

There is a wider issue. Choice is worthwhile, whether or not it promotes some concept of efficiency. Its value lies in the absence of coercion or man-made obstacles to the exercise of people’s powers and capacities. It is part of the western tradition but it cannot, in the final analysis, be rigorously demonstrated against those with incompatibly different values. It may be necessary to limit that which is available free on the NHS.’

These arguments do not support legislating standards of performance, results and does not support obscuring difference between practitioners and sufferers.

 

4.14 There is no certain relation between government action and the production of wellbeing.

There is a limit to how much the Government can improve an individual’s well-being.

(From Samuel Brittan op. cit.: available here) ‘Surveys show that after a certain point people do not say they are happier as national income grows. This is argued in The Challenge of Affluence by Avner Offer, professor of economic history at Oxford (OUP).. The book is an invaluable source of information on changing attitudes and practices in the US and Britain since the end of the second world war. But his concluding message is that neither choice nor economic growth in modern conditions promotes individual and social well-being.’

Why should providing the One Standard Government-approved Treatment by Government-licensed psycho-practitioners promote well-being? Where is the evidence?

 

4.15 What are the limits to the Government’s ability to increase subjective wellbeing?

From ‘Happiness is a fortunate by-product’ By Samuel Brittan, Financial Times, December 14 2006 [Available here] ‘But when it comes to state intervention (the “nanny state”) the collectivists are still improving their position. A new pseudo-subject called happiness studies has been called in aid. People are asked how happy they are with their lives.….. Fortunately, we now have a new study of an altogether superior kind by Anthony and Charles Kenny, a father and son team of philosopher and economist, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Utility, Imprint Academic. Aristotle identified happiness with virtuous activity. Jeremy Bentham and his utilitarian followers identified it with pleasure and subjective satisfaction. To make progress the authors break up happiness into three components; welfare, contentment and dignity. Welfare is treated in a common-sense way, covering items such as life expectancy, literacy, infant mortality or health. Contentment is the type of thing measured by the questionnaire studies. I am less sure about dignity. The celebrity chef who yells at his staff and customers makes an undignified sight, but who is to say that he is unhappy? The most striking of the Kenny findings is how little welfare has to do with income, either absolute or relative. …. Their own data, however, suggest that only a very limited part of public expenditure, such as public health and sanitation measures, are relevant here rather than the bulk of items that went into either a 19th century or a modern government budget. …So much of the cross-country variation in subjective well-being remains unexplained by objective influences that they suggest “a distinct limit to policy or other interventions” in increasing subjective well-being scores. As so often, I come back to John Stuart Mill, who never wavered in the conviction that happiness was the purpose of life, but who also believed that those who achieve it “have their minds fixed on some other object” such as the well-being of others or some art or pursuit. …In advanced western countries it is reasonable to expect governments to concentrate on their core functions of internal and external security, providing public goods, which the market cannot do, and trying to correct for the worse spill-over effects of our activities upon each other. I would also include redistribution towards the less fortunate, which need not depend on envy and resentment. But surely matters such as obesity, respect and so much else on the Blairite agenda ought to be left to individuals? Quite a lot of politicians of all parties would agree with these general sentiments, but when it comes to specifics – such as disliking things they see from their car windows on the way to the airport – the itch to intervene becomes unstoppable.

 

4.16 Conclusion: The Government’s absolute interpretation of wellbeing

In HPO2001, wellbeing is assumed to have the one, correct definition and to be sought by the public. There is no evidence that the provision of wellbeing in any form, including one which is measured and evaluated, is a proper matter for government or for government to attempt to supply. Where are the limits for governments in the area of direct provision of wellbeing? What is the punishment for failure to receive the correct dose of well-being? Wellbeing is embedded in legislation and Government action. This is controlled using Government-approved agents (those with a Government ‘protected title) who deliver the Government’s cure to a Government-approved standard.

 

5.0 Method of legislating

HPO2001 was passed in the House of Commons when the Government had an overwhelming majority. Thus, there was limited opposition to HPO2001. The role of zombie-collaborationists (from positions relative to the Vichy Government: collaborationists – those who did what was demanded o them, collaborators – those who did what was demanded of them in order to survive and resistance – those who refused) in passing HPO2001: From George Monbiot The Guardian, Tuesday 10 February 2009 An open letter to Hazel Blears MP, secretary of state for communities and local government. [Available here] ‘The only principle her (Blears’) voting record shows is slavish obedience …. The only consistent principle I can deduce from these positions is slavish obedience to your masters. ….. Yours Hazel is the courage of the sycophant, the courage to say yes….. All regimes require people like you, who seem to be prepared to obey orders without question. Unwavering obedience guarantees success in any administration. It also guarantees collaboration in every atrocity in which a government might engage. The greatest thing we have to fear in politics is the cowardice of politicians. Just what exactly do you stand for, Hazel Blears – except election?’

 

5.01 As the House of Commons has been dominated by one party, legislation is unchallenged and has become oppressive.

HPO2001 is authoritarian. From Clifford Longley:8th December 2008:The Tablet: ‘The left has a blind spot on the balance between the individual and the state’ : available here : ‘All political parties are coalitions between opposing tendencies, …. One says society will look after us, the other that the law will look after us. Neither is completely untrue, but a society dominated for too long by either of these tendencies would ultimately become oppressive.’

Because the Government is working for the Good (to safeguard health and wellbeing) they suppose themselves to be immunised against authoritarianism. The Government was not challenged in the House of Commons.

This oppressive legislation can only be stopped in the House of Lords. The HPC http://www.hpc-uk.org assumes that the Entry Criteria and Fitness to Practice standards are self-evident. (See bps Statutory Regulation web-site/30 October 2008.) They can be imposed as absolutes top-downwards rather than developed from the bottom upwards. What is the evidence that this oppressive legislation produces Wellbeing or Health or patient safety?

 

5.1 Use of Privy Council the type of legislation:

There are two legal systems in this country: the normal courts using case law processes and those answerable to the Privy Council which examine against a government-set standard and have absolute power and authority. Until Mr Blair became Prime Minister, it was rare for the government to use Orders and the Privy Council. This government uses Orders like confetti. This is a radically different use of power in order to control than the Police and Courts. There are a number of consequences following from this use of the Privy Council:

1) The One way of doing things is enshrined in codes of practice which criminalise any one who does not implement to the letter of the law. The impossibility of Shylock’s position is apposite.

2) Kafkaesque fitness-to-practice courts are set up separate from normal legislative processes. Normal case law is tested through the courts on a case by case basis. The HPC’s courts make absolute judgements judged on SfH (or other Government agency) derived standards.

3) There is no relation to the practice or other networks of human beings. This has been demonstrated in in medicine: The practice of both doctors and nurses is held in the One Standard Centre in the DoH or HPC. Thus relationships are discarded.

4) It refers to the One Standard rather than compares with other cases. Thus psychopractice will be defined as the One Standard rather than be viewed on a case by case basis. Soros article

5) HPO2001 is imposed in a top down authoritarian way from the Privy Council. There is no room for difference. A practice is developed from the bottom up. Each individual practices differently.

6) The codes being developed by SfH, NICE, and Happiness Factories become law without having to be discussed in Parliament. The implementation of HPO2001 to psycho-practitioners does not have to be discussed in Parliament as it gives the Privy Council all the power it needs to implement whether it is needed or not.

7) It removes responsibility from the practitioner to a System. The influence of the Training Institutes is removed.

8) Human error is meant to be removed by the codes and, when it occurs, it is criminalised. See section 5.52 for an example of a paramedic being coshed by the HPC’s fitness to practice court or read Janet Low’s blog at hpcwatchdog.blogspot.com.

5.2 The empty knowledge behind the enforcing system.

The One way of practicing is enshrined in the One Knowledge being implemented by the Privy Council /HPC.

There are different forms of knowledge. Empty Knowledge or the One Knowledge or the Good or the Science has all subjective meaning removed. The Meaning is Absolute. This absolute use of meaning was demonstrated by Portia in ‘The Merchant of Venice’ and by Lewis Carroll in ‘Alice in Wonderland’. The Privy Council has absolute power to enforce HPO2001 through the HPC. The use of Empty Knowledge or the One Knowledge by the Government’s enforcing systems has been commented on in my submission to the HPC’s ‘Call for Ideas’ [Available here] from which I quote. The type of knowledge implied by the HPC’s regulation is inappropriate to the regulation of psycho-practice or its practitioners. Examples of the inhuman, standard knowledge from the White Paper: ‘Trust, Assurance and Safety’ (op. cit.: [Available here].)

i Professional regulation must create a framework that maintains the justified confidence of patients in those who care for them as the bedrock of safe and effective clinical practice and the foundation for effective relationships between patients and health professionals.

ii. It is all too easy to focus on the incompetent or malicious practice of individuals and seek to build a system from that starting point,

iii We need a system that understands the pressures and strains under which all professionals operate and shows understanding, compassion and support where these are appropriate.

iv It also means a system that is better able to identify people early on who are struggling – perhaps with personal problems of mental health or addiction – and supporting them,

v It means a system that is better able to detect and act against those very rare malicious individuals who risk undermining public and professional confidence.

The system becomes Big Brother. The system is the foundation of the relationship of care and trust between two human beings. The system becomes humanised. The system provides the framework which produces trust. It understands pressure and strains. It is more able than the police to detect those about to commit criminal acts.

Has anyone in the government read ‘Animal Farm’ or ‘Brave New World’? The system is inhuman in that it posses the One Empty knowledge and no doubts about its truth and efficacy. I define the authoritarian use of this absolute form of knowledge as abusive. It denies our common humanity.

The other two forms of knowledge are savoir-faire (a knowing what to do as in medical and psychological practice) or nous and savoir-y-faire (a knowing how to do as in counselling or therapy). Their use is expanded in Julia Evans’ submission to HPC’s ‘Call for Ideas’: 23rd October 2008. Both savoir-faire and savoir-y-faire, assume human involvement rather than a system. Both acknowledge risk and the possibility of failure. There is no One perfect Solution. Both acknowledge individual difference. Meaning is owned by humans not a system. Responsibility for their practice is owned by humans not a system. Responsibility for engaging or not with the offered practice remains with the sufferer or person who consults. The position of knowledge in savoir-faire is that of the practice of medicine: knowledge about bone structure, etc is vital. This knowledge has to be interpreted by the practitioner and matched to the sufferer’s complaints. A way forward adapted to the individual sufferer is found. With savoir-y-faire, there is no knowledge. The practitioner works to develop and support the sufferer’s process of working. Results are unique to each piece of work.

 

5.3 A further example of Empty Knowledge

It is my proposition that the Government is legislating using the One knowledge, One practice and the One definition of a Normal human being. This is delusional (in my terms) because it omits individual difference and subjectivity and subjective meaning. The consequences of this are being played out Now in Finance, Education, National Security (See Stella Rimington, Press at the Guardian, 17 February, 2009. Available here). The following gives details of distinctions between the One Knowledge which is certain and the uncertainty implied within the human world of relationships. Quotations from ‘The fruitless search for exact knowledge’ By John Kay October 16 2007 Financial Times (Available here) are in inverted commas.

Certainty: THE answer is not known but the range of possible answers is certain.

Uncertainty: Questions are open-ended. We cannot fully describe the range of outcomes.

‘We can attempt to transform open-ended questions into more narrowly defined ones. “How many US troops will be in Iraq in 2010?” “What will be China’s gross domestic product, or the average world temperature, in 2025?” But even if it were possible to make such predictions – and it is not – the outcomes would not tell people what they really want to know.’

The Government has transformed an open question ‘What does a psycho-practitioner produce?’ into a closed question: They produce well-being and health. Thus, the Government produces the impossibility of certainty from uncertainty.

‘Our knowledge is more imperfect still. Such uncertainties have been largely resolved, although in ways that few people expected. But the main point is not that we mostly fail to foresee the answers. It is that we mostly fail to foresee the relevant questions.’ I suggest that the question “How does the Government safeguard the population’s health and well-being?” is the wrong question.

‘Looking at the future with the eyes of the present, we overestimate….. That failure is inevitable.’ The only one certainty I have as a Lacanian practitioner is that I will fail. Any construction I make will fail.

George Soros, (The credit crunch according to Soros by Chrystia Freeland January 30 2009 Financial Times (Available here): ‘Instead, Soros attributes his effectiveness as an investor to his philosophical views about the contingent nature of human knowledge: “I think that my conceptual framework, which basically emphasises the importance of misconceptions, makes me extremely critical of my own decisions …’

I know that I am bound to be wrong, and therefore am more likely to correct my own mistakes.”) supports this view. HPO2001, in contrast, works on the basis of certainty. The search for “sharp prediction” – the mantra of the modern scientific economist who seeks to replicate the successes of physics for social science – is doomed to failure. The use of evidence-based ‘scientific model’ is doomed to failure as it predicts a certain result. This ‘scientific’ model is used by NICE, SfH, Happiness factories and the Privy Council’s agent the HPC.

In a world of imperfect knowledge and irresolvable uncertainty – of unknown unknowns – the quest for exact knowledge gets in the way of useful knowledge. The difference between Empty Knowledge (the One Knowledge or savoir): a knowing what to do (savoir-faire) or nous: and a knowing how to do (savoir-y-faire) is not acknowledged in this legislation. The Doctors and Psychologists use nous or savoir-faire.

Other psycho-practitioners use savoir-y-faire. A practice does not use the One Knowledge.

 

5.4 From Physics: Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle

Quote: Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle states that the speed (or momentum) and position of a particle at an instant cannot both be known exactly – the more precisely you measure one, the less you can find out about the other. Werner Heisenberg argue that the very act of observing a particle changes it,, making precise knowledge impossible. So neither the past nor the future behaviour of any subatomic particle can be predicted with certainty. Determinism is dead. There is a fundamental limit expressed in Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. (From: page 104of ‘50 physics ideas you really need to know’ by Joanne Baker Quercus) If it is impossible to predict the future behaviour of a subatomic particle, how does the Government predict ‘safeguarding of wellbeing and health’ HPO2001 or the production of economic happiness by Happiness Factories when 3 uncertainties are involved: the practitioner, those seeking help and the observer or evaluation system?

 

5.5 Consequences of the use of Empty Knowledge

 

5.51 The use of the One Knowledge criminalises – a non-health example

Example of the use of the authoritarian use of the One Knowledge to criminalise. From: Total spending ban on men accused of funding al-Qaida • Pair caught in legal trap they cannot challenge • Funds frozen under power never discussed by MPs Afua Hirsch, The Guardian, Monday November 3 2008 (Available here) “K” first knew something had changed when the hole in the wall refused to let him withdraw money from his account. “A”, meanwhile, received a 16-page letter from the Treasury. “I couldn’t make head or tail of it,” he says, “but the words that stood out were ‘terrorist’, ‘al-Qaida’ and ‘United Nations sanctions’. To me these are words you only hear in the news.”

The men, who cannot be named, were informed by the Treasury that they were suspected east London-based al-Qaida facilitators, involved in funding terrorists in the tribal areas of Pakistan. The men deny the allegations, but despite being described by the court of appeal last week as “of good character and well-respected in their community”, they have no way of challenging the measures against them.

The Treasury is acting under little-known laws that enable the government to suspend or “freeze” the funds of suspected terrorists. The powers, upheld last week by the court of appeal despite being described at an earlier court hearing as “oppressive” and “draconian”, render suspects criminally liable for activities as mundane as spending the change in their pockets.

They have never been scrutinised or discussed by parliament. They were introduced by a mechanism called “orders in council” which enables the government to enact law based on resolutions of the UN security council.

The result is a system of financial sanctions for anyone “designated” on either the UN’s or the UK government’s list. It need only be suspected that they “may be” linked to terrorist activity, a test described by the court of appeal last week as too wide. “The risk of wholly innocent people falling within this category is a very high one,” says Henry Miller, of Birnberg Peirce solicitors, who represents a number of people challenging orders

This is exactly how HPO2001 will/does operate. The competences invented by SfH experts using the One process of knowledge of competencies rather than developed by practitioners who use uncertain knowledge are used to criminalise in the HPC’s fitness to practice hearings. Please consult Janet Low’s commentary on this at blog: hpcwatchdog.blogspot.com.

The NICE clinical guidelines are used to criminalise any practitioner who does not offer cbt for symptoms of Anxiety or Depression. These combine in Happiness Factories to criminalise any sufferer who does not achieve Lord Layard’s standard measure of economic happiness and thus saves Government expenditure on Long-term Sickness Benefit. And it is the Privy Council’s agents the HPC constituted under HPO2001 who are driving this process.

 

5.52 The One Knowledge as used in HPC fitness-to-practice courts on an Occupational Therapist, a paramedic and a Psychotherapist Kafkaesque fitness-to-practice courts are set up separate from normal, case-by-case, legislative processes. Normal case law is tested through the courts on a case by case basis. The HPC’s courts make absolute judgements against the One Knowledge. judged on SfH (or other Government agency) derived standards. These fitness-to-practice hearings usually take place in the defendant’s absence. They have nothing to do with sufferer’s safety or safeguarding their well-being.

Occupational Therapist Example from Janet Low’s blog op.cit.: available here: Thursday, 15 January 2009 Why is it a threat to patient safety for Mr TH to not write notes according to the computer developers protocol? ‘in case he doesn’t come in and someone else has to take over his work’. (We’re talking about occupational therapy remember.) Is there an example of the danger that ensued when he did not turn up for work (he went off sick, then resigned a few months after this witch hunt began). No, no examples. No examples at all in fact, all we had were vague generalisations and examples of his administrative skills: did he make a phone call, did he write a note. His work as an occupational therapist was absolutely absent from the case.

Paramedic From Health Professions Council ‘In Focus’ magazine page 7 October 2008. A paramedic has been struck off the HPC Register for misconduct after failing to provide a patient with appropriate treatment. A panel of the HPC Conduct and Competence Committee heard that in 2006 the Registrant responded to a call to attend a patient complaining of chest pains. On arrival at the scene, the former Registrant misdiagnosed the patient as having a fit when he was in fact in cardiac arrest. The patient was not provided with appropriate treatment and he died on arrival at the hospital. The former Registrant failed to follow the recognized protocols in relation to the treatment of a cardiac arrest presenting in ventricle fibrillation, in particular she failed to defibrillate, intubate, cannulate or provide drug therapy, all of which are standard procedures. Panel Chair, Ian Griffiths, commented: “The panel note that the Registrant has 21 years’ experience with the ambulance service, and has been a registered paramedic for eight years. The Panel finds that her actions amount to a serious clinical failure and amount to misconduct.”

Thus the HPC, using the One Knowledge, is able to condemn as criminal a paramedic with 21 years experience who is human enough to make a mistake. This is an example of how the HPC applies the legal One Standard to a paramedic. The paramedic made a fatal mistake, a human failure of clinical judgement. Comments on the HPC’s application of standards:

1) She is measured against the One Standard – no toleration of human error is allowed.

2) Her 20 years of dedicated service to the Ambulance Crews, counts for nothing. She has failed to operate within this stressful environment of zero tolerance of operator error. (When I worked in manufacturing, zero manufacturing error did not exist.

3) She is put in the medieval stocks so all comers can stuff their poison into her and feel very superior.

4) She is held up as an example of what happens to paramedics working in difficult situations who make mistakes. This presumably is to make other operators so scared that they are submissive to the government’s or Big Brother’s will.

Why cannot this be dealt with internally within the NHS?

Is this a court answering into the Privy Council‘s procedures  or the NHS’s disciplinary procedures?

Where are the practitioners with experience of working in these conditions?

Why is this being turned into a public spectacle?

And the government’s justification for this parody of a legal process? It protects the public. This is absolute tyrannical, punitive justice. For further examples please consult the Old Testament.

To relationships…. I thought the UK’s system of justice was Christian based. Jesus commands that ‘you love one another (even as I (Jesus) have loved you)’. Psychopractitioners attempt to apply this when they work with those who choose to consult with them. Sometimes the relationship goes wrong. But to the extent of perverting normal legal processes?

The therapist: A further example from the HPC: Quote in inverted commas: The report covers Tuesday March 5th, Wednesday 6th and Thursday 7th, 2008

Author: Denis Postle

Published at ipnosis.org or direct here ‘This iconic Health Professions Council [HPC] ‘fitness to practise’ hearing is the first to feature a UK psychotherapist, Derek Hirsh Gale. Mr Gale, a practitioner with a decades long practice, is defending himself against allegations of exploitation and abuse of power. The first 8 paragraphs are essential reading. Is it a trial? Is this a court? Good questions. Note the cost of this trial. (I came to the hearing with seven pages of allegations downloaded from the HPC’s web-site The fact that the HPC has advertised the salacious details of this case beforehand to me is contrary to any natural law’s and exercise of justice.

The text of the seven pages of accusations against Mr Gale posted on the HPC website with its mix of ‘nudity’, ‘tits’, ‘bitch’, ‘grope, ‘violence’ and ‘simulated sex’ had done its work. The tabloid editors were salivating, an appetite that seems untouched by the revolution in sexuality.

This is what the Government uses as its propaganda against all psycho-practitioners. This is how they obfuscate that they actually want total power and control over the treatment of symptoms of psychic distress. And, how do you prevent a sexual encounter between consenting adults?

And, this is one sensational case out of an estimated population of more than 100,000 psycho-practitioners. And Derek Gale is not a psychologist but he is the nearest the Government could find. ….

‘As practitioners we know that grasping the ‘real’ is matter of navigating multiple transferences and embodied foregone conclusions, this article included. The HPC as it seems to me stands in defiance, studied intentional defiance of this. The HPC has spectacles through which it sees only categories. Health. Standards. Competence. Treatment. Note-keeping. Effectiveness. This is a ‘hearing’ and in this room, as we were repeatedly reminded, what matters are ‘particularized facts’.

There is a battle going on between two types of law: normal statute law and the law as supported by the Privy Council. The Privy Council assumes that it is possible to speak the Truth about the relationship between a Psycho-practitioner and their consultee. And it is possible for an external Third Party, a court of the Privy Council, to be able to judge the Truth of the relationship between two people using this framework derived in one of the Government’s hidden committee rooms. This form of justice sits well in Stalinist Russia, the Third Reich, reminds me of trials in the Pol Pot regime. So why is it happening in the UK? And what is the evidence that what is currently in place does not work? And where does the million of pounds every year to fund these kangaroo courts come from?

I do not support financial or sexual relationships between practitioners and consultees which are abusive. And they happen. Is it possible to have laws in place to punish practitioners’ every sexual transgression? Is the incidence of such cases those which are out of reach of current legislate so high as to justify the HPC‘s persecutory intervention?

‘However it is also part of the culture in this building to help us forget that this is a local, legalistic, societal norm. The HPC did not have a virgin birth, it is a legal concoction written by Jonathan Bracken from Bircham Dysen Bell, a lawyer. This hearing is the result of a conflict resolution choice made by him and the agents of the state, presumably in the Department of Health. Other options such as mediation and continuing scrutiny by peers were evidently beneath their radar. Since when has the DoH invented ways of conducting trials? The authority for this witch-hunt if coming direct from the DoH. And where is the counter-balance to this naked use of power?

‘When we return on day two, Wednesday March 4th, the hearing begins with a reading of the charges against Mr Gale. Ripples of confusion spread through the press and visitor’s end of the room as it becomes apparent that our copy of the allegations, downloaded from the HPC’s web-site, doesn’t match the listing that is being read out. Around three out of the original seven pages of allegations are missing. Three pages that contained the most salacious material. This is against the laws of natural justice.’

And Parliament supports this. Why? To stop another Shipman? To provide the psychologists with Government-protected jobs? Why?

‘The Charges: Took advantage of clients. Had boundary management that included social contact – psychotherapeutically inappropriate dual relationships in breach of accepted client/therapist norms, that had no therapeutic benefit. Failed to protect clients from harm. Exploited vulnerability, used ‘bad’ language and inappropriate touch. Failed to maintain confidentiality. Failed to provide effective therapy.’

Even if an adversarial system of court process is appropriate (and I think not) then why is a court of the Privy Council trying these charges. And how, legally, do you define taking advantage of clients? Did he take money from them? In which case why cannot it be heard in a criminal court. How does a Privy Council Court know that there were no therapeutic benefits? How does the Privy Council measure a therapeutic benefit? Why is a psycho-practitioner responsible for protecting from harm? What is the Privy Council‘s limits to how much protecting a practitioner should do? How is the Privy Council sure that X’s vulnerability was exploited? What is the legal definition of human vulnerability? What does the Privy Council know of therapeutic processes so it can certain that ‘bad’ language and touching is inappropriate? Why does it need a Privy Council intervention on confidentiality?

‘The day three session started with the first witness, all of whom, were to be known only by their initials. Curious this. There was also an elusive document, (the panel kept losing it) that had an index of which initials referred to which person. Mr Gale is a person with a name and an address, the person attacking him, trying, as became clear during the afternoon, to destroy his working life, remained anonymous, or at least known only by his initials.’

So in the Privy Council‘s courts witnesses automatically get anonymity. And Parliament calls this justice!

‘At this point I feel that a detailed catalogue of the cross-questioning would be in danger of over-legitimating the ‘fitness to practice’ hearing process the HPC have adopted. An adversarial approach in which, as I have said earlier, the business of the hearing is ascertaining the ‘particularity of the facts’ involved and testing them against the fixity of the HPC’s standards Cross-questioning against Government defined standards.’

The Privy Council is enforcing the Government’s view of a relationship onto practices which are motored by the relationship.

‘Exhaustion was evident but Mr Gale persisted with his questioning of the witness, and will continue next week.’

Why is this sort of abuse sanctioned by the Privy Council and Parliament? What is gained by this? Patient safety? Patient well-being? Or what?

‘How can it be that in the whole of the proceedings so far there has been no mention of ‘arts therapist’ but only references to ‘therapy’ and especially, ‘psychotherapy’.’

Because this trial is a Government propaganda trial and has nothing to do with protecting the population.

‘Further questions: Why would one of the upcoming witnesses need to speak from behind a panel? – Why are the complainant’s identities hidden behind initials, when their allegations against Mr Gale have been on the HPC web-site for around two weeks? – How many practitioners who run weeklong residential psychodrama workshops keep HPC style notes of what happens, or conduct ‘risk assessments’? Both of which, it would appear, are HPC criteria for psychodrama competence? Why after around two decades of successful independent practice, did Mr Gale sign up to the HPC as an arts therapist?’

‘I became increasingly doubtful that an adversarial hearing process focused on what the ‘facts prove’, i.e. ‘do the facts prove misconduct or lack of competence?’ can be adequate for assessing the behaviour of psychotherapists or any practitioner such as Mr Gale whose work evokes transference—the symbioses of bodies/minds. This emphasis on ‘provable facts’ seems to insist that the qualities of intensive psychotherapy, the real tides, currents, fogs, swells and storms of the transference that psychotherapists swim in, not only must, but can be compliant with the HPC’s categorical framework of standards and competencies that are necessarily fixed and immutable. Must it not always be the case that the ‘particularised allegations’ that Mr ‘Judge’ Russen was so fond of, always live in an ethical context, a universe of feelings, that is likely to have disappeared into the recesses of history?’

The court of the Privy Council lives in a universe devoid of what motors the work: The relationship between the practitioner and consultee. The HPC court is Shylock demanding their pound of flesh. The humanity or subjectivity of both practitioner and consultee is foreclosed. They are both objects. And this is British justice? And this safeguards the vulnerable?

‘If this sounds unduly rhetorical then consider the framework of judgment at this hearing. I was not in doubt that Mr Russen the legal assessor was functioning as a judge, he looked and sounded as though becoming a judge could be his next career move. Alongside this, with the exception that they can ask questions, the panel function as a jury. It’s their call to say guilty or not guilty, not the ‘judge’. As I noted earlier, this hearing is adversarial, it is framed in terms of right and wrong, good and bad, of his word against mine, of attack and defence. A take on power that presumes winners and losers. Aren’t these the categorical imperatives that psychotherapy exists to question (and replace?). In this HPC framework for conflict resolution the very heart of the psychotherapeutic mêtis, relationship (Métis a Greek God of wisdom but more usefully, a nuanced combination of the abilities needed to respond instantly in the moment to changing priorities and conditions that for example, sailing or gliding (or psychotherapy) require, disappears beneath unconscious assertions of ‘might is right’). Sadly, this will be a gift to some clients, especially ones who don’t have too secure a handle on their psychic innards.’

‘They and parasitical lawyers will be tempted to buy into such model of power and exploit its potential for acting out harm.  The HPC have several versions of guilty: If the panel finds the case to be well-founded, they will return to hear from those present about what action they should take. The panel will return to hear any statements on what they should do. The panel have the following options available.

1. Take no further action;

2. Impose (give) a caution order.  This means that the word ‘caution’ will appear against the registrant’s name on the register. Caution orders can be between one and five years long.;

3 Place some sort of restriction or conditions on the registrant’s registration. This is known as a ‘conditions of practice order’. This might include demanding that the registrant works under supervision or has further training;

4 Suspend registration. This may not be for longer than one year; or 5 make a ‘striking-off order’. This means the registrant’s name is removed from the register.’

The use of power within the Privy Council‘s proceedings damages the relationship between the practitioner and consultee. It is not possible to practice within this Privy Council-led abusive system. But it is a job creation scheme for lawyers and the HPC.

 

5.53 How many psychologists are aware of their fate: being tried under the Privy Council procedures?

In ‘A Kafkaesque excuse for ignorance of the law’ by Marcel Berlins, The Guardian, Monday November 3 2008 (available here) several pertinent points are made: Ignorance of the law is no excuse. It may seem artificial and unjust, but everyone is assumed to know the law that governs whatever they’re doing. But in fairness and logic, you can only get to know the law if there’s somewhere you can ascertain what it is. Only in totalitarian states and in Kafka’s novel ‘The Trial’ can people be dealt with under laws which they’ve been prevented from finding out. You don’t expect England and Wales to join that company.

How many of those tried in HPC courts are previously aware that if they do not write up their notes they can be tried in a court answerable to the Privy Council?

How many psychologists are aware that this is their fate?

Do psychologists understand the difference between an employee’s contractual obligations, upholding the practice of psychology as currently defined by the bps together with Clinical trainings and performing criminal acts?

This confusion is spreading. ‘Family dismay at ‘neglect’ by medics’ by Paul Lewis The Guardian, Saturday 3 January 2009 (Available here). Two experienced ambulance staff make a clinical decision on whether to revive a patient. This clinical decision is overheard and they are reported to the police for murder. In passing this Kafkaesque legislation onto the psychologists, anything from speaking inappropriately as defined by the Government, to misdiagnosis, probably a failure to slavishly follow NICE clinical guidelines and prescribe CBT, will be examined by the Government’s secret  HPC courts. What is wrong with current procedures?

 

5.54 The cost of employing these HPC employees, paying witnesses’ expenses and lawyers’ fees does not count.

An increase in such cases is anticipate by the HPC when the psychologists are captured. Reason? The psychologists have insurance so will appear with lawyers to defend them. Is this use of the Privy Council’s powers to ensure the Government’s standards are met really justified? And what does this expenditure contribute to ‘safeguarding health and wellbeing’?

 

5.55 The One Knowledge eliminates any form of relationship

Certain Knowledge is inhuman. The Government consistently in its derivation of competences (SfH), definitions of treatments for bundles of symptoms (NICE), criteria for fitness to practice, and so on, uses the One Knowledge. Psycho-practice in its training, development and act is motored by relationships between at least two human beings who are physically present. It is not possible to work via a telephone or computer link. HPO2001 and HPC do not acknowledge humanness or subjectivity or the relationships involved and the uncertainty this brings.

 

5.551 Practices do not use the One Knowledge.

This affects the balance of control and the use of power between the practitioner and subject/sufferer, the Government and the practitioner, the Government and thesufferer, and the Training Organisations to everyone. Psychology is a practice which takes place when two or sometimes more human beings are present. Now this can be practised from three positions of control or knowledge:

 

5.552 A practitioner pictured totally enmeshed in the Government’s commands

The practitioner, slavishly, implements what is commanded by the Privy Council’s agent the HPC. Thus, the practitioner is enabled to abdicate responsibility for their clinic. In return, the practitioner’s jobs are protected by the Government from alternative providers. If you know the books on Harry Potter, then one of the three unforgivable curses Bellatrix Lestrange uses: the Imperio Curse places the target into a trance where they are subject to total control by the curses’ initiator. It’s good news, in a way, as the curse provides the recipient (practitioners) with a complete release from any sense of responsibility or worry over their actions and the consequences. Providing you are obeying the rules as laid down by the curser (the government and its agents – the HPC, SfH, NICE, and Happiness Factories), the practitioner does not have to worry or take personal responsibility. They are awarded a government ‘protected title’ (HPO2001). They have the Government’s protection and exclusive access into the government’s legally-protected health market. The curse requires commitment from the caster of the curse and you: both House of Parliament,, have to award the Government control of the psychologists for it to work. You, the Houses of Parliament, have to promote this curse in order to support the Government’s fantasy that this will control spending on health, long term sickness benefits and contributes to the production of Lord Layard’s economic happiness in Happiness Factories or the Health Professions Order 2001‘s production of wellbeing. And so you can support the Government’s control of anxiety, depression, disturbed people murdering patients, etc. This is social control as practised by Stalin.

An example from the USA where this illusion of control over the human subjects’ psychic or mental state is taken to its logical conclusion in State-supported torture: State-approved Psychologists control the amount of torture, so it does not become abusive. So psychologists implement the One Knowledge of what constitutes abusive torture. The psychologists behave as collaborationists or someone acting under the Imperio Curse. They are there to slavishly implement the Government’s One Knowledge in response to human distress.

 

5.553 Example of applying industrial job definition techniques to a relationship

A further example is the book ‘The Clinician’s Guide to Evidencebased Practices': mental health and the addictions, by John C Norcross, Thomas P Hogan and Gerald P Koocher. It was published by Oxford University Press in 2008, but, as the middle initials suggest, it originated in America. This clearly defines what happens when a practice involving a relationship of trust and care between two human beings is written down in the style of an industrial manual detailing how to operate a machine, that is, only one half of the partnership is human and there is no relationship involved.

A colleague, has commented as follows. The more closely I (the colleague) read it the more I was fascinated by both its sophistication and its wrong-headedness. This book is bizarre, even evangelical. It claims to be scientific and objective without appreciating the profound subjectivity of the valuesystem on which it is built. So – for instance – Bruce E Wampold’s book, The Great Psychotherapy Debate, (Available here) can at one and the same time be both referenced and ignored (Wampold’s book disconfirms the relevance to counselling and psychotherapy of The Clinician’s Guide’s most fundamental building block, the medical model). The use of the One Knowledge and the implicit assumptions about the nature of human beings or subjects within HPO2001 need critical examination.

 

5.554 The use of fear in the implementation of HPO2001

The reason the Psychologists and others are volunteering to obey is they are very frightened. The government is the major employer in the health market. If the professional associations do not comply with the government’s curse then their members will not be first in the queue for jobs in this government-controlled and protected market. The psychologists know this and are first in the queue to comply and receive the government’s largesse. Is it really Government policy to use fear to ensure compliance with the legislation?

 

5.555 The practitioner controls the use of knowledge (a savoir-faire or knowing-what-to-do) within a relationship of trust and care

The practitioner is responsible for interpreting the knowledge (knowing-what-to-do or savoir faire or nous) and integrating it with their clinical experience. Mistakes areseen as learning opportunities rather than the launching of a witch-hunt (See the Health Professions Council‘s web-site or Janet Low’s blog, here, on complaints which operate on the same principle as the medieval stocks. Witch-hunts are an inevitable consequence of the enforced application of the One Knowledge.)

Practitioners have to develop their own position within this knowledge. Innovation comes from linking of the practitioner’s savoir-faire (knowing-what-to-do) with the sufferer’s complaints as told to the practitioner. The development is then shared with other practitioners usually through their professional association or training institute. Both, the use of the knowledge and how it is applied, is controlled by the practitioner. The practitioner, not a disembodied system, is responsible for the clinic. The sufferer is expected to follow the advice and get better. At the launch of the Demos Report (2008) ‘the talking cure: why conversation is the future of healthcare’ (Available here), there was much bemoaning that patients do not follow advice. This means they do not get better.

One explanation of what is going on is that the patient is passive: being made better by the medic, who is the expert. The sufferer is not engaged in the process. In this system, the practitioner exercises their judgement and uses their experience to interpret the knowledge. There is no uniformity of delivery or result. Currently, psychologists fit in this category. Their practice is derived from a taught knowledge and supervised practice. When they become NHS (government) employees, they apply this knowledge within the confines of the job contract. Thus, the knowledge and practice is monitored by the bps separately to the employer’s monitoring of contractual issues such as job performance. The professional (training) organisation sets the limits of how this knowledge and practice can be applied. The sufferer is less passive than in the first paradigm. They are required to speak. However, the practitioner still has superior knowledge which when transferred will support the sufferer’s journey. This system of governance, developed over hundreds of years Within the medical profession, is swept away by HPO2001. If you allow this Order to be approved, then you are destroying hundreds of years of governance of a practice derived from practitioners working within a relationship of care and trust. The imposition of SfH competences and NICE clinical guidelines will cease to be an NHS employer/employee issue and become regulated by the Privy Council through their agents the HPC. Historically, a standard knowledge can be taught. This knowledge develops through its use. The psycho-practitioner has to, during their training, derive a way of using this knowledge. This process is unique to each sufferer and practitioner. Each treatment is unique as are both sufferer and practitioner.

 

5.556 The practitioner is responsible for their praxis (knowing-how-to-do) and its use within their practice.

They are responsible for directing the treatment and not the sufferer (patient). The practitioner does not give advice. The sufferer is in control of their information and is expected to take responsibility for working. They do not passively receive another’s wisdom or knowing-what-to-do. The Knowledge is in the practice and its strategy/tactics. The praxis is developed during the practitioner’s own therapy, supervision, contributing to seminars, discussion groups and presenting case studies. (All this will be swept away by the HPC’s imposition of Government-derived standards). Although, as Freud states, (On beginning the treatment : 1913) there is a beginning and an end to a treatment, the middle develops uniquely. The practitioner cannot predict the result either in terms of length of time or standard result of normality, wellbeing or happiness. The knowledge used is a savoir-y-faire (a knowing-how-to-do), which is developed in the training institutes and is unique to each practitioner. This does not mean an isolated practice with no boundaries. Codes of practice exist – see the London Society of the New Lacanian School’s website, here (For example: The Proposition of the Ninth of October, 1967 – Jacques Lacan.: The Founding Act – Jacques Lacan. : The Pass and the Guarantee in the School – Eric Laurent. : The Principle of Supervision in the School. : The Turin Theory of the Subject of the School – Jacques-Alain Miller. The practice is developed and monitored from the bottom (each individual practitioner) upwards. As each practitioner works differently, the standard practice does not exist and is not therefore enforced with topdown control. The work is motored by a relationship of care and trust. Currently, there is no one route of entry to either psychotherapy or counselling in the UK through training. The DoH funded scoping project: Interim Report to Department of Health on Initial Mapping Project for Psychotherapy & Counselling by Sally Aldridge (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)) & James Pollard (United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)) 30th June 2005 (Available here) identified 570 different practitioner training courses. 63% do not have professional body recognition although many of these are validated through the Further or Higher Education system. It is delusional to think that HPO2001, will standardise to One government-approved practice all this difference. It is impossible to produce the One Knowledge to be taught in Further or Higher Education Institute. Neither is academic exploration relevant to the development of a practice. What is the evidence that the current system does not work? What is the evidence that the Government’s policy of making a University standard education a requirement for practice necessary? What do the Universities contribute to the development of a practice? Has any thought gone into HPO2001?

5.56 The limits to the use of the One Knowledge

Quote from Arthur Musgrave’s letter to Therapy Today. February 2009  (Available here)

‘Moreover the HPC has made it clear that it is not interested in research. Last year the HPC circulated “a call for ideas”. When these were summarised for the Professional Liaison Group, the body charged with working out the detail of regulation, they were presented as anecdotal assertions (ie “one person says this, another organisation says that…”) and there was no serious debate. The problem is that the HPC can only regulate within narrow, predetermined boundaries. If there were a better way of regulating counselling and psychotherapy, the HPC wouldn’t be able to do it.’ Anything: training, new approach, difference, which does not fit within the framework defined by the Government’s agencies: HPC, SfH, NICE is criminalised. The limits are defined by the Government as this role has been removed from the bps. The research used by the Government is also commissioned by them. This research is thus limited to the application of the One Knowledge. All psychologists will have to retrain in cbt as the cost benefit analysis done by NICE has decided this is the only technique to be used. Difference is not allowed.

 

5.6 There is no independent third party evaluation by human networks or professional associations (bps). Thus the Government’s application of the One Knowledge goes unchallenged..

The One Knowledge is an absolute, stand-alone standard or the Truth. This is very far from practices involved in case law. The use of case law the standard is evolved by comparison. Thus, it is not static. Lawyers frequently challenge decisions and the logic of the process used has to be given. This is very far from how the Government’s standards derived by their agents SfH, NICE and HPC will operate under the Privy Council. A practice varies with each unique practitioner and each individual seeking help. Regulation from the isolated One government-defined standard will not produce patient safety, well-being or Government-standard health.

 

5.61 The One Solution proposed by the Government in HPO2001, disconnects as it outlaws relationships.

Relationships, not SfH’s competencies and NICE clinical guidelines, are involved in working with suffering. Relationships motor work between psycho-practitioner and sufferer, between psycho-practitioner and their training organisations, and so on. If you remove these connections by applying HPO2001, SfH, NICE then the disconnection forms a bubble, just as the Government has achieved in Finance, Education, Social Work (Baby P), and so on. Relationships and connections or networks are sacrificed by HPO2001 to the One. Connections are severed as they are not recognised. The delusion is that certainty is produced. From Stuart Jeffries’ interview of the Archbishop of Canterbury Cross purposes which focuses on his book Dostoevsky: Language, Faith and Fiction, The Guardian, Wednesday October 8 2008 (Available here): “Dostoevsky has no easy answers, but what struck me when I first read the Grand Inquisitor episode was there is absolutely no form of words that can give a solution to suffering. Absolutely none. …. When I read it I had the dim sense that there was something very important in that what you look for in faith is not solutions but a certain relationship.” And that’s why Dostoevsky’s appeal has endured for Williams: he offers no closure, no authorial master-voice, but an endless dialogue where no one wins the argument but everyone is connected.

There is no One solution to suffering. Relationships and connection are involved in the way forward.

 

5.62 The One Solution as predicted by the One Knowledge is invalid

The Government and Lord Layard assert that Happiness Factories will produce economic happiness and thus reduce the bill for long term sickness benefit. Professor Willem Buiter has given the economist’s critique of Lord Layard’s/ the Government’s position here: Beware the perilous protagonists of Patronising Paternalism (28th October 2007) and Is Britain going mad? (6th January 2008).

The One solution: wellbeing, health (HPO2001) and Happiness (IAPT) cannot be produced by Order and the application of Government defined procedures (NICE, SfH, etc).

 

5.63 A case study from the Financial sector applied to CHRE (now PSA) which shows the results of destroying a practice’s external accountability and connections.

Note: This article is dated 2006, well before the current crisis. : The Financiers were corralled under the One Knowledge of the FSA. The professional banking, auditing and accounting associations were disconnected. This allowed employers to put a shadow banking system in place. There was nothing to bring the One Knowledge into question. There follows a translation of Hywel Williams’ arguments (in inverted commas) into the implementation of HPO2001. (Quoted fromHow the City of London came to power’ by Hywel Williams, The Financial Times, 21st March 2006 p.15: available here)

‘There are no constraints on the power of the financial sector’ and no constraints on the Government’s power in forcing HPO2001 onto psycho-practitioners. The Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence fulfills a similar function to the F.S.A. ‘It is alleged to be an independent body accountable to Parliament Its primary purpose is to promote the health, safety and well-being of patients and other members of the public and to ‘scrutinise and oversee the’ health ‘professions regulators’. The CHRE ‘is supposed to do what, historically, the professional organisations performed.’ ‘That is they worked with the regulators in identifying and promoting good practice in regulation, carrying out research, developing policy and giving advice.’ CHRE oversees the work of nine health professions regulators. The CHRE  http://www.chre.org.uk conference on 5th March 2009 is commented on by Janet Low at hpcwatchdog.blogspot.com Janet Low’s question was: What evidence is there that your kind of regulation is increasing levels of trust between health professionals and their patients? There was no answer probably because the CHRE does not comprehend that they are dealing with a practice and in order to scrutinise it it is necessary to define limits. ‘The ability of the Government to cut a good financial deal when employing psychopractitioners’ is a constant theme in the justification for the HPC. When this is in force, the Government will be in control of the provision of psycho-practice. Through NICE, it defines the recipients and the type of practice (there is a huge market in training psychologists in cbt so they are qualified for this market place), through SfH, the procedures are concretised, through the HPC who is allowed to practice. When a Happiness Factory contract is offered, all the above conditions have to be met. Because the Government has the power to cut a good deal, the competitors which costs the Government least gets it. Where they make their savings is in employing the cheapest practitioners the legislation will allow. And when it comes up for renegotiation, the wages bill gets cut. This means continuity of care, experience, ability to work with difficult cases goes out of the window because the Government has the monopoly power to insist.

Difference between the branches of psychology, is eliminated. There is no coexistence necessary – there is the One.

‘Self-regulating professional elites have their hearts ripped out.’ All forms of subjectivity and individual difference will be ripped out by HPO2001 and reduced to the One Standard.

There will be a loss of an independent professional elite who, at the moment, oversee practice. This will not be replaced.

Extracts from ‘How the City of London came to power’ By Hywel Williams, Financial Times, March 21st 2006: available here: The political and cultural consequences of the City of London’s hegemony over British life are as important as the financial and commercial ones. For here is an elite of the elites whose power has grown to a dimension that is truly imperial in the modern world – stretching across countries and continents, able to ignore the previous constraints of national sovereignty. … The ability of the British political elites to cut a good financial deal as a result of their power arrangements has been a constant theme. … The hegemony of today’s City elites is, however, very different from the eminence of their predecessors, who had to compete and coexist with other forms of elite power. Britain’s once self-regulating professional elites have had the heart ripped out of them by the benchmarking, target focused state and by a bogus consumerism, with its empty jargoneering about “customer-shaped service delivery”. This is as true of doctors and of dons as it is of teachers, soldiers and policemen. In the process, Britain has lost its independent minded public service elite. City lawyers and accountants now derive their status from the firms they work for rather than from their membership of a professional body. …. The London that surrounds the City offers no such comparison: its universities are locked away within their own worlds and it is music, the most abstract and therefore the least political of all the arts, that is the basis of London’s greatness as a cultural centre. And the vastness of London, the sheer difficulty of travelling across it and within it, means that it has never been able to sustain the café society intelligentsia of the great European cities that provided a centre for radical agitation. In the absence both of alternative sources of power and of any independent-minded critique, the City of London has become the central bastion of an elite whose attitudes are more like that of an off-shore centre.

This new financial elite is the true heir to the imperial legacy. But its forms of power, being so anonymous, differ from the expatriate supremacy once visibly enjoyed by 19th-century district commissioners who served the British national project of their time. The beautifully suited and well-spoken agents of City finance embody, by contrast, the 18th-century attitudes of a guiltless lust and a self-serving preparedness to stand aside from the national cause and to go wherever the money leads them.

So regulation by belonging to a professional group and by being part of a community no longer applies. This regulation in vacuo is as inappropriate to psycho-practice as it has proved within the City of London.

 

5.64 Because connections and a third party view are eliminated, the One Knowledge is blind.

Bernard Madoff and Sir Alan Stanford both have almost certainly committed massive frauds. How did this happen under regulation based on this One Knowledge?

The One Knowledge has the One Meaning which is completely certain. There are no grey-areas or doubts. No judgement is necessary as there is only the One way. This One way was used as a lure to deceive people and many did not look underneath the presented facts. If they questioned Madoff too closely, he refused to take their money. Three points which transfer to HPO2001.

First, the frauds are ahead of the curve. (quoted from Howard Meyers, former attorney with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, Radio 4 Today Programme, 20 February 2009) If there is the One Meaning and this is disconnected from networks and other meanings, then the System can be subverted. It is less likely that Dr Shipman would be detected under the One Meaning.

That everyone trusted him (see Dame Janet Smith’s report [i] Available here : especially section 5), meant he, on the surface, complied with the One Way. From a medic: Dr Shipman was assiduous in attending CPD training in Manchester – He always arrived early, sat in the front row and paid attention. And during this time he was murdering hundreds of female patients.

The promise that this Government makes in the preface of ‘Trust, Assurance and Safety’ [Available here].  does not work out. A system is not human and does not behave as a human does. It cannot act from its savoir-faire or savoir-y-faire and is blind.

Second, Howard Meyers asserts that numerous red flags were ignored as the level of diligence required to uncover these frauds was not in place. If the only Knowledge available to analyse these frauds is the One Knowledge, then the meaning of the red flags will not register. People are discouraged from thinking. A Professional Association which understands its practice and history and has networks of personal connections in place has a much greater chance of acting on red flags. In November 2005 Harry Markopolos, a forensic accountant with an American Hedge fund and one of the few people who understood the jargon and mathematics, wrote a letter to the SEC, exposing Madoff as either an insider trader for which he would claim the reward, or much more likely a Ponzi scheme operator. This letter failed to register as it did not link with the One Meaning.

The meaning of a practice varies with each practitioner. In getting rid of the professional third parties, this form of non-understanding will occur.

Thirdly, Madoff and Stanford were both legally audited by inappropriately small accounting firms. If a third party view is excised, then it is possible to play with the law. Many psychologists in private conversation with me acknowledge it will be impossible to practice effectively under this regulatory regime. They will cover themselves, not with an accounting firm located above a fish and chip shop, but with a certificate and supervision with an ‘understanding’ cbt practitioner. They will play the game. And will this contribute to patient safety?

This form of legislation fails within Finance. It fails because it removes the Third Party (Professional Associations) and connections to the centres or networks of practice. Human beings can interpret granite-like regulations based on the One or Empty Knowledge: they find ways through. Because the network of fellow practitioners is missing, then those who are ahead of the game have a clear run. The regulatory authorities are auditing the rules as the Haringey Ofsted did. Systems think in binary terms – they are empty of meaning. Human beings are able to question. If regulation using the One Knowledge does not work in finance, how can it work in a relationship between two consenting human beings? The lure of certainty and control obscures.

Dr Rowan Williams’ comment, Daily Telegraph: 22nd December 2008 (See below: available here) ‘Fortunately the Western world has not for a long time seen the real horrors that this entails in terms of brutality and devastation. Yet we are not completely immune from appealing to “principles” in order to help us avoid some of the harsher consequences of our policies and preferences. They may in themselves be good and positive principles, not like the destructive ideologies of the past century. But we’re bound to be uncomfortably aware at the moment that what looked like a principled defence of some of our economic assumptions (this is what real wealth creation means and there is no other coherent way of defending it) seems more ragged and vulnerable than it once did. ….. The unprincipled question won’t be silenced: what about the particular human costs? …. only to ask an “unprincipled” question – to make sure that principles don’t simply block out actual human faces and stories. How we make it all work is vastly complicated – no one is pretending it isn’t. But without these anxieties about the specific costs, we’ve lost the essential moral compass.

 

5.641 External scrutiny & professionalisation

Interview of Archbishop of Canterbury by Stuart Jeffries, Guardian, op.cit.: available here [Available here]: ‘He also tilts in the book at the pretensions of science, and by extension scientists such as Dawkins: “Science is a set of brilliantly successful methods producing brilliantly successful hypotheses about how things work. What it’s not is a picture of reality. It will give you a very significant purchase on reality. But it’s not an ethic, not a metaphysic. To treat it like that is a kind of idolatry.”’

Science predicts how things work. Human beings are not things. Human beings generate an uncertain reality as opposed to science where prediction is possible. Idolatry, and HPO2001, assumes human beings are in control. This is not the case in non-abusive relationships.

Professionalisation and the use of ‘protected titles’ assumes the One Standard, as defined by Evidence-Based Practice. Psycho-practice is based in the ethics of relationships not the absolutes of evidence-based practice. If the assumptions of Science are not made then the following differences emerge (The following paraphrases points made in Put aside your principles and remember: all you need is love by Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, The Daily Telegraph, 22nd December 2008: here):

1) ‘Those who seek our help are all unique, different human beings.’ They are not abnormal, substandard rejects to be brought back up to the Government’s Standard. What Barth saw was a system of “principle” that worked quite consistently once you accepted that quite a lot of people that you might have thought mattered as human beings actually didn’t.

2) ‘And what he (Karl Barth) was warning against was the temptation of unconditional loyalty to a system, a programme, a “cause” which was essentially about “me and people like me”. It’s about the danger of my agenda, our needs, the programme of this particular group, its safety and prosperity.’ Unconditional loyalty to a system (even if it is driven by the government to produce Patient Safety or Wellbeing) is dangerous. It leads to practitioner’s needs for an income and having the Government’s guarantee of protection from their clients dominating, and gives the seductive illusion of certainty, safety and security.

3) As in Christianity, it is impossible to know who are those who are substandard and in need of repair and who are those well-adjusted. Although their fitness-to-practice badge may be in place, how can a system (see White Paper: Trust, Assurance and Safety [Available here].) tell substandard from good-enough? And Christmas is supremely the story of a God who is not interested in telling us about principles. First comes the action – God beginning to live a human life. Then comes the appeal: do you love and trust what you see in this human life, the life of Jesus? Then the implication: everyone is capable of saying yes to this appeal, so no one is dispensable. You don’t and can’t know where the boundary will lie between people who belong and people who don’t belong. The One Knowledge is able to distinguish, a practice works on principles put into action by practitioners, One-by-One.

4) As long as the Government enforces SfH competencies, NICE clinical guidelines to the HPC‘s approved scientific standards, then the human face of suffering is obliterated.

5) Being anxious, aware of uncertainty, is part of everyone’s moral compass. It is part of reality and it is not for the Government to remove by decree.

6) ‘Loving (edited) one another is a defiance of all programmes and principles designed to preserve only the wellbeing of people like us. Love, relationships and trust motor psycho-practitioners’ work. It operates in defiance of all the Government decrees in HPO2001, SfH, NICE and IAPT.

 

5.65 The exclusion of the psychologist’s third party, the bps, has already begun.

To date the bps has been consulted on ‘threshold entry level’ and other ‘standards of proficiency’. However, according to the web-site (2012 – no longer available): bps/Statutory Regulation Update : 30 October 2008: We (the bps) have been pressing them (the HPC) for several months to publish the outcomes but to date they have not emerged. The HPC have informed us recently that they do not intend to publish the analysis until after the legislation has been tabled. Dr Liz Campbell President

The savoir-faire or savoir-y-faire of a practice developed within a Professional Association is discarded. It is replaced by Government-sponsored research at Universities or ‘experts’ working within the SfH. All: Universities, SfH and ‘experts’ are Government lackeys. The Government sets with the One Knowledge, the framework within which these subsidiary organisations and lackeys work. The role of developing and being the repository of practices, is lost to a Government-driven agenda.

 

5.66 The reduction of psycho-practice to Management

Because the HPC, SfH and Happiness Factories operate under the spell of the One Knowledge, the subjectivity of savoir-faire (nous) or savoir-y-faire goes missing. Providing the Government-registered practitioners are obeying scrupulously HPO2001’s commands, they do not have to worry about thinking. They, the HPC http://www.hpc-uk.org, can mount a trial for someone who did not complete his notes before going off ill (see above example). The Government’s advisors can promote Happiness Factories because they are not paid to critique. Further, according to Sir Liam Donaldson in ‘Good doctors, better patient : Proposals to strengthen the system to assure and improve the performance of doctors and to protect the safety of patients’ (Available here)  the Management techniques involved in Chernobyl, Alpha-Piper and plane crashes, can be applied to psycho-practice as it is part of the ‘high-risk health industry’. The relationship of practitioner to sufferer is excluded.

Providing Government-approved practitioners are treating the sufferers as objects in a production process then HPC Government will approve and manage them. Stuart Jeffries interview of Archbishop of Canterbury, The Guardian, op. cit.: [Available here] “In (Dostoevsky’s) Devils you have a reduction of politics to management, and the giving-over of that management to people who have no moral hinterland. It rings a few bells in the contemporary world, because the person who emerges triumphant from that dreadful book is the manipulator-in-chief. When you don’t have real shared values, real common goals in society, how do you avoid politics falling into the hands of the person who can push the most right buttons, but who has no particular goals or aims?”.

 

5.67 Mutuality is excluded. Where is meaning?

In applying the One Knowledge, meaning gets excluded. There is the One Meaning defined by the Government’s agencies. The One Knowledge or Standard stands by itself. It is not connected. Thus, a practice which relies on connection between practitioner and sufferer and practitioner and colleagues in their training institute, is reduced to the One Static Standard. The practice is not connected. Psycho-practice will not survive under these conditions. Interview of Archbishop of Canterbury op. cit.: [Available here]: Dostoevsky is renowned for his remark, “Without God, everything is permitted.” Does the archbishop agree? “He’s saying not so much that without God everyone would be bad, as without God we have no way of connecting one act with another, no way of developing a life that made sense. It would really be indifferent whether we did this or that. And it’s that sense of God being part of what you draw on to construct a life that makes sense.” ….. Because there is this call to live your way into mutuality, there are no bounds to that.”

 

5.68 The One Knowledge isolates. Psycho-practice is based on connection.

The One Knowledge assumes that sufferers are objects or individuals as defined in the following extract. Psycho-practice assumes that sufferers are unique people (see extract for definition). Taking responsibility for each other’s flourishing is very different to the production of health and wellbeing by the application of a Government defined intervention. ‘Safeguarding’ is very close to protection. Through enslaving psychologists, the government promises to protect the sufferers. It also protects the psychologists – they will come with a Government-approved tag – and the Government’s budget. Interview of Archbishop of Canterbury op. cit.: [Available here]: You have to have a way of telling the difference between a person and an individual. An individual is someone who occupies space. To be a person is to be someone who hears and answers, to be someone who doesn’t occupy a territory but much more a place in a network. “Personalism says the human enterprise is about those exchanges and relations whereby we build one another up, we take responsibility for each other’s flourishing.” He takes this as key for Christian ethics. But is it also important as a critique of selfish western individualism right now? “Anything that challenges the idea that the primary imperative is always going to be the protection of my territory is bound to be.”

 

5.68 The One Knowledge is a lure and deceives

It is enormously seductive to believe that the FSA could protect from fraud, that Haringey’s Ofsted gave at-risk-children complete protection, that the import of targets into North Staffordshire Hospital means that it is risk-free. Everyone can relax and stop thinking. From BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day, 19 March 2009, The Rev. Dr Giles Fraser Extracts: For what the healthcare watchdog’s report into the terrible failings of the Staffordshire hospitals reveal is that a culture of targets and form filling-in came to obscure the simple idea that a hospital is there to care for the sick. Doctors told of situations where they felt pressured to leave seriously ill patients and concentrate on those with minor ailments so that targets could be met. …. No, this isn’t the sort of problem you’d find in the so called ‘third world'; this is very much a western and a modern sort of failure. And, of course, it’s not only medics who find this a problem.

Schoolteachers often worry that they spend too much time on paperwork and not enough with pupils. Social workers worry that they are filling in too many forms and haven’t enough time to get out and visit those in need. Even the police sometimes complain they are drowning under a mountain of paper and target driven bureaucracy. A great deal of public life seems to be driven by the requirement to make reality bend to the needs of the league table. … OK, perhaps this view may be a little jaundiced, however popular. I admit that bureaucracy is a way of creating order and efficiency. Indeed, order and efficiency save lives. But if the only thing we are ever going to acknowledge is what is measurable and testable, then something vital has been lost from view.

My stake in this argument has to do with God. For a great deal of religious language is the attempt to describe something that cannot be reduced to the measurable and the testable. To say that God is a burning bush or hidden in a cloud, or even to say that God’s name cannot be read out or written, is a very ancient way of refusing the reduction of God to the purely functional or quantifiable. In a way, these are important warnings that the human grid is not always up to fully describing the things that we most value. Similarly, one would want to resist those who think of love as nothing more than chemicals in the brain or beauty as nothing more than the firing of certain synapses.

But most of all, we must refuse those who would understand patient care as being nothing more than management and targets. Ultimately, the lady in the third bed along is not a client or a user, but is Mrs Jones from number 43 who is loved by her kids and doesn’t much like peas. Any system of organisation that fails to recognise her as unique – or that thinks of her care solely in terms of some calculation of utility – has very badly failed us. Bureaucracy and efficiency may well save lives, but we make them into gods at our peril.’

The lure drives what is seen and done instead of human, fallible judgement. The lure objectivises human uniqueness as a bundle of symptoms (Anxiety) to be processed.

 

5.70 The One Knowledge does not support difference in either the Practitioner or the Sufferer

The practitioner: At the Psychological Therapies in the NHS conference (November 2008 : available here) opened and supported by Alan Johnson, the Secretary of State for Health, Lord Layard a Government paid advisor, voted for it being the therapy which cured. Others voted for the therapist. I find it obscene that such a crucial distinction can be put to the vote. Lord Layard’s vote indicates the Government’s position. The human being giving the therapy does not matter. Providing they are applying the Government derived NICE clinical guidelines, SfH competences and acting within the HPC’s fitness-to-practice code, then the therapy will cure. Indeed, in order to save more money, the Government is going to cut the therapist and put the Government’s cure onto the internet (See the House of Lord’s debate on cbt –  8.37pm on 18th March 2009, available here). Psychopractice relies on the relationship between practitioner and consultee. Every practitioner differs. Some consultees will work with one practitioner, some with another. This difference is foreclosed by the Government and its advisors.

The Sufferer: is defined by their symptoms. These symptoms are arbitrarily bundled together and then named in NICE clinical guidelines. There is no allowance for difference in meaning of the symptoms. Their relation to possible traumatic lifeevents does not count. They have the absolute meaning the Government gives them through their Agency NICE.

 

5.8 HPO2001 is based on contiguity and not a causal relationship

In the White Paper: ‘Good doctors, Safer patients‘, op. cit. (Available here), Sir Liam Donaldson (Chief Medical Officer) assumes that by using the conjunction ‘and’ the contiguous relationship so produced is a causal one. No evidence has been produced for linking ‘high risk industry’ with ‘health’. The use of Chernobyl, Alpha-Piper and aircraft pilot error is nowhere justified. HPO2001 asserts that statutory regulation and registration produces well-being and health and the systems of standards ‘safeguards’. No evidence. These contiguous conjunctions have as much validity as the association of Wales winning the Rugby with the Pope dying. (Consult British Medical Journal 2008;337;a2768 Authors:Gareth C Payne, Rebecca E Payne and Daniel M Farewell Title: Rugby (the religion of Wales) and its influence on the Catholic church: should Pope Benedict XVI be worried? : available here) Just because a contiguous relationship is asserted, does not make it is causal. The assumptions, from which the Government controlled and protected market is driven, are invalid. At best they are contiguous, at worst an invention.

 

6.0 The One Knowledge and Con-sultations

Con-sultations and listening groups are set up within the limits of the legislation. Thus, any fact or opinion that is outside the legislation’s scope is not considered. Before passing this order, please find out how the psychologists have been consulted. And what happens to the opinions of those against. I remind you that the bps themselves in 2006, I think, encouraged their members to contact Parliament against this legislation. The protest letter was carefully scripted by the bps so even this encouraged compliance rather than thinking what forms of governance psychology needs. There is anecdotal evidence that this is being repeated within BACP. If you attend an information session on the legislation, it is counted as being in favour.

 

6.1 Evidence that con-sultations and citizen’s juries (listening meetings) have been rigged.

From George Monbiot, 10th February 2009, op. cit. [Available here]  Market Research Standards Board’s opinion of the 2007 high court ruling on nuclear power con-sultation.: information was inaccurately or misleadingly presented, or was imbalanced, which gave rise to a material risk of respondents being led towards a particular answer. Consultation over third runway used faked noise and pollution figures and (then used the Governemt’s Iraq war strategy and approved it anyway).

The decision on polyclinics was announced before the con-sutation had ended. “the principle had been established through “extensive national level consultation exercises” engaging a total of thousand selected people and steered by government ministers.” The consultation exercises and listening events involved forced choice questions so you automatically agree with what the government wants. No-one was allowed to criticise.

The bps was blinded by lust for the government-protected jobs and therefore collaborated fully. The Government’s Iraq War Strategy is in use: The Government has the power (unless you vote against it) to just implement what they want. They actively encourage con-sultation and do not take into account what is being said. Anyone who disagrees is vilified and has poison stuffed into them. The government is untouchable as they are acting for the Good – protecting the population from those who would harm them. When the DH’s Scoping project July 2007 op.cit. (available here)was presented to Ros Meade of the DoH in September 2005, none of the issues raised was addressed. Ms Meade in effect stated that they would do what HPO2001 states they must do and enforce the Government’s system on to psycho-practice to protect the population from charlatans and worse. So evidence is rigged or air-brushed.

 

6.2 How the HPC achieves total compliance to the One Knowledge

Quote from Arthur Musgrave’s letter to Therapy Today, February 2009, op. cit.: (Available here) ‘Moreover the HPC has made it clear that it is not interested in research. Last year the HPC circulated “a call for ideas”. When these were summarised for the Professional Liaison Group, the body charged with working out the detail of regulation, they were presented as anecdotal assertions (ie “one person says this, another organisation says that…”) and there was no serious debate.’

The bps’s compliance is a total surrender into the One Knowledge. They have abdicated responsibility for critiquing the legislation in their rush for Government-approved status. The bps have swallowed it whole. So the HPC becomes THE authority on the practice of psychology. And you believe that?

 

6.3 Other examples of HPC con-sultation processes

From: Denis Postle, The Inaugural Meeting of the Health Professions Council Professional Liaison Group for Counselling and Psychotherapy Regulation. December 4 2008, Administering the Kiss of Death — a Vichy Moment, eIpnosis report. Available here.

 

6.31 Objections to the legislation are not actioned

Quote from Denis Postle: All very reasonable, not least the response to a questioner on what would happen if the DoH didn’t like the recommendations, McDermott said that this was hypothetical, however ‘if the lawyers didn’t like what they saw they would be likely to push back strongly’. Michael Guthrie, whose baby this Group clearly is, followed with another presentation that could be summarized in his own words, ‘this is your own group, but…’ He went on to outline how the group task, its ‘workplan’, was defined by the HPC. Some people present didn’t seem to be fully aware of the degree to which they were pawns in an HPC enterprise. More on that anon. ‘

So the HPC works rigidly within HPO2001. Those co-operating with the HPC, are driven by the framework derived from HPO2001. This cannot be questioned. And it is wholly inappropriate for a practice. It is interesting that Denis Postle has received criticism which dismiss his report from within the HPC and one of the Government’s paid advisors. The reason is that Postle’s report puts the Government’s framework up for question. Postle does not see the framework as morally neutral or ‘scientifically’-based.

 

6.32 The One Knowledge drives the HPC’s consultancy agenda

From Denis Postle’s HPC PLG December report, op. cit.: Available here: ‘Following further exposition of the virtues of the HPC regulatory regime, Guthrie underlined his perspective on the group’s task. This suggested that the Henry Ford statement that customers were free to choose any colour of car they liked as long as it was black, had been a formative influence in his development. The group had to follow the agenda provided and should begin by discussing the ‘Call for Ideas summary paper’ (available here) that had been given to them. In an allusion it seemed, to the inconvenient dissent that this summary contained, he underlined that ‘it would be very difficult’, ‘they would have to make very pragmatic decisions’ and ‘find a way forward’. After the group had made recommendations to the HPC Council in July 2009 there would be ‘an analysis of ways forward’. ‘A way forward’ was a recurring litany in the meeting, a surface eruption perhaps of hidden expectations that Guthrie’s blatantly parental style could be expected to produce problematic reactions in the PLG children. I outline these preliminaries as necessary context to appreciate that as it accumulated, the meeting seemed by any standards, appalling. …. the fact that the only major item on the agenda was discussion of the Call for Ideas summary paper. And that in Guthrie’s euphemistic style, ‘it presented important avenues needing further work’. Euphemisms such as these commonly hide manipulations directing people to collude with the boss in how to handle the task at hand, and so it proved.’

Control of the framework set by HPO2001 is never let go by the HPC’s apparatchiks. It cannot be challenged. Is such a concrete framework really the way to regulate a practice based in a relationship?

 

7.0 The One Knowledge and the negative portrayal of anyone who opposes

This Government and the HPC uses complaints to:

1) control practitioners. They are the equivalent of a spy-camera on the wall in every consulting room. Should the practitioner stray from the letter of the law (Remember Shylock), then the sufferer/employer can shove them through the HPC’s fitness to practice court (under the auspices of the Privy Council and thus not subject to case law). Janet Low op.cit. (available here) has many examples of this on her blog. The HPC’s own ‘Focus’ magazine also gives many examples of this court at work.

2) The court show how powerful the HPC is by shoving dedicated practitioners who have made a human mistake into the HPC’s medieval stocks. And are you really going to condone this as lawful practice by passing this into Order? Example of failure to control practitioners From Denis Postle’s report of the December HPC Public Liaison Group. Op. cit. (Available here): ‘Guthrie claimed that there were only 0.23 % of complaints last year, leaving out that they were two years behind in processing the complaints they already have, and that week after week there is a continuous parade of public judgments of people accredited by the HPC who are claimed to be in fitness to practise failure.’

‘In the last year of press releases announcing these hearings, eIpnosis has yet to see one instigated by a member of the public. They seem overwhelmingly NHS related, as though NHS managers saw the HPC http://www.hpc-uk.org as a way of short circuiting in-house disciplinary proceedings.’

Are you sure this legislation is to ensure patient safety or is it to enable the Government to have absolute control over psycho-practitioners and the NHS? I remind you that this absolute control of Financial Services through the FSA, eliminating the professional associations, failed to protect or safeguard.

 

7.1 Examples of this form of power abuse from elsewhere

In extensively using the One Knowledge as the basis for Government action, anyone who opposes is vilified. Thus, David Kelly, who had the temerity to disagree with what the Government wanted, was, it is widely believed, hounded to death. From George Monbiot op.cit. [Available here]  Blears accuses Monbiot of contributing to the very cynicism disengagement from politics…. is another example. Whistleblowers are vilified. And anyone who disagrees with the bps Government merger on regulation and registered is automatically against patient safety. They want to harm. None of their arguments are heard. Thus, anyone who disagrees with the One has poison stuffed into them by the DoH or their lackeys, the HPC/Privy Council courts, just as other regimes which abuse power behave.

Is this standard of legislating, a proper way for the Government to behave?

Are you really going to condone this by voting this Order through?

 

8.0 The One Knowledge drives the HPC’s consultancy agenda

The framework for the recent HPC’s Call for Ideas op. cit. is HPO2001. Any submission, which questions the legislation or the HPC’s framework, is air-brushed out of the picture. Control of the framework set by HPO2001 is never let go by the HPC’s apparatchiks. It cannot be challenged. Thus consultations are used for marketing purposes. They invariably prove the legislators correct.

 

8.1 How the One Knowledge treats dissenting submissions to con-sultations

Before coming to the meeting, eIpnosis did a text analysis of the HPC ‘s Call for Ideas

Summary (available from the Ipnosis web-site here Health Professions Council Sheds Light on Symptom Removal – Ignoring Dissent Creeates Assent : eIpnosis reviews documents which the HPC‘s Professional Liaison Group [PLG] will consider at their inaugural meeting on December 4 2008). Quote: It contains 5,000 words of detailed response to the questions about ‘standards’, ‘title’ and grandparenting etc that the HPC want settled as policy. Before that there are 2500 words of general comments that variously reject, or object to state regulation of the psychological therapies, either in any form or in the form that the HPC embodies. The group danced around this dissent in a curious circular ballet of non-engagement, to music that Julian Lousada to his credit described as much too reasonable, ‘there are no opponents around the table, where is the engagement?’ he said. It didn’t help. The dance of avoidance continued. The reason for packing the meeting with the loyal acolytes became clear as a series of what were held to be obstacles were met by a matching series of rescuing reassurance from the HPC inmates. I wonder if Eileen Thornton and Professor Turner realized that their chorusing of ‘don’t worry it will be great on the day’, ‘it was very difficult like this for us but we always found a way forward’, demonstrated to this listener the ineptness of the HPC as a regulator of anything more complicated than hamster-rearing. All very reasonable, as Julian Lausada said a second time, and yet this was a room full of people, many of them practitioners who might be expected to be more savvy to the group dynamic murkiness that was enveloping them and those of us in the ‘Greek chorus’ witnessing it. Such discussion that there was of the dissent in the Call for Ideas document pirouetted around claims that ‘the group had to move away from left-field views’, that this dissent ‘was based on myths that had to be softened’, or ‘lack of information’, or ‘confusion’ about the benefits of regulation and, an insult to the practitioners they were rescuing from malpractice, ‘fear of the unknown’. One of the notions that was claimed to be a myth was the idea that there was a ‘medical model’ of human functioning. (JE: Bold added) For eIpnosis much of the discussion amounted to a familiar catalogue of the kinds of things that people who feel secure in their positional power say when faced with objections from the marginalized or excluded. And indeed with two exceptions that I’ll come to, the meeting did succeed in ignoring the 2500 words of the HPC’s collated summary of dissent that the Call for Ideas had produced. Kathi Murphy, the UKCP delegate, spoke of holding this dissenting/objecting position alongside commitment to regulation. A tough role to try to sustain in this group and ultimately one that must be untenable. However, she found the courage to speak of the sense that people didn’t like what was being imposed on them and were anxious and suspicious, they wondered how far regulation, while ostensibly of ‘title’, would in practice extend to ‘function’, ‘how broad a brush regulation was going to be’. Peter Bell, of the Relate federation of charities, said that setting standards had important side-effects. There was considerable pressure on practitioners from service commissioners who wanted them to meet statutory targets and they had little control over this. Professor Waller quickly moved in to reassure (and misunderstand him) ‘the HPC protects practitioners from ‘illegal demands’’. Brian Magee, of COSCA, was the only person who raised the question of whether the group was entitled to decide that regulation was not in service users’ interests. The spotlight of Reality was turned on him. There was a somewhat perfunctory response of ‘No, that’s not what we are here for’, ‘we will have to manage difference’ from Professor Waller, followed rapidly, much too rapidly, by her announcement as chair that we would now break for lunch. This is not a consultation. This panel is in place to confirm the HPC as regulators of choice.

When I meet psychologists, they all speak against this legislation. They have been sold out by the bps’s greed for government-approved professional status.

 

8.2 Con-sultations are not to verify the legislation: they are manipulations to paint

the Government as electable.

From Postle’s HPC PLG report (Available here) The Inaugural Meeting of the Health Professions Council Professional Liaison Group for Counselling and Psychotherapy Regulation. December 4 2008. Administering the Kiss of Death – a Vichy Moment. Eipnosis report ): If there had been any question about whether this group was only here to do the bidding of the HPC, i.e. to make recommendations about how to regulate the psychological therapies, this doubt was overrun by the decision to eat rather than face the discomfort of hearing anything to the contrary.’ The processes used to test the legislation, are converted, by this Government, into election-fodder. And the bps did nothing to stop this rapacious legislation. It encouraged it.

 

8.3 Examples from bps of how these manipulative processes are being played out.

From bps statutory regulation web-site/Latest Updates/2 March 2009 (This site has been removed from the internet)  However we (bps) still have to plan,….. Specifically, the Professional Conduct Board and the Trustees have been considering our complaints/fitness to practise systems and processes. Given that the HPC will be responsible for ‘fitness to practise’ complaints we will have to hand over to the HPC any outstanding or part-heard cases against any psychologist who is on the HPC Register.

So the One Knowledge and Kangaroo courts rule OK. I wonder how many psychologists understand that they will be tried in a Privy Council Court for failure to keep notes and making inappropriate remarks (as judged by the Government through the HPC and SfH) to those who consult them.

As the Society will cease the regulation of fitness to practise, new rules for members are being developed, by the Trustees and the Professional Conduct Board, and a system is being developed to enable the Society to hear complaints against members who are alleged to have breached these new rules. Both these new rules and the new complaints system will require changes to the Society’s existing Statutes and Rules and therefore all members will be consulted and asked to vote on these post statutory regulation consequences.

For the example of how this will play out look at how current HPC registrants are tried by the HPC. First, you get tried by your employer –the NHS or other, then the bps, then the HPC. But this is OK, because psychologists have insurance to cover the costs. This reminds me of Burma: under the Pol Pot regime you were tortured to death for wearing spectacles. At least 3 trials for improper note-taking? Wow! And this is about to happen in the UK if the House of Lords approves this Order.

And what has this to do with ‘Well-being’ or ‘Health’? Search me….

As I have said in earlier updates, statutory regulation offers the Society an opportunity to redefine what it wants to be, and the results of the recent Membership Survey will inform the debates and discussions that the Trustees, Representative Council, our Boards and Member Networks will have to have to agree our Society of the future. Dr Liz Campbell President bps.

So the bps is reduced from an effective holder of psychology practice, to finding another purpose. A luncheon club? Holding the historical archive? There is no evidence that the current system does not work.

 

9.0 A practice relies on the psycho-practitioner’s individual judgement.

Each sufferer is a unique human being.

The One Knowledge does not recognise the uncertainty endemic in a human being’s freedom to act.

These arguments are derived from an article by Clifford Longley ‘The Left has a

blind spot on the balance between the individual and the state’ 6 December 2008,

The Tablet, page 5. (May be available here The Tablet – International Catholic weekly newspaper or here thetablet.co.uk/issue/1000130/columns ) – Quotes are in indicated: …. The British Left has a persistent blind spot on issues of personal freedom and the balance between the individual and the state. …. There have been numerous changes to the checks and balance of the criminal justice system that have threatened the standard of British justice: the abolition of the right to silence, the admission in evidence of hearsay and of previous convictions, …. All this represents a dangerous drift in the wrong direction, a threat to our liberties by a series of steps, each one of which has been made to sound plausible. What is lacking from Labour’s portfolio of public-policy thinking is any coherent overall philosophy of human rights and civil liberties.

JE: HPO2001 is based on a definition of a human being as an object to be manipulated by State approved psychologists and others. This implementation of this philosophy gives power to the HPC’s kangaroo fitness-to-practice courts.

Despite the history of the twentieth century, it (the government) does not understand that it is in the very nature of the state to abuse its power. Somehow the fact that the state under Labour is committed to equality and redistribution is supposed to have immunised it against authoritarianism.

JE: The state is abusing its power in implementing HPO2001. This abuse gives as its “plausible excuse” that the State is operating for our Good (& Health & Wellbeing) in safeguarding us against Charlatans and those working in psycho-practice who wish to do us harm. …., where again the group takes precedence over the individual.

‘It does not seem to have imbibed with its mother’s milk, so to speak, the spirit of the English Common Law, ….’

JE: Collective rights imply the One Standard or the One Knowledge. Remember the NHS is committed to equal distribution of health so collectively we are all brought up to the Government’s standard human being. The operation of this equality immunises the HPC (Now HCPC & available here) , SfH, IAPT (Available here) (Happiness Factories), and NICE (here) clinical guidelines against the charge of authoritarianism.

 

9.1 Principles are derived from the Government’s One Knowledge rather than the practice of psychology. This is forced from the top downwards rather than integrated from the bottom up.

From Postle’s HPC PLG report, December 2008, op.cit. (Available here): His (Guthrie’s – a HPC employee) outline of the HPC’s ‘top level principles’ re: regulation is worth repeating: The establishment of standards. Protection of title. The ability to check practitioner’s registration. Taking action when things go wrong.

JE: There is no evidence that theseprinciples are appropriate for a practice. They are derived from the Government’s autocratic implementation of the Government-defined One Knowledge. They fossilize and formalise how relationships must be conducted. The protection of title means the Government approves the psychologists. Thus, the Government defines others as below standard: not good enough for the Government-regulated market. And there is no room for discussion because the lazy House of Commons voted in this pernicious legislation in.

 

9.2 This emphasis on group standards is the antithesis of the way many psychopractitioners work

From Clifford Longley:The Tablet : 6th December 2008: Playing by the rules is not enough. …. But something done in the name of the collective interest is unlikely to respond to the promptings of an individual moral intuition. It should have been obvious to senior police officers …. Yet it didn’t register. When there is something fundamental missing in the list of the things that are assumed to be self-evident, we are in trouble.

JE: This emphasis on group standards is the antithesis of the way psycho-practitioners work. This forecloses on an individual practitioner’s ethical position or savoir-faire or savoir-y-faire. This top-down emphasis is the antithesis of many psychopractitioners’ work. This is bottom-up. as the user, subject or sufferer is in control of what is presented with the practitioner controlling the process or how this information is processed.

 

9.3 NICE on evidence-based practice and clinical judgement

From the Royal College of Physicians: Sir Michael Rawlins attacks traditional ways of assessing evidence Thursday 16th Oct 2008 (Lecture currently not available but the press release is here): In this year’s Harveian Oration, delivered at the Royal College of Physicians, Professor Sir Michael Rawlins, Chair of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, argues that we need a new approach to analysing clinical evidence. … The evidence discussed in Sir Michael’s Oration has only one purpose. It is the basis for informing decisions about the appropriate use of therapeutic interventions (including pharmaceuticals, devices and surgical procedures) in routine medical practice. … Randomised controlled trials (RCTs), long regarded at the ‘gold standard’ of evidence, have been put on an undeserved pedestal. Their appearance at the top of “hierarchies” of evidence is inappropriate; and hierarchies, themselves, are illusory tools for assessing evidence. They should be replaced by a diversity of approaches that involve analysing the totality of the evidence-base. … Generalisability – RCTs are often carried out on specific types of patients for a relatively short period of time, whereas in clinical practice the treatment will be used on a much greater variety of patients – often suffering from other medical conditions – and for much longer. There is a presumption that, in general, the benefits shown in an RCT can be extrapolated to a wide population; but there is abundant evidence to show that the harmfulness of an intervention is often missed in RCTs. … Sir Michael argues that observational studies are also useful and, with care in the interpretation of the results, can provide an important source of evidence about both the benefits and harms of therapeutic interventions. These particularly include historical controlled trials and case-control studies but other forms of observational data can also reveal important issues. Sir Michael rejects the trend to grade various kinds of clinical trials and studies on scales of merit which he says has come to dominate the development of some aspects of clinical decision making. …

“Hierarchies attempt to replace judgement with an oversimplistic, pseudo-quantative, assessment of the quality of the available evidence.” … Sir Michael believes that arguments about the relative importance of different kinds of evidence are an unnecessary distraction. What is needed instead is for “investigators to continue to develop and improve their methodologies; for decision makers to avoid adopting entrenched positions about the nature of evidence; and for both to accept that the interpretation of evidence requires judgement.” …

JE: Michael Rawlins has been chairman of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) since its inception in 1999. Thus Sir Michael brings the Government’s use of the One Knowledge (savoir) and its measurement into question. The logic is false. What is the evidence this logic works with psycho-practice?

 

10.0 that it may imperfectly achieve its policy objectives: parties who are affected by a regulation (this Order), particularly when the issue raised relates to the practicability of the proposal or unintended consequence

 

10. 01 A probable future scenario if HPO2001 controls all psycho-practitioners.

A colleague Arthur Musgrave (Available here.  Unintended negative side effects of HPC regulation. 
Text of message sent to 35 members of the House of Lords ahead of their May 5th debate on the Amendment to the Section 60 Order regulating Practitioner psychologists 
by Arthur Musgrave) outlines the radical transformation to psycho-practice using Bruce E Wampold’s book, The Great Psychotherapy Debate. Assuming Wampold’s finding that the medical model is inappropriate to psycho-practice will continue to be ignored by the Government, HPC ‘proven’ regulation will impose it.

In the longer term the impact is likely to be along the following lines:

1. Counsellors and psychotherapists will be expected to spend significantly more time on the internet interrogating databases.

2. They will be expected to do considerably more thinking about the questions they want to put to internet search engines.

3. They will be expected to use DSM IV categories when assessing clients.

4. They will be expected to have the financial resources enabling them to pay for access to relevant research.

5. Alternatively, they will be expected to have access to these resources via large organisations such as the NHS or the universities or colleges to which they belong.

6. They will be expected to have research skills at and beyond Masters level.

7. They will expend considerable time and energy deploying these skills in critically examining research findings.

8. They will be expected to deliver research-supported treatments for which they have received an approved training.

9. Other ‘treatments’ which are not researchsupported will be marginalised.

10. Ideally counsellors and psychotherapists will be working for large organisations so that they can refer clients to evidence-based treatments that they themselves are not in a position to deliver.

11. All the above will, to a greater or lesser extent, distract counsellors and psychotherapists away from their experience of attending to the other person in the therapy room.

12. All this will impact adversely on any form of counselling or psychotherapy that (a) focuses on the interpersonal relationship within the therapy room and (b) relies upon critical reflection on the part of the practitioner.

13. Anyone not working to the above template will be regarded as a second rate practitioner.

This is a model of practice that fits in reasonably closely with management needs in large bureaucratic organisations, such as NHS psychiatric services (JE: or IAPT Happiness Factories), but has very limited relevance to the overwhelming majority of counsellors and psychotherapists working in private practice.

 

10.1 The HPC takes away responsibility from the practitioner and gives it to a system HPO2001, SfH and NICE take responsibility from the practitioner – they do not have to think or use their subjectivity. Because the system is based in a certainty: the One Knowledge or Savoir then providing the practitioner becomes a slave to the System nothing uncertain happens to them. The One System cures all the sufferer’s ills. The practitioner has no doubts and need ask no questions (See Dr Williams quoted above).

And the One practice is protected by the Government. The practitioner has the Government’s protection and salary. Only as Dr Williams among others have pointed out, this is not reality.

 

10.2 The difference between managing certainty and uncertainty (example from finance)

The following are practices of financier George Soros which assume uncertainty (based on The credit crunch according to Soros by Chrystia Freeland January 30 2009, Financial Times : available here): Soros’s main goal was to preserve his fortune. But, as has been the case throughout his career, his timing and financial acumen enhanced his credibility as a thinker … with teaching him how to respond to “far from equilibrium situations” … Part of the stimulation is intellectual. … People base their decisions not on the actual situation that confronts them, but on their perception or interpretation of the situation. Their decisions make an impact on the situation and changes in the situation are liable to change their perceptions. … It is, at its root, a case for frequent re-examination of one’s assumptions about the world and for a readiness to spot and exploit moments of cataclysmic change – those times when our perceptions of events and events themselves are likely to interact most fiercely. It is also at odds with the rational expectations economic school, which has been the prevailing orthodoxy in recent decades. That approach assumed that economic players – from people buying homes to bankers buying subprime mortgages for their portfolios – were rational actors making, in aggregate, the best choices for themselves and that free markets were effective mechanisms for balancing supply and demand, setting prices correctly and tending towards equilibrium. … By contrast, Soros sees the current crisis as a real-life illustration of reflexivity. Markets did not reflect an objective “truth”. Rather, the beliefs of market participants – that house prices would always rise, that an arcane financial instrument based on a subprime mortgage really could merit a triple-A rating – created a new reality. Ultimately, that “super-bubble” was unsustainable, hence the credit crunch of 2007 and the recession and financial crisis of 2008 and beyond.

JE: The super-bubble that safety and safeguarding and wellbeing and health can be produced by regulation is not supported by observation. The government believes it is an “objective” truth which can be measured and used in ‘fitness-to-practice’ cases. It is a mistake to believe that practitioners and those who work with them are rational actors. It is also mistaken to believe that they are self-correcting as a control system corrects an industrial process.

There is no One Truth – only the practitioner’s view, based in their savoir-faire and savoir-y-faire and the sufferer’s view. The practitioner must be prepared to jettison their view if something changes just as Soros does. This thinking will be illegal if HPO2001 is passed.

 

11.0 How the Government paints future provision in the Media.

Since the publishing of the Order, there is evidence that the Government has mounted a press campaign in support of Happiness Factories and the regulation of wicked psycho-practitioners. For example: Victims of recession to get free therapy • State aid planned to fight job anxiety by Toby Helm The Observer, Sunday 8 March 2009 (Available here) Quote: Johnson will announce that 81 “talking-therapy services”, offering cognitive behavioural therapy, a method by which people are encouraged to look more at potential solutions than the causes of their difficulties, will be set up this year – a 25% increase on the planned number.

JE: There is no evidence, except in the Government’s imagination, that cbt will produce this effect. The certainty is that the talking therapy services cannot operate without the psychologists. Hence the Government’s need for the House of Lords to pass this Order.

What is cognitive behavioural therapy? The Observer, Sarah Wilson Sunday 8 March 2009 (Available here) Quote: Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) was developed in the 1960s by psychiatrist Aaron T Beck. Beck believed that there was an important link between thoughts and emotions, and that the way we chose to interpret the events in our lives was just as crucial to our wellbeing as the events themselves. For example, while a psychoanalyst may ask you to discuss childhood experiences, and work with you to explore how your past may have affected your present, a CBT practitioner would ask you to describe what you think about a particular situation, and how those thoughts make you feel. The CBT practitioner might then suggest that you try taking a different approach to that situation, one that involves questioning your previous way of thinking, in order to create a different emotional response. The relationship between therapist and patient is generally considered more important in traditional psychoanalysis, whereas in CBT, a counsellor will often recommend specific strategies a patient can take away and work on in daily life. Although CBT has its detractors, who argue that it is a one-cure-fits-all form of therapy that doesn’t delve deep enough, its straightforward approach and short treatment length is attractive to many, and has been shown to be successful in treating a range of conditions. In 2007, the government announced it would be spending £170m to make talking therapies such as CBT more widely available on the NHS.

JE: cbt is attractive to the Government as it is cheap and is easily assessed by their accountancy-led frameworks. Contrary evidence is expunged. And it works sometimes where the cbt therapist is able to form a relationship. Why make other therapies illegal?

 

11.1 A practitioner’s viewpoint – a pointer to the future?

silverthread The Guardian web-site 08 Mar 09 (See comments at the bottom of here), 3:16pm I am a psychotherapist, specialising in CBT. I am also a qualified counselling supervisor. My training to Diploma standard took 4 years, many sessions of personal therapy, 100 hours of unpaid placement work in a free drop-in centre run by a charity, after which I specialised in CBT and a couple of other approaches, and in couple and family therapy. The Government is now proposing to train more nurses and ‘mental health workers’ in 12 months to work as CBT practitoners. Trainees are required to do much of their learning ‘on the job’, in voluntary placements, after a few weeks classroom teaching. Once completed their very basic and narrowly focused counselling course, they start work in GP practices, hospitals, clinics or are taken on by charities. To reduce further costs, supervision takes place in groups where individual trainees and inexperienced counsellors seldom get the opportunity to discuss individual problems with their clients, who often not only suffer from anxiety and depression, but also loss of confidence, experience feelings of despair, anger, frustration turning to self-harm and a display of a whole range of other psychological issues. Suicidal thoughts are common. Many of these ‘speed trained’ CBT ‘counsellors’ have not received the depth of training that professional therapists have undergone. Vulnerable, anxious and stressed people put their trust in them without knowing how well qualified the counsellor will be. I see this as yet another stop gap and proof of the very limited understanding that has been displayed by this Government re the need for a proper, well-funded mental health service. Instead of training thousands of new counsellors, they need to research how many specialists in this field are already available, many of whom work privately and not within the NHS. However, to employ well-trained, experienced therapists would be too costly. This is unfair and is already leading to a two-tier system. People who can afford to go for specialist help, often with the financial support of family and friends, are consulting skilled practitioners, mostly in private practice. Those who are not able to do so and often need such skilled help even more, are referred to ‘drop-in centres’, GP counselling services, etc. where there is little privacy, where time is short, the number of sessions are limited and, even with the extra inexperienced advisors (I cannot call them counsellors, let alone psychotherapists), the waiting list will soon be too long. CBT approach is seen as the norm, while we know that it is not at all suitable for everyone and that it can cause great distress in some clients. These advisors seldom work before 9 a.m. or after 5p.m.,during weekends, over the Christmas/Easter/bank holiday period. It means that people still in work, have to take time off to get help, something many cannot afford or do not want to do. The stigma of being seen as ‘mentally ill’ is still feared amongst a large part of the population. Most employers are unwilling for their employees to see a therapist during working hours, Finally, such therapeutic help will most likely be available in larger towns and cities, and in areas where unemployment is has a threatening effect, but, as with so many government ideas, many victims of the recession are living in rural communities and smaller towns and will no doubt have difficulty accessing such a service. I live and work in such a small town surrounded by rural villages. Many of my clients have been told by their GP to find a counsellor themselves. People, who have no means to do that, are put on on a waiting list to see an already very busy GP practice counsellor and her team of mostly unpaid trainees on placements. Not all GPs provide such a service and several still prefer the easier and cheaper option of dishing out ‘happy pills’.

JE: The Government’s proposal may look good on paper, ring promising bells in Labour’s ears but in reality it will be very selective, costly, with a lot of red tape and in many cases of little benefit or even cause more harm than good.. The other side of the story: Passing this Order will give the Government the power to implement this rough-shod. The British Psychology Society‘s expertise will be eliminated in favour of the Government’s approach to mental health issues: Get better after 10 sessions of cbt or else, we remove your benefits, perhaps. Is the House of Lords really in favour of this way of operating?

 

11.2 How this imaginary future is sold by the Government

The Sunday Times, March 15, 2009, Give more people access to therapy by Richard Layard, government adviser on happiness and work, and director of the LSE Centre for Economic Performance (Maybe available here) : I have been campaigning for the government to give people much greater access to cognitive behavioural therapy ( CBT). It is forward looking and seeks, in 10 to 20 sessions at the most, to give people the tools to manage their moods and recognise negative thoughts and patterns. It’s not Freudian analysis, or hand holding by a vast army of counsellors, it’s about helping people in a very practical way to handle stressful events that can trigger depression and anxiety. … The service the government is bringing forward has always been linked to work. Work gives us meaning and identity, and employment is important in recovering from depression and anxiety. Redundancy can lead to higher rates of depression and suicide. Hopefully, the difference in this recession is that people will realise that mental illness shouldn’t have a stigma attached to it. One of the purposes of CBT is to show that mental-health conditions can be cured.

JE: This contrasts with the description in Section11.1 of this report. Is it possible that an Economist knows more about a psycho-practice than a practitioner?

Just because the Government asserts something does not mean it will work in practice. The reason for the Order presented to the House of Lords is so that the Government has a cheap source of labour within their direct control. I refer you to Sir Michael Rawlins of NICE – previously quoted. Just because a cure works in limited conditions does not mean it can be generalised to everyone.

What is the evidence for these assertions? Why is an Economist a Government adviser on happiness? Why are these mad schemes being believed? I refer you to the tale of ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes. Please put in your thinking brains and evaluate.

 

11.4 Some reality being shone into the Government’s position:

This ideology is fundamentally totalitarian, although the uniform of the familiar military dictator, has been replaced by the tweed jacket and business suit of the expert and the technocrat, and the secret policeman has given way to the psychiatrist and behavioural therapist.

Another member of the London School of Economics, Professor Willem Buiter has critiqued this position. There follows extracts: Available here

Sunday, October 28, 2007 : Beware the Perilous Protagonists of Patronising Paternalism: Richard Layard, Julian Le Grand and the New Paternalism. (Review available here) Quote:  Julian Le Grand is not the only highly visible advocate of an enhanced guiding and directing role for the government through ‘soft compulsion’. Another LSE notable, Richard Layard, Emeritus Professor of Economics at the LSE, and author of the book Happiness: Lessons from a New Science, published in 2005 and now available as a Penguin book, appears to believe all of the following (the seven proposition are mine; I (Willem Buiter) distilled them as best I could from Layard’s Happiness volume):

We know what makes us happy

We want to be happy

Therefore we ought to do what makes us happy

The state knows what makes us happy

The state knows how to make us happier

The state wants us to be happier

Therefore the state ought to take measures that make us happier

A number of strong and to me convincing arguments against propositions 4, 5 and 7 can be found in the useful tract Happiness, Economics and Public Policy by Helen Johns and Paul Ormerod, published by the Institute of Economic Affairs in 2007 (available here). I (Willem Buiter) believe all seven points are either dangerously misleading (or even deceptive), completely wrong or a threat to liberty and to all that makes life worth living.

Proposition 1. is true only if happiness is defined either as self-reported happiness (the verbal or written characterisation of their mood/state of mind/feelings by persons responding to questions in an interview or filling in some kind of questionnaire) or as a physiological or electro-chemical response to certain events or stimuli. None of this need bear any relationship to everyday notions of happiness. Using a value- and emotion-laden word like ‘happiness’ to label behaviour, actions, reported feelings and physiological or electro-chemical responses that bear little or no relation to the everyday concept, is misleading.

Proposition 2. is the happiness literature’s equivalent of ‘revealed preference’ in neoclassical consumer choice theory. People choose what they choose, because they prefer what they choose; and the proof that they prefer what they choose is that they choose it. It is a tautology. We want to be happy because if we wanted to be something other than happy, the happy we appear not to want to be cannot really be happiness.

Proposition 3. is a normative statement or value judgement that I reject utterly, regardless of whether Propositions 1. and 2. are correct. Many ethical system, some based on religious principles, others without divine underpinnings, would reject the pursuit of personal happiness as the main goal a person ought to pursue. The Christian tradition I belong to commands me to seek the Kingdom of God and to love my neighbour as myself. From this perspective, the pursuit of personal happiness is immoral, self-obsessed infantilism. Whatever one’s views on ethics, Proposition 3 isn’t science.

Proposition 4. is correct only if we define happiness in one of the peculiar ways prevalent in the pseudo-science of happiness; it also requires that the state and the government that manages it, has taken on board the views of Layard, Le Grand and their ilk. I hope this is not the case, even in the UK, on any wide scale. The worrying trends towards teaching pseudo-happiness in English schools will in all likelihood turn out to be yet another fad that does not outlast the incumbent administration.

Proposition 5. is wrong, even if Proposition 4. were correct. The state/government knows at most only the ‘partial equilibrium’ direct determinants of ‘happiness’ (or even more likely just of few of the empirical correlates). No one and no institution, including the state, understands the dynamic general equilibrium effects even of those policies whose direct impact effects on ‘happiness’ are at least partially understood. Interaction effects, feedback effects (negative and positive), lagged effects, effects working through expectations and anticipations – no one has a clue. Proposition 6. Is wrong even if Proposition 5. were correct. Even if the government or some other state institution were to know how to raise our level of self-reported happiness, or how to lower hypertension, or indeed how to modulate the electro-chemical reactions in the cerebral cortex (or any other part of the brain) so as to give us a warm feeling or pleasant buzz inside, it would not follow that the government would want to pursue policies aimed at doing any of these things.

The notion that governments are benevolent and competent makes for bad political economy. Governments are temporary coalitions of partly self-interested, partly altruistic, partly ideological, partly noble and partly evil people who happen to have got hold of the levers of control of the state. Each government represents the good, the bad and the ugly. It does some good and some harm. The primary objective of the governments I have observed is to hang on to power. If that requires making people happy (by any definition), the government may try to do so; its ability to achieve the objective should, of course, not be overestimated.. If it requires making people feel powerless, fearful, resentful and divided, then the government will instead pursue that objective.

Proposition 7 is a normative statement about what the state ought to do. I strongly disagree with it. The defining property of the state is that it has the monopoly of the legitimate use of force in a society. The state can coerce, prescribe and proscribe behaviour; it can tax and it can declare some of its liabilities to be legal tender. It should only do those things that require this power of coercion.

The fundamental responsibility of the government is to create institutions, laws and regulations that allow people the maximum freedom to make their own choices. This requires the funding of key public goods, such as defense, law and order, public administration, public health and the education of children. It will also require the public provision of those public goods and services that cannot be provided effectively through private or cooperative arrangements. Governments also have the duty, on behalf of the community and jointly with other private and cooperative institutions, to help those who cannot help themselves: the poor, the weak and the infirm; those too young to qualify as competent citizens; the mentally ill; the mentally handicapped; and those too old and frail to look after themselves any longer. Governments can try to correct market failures and failures of other non-government allocative mechanisms, as long as government failure is not likely to make things worse. The main causes of market failure are externalities (including informational asymmetries) and market power. Both regulation and taxation or subsidies can be used to address the causes of market failure.

Externalities are any effect of the actions of one or more persons on the well-being (utility) of third parties. I prefer restricting the government’s role in addressing externalities to those instances where an action has a material (significant) adverse effects on the rights of others. Such material rights externalities would exclude, for instance, someone taking offence and getting upset at something I write or say, no matter how much this lowers their subjectively experienced wellbeing or comfort level. This is because, in my book, there is no right not to be offended.

As I accord the government no automatic role in correcting externalities that are not rights externalities, it will not come as a surprise that I also oppose the government having any role in boosting people’s ‘happiness’ (in any and all senses of the word) when there are no rights externalities involved. Even if the government were to know what is good for me, it is not the government’s business to see to it that I (or someone else) undertakes the actions required to bring about that good. If my actions harm me (smoking tobacco, excessive alcohol consumption, smoking cannabis for non-medical reasons, using heroin for reasons other than pain relief) there is only a role for government if my actions also infringe on other peoples’ rights.

Edited. The only legitimate role for the government in areas of private decision making where there are no rights externalities involved are (1) the provision of information and (2) framing. Information is an awkward commodity. Ex-ante the discovery of information can be costly. Ex-post, information is non-rival in use and should be disseminated as widely as possible. Edited

A true libertarian wants the state out of his life and out of his business. The camel’s nose unavoidably is back into the tent when one recognises the legitimacy of collective coercive action given the reality of rights externalities – when my actions impinge on your rights. There is, however, a huge difference between those who try  to keep as much of the camel out of the tent as possible and those who are trying to push every inch of the beast into the tent. Le Grand and Layard are contributing to a dangerous ideology rationalising ever-increasing and ever more sophisticated attempts to steer, nudge, influence and in the limit completely override individual judgement and choice. One opt-out and fine at a time, it is moving us towards a nightmarish form of central planning not even attempted by the former Soviet Union – the micro-management of individual consumption, life-style and human capital management choices.

This ideology is fundamentally totalitarian, although the uniform of the familiar military dictator has been replaced by the tweed jacket and business suit of the expert and the technocrat, and the secret policeman has given way to the psychiatrist and behavioural therapist.

It is totalitarian because the state refuses to leave the private sphere alone. Actions that have no external effects, and even actions that have no external rights effects, are nevertheless deemed legitimate concerns of the state. Private actions can be nudged, influenced and incentivised by the state using any of the tools and instruments it possesses, for no reason other than that the state believes this to be in our ‘true’ interest.

Well, thanks but no thanks. I prefer making my own mistakes to having someone else, be it the state or another entity or individual, make the ‘right’ choices for me.

JE: All this also applies to the production of wellbeing by the application of HPO2001 through the State’s machinery: the Privy Council and the Health Professions Council.

 

11.5 The Government’s vision is built on false assumptions:

The picture of 10,000 hastily trained cognitive-behavioural therapists let loose on the British public is a frightening one – like 10.000 semi-skilled plumbers taking charge of brain surgery in the UK. It’s a politically popular gimmick because

(a) it is a lot cheaper than letting the mentally ill be treated by properly qualified professionals, and

(b) it involves large numbers and motion – the illusion of decisive action

From Professor Willem Buiter’s blog: here, Sunday 6th January 2008, Is Britain going mad? Quote : Mental illness can be a terrible affliction. It can drive those suffering from it to despair – even to suicide. I can also drive those affected by it, as loved ones of the afflicted person or as carers for yo, to despair – even to suicide. Because it can be such a terrible disease, it is important that it does not get trivialised by over-egging the problem. Because it can be such as terrible affliction, it is important that the treatment offered be the best one available, and that that such treatment be available regardless of ability to pay. The notion that a quick, cheap and easy fix is available is, well, madness.’

‘Mental illness can be hidden or faked. Many varieties of mental illness especially depression and manic-depressive illness, are not easily diagnosed, even by professionals. This means that it is often possible for those truly ill to hide their condition, if it is advantageous to do so for professional, reputational or other reasons, such as being engaged in an adoption process. It is also possible for persons who are not mentally ill to fake it. There is enough information readily available on the web for anyone with an IQ in triple digits to put together an appropriate package of symptoms that will suitably impress a GP, psychiatrist, psychiatric social worker, psychologist, analyst or other therapist. Lower back pain is the only other medical condition that can be faked as easily.

Many people tell lies easily and effortlessly Much of economics is based on the assumption, verified daily and universally, that almost everybody responds predictably to simple selfish material incentives. It also is clear that many (most?) people view honesty as a tactical option rather than something intrinsically valuable. They lie if it is to their advantage to do so. If you don’t lie it’s not because lying is wrong or sinful, but because the cost-benefit analysis of lying shows the costs (fear of detection and punishment, damage to reputation) to be higher than the benefits. The fact that so many people take a purely instrumental view of truth telling is consistent with the observation that lying and cheating are a regular and recurrent phenomenon both when it comes to reporting taxable income and when it comes to claiming benefits. This unfortunate moral state of affairs – people tell the truth only if it is in their interest to do so – is a standard assumption in most economic analyses in which truth telling plays a role.

Mental illness as a (self-) reported cause of disability In May 2007 there were around 2.64 million recipients of Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance (as against 2.66 million in August 1999). In addition there were around 335 thousand recipients of the Disability Living Allowance in May 2007 (figures are not available for 1999).

Thanks to the Department for Work and Pensions’ wonderful Accessible Tabulation Tool (every government department in every country should have one!) I was able to verify that in February 2005, of the 2,387 thousand IB claimants, 925.7 thousand, just under 39 percent, claimed because of Mental and Behavioural Disorders; of the 1,444.8 thousand IB beneficiaries, 460.9 thousand (around 32 percent), qualified because of Mental and Behavioural Disorders; of the 295 thousand Severe Disablement Allowance claimants, 117.6 thousand (almost 40 percent) claimed because of Mental and Behavioural Disorders.

About 504 thousand people below the age of 35 were claiming incapacity benefit or severe disablement allowance compared with 443 thousand claiming Job Seeker’s allowance in May of 2007. More than sixty percent of the claimants of IB under the age of 35 and, more than fifty percent of the beneficiaries of IB claimed IB for “Mental and Behavioural Disorders”, including depression and stress.

If you are Richard Layard and see these figures, you conclude that mental illness is rampant anno 2007 in neo-Liberal Britain, and that it is a major cause of incapacity and disability for all age groups and both genders, but especially for the young.

When I see these figures, my first reaction is: I just don’t believe it! Could these figures have anything to do with the fact that the typical weekly incapacity benefit is £81, while the corresponding jobseekers allowance is £20 less, and carries with it the obligation to actively seek a job? Edited

Serious statistical study of the relationship between IB claims based on mental and behavioural disorders and possible non-medical drivers of such claims (such as the relative magnitudes of unemployment benefit/jobseekers allowance and IB, the degree of severity of the formal IB eligibility criteria and the effectiveness of their enforcement etc.) would be most helpful for achieving clarity on this matter. Even the best statistical study, however, will leave much room for debate, because of the complexity of the relationship between the number of IB claims/beneficiaries and the pecuniary incentives for lodging such claims. For instance, the political mechanism may well deliver higher IB benefits when the number of IB claimants increases.

Sometimes the timing of policy reforms permits the identification conundrum to be overcome, but that is by no means always the case.

A more conclusive test of the proposition that some non-trivial share of the IB claims based on mental health problems represents bogus claims, would be provided by a comprehensive re-testing of the claimant population by qualified psychiatric experts. We may get some of that, but not, I fear, what we need. The government are proposing tougher disability tests for all IB claimants (not just those claiming on grounds of mental and behavioural disorders) to start in October 2008. The Tories are also proposing a comprehensive re-testing of all 2.64million UK incapacity benefit claimants. Those judged to be fit for work after an independent medical evaluation would lose their entitlement to incapacity benefit immediately and would be put on the £ 20 per week lower jobseekers allowance and its requirement to seek work.

I think neither the government nor the opposition know how complicated, costly and ultimately inconclusive would be a the creation of a high-quality process to verify a person’s inability to work because of mental health problems (or indeed lower back pain). It can only be done by experts with an appropriate medical degree. It may take multiple assessments over an extended period of time. And it will have to be repeated periodically.

I believe the Tories propose that the initial assessment would be done by non-MDs, who would refer to qualified MDs, those claimants they felt unable to assess. That would no doubt work with claimants whose claim is based on the absence of a limb. It will not work when it comes to any claim based on mental or behavioural disorders or indeed on medical claims based on anything other than the absence of some readily visible organ essential for employability. The cost of a serious ‘Personal Capability Assessment’ for 2.64 million IB claimants would be massive. The Conservative proposal would drown in Type 1 and Type 2 errors.

A similar denial of the obvious characterises Richard’s Layard’s proposal (which is, unfortunately, about to be funded and implemented by the government) for the training of an army of 10,000 cognitive behavioural therapists to stem and reverse the tide of anxiety and depression that he believes is threatening the fabric of society. As stated earlier, I don’t believe the figures on the incidence of mental illness in the UK that Richard Layard brandishes about. They are either self-reported by ‘patients’ many of whom have a pecuniary interest in the diagnosis, or reported by providers of mental health services who have an obvious conflict of interest in the matter.

The picture of 10,000 hastily trained cognitive-behavioural therapists let loose on the British public is a frightening one – like 10.000 semi-skilled plumbers taking charge of brain surgery in the UK. It’s a politically popular gimmick because (a) it is a lot cheaper than letting the mentally ill be treated by properly qualified professionals, and (b) it involves large numbers and motion – the illusion of decisive action. It is, at best, ineffective motion rather than action. At worst, it is inappropriate psychobabble that can do untold damage if these half-trained cbt operatives are left alone at any time with patients suffering from serious anxiety or depression.

Mental illness is a terrible thing. Effective treatments, that is, treatments that achieve a sustained improvement in the self-reported well-being of the patient (not just in any particular symptom) and in their objectively verified ability to function effectively in the job market and other dimensions of their life, are few and far between, except for some varieties of depression and manic-depressive illness. I have seen no convincing evidence that the true incidence of mental illness has increased significantly in the UK in the past forty years. Overstating its incidence, whether by fraudulent IB claimants, by self-interested sellers of mental health care services, or by deluded professors of economics, does not help the mentally ill.

JE:  I disagree on one point: Testing for mental illness is not possible. Symptoms ascribed to mental illness – yes. In order to diagnose, a relationship has to be in place. Relationships are what HPO2001 proscribes. It is not possible to use a system in vacuo to prove that mental illness exists. In order to put this ‘Brave New World’ scenario in place, the Government needs the psychologists to supervise under the Government’s direct control – so it controls the type of treatment, length, etc. Please stop this Order being enacted.

 

11.6 The Government’s advisor justifies the expense of implementing HPO2001.

Respect is produced by an enforced code?

Now is the time for a less selfish capitalism by Richard Layard March 11 2009 Financial Times. (Available here) Quote: Our society has become too individualistic, with too much rivalry and not enough common purpose. …… To build a society based on trust we have to start in school, if not earlier. Children should learn that the noblest life is the one that produces the least misery and the most happiness in the world. This rule should apply also in business and professional life. ….. And all professions… should have a clear, professional, ethical code that its members are required to observe. It is not for nothing that doctors form the group most respected in our society – they have a code that is enforced and everyone knows it. ….. I have written a book about how to do this (Happiness 2005, op. cit.) and A good Childhood 2009 – summary available here) and there is room here for three points only.

First we should use our schools to promote a better value system…..

Second, adults should reappraise their priorities about what is important. Recent events are likely to encourage this and modern happiness research can help find answers.

Third economists should adopt a more realistic model of what makes humans happy and what makes markets function. ………………. We do not want communism – as research shows, the communist countries were the least happy in the world and also inefficient. But we do need a more humane brand of capitalism, based not only on better regulation but on better values. …..Punchline: Beyond subsistence, the best experience any society can provide is the feeling that other people are on your side. That is the kind of capitalism we want.

JE: This vision drives HPO2001 and IAPT (Happiness Factories). Ethical codes, standards of practice, standards of training, fitness-to-practice standards defined centrally and implemented with Old Testament zeal. The courts of the Privy Council /HPC have nothing on floods, famine, thunderbolts, burning bushes… This vision fuels the Government’s desire to get the Order through Parliament. When it is law, the psychologists will be compelled to implement – or else. Is this any way to approach those who offer to work with human suffering? And is this where respect for doctors comes from? Or is it from the relationship of care?

 

11.7 The institutionalisation of therapy and therapists is based on exacerbating a climate of fear and uncertainty.

From Professor Frank Furedi, Professor of Sociology, University of Kent writing in The Sunday Times on March 15, 2009: ‘Think Tank: New ideas for the 21st Century: A quack’s way to build the recovery: The government plan to offer recession therapy just makes victims of us’ (Available here)

Extracts: The global economic crisis represents a challenge. Unfortunately, governments often appear to be prisoners of their own insecurity: instead of inspiring or reassuring, they end up exacerbating a climate of fear and uncertainty. So it is with the recession. The government’s announcement that it will offer psychological support to people concerned about their economic future is a textbook example of how to make a drama out of a crisis. New Labour clearly looks upon people’s existential anxieties – about unemployment, poverty and family fallout – as a potential mental health emergency. It plans to train 3,600 therapists and hundreds of specialist staff and set up psychotherapy centres to deal with what it sees as a growing army of mentally ill people. This institutionalisation of “recession therapy” is based on the assumption that the economic crisis will lead to an epidemic of depression and stress. The principal effect of all this will be to normalise the idea that people facing hard times can become mentally ill. Example from Education… Transitional counselling, like many forms of therapy, has a habit of turning into a self-fulfilling prophecy. … There is little doubt that policies seeking to “psychologise” people’s response to the economic crisis will have a similar outcome.

The capacity of people, and the community they live in, to deal with a crisis depends on their ability to comprehend and make sense of it. Sadly, 21st-century western societies have fallen into the habit of discussing the global economy in highly individualised and psychological terms. We are told the credit crunch was precipitated by a crisis of “confidence” or caused by individual greed. According to the prevailing fatalistic viewpoint, most of us are “victims”. As in a Hollywood disaster flick, people are assigned the role of powerless, passive individuals, whose state of mind is defined by their sense of vulnerability.

We have come a long way since the early 1980s when Margaret Thatcher’s government launched a programme of counselling for those who were about to lose their jobs. Then, many commentators identified these therapy schemes as a cynical attempt to contain and defuse the reactions of the unemployed: critics accused the government of being more devoted to helping the jobless to “cope” with their predicament than with creating new jobs and pointed out that the unemployed were not interested in their help.

That was then. Today, therapeutic intervention is endorsed by everyone from the powers-that-be to the trade union movement and anti-capitalist protesters. The institutionalisation of counselling is underpinned by an intensely pessimistic view of how people behave during times of adversity. They are assumed to lack resilience and the capacity to cope and therefore need professional support.

In recent times, critics of capitalism have condemned the free market on the basis of its alleged mental health impact. This therapeutic critique of capitalism has been implicitly accepted by policy makers, who assume there is a causal relationship between an economic depression and a crisis of mental health.

The government’s therapeutic intervention redefines a crisis of society as a crisis of personal deficits and powerlessness. Instead of offering clarity and a sense of meaning with which we might approach the crisis, the government provides individuals with dubious therapeutic techniques.

What we need is a totally different approach, one that regards people as problem solvers rather than as potential mental health patients. Experience shows that communities can deal with economic insecurity and hardship if they are provided with a sense of purpose about what should be done. People don’t need counselling but, rather, opportunities for rebuilding their lives. Instead of encouraging the public to look to therapists for help, our political leaders should foster a climate that supports individuals and communities who are committed to helping themselves.

JE: Broadly the argument Frank Furedi gives is that the governance used is based on rescuing the population from fear and insecurity. HPO2001 institutionalises the Government’s solution to reducing long-term sickness benefit (see Professor Willem Buiter’s arguments.) This will not work. Psycho-practices work one-by-one and within a relationship of trust and care. This centrally driven control of psychopractice to produce a Government-defined result is a perverse use of Government power.

 

11.8 The independence of the Health Professions Council from the Government

A letter from Dr Roger Litten submitted to The Guardian on Monday 13 April, 2009, not now available on-line,:

Dear Sirs,

In just what way does Julian Lousada, Chair of the British Psychoanalytic Council (letters, Monday 13th April, available here), think that regulation by the Health Professionals Council will serve either the public or the future of the talking therapies in this country? Does he truly think that the Government’s proposals for the regulation of the profession under the HPC is an innocuous development that can remain divorced from the role of a semi-governmental organisation such as Skills for Health)  in drawing up standards of practice and training for the profession, the role of NICE in determining which forms of therapy are to be made available to the public, and the role of the IAPT project in restricting the public’s access to psychological therapy in the NHS to a single modality of therapy with a reduced range of goals and objectives?

Is there not a certain irony to the fact that it is at the very point that the teachers of our children have finally said enough to being subjected to the administration of the centrally defined tests and targets that have made our once-proud education system into the political football of successive governments that Mr. Lousada’s organisation is seeking to lead the way in signing us up to this Government’s agenda for a therapeutic state?

It is truly a sad day not just for the profession but also for the members of the public who might wish to make use of our services in the future to see the figures who claim to represent the profession in such a hurry to align themselves with proposals for the regulation of our practice by a state-approved bureaucracy.

It is an even greater irony that the supposed representatives of the profession of free speech in this country are not only so blind to the consequences of their actions but have also consistently refused the opportunity for any kind of effective discussion of these momentous developments amongst their own members.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Roger Litten Chair, Association for Lacanian Psychoanalysis in the United Kingdom

JE: HPO2001 was passed by collaborationists rather than MPs using their brains to critique. This whole structure is based on fantasy rather than that which over a hundred years of practice shows to work. Those wish their position/job to be Government-protected support this change in governance. Those who do not support this Government move towards totalitarian power are vilified: they are painted as actively promoting harm to those who choose to work with them.

 

11.9 An example of the protection of patient safety using current legislation

The following example was upheld by the bps as an example of why this protection legislation is needed. Please note: This was successfully prosecuted under current legislation. The main dupes appear to be the defence solicitors who employed this man. It is impossible to prove psychological harm in this case. The whole matter could be cleared up with Professor Buiter’s suggestion: the dissemination of information: those qualified and on the current bps. Quoted from: ‘The £250,000 ‘psychologist’ who fooled the courts for 27 years · ‘Expert witness’ convicted of deception charges · Miscarriage of justice fear in hundreds of cases’ by Karen McVeigh, Thursday February 22 2007, The Guardian (Available here) : Quote : A man who appeared as an expert forensic psychologist in hundreds of court cases was yesterday revealed to be a conman who had duped judges, barristers and their clients for almost three decades.

With his lofty motto – Exposing Unrighteousness for the Sake of Righteousness – and a string of letters after his name, Gene Morrison was paid at least £250,000 in taxpayers’ money over a 27-year period, giving evidence from the witness box and writing reports for the courts. In fact, his years of experience were entirely ficticious and his qualifications purchased online. Yesterday Morrison, 48, of Hyde, Cheshire, was described as a complete charlatan and found guilty of a host of deception charges.

Police are now having to reassess around 700 cases in which Morrison gave evidence, looking for possible miscarriages of justice and potentially opening the floodgates for appeals against convictions.

Neil Flewitt QC, prosecuting, said the defendant was not a “harmless but deluded amateur” but a cynical conman who had meddled in court cases to line his own pockets. He gave evidence in cases involving armed robbery, rape, death by dangerous driving, unexplained death and drugs offences.

Morrison managed to convince lawyers of his expertise despite his unorthodox ways. He once wore a fluorescent jacket with “forensic investigator” on it to a meeting with a client. On another occasion he was asked by a businessman to weed out a thief on his workforce. Morrison hired a lie detector from a firm called “Spies Are Us” and then, when he could not understand how to use it, told the client he could tell who was guilty of lying just by touching them. In another case he charged almost £2,000 to carry out a fingerprint examination of a condom wrapper on behalf of a suspect accused of rape.

Morrison, who is believed to have fathered up to nine children by a number of different women, told police he began working as a forensic investigator in 1977 after spotting an advert in a detective magazine offering correspondence degrees customers could buy.

It looked easier than going to a real university, he told the court.

The defendant held paper degree certificates for a BSc in Forensic Science, a Masters with excellence in Forensic Investigation and a Doctorate in Criminology – all purchased from a website called affordabledegrees.com. Customers could even choose their own grades.

The qualifications were awarded by the Rochville University in the US – which does not exist, except in cyberspace.

He claimed to have learned his skills from a retired West Yorkshire detective called John Pearson and a mysterious Mr X, a member of the Czech Republic ministry of defence he met by chance on a visit to Prague.

Morrison told officers he had begun an Open University degree in forensic or social psychology. But in court he admitted really only phoning the OU for a brochure and tape recording OU TV programmes from BBC2 in the 1970s.

Morrison set up a firm called the Criminal & Forensic Investigations Bureau and a website which boasted he had more than 20 years experience in forensic investigations.

Working from an office near his home in Hyde, Cheshire, he placed adverts in the Solicitors Journal, and started out by hiring real forensic scientists to carry out handwriting and fingerprint analysis which he would then claim as his own and charge clients twice the true price. Later he cut-and-pasted old reports together and changed details claiming the analysis was new.

Jamaican-born Morrison was convicted of 20 offences including obtaining a money transfer by deception, obtaining property by deception, perverting the course of justice and perjury, after a four-week trial at Minshull Street crown court, Manchester. He was cleared of one count of obtaining a money transfer by deception and the jury were still deliberating on a single count of intending to pervert the course of justice and one of attempting to obtain property by deception.

JE: There are laws in place for physical, sexual and financial abuse. Psychological harm is not only verging on impossible to define legally, but, even when there are pointers to its occurrence, how can it be proved that the psycho-practitioner is the cause? And does the imposition of HPO2001 onto psycho-practice, make a significant difference to that which can be achieved under current legislation? And can the costs of running the HPC and their fitness-to-practice medieval stocks be justified? Another reason to vote against.

 

11.10 Reasons given by the bps www.bps/org.uk for the introduction of statutory processes for use with those seeking psycho-practitioners’ help

From the bps Statutory Regulation web-site December 2008 (2012 – no longer available): Under current law, anyone can claim to be a psychologist, psychotherapist or counsellor and offer their services to the public irrespective of their training or experience. This fact may come as a surprise given the potential for harm to the mental well-being of clients, especially when the professions are compared with, for instance, doctors, lawyers and nurses, who have had statutory regulation for many years, offering the public legal safeguards from the unskilled and the unprofessional. The British Psychological Society has sought to ensure public protection for more than 40 years by means of the voluntary registration of its members, who must abide by its Code of Ethics and Conduct (formerly the Code of Conduct, Ethical Principles and Guidelines) and maintain appropriate standards of training and practice. The Society recognises however that this is insufficient and that statutory regulation, backed by the rule of law, is required for comprehensive public protection. Consequently, since the late 1960s it has been campaigning for just that.

JE: Thus the bps states that a) There are enough unqualified practitioners naming themselves psychologists to justify bps-registered psychologists being regulated by the government. Where is the evidence to justify this statement? The only example is given above and was prosecuted under current legislation.

b) That a statutory register is the only way to tackle this problem. Professor Buiter’s alternative is to disseminate information on how to check credentials. What is this evidence that this will not work?

c) That psychologists have a potential to harm the mental well-being of clients. What is the evidence for this statement? Except for psychologists being involved in regulating torture in the USA, how do you know that it is the psychologist who has caused or contributed to the alleged harm? Or is it a repetition of previous history?

d) That the bps has sought to ensure public protection. How do you protect the public from a practice which only works because of the relationship between practitioner and sufferer? The current complaints against psychologists seem to involve failure to take notes, inappropriate remarks, failure to keep appointments, and so on. From what is it that the public is being protected?

What is the evidence that the current registration system of bps members fails to protect users? Why does the State recognise the status quo as insufficient? What are the reasons? Where is the evidence?

 

11.11 The Chief Medical Officer’s evidence in support of this Order

Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer, uses fear of a repetition of Dr Shipman (a murderer who was state-registered), rapists and criminally incompetent surgeons in the Foreword to the White Paper: ‘ Trust, Assurance and Safety – the regulation of Health Professionals in the 21st century’ (Available here) to justify the State’s taking control of human distress. The Fifth Report of the Shipman Inquiry (Available here) and the recommendations of the Ayling, (Available here) Neale (Available here) and Kerr/Haslam Inquiries (Probably available here or here) form the main reasons for the existence of the HPC. None of these criminals (and extreme, single cases make bad law) are drawn from the field of psycho-practice. The greater majority of psycho-practice relies on speech. Speech does not kill. There are laws in place to deal with criminals and the police are the proper body to be investigating, not the HPC. The arguments ‘Good doctors, safer patients’ (Available here) rely on inappropriate examples: Without evidence, those who work with human suffering, physical, mental or psychic, are defined as working in the ‘high risk Health Industry. The contiguous association of hospitals, GP surgeries, etc with a high risk industry has no foundation. Further, the systems which Sir Liam devises to eliminate risk, are based on those used after Chernobyl, Alpha-Piper and pilot error. Psycho-practice involves two individual human beings. It is never an interface of human to machine.

There is no need for the HPC’s existence to tell me not to commit serial murder. If the police cannot foresee and prevent these criminal acts, then I suggest neither will the HPC. The HPC will be enforcing this legislation onto psychologists, psychotherapists, etc. Our working process relies on speech. Speech does not kill.

There are laws in place for financial, sexual, physical abuse. What is the HPC going to contribute which will add significantly to the protections in place?

 

11.12The British Psychological Society states this Order is not fit for purpose

From the bps statutory regulation web-site/ 9th March: Edited from: Letter to Chair of Joint Committee on the Statutory Instruments from British Psychological Society/ January 2009 (Available on LW here: January 2009: The bps’s plea to Parliament not to cosh it with regulation or here) We, therefore, feel that the proposed Statutory Instrument would not achieve its purpose of fully protecting the public from the full range of existing qualified practitioner psychologists; it may disbar existing Chartered Psychologists from future employment; and it may force some 2,000 existing Chartered Psychologists to go through potentially costly HPC grand parenting scrutiny.

JE: The bps does not want this legislation.

 

11.13 The House of Lords Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee states this Order gives rise to issues of public policy

The Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee has drawn the following SIs to the special attention of the House in this week’s Report (11th) (18th March 2009) (Available here): Draft Health Care and Associated Professions (Miscellaneous Amendments and Practitioner Psychologists) Order 2009

This Order makes a number of amendments to the governance arrangements for the General Dental Council, the Health Professions Council, and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, as well as various consequential amendments. It also introduces, for the first time, statutory regulation of practitioner psychologists throughout the United Kingdom and statutory regulation of pharmacy technicians in Scotland. The Committee has received correspondence from a number of psychotherapists and those practising similar disciplines: while many of the concerns expressed relate to a possible future Order, some of the issues mentioned, such as potential distortion of the market as a result of only regulating part of it, might arise as a result of the current instrument. A number of those currently practising in this field argue that the “one size fits all” approach to the regulation of the health professions will cause significant damage to their profession. They are asking that the Department of Health provide stronger evidence of the need to move away from voluntary regulation and how the policy proposed will increase the protection of the public. In debate, the House may wish to explore these issues further. Reported on the ground that they give rise to issues of public policy.

Complete report here

 

12.0 What is the shadow side of this Government-controlled and protected market?

This follows the pattern of finance. The centrally driven FSA replaces the autonomous professional associations. A shadow side of legally traded derivatives develops and explodes when it is realised they are worthless pieces of paper. They guarantee nothing but they were legally traded under the centrally controlled FSA. These are many shadow side results from the implementation of HPO2001 to psychopractice..

The major three are 1) The Government is the protector of access to jobs within its controlled monopolistic Market. This is why the bps are keen to comply. It puts them in prime position as the only supplier of practitioners with the Government safety-kite.

2) Anyone not within the Government’s protection, is automatically designated as unsafe: a charlatan or worse, someone intent on perpetrating criminal acts on those who consult them. This is the Government’s Iraq War strategy. Anyone who refuses to comply with the Government acting as the population’s Lord Protector, is vilified as David Kelly was over Iraq.

3) A shadow market is created. There follows extracts from a letter which promises to retrain psychologists so they can screw lots of money out of the Government. Also available: www.moodmaster.co.uk. I have also received a cold telephone call from this organisation promising me lots of Government money. Extract: Would you like to have new CBT-based material for you to deliver direct to clients, delivered to you every week? Well now you can! MoodMaster Professional provides you with weekly sessions lasting an hour or so, in which people hear really good information to help them build their mental capital. Effectively, you can instantly have available top quality content on depression / panic / irritability and anger / emotional control or stress and worry – whichever one you choose. Or, if you prefer, you can have a ‘master license’ with content that covers the whole sphere of building substantial mental capital. Either way, you have a readymade group. … MoodMaster Sessions: serious content in an accessible style. The 32 sessions listed here aim to cover the major factors involved in maintaining and developing emotional wellbeing – ‘mental capital’. Founded on cognitive behavioural therapy, the information is presented in a clear and easily understood way. Specialist licences include the modules specific to the subject in question (e.g. depression). … PPS: Look out for our ad that will shortly be appearing on the back of The Psychologist, which summarises things nicely.

JE: It is all legal. Instead of practices which work with people in a relationship of trust and love, then the above systems driven by the One Knowledge or savoir are recommended. Thus, this Government and its agencies (HPC, NICE, IAPT, SfH) vilifies those of us with years of training, development and experience of working with human distress and suffering. We will be outlawed by the application of HPO2001 to the psychopractitioners and. unless we become collaborationists, will be made criminals for continuing to practice. The Government will have taken away our livelihood to be replaced by a black market in hastily trained Government-approved practitioners.

Psychologists will have to retrain in Government-approved procedures such as those flogged by moodmasters if this legislation is allowed onto the statute book.

 

13.0 Ethics and this legislation – comments borrowed from the financial crash

From the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, 7 March 2009, Lecture: Ethics, Economics and Global (Available here) Quote: Basic to everything we might want to say about the financial crisis from the religious point of view is the question, “what for?” What is growth for? For what and for whom is wealth important? …

But behind such questions as these is the unavoidable issue of what human beings are for; or, to put it less crudely, what the content is of ideas of human dignity and where we look for their foundation or rationale. The principles outlined a moment ago require a context not only of geopolitical and social analysis, not even of pragmatic recognitions of the limits of material resources or the opportunity costs of certain financial decisions, but of a comprehensive sense of belonging in a world – and a world that is neither self-explanatory nor self-sufficient, but is transparent to a deeper level of agency or liberty, that level that is called God by the religious traditions of humanity.

In Christian belief, the world exists because of a free act of generous love by the creator. God has made a world in which, by working with the limitations of a material order declared by God to be ‘very good’, humans may reflect the liberty and generosity of God. And our salvation is the restoration of a broken relationship with this whole created order, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the establishing by the power of his Spirit a community in which mutual service and attention are the basic elements through which the human world becomes transparent to its maker.

The realising of that transparency is, for religious believers of whatever tradition, the beginning of happiness – not of a transient feeling of well-being or even euphoria, but of a settled sense of being at home, being absolved from urgent and obsessional desire, from the passion to justify your existence, from the anxieties of rivalry. And so what religious belief has to say in the context of our present crisis is, first, a call to lament the brokenness of the world and invite that change of heart which is so pivotal throughout the Jewish and Christian scriptures; and, second, to declare without ambiguity or qualification that human value rests on God’s creative love and not on possession or achievement. It is not for believers to join in the search for scapegoats, because there will always be, for the religious self, an awareness of complicity in social evil. Nor is it for believers to make light of the real suffering that goes with economic uncertainty and loss – no less real for the formerly affluent Westerner faced with redundancy than for the powerless farmer or woman worker enduring yet another change for the worse in a battered and injured African or Asian economy.

But the task is to turn people’s eyes back to the vision of a human dignity that is indestructible. This is the vision that will both allow us to retain a hold on our sense of worth even when circumstances are painful or humiliating and sustain the sense of obligation to the needs of others, near at hand or strangers, so that dignity may be made manifest. …

So: trustworthiness, realism or humility and the clear sense that we must resist polices or practices which accept the welfare of some at the expense of others – there is a back-of-an-envelope idea of where we might start in pressing for a global economic order that has some claim to be just ….

Equally it can’t be too often stressed that it is only the generosity of an ethical approach to these matters that can begin to relate material wealth to human wellbeing, the happiness that is spiritual and relational and based on the recognition of non-negotiable human worth. There is much to fear at the moment, but, as always, more to hope for – so long as we can turn our backs on the worlds of unreality so seductively opened up by some of our recent financial history. Patience, trust and the acceptance of a world of real limitation are all hard work; yet the only liberation that is truly worth while is the liberation to be where we are and who we are as human beings, to be anchored in the reality that is properly ours. Other less serious and less risky enterprises may appear to promise a power that exceeds our limitations – but it is at the expense of truth, and so, ultimately at the expense of human life itself.

Perhaps the very heart of the current challenge is the invitation to discover a little more deeply what is involved in human freedom – not the illusory freedom of some fantasy of control.

JE: This legislation drives a Government-controlled definition of what it means to be human on the basis of fear. Further, it isolates practitioners and sufferers alike, to be objects of Government control. Is this appropriate legislation for a Christian country? I think not.

I include a summary in the e-mail covering letter, given at the start of this post.

Thank you for reading this and I urge you to resist this legislation by voting in the House of Lords on Tuesday 5th May.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Julia Evans, Lacanian Psychoanalyst

For the attention of:

JOINT COMMITTEE ON STATUTORY INSTRUMENTS: MEMBERS

Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods MP

Mr Peter Bone MP

Mr Michael Jabez Foster MP

Mr David Kidney MP

Mr David Simpson MP

Lord Campbell of Alloway

Baroness Jones of Whitchurch

Lord Kimball

Countess of Mar

Earl of Mar and Kellie

Lord Walpole

HOUSE OF LORDS SELECT COMMITTEE ON THE MERITS OF STATUTORY INSTRUMENTS

Lord Filkin (Chairman)

Baroness Butler-Sloss

Lord Crisp

Baroness Deech

Viscount Eccles

Lord James of Blackheath

Lord Hart of Chilton

Lord Lucas

Baroness Maddock

Lord Rosser

Baroness Thomas of Winchester

JOINT COMMITTEE ON MENTAL HEALTH

Ms Lynne Jones MP

Ms Madeleine MoonMP

Dr Rudi VisMP

Dr Brian IddonMP

Baroness Wilkins

Mr Edward MilibandMP

Dr Ian GibsonMP

Mr Robert FlelloMP

Mr David TaylorMP

Mr Tim LoughtonMP

Mr Michael Gove MP

Ms Maria MillerMP

Mr Graham Stuart MP

Ms Anne MiltonMP

Earl of Listowel

HOUSE OF LORDS

GOVERNMENT SPOKESPERSONS (LABOUR):

President of the Council and Leader of the House of Lords: Baroness Royall of Blaisdon

Deputy Leader of the House of Lords: Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

Department of Health: Lord Darzi of Denham,

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Baroness Thornton

Lord Mandelson, Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform House of Lords

CONSERVATIVE PARTY SPOKESPERSONS

Leader of the Opposition: Lord Strathclyde

Deputy Leader of the Opposition: Lord Howell of Guildford

Department of Health: Earl Howe, Lord McColl of Dulwich, Baroness Verma

LIBERAL DEMOCRAT PARTY SPOKESPERSONS

Leader Lord McNally

Deputy Leaders: Lord Dholakia, & Lord Wallace of Saltire

Department of Health : Baroness Barker, & Baroness Tonge, Lord Carlisle of Berriew (Mental Health and Disability)

Address: House of Lords, London, SW1A 0PW

ALSO: Lord Alderdice,

Most Rev and Rt Hon the Archbishop of Canterbury

Baroness Knight

Lord Layard

Lord Mandelson

Baroness Meacher

Baroness O’Neill

Lord Rea

Most Rev and Rt Hon the Archbishop of York

_______________________________________________________

Copies to HOUSE OF COMMONS:

Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP, Secretary of State for Health

Mr Andrew Lansley CBE MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health

Mr Norman Lamb MP, Shadow Health Secretary, Liberal Democrats

Dr Vincent Cable MP – Julia Evans’ constituency MP

THE HOUSE OF COMMONS SELECT COMMITTEE ON HEALTH

Rt Hon Kevin Barron MP Chairman

Ms Charlotte Atkins MP

Mr Peter Bone MP

Mr Jim Dowd MP

Ms Sandra Gidley MP

Mr Stephen Hesford MP

Dr Doug Naysmith MP

Mr Lee Scott MP

Dr Howard Stoate MP

Mr Robert Syms MP

Dr Richard Taylor MP

Address: House of Commons, LONDON, SW1A 0AA



[i] Dame Janet Smith The Shipman Enquiry Reports

FIRST REPORT

Death Disguised          published 19 July 2002

In the Inquiry’s First Report, the Chairman, Dame Janet Smith DBE, considered how many patients Shipman killed, the means employed and the period over which the killings took place.

SECOND REPORT

The Police Investigation of March 1998        published 14 July 2003

Command Paper Cm 5853

In the Inquiry’s Second Report, the Chairman, Dame Janet Smith DBE, examined the conduct of the police investigation into Shipman that took place in March 1998 and failed to uncover his crimes.

THIRD REPORT

Death Certification and the Investigation of Deaths by Coroners     published 14 July 2003

Command Paper Cm 5854

In the Inquiry’s Third Report, the Chairman, Dame Janet Smith DBE, considered the present system for death and cremation certification and for the investigation of deaths by coroners, together with the conduct of those who had operated those systems in the aftermath of the deaths of Shipman’s victims. She has made recommendations for change based on her findings.

FOURTH REPORT

The Regulation of Controlled Drugs in the Community        published 15 July 2004

Command Paper Cm 6249

In the Inquiry’s Fourth Report, the Chairman, Dame Janet Smith DBE, considered the systems for the management and regulation of controlled drugs, together with the conduct of those who operated those systems. She has made recommendations for change based upon her findings.

FIFTH REPORT

Safeguarding Patients: Lessons from the Past – Proposals for the Future      published 9 December 2004

Command Paper Cm 6394

In the Inquiry’s Fifth Report, the Chairman, Dame Janet Smith DBE, considered the handling of complaints against general practitioners (GPs), the raising of concerns about GPs, General Medical Council procedures and its proposal for revalidation of doctors. She has made recommendations for change based upon her findings.

SIXTH REPORT

Shipman: The Final Report    published 27 January 2005

In the Inquiry’s Sixth and final Report, the Chairman, Dame Janet Smith DBE considered how many patients Shipman killed during his career as a junior doctor at Pontefract General Infirmary between 1970 and 1974. She also considered a small number of cases from Shipman’s time in Hyde, which the Inquiry became aware of after the publication of the First Report. She also considered the claims by a former inmate at HMP Preston regarding alleged claims by Shipman about the number of patients he had killed.