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Withdrawal of Membership/Registration

       

September 2014: Joanne Louise Blackledge, Reference No: 679904 , Wigan WN3 5JA


The complaint against the above individual member was taken to Adjudication in line with the Professional Conduct Procedure.

The complaint was heard under the BACP Professional Conduct Procedure and the Panel considered the alleged breaches of the BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

The focus of the complaint, as summarised by the Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel, is as follows:  One of Ms Blackledge's clients, referred to in the complaint submission as Mr C, was regarded by the complainant organisation as a vulnerable adult due to his cocaine addiction, and in [ . . . ] Mr C's wife made a complaint to the organisation against Ms Blackledge alleging that she had had an affair with her husband. This complaint led to a formal investigation in the course of which it is alleged that further concerns relating to Ms Blackledge came to light. These further concerns included issues of timekeeping and completion of her hours of work; her whereabouts and accountability; her maintenance of boundaries and "personal overspill"; and issues relating to the accuracy of her paperwork and claim forms.

A wide ranging formal investigation was conducted by the organisation which involved obtaining and scrutinising a large amount of paperwork including Ms Blackledge's diary, her mobile phone records, her supervision records, her worksheets, her timesheets and her Client Contact Hours records. Ms Blackledge herself was interviewed twice, her work colleagues were interviewed, and the client and his wife, Mr and Mrs C, were also interviewed. The investigation concluded that there was strong evidence to support the allegation that Ms Blackledge had a personal relationship with Mr C before counselling ended and that she had a sexual relationship before or shortly after counselling ended, together with evidence which supported a number of other allegations of unprofessional conduct, and the matter was referred to a formal Disciplinary
Hearing.

At the Disciplinary Hearing (which Ms Blackledge declined to attend) the following formal allegations were before the panel arising out of the conclusions of the Formal Investigation:

Allegation 1:That Ms Blackledge began a personal relationship with a service user who was a vulnerable adult prior to counselling ending.

This allegation was evidenced by records of a multiplicity of mobile phone text messages allegedly between Ms Blackledge and Mr C during the currency of the counselling relationship, often of a personal and intimate nature and often late at night. This allegation was also supported by evidence from Mr C himself.

Allegation 2: That Ms Blackledge began an intimate sexual relationship with a vulnerable adult client before or shortly after counselling ended.

This allegation was similarly supported by mobile phone text messaging records and again by Mr C's statement during the Investigation, together with the statement of his wife. Ms Blackledge allegedly denied the existence of any such relationship when interviewed during the Investigation.

Allegation 3: That Ms Blackledge did not seek sufficient and adequate individual casework supervision before the personal relationship began.

This allegation was supported by statements from her colleagues and supervision notes to the effect that, while she allegedly had disclosed that her client Mr C had expressed feelings for her, she had stated that these were not reciprocated by her. Supervision notes indicated that her supervision had never altered from the minimum of 1.5 hours per month and had not increased during this period, contrary, it was alleged, to expectations given the gravity of the situation.

Allegation 4: That Ms Blackledge did not follow the BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice and did not maintain appropriate, professional and ethical boundaries.

This allegation was evidenced by witness statements, including those of Mr and Mrs C, mobile phone logs and screenshots of phone bills and texts, many provided by Mr and Mrs C. It was alleged that there was clear evidence of both a personal and a sexual relationship between Ms Blackledge and her client around the counselling relationship, and a failure to respect a clear boundary between her work and her personal life in relation to this client.

Allegation 5: That Ms Blackledge continued to text and telephone the client and his wife with intimidating texts/voicemails after her first interview where she was told not to contact anyone involved in the investigation.

This was evidenced through a letter allegedly sent by the organisation to Ms Blackledge containing the instruction, and by way of screenshots and mobile phone records showing contact with Mr and Mrs C allegedly from Ms Blackledge in April 2013 during the Investigation.

Allegation 6: That Ms Blackledge claimed on her time sheet for hours she did not work.

Evidence was presented of early warnings by the organisation to Ms Blackledge in November 2012 of the need to keep accurate records of hours worked in order to be accountable, and of Ms Blackledge agreeing to do so. Despite that it was alleged that a number of her later claims for work done were fraudulent and were contradicted by witness statements from work colleagues concerning, for example, meetings that had been cancelled and time off that Ms Blackledge had taken away from work.

Allegation 7: That Ms Blackledge did not follow [ . . .] policies and procedures

Evidence of alleged breaches of a range of [ . . . ]'s policies and procedures were presented to the hearing, including alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct for Employees, Anti-Fraud, Bribery and Corruption, Data Protection, Information Security, Health and Safety and Social Media.

Allegation 8: That Ms Blackledge breached the Acceptable Use of ICT Policy in terms of using her work mobile for personal use with no arrangement or agreement to repay the costs and allowed her son to use/have access to her mobile (which contained client names, telephone numbers and texts)

This was evidenced by the alleged excessive texting between Ms Blackledge and Mr C and her alleged admission that she allowed her son to use the phone.

Allegation 9: That Ms Blackledge did not comply with the terms and conditions of service in that she did not cooperate with the interview and did not give truthful answers to questions asked.

Evidence supporting this allegation was presented in the form of the contradictions between what Ms Blackledge allegedly told the Investigation through her denials of any unprofessional relationship with Mr C, and the screenshots and phone records presented by Mr C. It was therefore alleged that the evidence of contact she had with Mr C demonstrated that she was lying at her Investigation interviews.

Allegation 10: That Ms Blackledge put other colleagues at risk by not informing them (as requested) of a safety concern which was a reasonable management instruction.

The organisation presented a risk assessment which had been done in relation to Ms Blackledge's own safety from possible retaliation from Mrs C and allegedly then instructed Ms Blackledge to inform all her work colleagues of this safety concern. Witness statements all suggest, it is alleged, that she failed to do so.

Allegation 11: By Ms Blackledge's actions she has damaged the reputation of [ . . . ] and brought the [ . . . ] into disrepute.

Evidence supporting this allegation came in the form of Mr and Mrs C's stated intention to sue the [ . . . ] because of the difficulties suffered and damage done to their marriage and family as a consequence of Ms Blackledge's conduct.

Allegation 12: That Ms Blackledge has breached the trust and confidence placed in her between employee and employer.

Evidence presented in relation to this allegation included Ms Blackledge's alleged inappropriate and unprofessional behaviour; her alleged failure to follow management instructions; her alleged dishonesty relating to her timesheet; her alleged breach of client confidentiality; and her alleged breaches of numerous [. . . ] policies and procedures.

The Disciplinary Hearing took place in Ms Blackledge's absence on 26 September 2013. It found all the allegations proved (allegations 8 and 10 being only partially upheld) and further held that Ms Blackledge's conduct amounted to gross misconduct. Had she not already resigned the panel found that she would have been summarily dismissed.

While drawing a clear distinction between workplace disciplinary proceedings and professional ethical considerations, the complainant organisation (itself an organisational member of BACP) alleged that aspects of Ms Blackledge's alleged conduct while in their employment also amounted to significant and serious breaches of the BACP Ethical Framework.

The Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel, in accepting this complaint, was concerned with the allegations made within the complaint suggesting a contravention of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy, and those in particular are as follows:

1.    Ms Blackledge allegedly abused Mr C's trust in entering into a personal relationship with Mr C a vulnerable client and further abused his trust in having a sexual relationship with Mr C and in so doing allegedly failed to provide Mr C with a good quality of care. 

2.    Ms Blackledge allegedly failed in her responsibility to monitor and maintain her fitness to practise at a level enabling her to provide an effective service as illustrated by her not using supervision effectively once her effectiveness had been impaired through having an inappropriate non-professional relationship with Mr C.

3.    Ms Blackledge allegedly failed to clarify and agree with Mr C their respective rights and responsibilities at the point during the counselling relationship when Mr C had started to have emotional feelings for Ms Blackledge. 

4.    Ms Blackledge allegedly did not respond appropriately to the complaint as illustrated by her alleged inappropriate contact with the Mr C and his wife following an instruction from the complainant organisation to refrain from contact with parties to the investigation.

5.    Ms Blackledge allegedly failed to remedy any harm caused to Mr C. 

6.    Ms Blackledge allegedly failed to discuss with her supervisor, manager or other experienced practitioner the circumstances in which she may have harmed Mr C in order to ensure that the appropriate steps had been taken to mitigate any harm to Mr C and to prevent any repetition. 

7.    Ms Blackledge was allegedly not honest, straightforward and accountable in that she claimed on her timesheet for hours she had not worked.

8.    Ms Blackledge allegedly did not take account of the different policies and ways of working while employed by the complainant organisation in that she allegedly failed to abide by the [ . . . ] Policies and Procedures, the acceptable use of ICT Policy and the terms and conditions of service. 

9.    Ms Blackledge allegedly failed to communicate with her colleagues about Mr C in a professional and respectful way consistent with the management of confidence in that she discussed her client work with Mr C with a colleague/s other than her supervisor relating to her feelings for Mr C.

10.  Ms Blackledge allegedly failed to conduct her professional relationships in a spirit of mutual respect and attain good working relationships and systems of communication as illustrated by her alleged failure to communicate to colleagues a potential concern for safety following a risk assessment made in relation to herself; by her alleged failure to regard an instruction from her employer not to contact the parties to the investigation; by her alleged deception of her supervisor in supervision in not providing her full facts and keeping her informed with regard to the work with client C and by allegedly not being honest with [ . . . ], the counselling Services Co-ordinator, throughout the course of the investigation. 

11.  Ms Blackledge allegedly did not honour the trust of clients in that she allowed her son inappropriate access to her work phone containing client details.      

12.  Ms Blackledge's alleged behaviour, as evidenced by the complainant organisation, suggests a contravention in particular of paragraphs 1, 3, 11, 17, 40, 41, 42, 43, 51, 55, 56 and 62 and the ethical principles of Being Trustworthy, Beneficence and Non-Maleficence of the Ethical
Framework for Good Practice in Counselling & Psychotherapy (2010/2013), and showed a lack of the personal moral qualities of  Integrity, Respect, Humility, Competence and Wisdom to which counsellors are strongly encouraged to aspire.

In response to a letter sent by BACP to the Member on 25 June 2014 requesting confirmation of whether or not she would be attending this hearing, the Member responded stating that she would not be in attendance at this hearing and that it could proceed without her or anyone else in attendance on her behalf.   The matter was therefore referred for consideration under paragraph 4.9 of the Professional Conduct Procedure  which states:

Where a Complainant or Member/Registrant Complained Against fails or refuses to attend a Professional Conduct Hearing, the Registrar has the power to decide to either:

a) proceed with the Hearing in the absence of one or both of the parties; or

b) adjourn the Hearing to a date not less than 28 days in advance; or

c) terminate the proceedings; or

d) refer the matter for consideration under Article 12.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association

The options were carefully considered and a decision was made by the Registrar to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the Member Complained Against and the member was notified of this in writing on 1 July 2014.

Findings

On balance, having fully considered the above, the Panel made the following findings: 

1. There was evidence introduced by the complainant in the form of text messages and screenshots of messages between Ms Blackledge and Mr C which the panel found demonstrated that the nature of their relationship was both personal and sexual.   Further, the Panel had sight of the interview record for Mr & Mrs C which corroborated the existence of a personal and sexual relationship between Ms Blackledge and Mr C.  The Panel accepted that Mr C fell within the definition of a vulnerable client because he was a client seeking counselling and the reason for his referral which was set out in his referral form fit the criterion of a vulnerable client as depicted within the organisations' policies.  The Panel therefore found that by entering into a personal and sexual     relationship with a vulnerable client, Ms Blackledge abused Mr C's trust and failed to provide him with a good quality of care.  This allegation is therefore upheld. 

2. The Panel reviewed the notes of Ms Blackledge's clinical supervisor, which had been submitted by the complainant and noted that whilst these notes referred to Mr C's attraction to Ms Blackledge it made no mention of Ms Blackledge's own attraction to Mr C nor of the extent of her personal and sexual relationship with Mr C.   In view of this, the Panel agreed that Ms Blackledge failed in her responsibility to monitor and maintain her fitness to practise at a level that enabled her to provide an effective service given that she failed to use supervision appropriately when her effectiveness had been impaired.  This allegation is therefore upheld.

3. There was evidence that Ms Blackledge did make some attempt to clarify the rights and responsibilities with Mr C at the point during their counselling relationship when he disclosed that he had feelings for her.  However, the panel found that the clarification given by Ms Blackledge was not sufficient and was inappropriate given that the panel accepted Mr C's written evidence that Ms Blackledge had given him the option of terminating therapy and embarking on a personal relationship.  There was no evidence provided either in the record of the interview conducted by Ms Blackledge's employer at the time nor in the notes of her clinical supervisor that Ms Blackledge had clarified her responsibilities as a counsellor and made it explicitly clear to Mr C that she could not engage in a personal relationship with him.  This allegation is therefore upheld.

4. The Panel saw evidence that Ms Blackledge was given explicit instructions both in the letter notifying her of the date of the investigatory interview and during the interview, not to contact any colleagues or witnesses involved in the investigation.  The Panel saw evidence that despite this instruction, Ms Blackledge continued to enter into text message exchanges with Mr C and his wife, after the complaint had been made and found that in doing so Ms Blackledge did not respond appropriately to the complaint.  This allegation is therefore upheld.

5. There was no evidence presented to the Panel that Ms Blackledge made any attempt to remedy the harm that she had caused to Mr C.  The Panel found that Ms Blackledge's actions in continuing to contact Mr C when she had been explicitly told not to and issuing threats to him, she     exacerbated the harm that she had caused to Mr C.   This allegation is therefore upheld.

6. There was no evidence from the notes of Ms Blackledge's clinical supervisor nor in the notes of her line manager that Ms Blackledge had ever discussed with them or another experienced practitioner the circumstances in which she may have harmed Mr C to enable her to take the appropriate steps to mitigate any harm to him and to prevent any repetition.  This was further evidenced by the text messages Ms Blackledge continued to send to Mr C after she was specifically directed not to have any contact with him.  This allegation is therefore upheld.

7. The Panel heard evidence from the complainant that when Ms Blackledge's timesheets were reviewed, there was evidence that Ms Blackledge had claimed for time that she had not worked.  Further the panel heard evidence that the hours that Ms Blackledge stated that she worked on the whiteboard used for that purpose by staff in the office did not add up to the number of hours that Ms Blackledge was required to work on a weekly basis.  In view of both the oral and written evidence presented by the complainant the panel found that Ms Blackledge failed to be honest, straightforward and accountable in claiming on her timesheet for hours she had not worked.  This allegation is therefore upheld.

8. The Panel heard oral evidence from the complainant and had the opportunity to review the written evidence provided and noted that Ms Blackledge was provided with a mobile phone for work purposes and a policy which set out the limitations of use for a work mobile was in force and not complied with by Ms Blackledge.  In particular the panel saw evidence that Ms Blackledge had allowed her son to use her mobile phone, which contained client information and had engaged in extensive phone contact with Mr C without authorisation, both of which was against stated policy.  The panel therefore found that in failing to comply with the policies her former employer had in place, Ms Blackledge failed to take account of the different policies and ways of working.  This allegation is therefore upheld.

9. In the written evidence provided by the complainant there was evidence to suggest that Ms Blackledge had discussed Mr C with at least three colleagues, none of whom were her supervisor and discussed with one colleague the fact that she felt confused about how she felt for Mr C.      Given that there was no evidence that Ms Blackledge had discussed these feelings with either her clinical supervisor or line manager, the Panel  found that in discussing Mr C with her colleagues, which was against best practice within the organisation, Ms Blackledge failed to communicate with her colleagues in a professional and respectful way consistent with the management of confidence.  This allegation is therefore upheld.

10. The Panel heard evidence that Ms Blackledge had discussed concerns she had in management supervision regarding Mrs C.  As a result of  these concerns, a risk assessment had been carried out and Ms Blackledge was given instructions to communicate the contents of this risk assessment with her colleagues.   There was clear evidence presented by the complainant that Ms Blackledge did not comply with this request either by verbally notifying her colleagues or by emailing them which would have been the preferred method.  In failing to do this, the Panel found that Ms Blackledge failed to conduct her professional relationships in a spirit of mutual respect and attain good working relationships and systems of communication.  This part of the allegation is therefore upheld.

Further the Panel heard evidence that Ms Blackledge had been issued with clear written instructions not to contact any parties involved in the investigation, but despite this instruction continued to make contact with Mr C, a party in the investigation and issued threats.  The Panel therefore found that Ms Blackledge did fail to regard an instruction from her employer not to contact parties to the investigation. This part of the allegation is therefore upheld. 

The Panel noted that in the written evidence provided there was nothing to suggest that Ms Blackledge had disclosed to her clinical supervisor or line manager the true extent of her personal relationship with Mr C.  Further there was evidence that Ms Blackledge did not discuss with her supervisor the fact that she had changed the length and frequency of her sessions with Mr C.  The Panel therefore found that Ms Blackledge
deceived her supervisor in not providing her with the full facts and keeping her informed with her work with Mr C.  This part of the allegation is therefore upheld. 

It was noted by the Panel that during the course of the investigation, Ms Blackledge failed to acknowledge that she had engaged in a personal and sexual relationship with Mr C, despite the strong evidence indicating she had done so contained within the extensive text messages, some of which the Panel had sight of where Ms Blackledge referred to her personal relationship with Mr C and her feelings for him.  The existence of a personal relationship was also confirmed by Mr and Mrs C during their interview.   The Panel therefore found that Ms Blackledge had not been honest with the counselling services co-ordinator throughout the course of the investigation.  This part of the allegation is therefore upheld.

For the reasons stated above, this allegation is upheld.

11. During her interview Ms Blackledge accepted that she gave her son access to her work mobile but stated that she did this because he needed to check whether his sim card worked.  The Panel also saw evidence of numerous calls from Ms Blackledge's work phone to her personal phone, some of which were denoted in the call log as "mum".   The Panel therefore found that in allowing her son access to her work mobile, which it found to be inappropriate, Ms Blackledge failed to honour the trust of her clients.  This allegation is therefore upheld.

12. In light of the above findings, the Panel was satisfied that paragraphs 1, 3, 11, 17, 40, 41, 42, 43, 51, 55, 56 and 62 and the ethical principles of Being Trustworthy, Beneficence and Non-Maleficence of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy 2010/2013 had been breached.  It also found that Ms Blackledge lacked the personal moral qualities of Integrity, Respect, Humility, Competence and Wisdom to which all practitioners are strongly encouraged to aspire. 

Decision

Accordingly, the Panel was unanimous in its decision that these findings amounted to Bringing the Profession into disrepute in that Ms Blackledge had behaved in such an infamous and disgraceful way that the public's trust in the profession might reasonably be undermined if they were accurately informed about all the circumstances of this case.

Mitigation

As Ms Blackledge did not respond to the allegations and did not attend the hearing, there was no mitigation offered.

Sanction

In considering the most appropriate sanction to impose, the Panel noted that Ms Blackledge had made no acknowledgement of any wrongdoing on her part and showed no evidence of insight or learning. The Panel noted the strict requirement in the Ethical Framework that sexual relationships with clients are prohibited.  It was also concerned that despite being given clear instructions on multiple occasions not to contact Mr C, Ms Blackledge did contact Mr C and issued threats to him. Having regard to the serious nature of the Panel's finding and BACP's remit of public protection, the panel was unanimous that Ms Blackledge's membership should be withdrawn.

(Where ellipses [...] are displayed, they indicate an omission of text) 

       

  

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September 2014: Milton Keynes City Counselling Centre (MKCCC), Reference No: 112660, Milton
Keynes MK9 2ES


The complaint against the above organisational member was taken to Adjudication in line with the Professional Conduct Procedure.

The complaint was heard under the BACP Professional Conduct Procedure and the Panel considered the alleged breaches of the BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

The focus of the complaint, as summarised by the Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel, is that in September 2012 the CEO of Milton Keynes City Counselling Centre (MKCCC) retired after 20 years and was replaced by a non-clinical CEO.  There was some dissatisfaction, and expressed concerns, but matters came to a head when A, a self-employed counsellor working at the Centre, was sacked in January 2013.  A was the [ . . . ]
within the organisation.

A requested that she be allowed to offer 2 endings sessions to her vulnerable clients, but was told that she was not allowed in the building, with immediate effect.  The lead supervisor of the [ . . . ], B, appealed this decision but was referred back to the CEO. 

However, A's clients allegedly were not informed that A was no longer available, and at least one turned up for an appointment.  One client was so distressed that they had a panic attack in reception, and were dealt with by the non-clinical volunteer co-ordinator.  The complainants allege that the fact that A's clients were left without a counsellor and without support in place for them is unethical.

A herself wrote to the board of trustees strongly denying that she was unsafe to work with her clients, and stating that both her supervisors were happy to write supportive letters if needs be.

As a direct result of A's sacking, [ . . . ] resigned as he was not consulted prior to A being sacked nor was he informed that she had been sacked.  The temporary clinical lead, C, who had covered for him whilst he was sick, was appointed to the position.  Allegedly C was not  experienced enough for this role, and allegedly, when covering the service, would be in her room, on the phone with the door shut.  When asked
direct questions she allegedly was "hesitant and unhelpful".

During this period of change and upheaval, clinical cover was also allegedly provided by the CEO who allegedly lacked appropriate qualifications and experience to provide such cover. 

Since that time, there was allegedly very low morale in the organisation.  In excess of thirty people are alleged to have resigned from the organisation since October 2012, including the complainants themselves.

The chair of the trustees also supervised counsellors in the organisation, and two other trustees were members of her supervision group.  In addition, the chair supervised an MKCCC counsellor for her work outside MKCCC.  These matters all allegedly raised ethical questions with regard to the keeping of safe boundaries within the organisation.

The complainants alleged that trust has broken down in the organisation, with particular regard to the support of both clients and counsellors, and those agreements and contracts have not been honoured.  This has allegedly left counsellors reluctant to give notice of intention to leave.

The complainants alleged a lack of understanding and commitment of the needs of both counsellors and clients, and that the abrupt endings of client sessions amount to harm.

The Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel, in accepting this complaint, was concerned with the allegations made within the complaint suggesting a contravention of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy, and those in particular are as follows:

1.    Milton Keynes City Counselling Centre allegedly did not give careful consideration to the limitations of its training and experience and work within these limits, when clinical cover was provided by [. . . ] who lacked the clinical qualifications and experience necessary to provide such cover.

2.    In the unusual circumstances of having to contact A's clients following the termination of her contract for services, Milton Keynes City Counselling Centre allegedly did not provide a good quality of care to those clients in that it subsequently failed to contact the clients and to use
the same system of contact as was the custom and practice operated by A to try and contact clients.  This, it is alleged, resulted in client distress.

3.    Milton Keynes City Counselling Centre allegedly failed to consider the implications of entering into dual roles and failed to avoid entering into multiple dual roles in that the chair of the trustees was allowed to perform both counselling and supervisory roles at the centre including
the provision of supervision to fellow trustees and the provision of supervision to a member of staff for private work.

4.    Milton Keynes City Counselling Centre allegedly did not avoid nor manage the conflict of interest that arose in allowing a trustee to provide supervision to a member of staff for private work and in allowing trustees to carry out clinical roles within the centre.   

5.    Milton Keynes City Counselling Centre allegedly did not conduct its professional relationships respectfully and endeavour to enhance good working relationships and systems of communication within the centre, in that the complainants were left with unresolved concerns relating to
communication, transparency and arrangements for clinical cover.  It is further alleged that Milton Keynes City Counselling Centre, did not conduct its professional relationships respectfully in that the morale of the majority of the counselling team was at an all-time low as a result of the sudden departure of colleagues and the lack of clear and timely communications regarding interim arrangements over clinical support,
supervision and management processes. 

6.    Milton Keynes City Counselling Centre alleged behaviour, as experienced by the complainants, suggests a contravention in particular of paragraphs 1, 2, 4, 51 and 63 and the ethical principles of Being Trustworthy and Beneficence of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in
Counselling & Psychotherapy (2010/2013), and showed a lack of the personal moral qualities of Integrity, Competence and Wisdom to which  counsellors are strongly encouraged to aspire.

One of the complainants was not in attendance and gave notice to BACP that she would not be attending and stated that she was happy for the hearing to proceed in her absence.  Milton Keynes City Counselling Centre was also not in attendance and its representative notified BACP that it would not be attending as the member organisation had dissolved.

The matter was referred for consideration under paragraph 4.9 of the Professional Conduct Procedure which states:

Where a Complainant or Member Complained Against fails or refuses to attend a Professional Conduct Hearing, the Registrar and Director of BACP Registers has the power to decide to either:

a)    Proceed with the Hearing in the absence of one or both parties; or

b)    Adjourn the Hearing to a date not less than 28 days in advance; or

c)    Terminate the proceedings; or

d)    Refer the matter for consideration under Article 12.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.

The options were carefully considered, and in light of the circumstances, a decision was made to proceed with the hearing in the absence of one of the complainants and Milton Keynes City Counselling Centre.

Findings

On balance, having fully considered the above, the Panel made the following findings: 

1. The Panel heard evidence from the complainants regarding the procedure adopted in relation to clinical cover.  The complainants explained that historically clinical cover was arranged co-operatively between counsellors who had some supervision or management responsibility and was done on a rota basis.  Subsequently when the new CEO took over, the role of a single internal clinical lead was created.  There was evidence that the CEO had informed staff that any out of hours clinical issues should be referred to her.  There was however, no evidence that the CEO herself had provided any clinical cover.  Further there was no evidence presented to the Panel that even if the CEO had provided clinical cover, that she lacked the clinical qualifications and experience necessary to provide such cover.  The Panel therefore found that there was insufficient evidence to demonstrate that MKCCC did not give careful consideration to the limitations of its training and experience and work within these limits.  This allegation is therefore not upheld.

2. The Panel reviewed the copies of client records submitted and accepted that there was evidence that MKCCC had made some attempts to contact the clients of the counsellor whose contract for service MKCCC had terminated.  However it considered that those attempts were insufficient in circumstances where a counselling relationship had been ended so abruptly, and were ineffective when one of the counsellor's clients arrived for their session.  The Panel heard evidence that this client suffered a panic attack upon discovering that their counsellor was not available and had to be dealt with by the receptionist as there was no clinical cover within the centre to assist the receptionist and attend to the client. The Panel heard that this caused distress to both the client and the receptionist.  The Panel found that this resulted in a failure on the part of MKCCC to provide that client with a good quality of care.  The Panel noted that a suggestion had been made by the counsellor to have at least two ending sessions with her clients but this request was not permitted by MKCCC.  The Panel heard evidence from the complainants in attendance that the normal procedure to follow when notifying a counsellor's client that they would not be in attendance, would be to contact the client by phone and text, if they had opted to receive text messages, and write to the client asking them to contact the centre.  If contact with      the client could not be established then a supervisor or manager would be on hand to see the client in the event that they turned up for their      session so that they could "hold" that client until such time as they could be allocated to another counsellor.  Whilst the Panel noted that there was some clinical cover, it considered that as a result of depleting resources, the clinical cover that was in place when the counsellor's client arrived for their session was inadequate since there was no clinical cover at that particular time.  The Panel therefore found that MKCC failed to provide a good quality of care to those clients affected by the departure of the counsellor in that it failed to make appropriate contact with the clients affected and failed to use the same system of contact described by the complainants and used by the counsellor in question.  This allegation is therefore upheld.

3. The Panel heard evidence from the complainants that whilst the chair of the trustees provided supervision, she did not provide counselling.      The Panel accepted the complainants' evidence that the dual role did not become detrimental until problems arose within the organisation.  As a result of these problems the Panel heard that counsellors began to use supervision to discuss issues within the organisation rather than their client work.  There was written evidence that the chair of the trustees withdrew from the supervision group she provided once her position became untenable, due to the discontent expressed by the counsellors regarding MKCCC.  There was no evidence that MKCCC had given any consideration to the implications of its trustees entering into dual roles. By virtue of the fact that the chair of trustees provided group supervision, there was evidence that MKCCC had entered into multiple dual roles.  Further, the Panel accepted the written evidence that the chair of trustees also provided individual supervision to trustees and a member of staff regarding their private work, which subsequently became detrimental to that counsellor when issues within the organisation developed.  The Panel therefore found that MKCCC failed to consider the implications of entering into dual roles and failed to avoid entering into those multiple dual roles.  This allegation is therefore upheld.

4. The complainants stated that a conflict of interest only arose when issues developed within the organisation.  The Panel found that MKCCC did not foresee the potential conflict of interest that could arise or avoid or manage the conflict of interest once it developed.  The Panel noted that whilst there was evidence that the chair of trustees stepped down as group supervisor, there was no evidence that she ceased providing supervision to other members of staff at the centre.  Further, the Panel also accepted that the chair of trustees provided supervision to a member of staff in relation to their private work and that in providing such supervision, the chair of trustees was fulfilling a clinical role, which in the circumstances, became detrimental to the supervisee.  The Panel therefore found that MKCCC failed to avoid and manage the conflict of      interest which arose.  This allegation is therefore upheld.

5. The Panel heard evidence that during the tenure of the previous CEO, it was customary for a newsletter to be produced on a weekly basis which, amongst other things, gave details of staff movement and news about projects, which the Panel heard was the fundamental way of communicating with everyone within the organisation.  The complainants stated that when the new CEO took over, there initially was no newsletter and when it was produced, it was no longer produced weekly and did not contain the information which it had previously.  The Panel heard evidence that once problems developed within the organisation, staff directed queries to the trustees and the CEO, which were either not fully addressed or in some cases not addressed at all.  In some instances counsellors received no reply to their emails.  The Panel also heard evidence that whilst a temporary internal clinical lead was put in place to provide clinical cover following the departure of the previous internal clinical lead, this person was not always available and there was no communication to members of staff over the arrangements for clinical cover during this person's absence.  The complainants gave evidence that prior to the decision being made to dismiss the counsellor and co-ordinator of one of the services, there was no discussion or consultation with either of the counsellor's supervisors, as would have been the expected procedure.  Further, the Panel heard evidence that morale was low and a large number of staff who had been at the service for many years left in view of the issues that had developed as a result of the sudden departure of colleagues, and the lack of clear and timely communications regarding interim arrangements over clinical support, supervision and management processes.  This impacted upon the effectiveness of the service that was being provided to clients.  The complainants also gave evidence that the external clinical lead for the whole service did not meet the new CEO until 3 months after the CEO had started, that the Drop-in Service had been running without a co-ordinator for some months and that two of the three supervision groups had been without a supervisor for three months.  The Panel therefore, found that MKCCC failed to develop its professional relationships respectfully and endeavour to enhance good working relationships and systems of communication within the centre.  This allegation is therefore upheld.

6. In light of the above findings, the Panel was satisfied that paragraphs 1, 4, 51 and 63 of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy (2013 edition) and the ethical principles of Being Trustworthy and Beneficence had been breached.  It also found that Milton Keynes City Counselling Centre lacked the personal moral qualities of Integrity, Competence and Wisdom to which all practitioners are strongly urged to aspire.  The Panel did not find that paragraph 2 of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy (2013 edition) had been breached.

Decision

Accordingly, the Panel was unanimous in its decision that these findings amounted to Serious Professional Malpractice in that the service for which MKCCC was responsible fell below the standard that would reasonably be expected of an organisation exercising reasonable care and skill.  The Panel agreed that in view of the findings, MKCCC was incompetent, negligent, reckless and provided inadequate professional services. 

Mitigation

There was no evidence of grounds for mitigation in the written evidence submitted by the Member Complained Against, and the Member Complained Against was not present at the adjudication so no mitigation was presented there on its behalf.

Sanction

In view of the serious nature of the findings, BACP's remit of public protection and the impact of MKCCC's actions on both clients and counsellors within the centre, the Panel was unanimous in its decision to withdraw membership from MKCCC.  The Panel also had regard to the
fact that MKCCC as an organisation was now dissolved and therefore no longer existed as a legal entity.

       

  

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August 2014: Chrysalis Courses Ltd (Dissolved 20/05/2014), Reference No: 133174, Somerset TA6
3EW, Company No. 05770994


The complaint against the above organisational member was taken to Adjudication in line with the Professional Conduct Procedure.

The complaint was heard under the BACP Professional Conduct Procedure and the Panel considered the alleged breaches of the BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

The focus of the complaint, as summarised by the Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel, is that in November 2011, the complainant commenced an
Advanced Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling, run by Chrysalis Courses Ltd. The complainant alleges that prior to joining the course he was informed that he would need to join the accrediting body, organisation A, but he subsequently discovered that this was not true in that others on his course had not joined organisation A.

The course reading list allegedly had 5 books on the "required reading list" for students and it was indicated that libraries would be a reliable source.  However, for the second year, 9 books were required, and since the library was not reliable, the complainant alleges that this was a hidden cost, which Chrysalis Courses Ltd should have informed students of in its pre-course literature.

The  complainant alleges that in his very first tutorial the teaching practice was incompetent in that his tutor allegedly insisted that there was only one definition of empathy, "to feel exactly what your client feels".  The complainant challenged this definition and later it became a part of his complaint to Chrysalis Courses Ltd.

The complainant alleges that the feedback given to him by his tutor did not accord to the marking system of Chrysalis Courses Ltd.  In particular, he alleges that whilst Chrysalis Courses Ltd advertises that it provides "qualitative feedback", his tutor did not do so, instead saying that students had received, for example, a "good" pass or just a "pass".  When the complainant complained about this he was told that this was indeed adequate feedback.  Given that Chrysalis Courses Ltd later accepted that this was not acceptable feedback, the complainant considers this response to be disingenuous, and amounting to professional malpractice and professional misconduct.

The complainant alleges that whilst students were told that if their work was late with good reason, they would not have to write an extra essay.  In practice, if work was handed in late an extra essay was required.  The complainant alleges that some tutors did not seem to be aware of the rule detailing acceptable and unacceptable late work, and whilst he would have liked this to be part of his complaint to Chrysalis Courses Ltd, Chrysalis Courses Ltd allegedly prohibits third party complaints. 

The complainant alleges that Module 5 of his course contained a "self-indulgent and irresponsible rant" in which smokers were characterised as stupid, weak, dishonest irresponsible and male.  The complainant alleges that this appeared to single out the single male smoker in the class, in a way that was inappropriate. 

The complainant complained to Chrysalis Courses Ltd about its alleged breaches of contract, on 12 September 2012.  He intended this to be an informal complaint which could be dealt with through informal discussion.  However, he was advised to put his complaint into writing immediately. 

In his written complaint, as well as the matters itemised above, the complainant also complained about the tutor's handling of a dispute between himself and another student.  He alleges that the tutor's approach to counselling was "fundamentally flawed" with regard to the tutor's definition of empathy.  He alleged that it would be unreasonable to expect him to work with the same tutor in the next year of his course.

The complainant was not satisfied with the response to the complaint and moved on to the next step of the complaints procedure by re-iterating his complaint.  He understood this to be Step 5, but the Deputy Principal appeared to believe that the complaint was at an earlier stage, that is, Step 3.  The complainant then complained to organisation A as the accrediting body.

Organisation A accepted that the Complaints Procedure of Chrysalis Courses Ltd was unclear, and stated that it would require this to be made much clearer.  With regard to the complainant's complaint about his tutor, organisation A stated that the tutor was suitably qualified, that she had been rated highly by an independent assessor and that there was no evidence of misconduct by the tutor.

The complainant alleges that the decision by organisation A was neither fair nor just as information from his tutor was considered, which made allegations about him that he had not seen and to which he was not given a chance to respond.

The Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel, in accepting this complaint, was concerned with the allegations made within the complaint suggesting a contravention of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy, and those in particular are as follows:

1.    Chrysalis Courses Ltd allegedly did not provide the complainant with a good quality of care in failing to provide him with a competently delivered course to meet his needs with respect to the standard of delivery, the provision of accurate information and the provision of feedback.   

2.    Chrysalis Courses Ltd allegedly failed to clarify and agree its rights and responsibilities with the complainant with respect to organisation
A membership and with respect to what would constitute good reason for the submission of late course work. 

3.    Chrysalis Courses Ltd allegedly did not adequately inform the complainant about the nature of the service being offered with regard to the books required for the course and their accessibility.  

4.    Chrysalis Courses Ltd allegedly had not acquired staff with the skills, attitudes and knowledge required to be competent in teaching and facilitating learning during the delivery of the advanced diploma course attended by the complainant in that the standard of delivery did not
match that of national standards; in that a rigid definition of empathy was adopted by a tutor and the interaction with the complainant and this tutor was not appropriately managed, a dispute between the complainant and another student was mishandled, and feedback on coursework was lacking. 

5.    Chrysalis Courses Ltd allegedly failed to inform the complainant of the existence of the BACP Professional Conduct Procedure.

6.    When working with smoking as an example of self-defeating behaviour during the course, Chrysalis Courses Ltd allegedly did not demonstrate learning about and take into account the context and the ways in which to work in this area. 

7.    Chrysalis Courses Ltd allegedly did not provide honest and accurate information about the course with respect to the provision of feedback and its claim to provide feedback, in that while it professed to give feedback on all assignments, in practice it did not, and also in that it provided information on a grading system that did not accord with what happened in practice when marking work.    

8.    The alleged behaviour of Chrysalis Courses Ltd, as experienced by the complainant, suggests a contravention in particular of paragraphs 1, 3, 12, 26, 46, 56, and 60 and the ethical principles of Being Trustworthy, Autonomy, Beneficence, and Justice of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling & Psychotherapy (2010/2013), and showed a lack of the personal moral qualities of Respect, Competence, Sincerity, Wisdom and Fairness to which counsellors are strongly encouraged to aspire. 

The Member Complained Against, Chrysalis Courses Ltd, was not in attendance at the hearing and confirmed early on in the process that it would not be responding to the complaint.  Chrysalis Courses Ltd has been written to on numerous occasions regarding the arrangement of the
hearing, but no response was forthcoming.  Chrysalis Courses Ltd was advised that if BACP did not hear from it regarding the arrangement of the hearing, the matter would be referred for consideration under paragraph 4.9 of the Professional Conduct Procedure.  Having heard nothing further from Chrysalis Courses Ltd the matter was referred under paragraph 4.9 which states: 

Where a Complainant or Member Complained Against/Registrant fails or refuses to attend a Professional Conduct Hearing, the Registrar has the power to decide to either: 

a)    Proceed with the Hearing in the absence of one or both of the parties; or

b)    Adjourn the Hearing to a date not less than 28 days in advance; or 

c)    Terminate the proceedings; or  

d)    Refer the matter for consideration under Article 12.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association.

The options were carefully considered and a decision was made to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the Member Complained Against.

Findings  

On balance, having fully considered the above, the Panel made the following findings:  

1. The complainant accepted in evidence that he found the course provided by Chrysalis Courses Ltd to be good in parts and he learned a lot.  The complainant also accepted that it was clear from the welcome pack that students would be required to join organisation A.  The Panel found that there was insufficient evidence to demonstrate that Chrysalis Courses Ltd had failed to provide accurate information regarding the accessibility of books from the library, given that it had not stated with any degree of certainty that any particular library would have the required books, merely that they could be a good source.  The Panel therefore did not find that Chrysalis Courses Ltd failed to provide the complainant with a good quality of care and a competently delivered course which met his needs in this regard.      This part of the allegation is therefore not upheld.

The Panel did, however, find that in relation to the provision of feedback Chrysalis Courses Ltd failed to provide feedback and accepted the complainant's evidence that feedback was not provided to the complainant in respect of all of his assignments.  This part of the allegation
is therefore upheld.  

For the reasons stated above, this allegation is partially upheld.

2. The complainant accepted on questioning that the welcome pack he received from Chrysalis Courses Ltd made it clear that students had to join organisation A at the start of their training and he was therefore clear at the outset of the course of this requirement.  The Panel also noted that the complainant did in fact join organisation A.  The Panel therefore did not find that Chrysalis Courses Ltd failed to clarify and agree its rights and responsibilities in this regard.  This part of the allegation is therefore not upheld. 

With regard to the submission of late course work, the complainant stated that his complaint was not concerned with how tutors determined what would constitute a good reason for handing in coursework late, but rather that even if a good reason had been provided by a student, they would still be required to complete 8 essays instead of 7, as is set out in Chrysalis Courses Ltd's Golden Rule.  The Panel took note of the specific wording of the allegation which was concerned not with the application of the rule but with how Chrysalis Courses Ltd interpreted what would constitute a good reason for late submission of work.  There was no evidence available to the Panel to demonstrate that Chrysalis Courses Ltd did not clarify to those affected, what would constitute a good reason for late submission of work.  The Panel therefore did not find that Chrysalis Courses Ltd failed to clarify and agree its rights and responsibilities with the complainant regarding what would constitute good
reason for the submission of late work.  This part of the allegation is therefore not upheld.

For the reasons set out above, this allegation is not upheld.

3. The Panel questioned the complainant in relation to this allegation and examined the information provided in the welcome pack.  The Panel noted that the welcome pack stated that 5 books were required but the complainant stated that in reality 9 books were required.  The complainant however, accepted that the discrepancy between the numbers of books required could relate to the books required for year 1 and year 2, which combined amounted to 9 books.  The Panel therefore did not find that Chrysalis Courses Ltd failed to adequately inform the complainant of the nature of the services being offered to him in this regard.  This part of the allegation is therefore, not upheld. 

With regard to the accessibility of the books, the Panel noted that whilst the information contained in the welcome pack stated that students could try and obtain books from a library, it did not state that all libraries would be a reliable source or that all libraries would have the books required.  The complainant in his evidence stated that [ . . . ] Library could have sourced the books he required, but could not guarantee that the books would arrive in time.  The Panel therefore did not find that Chrysalis Courses Ltd did not adequately inform the complainant of the nature
of the service being offered with regard to the accessibility of the books required for the course.  This part of the allegation is therefore not upheld.  

For the reasons stated above, this allegation is not upheld.

4. The complainant in his evidence stated that the advanced diploma course commenced in year 3 and he attended a few tutorials before withdrawing from the course.  The complainant stated that generally the course was good and he learned a lot and the quality of teaching      improved during the third year.  The complainant had the same teacher throughout the course and therefore could not give evidence in relation to the skills of all of the staff at Chrysalis Courses Ltd.  There was no evidence presented to the Panel that Chrysalis Courses Ltd did not acquire staff with the skills, attitudes and knowledge required to be competent in teaching and facilitating learning during the delivery of the  advanced diploma course.  Further there was no evidence presented to the Panel to demonstrate what the national teaching standards were or that the staff at Chrysalis Courses Ltd fell below that standard.  This part of the allegation is therefore not upheld. 

The Panel heard evidence from the complainant that during his first tutorial his tutor had insisted that there was only definition of empathy and when the complainant challenged this, his teacher refused to enter into any discussion about it.  The Panel agreed that a discussion about this should have been permitted and noted that Chrysalis Courses Ltd in its response to the complaint that had initially been raised by the complainant accepted that the question of empathy could and should have been resolved with a discussion between the complainant and his tutor.  The Panel therefore found that failing to enter into any discussion with the complainant on the definition of empathy was unwise and demonstrated the adoption of an over-rigid definition.  Further the interaction between the complainant and his teacher concerning this issue was not appropriately managed in a way which respected the complainant's Autonomy.  This part of the allegation is therefore upheld.  

On questioning the complainant regarding the dispute which occurred between him and the student and how, in his view the situation had been mishandled, the complainant explained that he would have expected the teacher to have spoken to him separately to get his view, before bringing him and the other student together to discuss the matter.  The Panel accepted that there were different ways in which a dispute could be handled but had insufficient evidence to demonstrate that in this particular instance the complainant's teacher had mishandled the situation.  Further the Panel found that in commenting that the dispute between the complainant and the student stemmed from a breakdown in communication, there was no evidence to suggest that the teacher had mishandled the situation in making such a comment.  This part of the allegation is therefore not upheld. 

The complainant gave evidence that despite the Marking and Grading Guide stating that individual feedback was given on all assignments, he only received feedback on his first four essays which he did not consider to be very helpful and no feedback in relation to his last three essays.  The Panel therefore found that feedback on course work was lacking.  This part of the allegation is therefore upheld.

For the reasons stated above, this allegation is upheld in part.

5. The complainant in his evidence stated that Chrysalis Courses Ltd did not make him aware of the existence of the Professional Conduct Procedure either whilst he was a student or whilst he was communicating with Chrysalis Courses Ltd regarding his complaint.  This allegation is therefore upheld.

6. On questioning, the complainant accepted that smoking was a legitimate example to use to illustrate the issue of self-defeating behaviour.      The complainant stated that he however took issue with the gender specific nature of the article, which he believed singled out the only man      on the course who smoked.  Whilst the Panel noted that the article presented by Chrysalis Courses Ltd was provocative, there was insufficient evidence available to the Panel to establish that in producing this article, Chrysalis Courses Ltd failed to demonstrate learning about and take into account the context and the ways in which to work in this area.  This allegation is therefore not upheld.

7. The Panel noted the Marking and Grading Guide stated that feedback would be provided on all assignments and accepted the complainant's evidence that feedback on all assignments was not provided.  The Panel therefore found that Chrysalis Courses Ltd did not provide honest and accurate information about the course with respect to the provision of feedback (and its claim to provide feedback,) in that whilst it claimed to      provide feedback, it did not.  The Panel found that in failing to provide feedback, Chrysalis Courses Ltd did not demonstrate a commitment to consistency between what was professed and what was done.  This part of the allegation is therefore upheld. 

Whilst the Panel noted that the grading system used by the complainant's teacher differed slightly from that which was set out in the Marking and Grading Guide, the Panel agreed that it did not contradict or conflict with the spirit of the marking system.  The Panel therefore did not find that Chrysalis Courses Ltd provided information on a grading system which did not accord with what happened in practice when marking work, as it was still clear to the complainant whether or not he had passed.  This part of the allegation is therefore not upheld.    

This allegation is therefore upheld in part.

8. In light of the above findings, the Panel was satisfied that paragraphs 1, 26, 46 and 60 and the ethical principles of Being Trustworthy and Autonomy of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy (2013 edition) had been breached.  It also found that    Chrysalis Courses Ltd lacked the personal moral qualities of Respect, Competence, Sincerity and Wisdom to which all practitioners are strongly  urged to aspire.  The Panel did not find that paragraphs 3, 12, and 56 and the ethical principle of Justice had been breached nor that Chrysalis Courses Ltd lacked the personal moral quality of Fairness.   

Decision

Accordingly, the Panel was unanimous in its decision that these findings amounted to Professional Malpractice in the inadequate provision of professional services.   

Mitigation

In the absence of any written or oral evidence from Chrysalis Courses Ltd, the Panel were unable to find any mitigation.

Sanction

Whilst the Panel accepted that for the purposes of the Professional Conduct Procedure, Chrysalis Courses Ltd would still be regarded as a member of BACP, it noted that Chrysalis Courses Ltd was dissolved on 20 May 2014, and therefore no longer existed as a legal entity.  The
Panel was also concerned to note that whilst it was still a member of BACP, Chrysalis Courses Ltd failed to respond to the allegations or engage in the Professional Conduct Procedure as required of it as an organisational member of BACP.  Having regard to Chrysalis Courses Ltd serious failure to take part in the Professional Conduct Procedure and the dissolution of the organisation, the Panel was unanimous that the only option was that Chrysalis Courses Ltd's membership of BACP should be withdrawn. 

(Where ellipses [...] are displayed, they indicate an omission of text)  

  

  

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July 2014:  Tracey Baker, Reference No: 612090, Dorset DT1 2NT 

Information was disclosed to BACP, which was considered under Article 12.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association. 

The summary of the information, together with the allegations as notified to Ms Baker was as follows:

In June 2013 organisation A received a complaint against Ms Baker where she worked as a relationship counsellor.  The complaint was made by a couple Ms Baker had seen for relationship counselling.  The complaint related to boundary issues with a client.  This involved Ms Baker providing an Organisation A client with her home address and conducting a Reiki session with the client while still working with the client in organisation A.  Organisation A investigated the complaint against Ms Baker and it was upheld by organisation A even though she had left the employ of organisation A by then.  Organisation A deemed that Ms Baker had breached the ethical principles of Fidelity, Autonomy, Beneficence and Non-Maleficence.

The nature of the information raised questions about the suitability of Ms Baker's continuing membership of this Association and suggested that her actions have brought, or may yet bring, not only this Association, but also the reputations of counselling/psychotherapy into disrepute.  The information further suggested that there may have been a serious
breach, or breaches, of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling
and Psychotherapy and it raised concerns about the following in particular:

- Ms Baker's alleged unprofessional and unethical behaviour in supplying a client with her home address and conducting a Reiki session with the client while still working with the client in organisation A.

- Ms Baker's alleged failure to notify BACP of the complaint against her and the outcome as required of a member.

The member was invited to send in a written response and requested an extension of time to provide her response.  An extension was granted but Ms Baker did not respond to the allegations against her.

Decision

The Article 12.6 Panel decided to implement Article 12.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association and withdraw BACP membership from Ms Baker to take effect 28 days from notification of this decision.  The reasons for its decision are as follows:

Ø  The Panel noted that Ms Baker Resigned from organisation A before it had concluded its investigations which preventing them from taking any action in relation to the counselling breach which they found to have occurred.   Further the Panel noted that Ms Baker attempted to resign her membership of BACP before the Panel had convened to consider the allegations against her.

Ø  Ms Baker was invited to respond to the allegations set out by BACP and requested an extension of time to enable her to respond.  The Panel
noted that an extension was granted to Ms Baker, however no response was forthcoming from her.

Ø  Ms Baker did not deny the allegations as set out by BACP and stated that she was unable to respond to the complaint against her as her memory had eluded her.  The Panel therefore relied upon the conclusions reached by organisation A following its investigation.

Ø  The Panel also noted that Ms Baker did not provide any explanation as to why she had not informed BACP of the complaint that was upheld against her, in accordance with her obligations as a member of BACP.

Ø  Taking into consideration Ms Baker's lack of response to the allegations as set out by BACP, the findings reached by organisation A and Ms Baker's failure to notify BACP of organisation A's findings, the Panel was unanimous in agreeing that Ms Baker's actions amounted to a breach of the Ethical Framework and raised serious concerns about her continued membership of the Association, particularly in view of BACP's remit of public protection.  The Panel therefore agreed to withdraw Ms Baker's membership of BACP. 

Ms Baker did not appeal the decision and her membership was withdrawn.

Any future re-application for membership will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.

  

  

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June 2014: Richard Pickles, Reference No: 575572, Berkshire RG5 4LU 

The complaint against the above individual member/registrant was taken to Adjudication in line with the Professional Conduct Procedure. 

The complaint was heard under the BACP Professional Conduct Procedure and the Panel considered the alleged breaches of the BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy. 

The focus of the complaint, as summarised by the Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel, is that the complainant was a student on a counselling course, where Mr Pickles was one of the lecturers.  She met with Mr Pickles for tutorials, although he was not her nominated tutor and he was also her clinical supervisor.  In addition to these roles, Mr Pickles allegedly repeatedly offered extra support for the complainant who was ‘in a very bad place' and they had regular meetings from October 2011.  The complainant alleged that in February/March 2013 she felt under pressure from Mr Pickles to tell him that she was in love with him.  At times he allegedly said he desired her.  In an alleged conversation on Facebook, Mr Pickles said he wanted to spend more time with the complainant.  In March 2013, texts between the two allegedly ran to about 400 a day.  Mr Pickles allegedly asked the complainant to join a pastoral team at an event and took her out for a meal one evening when there was allegedly flirting on both sides.  The complainant alleged that in April 2013, the relationship became more erotic, with the complainant allegedly sending photographs of herself completely nude to Mr Pickles.  This allegedly led to physical contact including an extended hug in which Mr Pickles stroked the complainant's bare back.  There were allegedly moves towards sexual intimacy, with Mr Pickles allegedly stroking the complainant's thigh and hip with his feet while she was on the floor with her dress pulled up.  The complainant alleged that when exchanging her experiences with Mr Pickles with a fellow student and friend, they and later a third woman discovered that they had had similar experiences with him.  Mr Pickles allegedly then encouraged the friend and the complainant to engage in sexual acts with one another while filming themselves on Facetime.  The hugging between Mr Pickles and the complainant allegedly continued, with Mr Pickles allegedly touching the complainant's underwear.  In May 2013, the complainant alleged that Mr Pickles became distant and cold, leading her to feel suicidal. 

The Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel, in accepting this complaint, was concerned with the allegations made within the complaint suggesting a contravention of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy, and those in particular are as follows:

1.    Mr Pickles allegedly failed to provide the complainant with a good quality of care in that he allegedly acted out his sexual feelings for her outside of and during their supervision sessions and in doing so allegedly failed to maintain appropriate boundaries.  Further Mr Pickles allegedly caused the complainant to develop an emotional dependency on him by saying that he wasn't going anywhere and they would be  friends for a long time. 

2.    Mr Pickles allegedly engaged in a dual relationship with the complainant in that: he was her supervisor, they met for tutorials; he cultivated and encouraged a personal relationship with the complainant; he encouraged and engaged in numerous out of session text and Facebook messages with her; and went to dinner with her.  Further the supervisory sessions felt to the complainant like therapy and Mr Pickles allegedly said in March 2013 that he wanted to spend more time with the complainant.  

3.    Mr Pickles allegedly failed to provide respect for the complainant's privacy and dignity by encouraging the complainant to engage in sexual acts with another student, whom he was also allegedly engaged in a personal relationship with, watching them engage in these sexual acts on Facetime. 

4.    Mr Pickles allegedly abused the complainant's trust in order to gain sexual and emotional advantage in that he: 

a)    Questioned the complainant about her relationship with other men and queried whether she had ever had sexual relations with a woman. 

b)    Took part in a Facetime communication with the complainant and another student, whilst they were being sexually intimate with each other, making suggestions about what each of them could do to the other.  

c)    Engaged in hugs with the complainant at the conclusion of some of their supervision sessions and on one occasion put his hand on her bottom and on another occasion, stroked her bare back when she wore a backless dress. 

d)    Pushed the complainant against the bookcase and looked at her intensely as if he was going to kiss her and kneeled in front of the complainant, allegedly commenting on how close he was to her genitals and moved the complainant's hand towards her genitals.

e)    Permitted the complainant to send him photographs of herself which included a nude photograph of herself which he allegedly welcomed and stated how much these photos were a gift to him. 

f)     Engaged in a personal relationship with the complainant at a time when he was her supervisor and provided tutorials to her.

5.    Mr Pickles allegedly failed to ensure that the training provided was consistent with that expected of a practitioner in that he engaged in and encouraged an inappropriate personal relationship with the complainant and other students. 

6.    Mr Pickles allegedly failed to protect the standards of the profession by cultivating and engaging in a personal relationship with the complainant and other students. 

7.    Mr Pickles allegedly failed to maintain and monitor his fitness to practise by engaging in a relationship of a personal and sexual nature with the complainant and other students. 

8.    Mr Pickles allegedly failed to remedy the harm that he may have caused the complainant, in that he withdrew himself emotionally from her, causing her to feel suicidal. 

9.    Mr Pickles allegedly failed to ensure that his work did not become detrimental to his wellbeing and that he sought appropriate professional support when his relationship with the complainant turned into a personal relationship. 

10.  Mr Pickles alleged behaviour, as experienced by the complainant, suggests a contravention in particular of paragraphs 1, 4, 11, 17, 29, 30, 40, 42 and 64 and the ethical principles of Being Trustworthy, Autonomy, Beneficence, Non-Maleficence and Self Respect of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling & Psychotherapy (2013), and showed a lack of the personal moral qualities of Respect, Competence, Wisdom, Humility and Integrity to which counsellors are strongly encouraged to aspire. 

Findings  

On balance, having fully considered the above, the Panel made the following findings: 

1. Mr Pickles accepted on questioning, that his relationship with the complainant became more eroticised from March 2013, both within and outside the supervision sessions.  He denied, both during the hearing and in his written statements that he had any sexual feelings      towards the complainant, instead stating that he cared about the complainant, enjoyed being around her and viewed her as a younger sister, valuing the increasing intimacy that was developing between them.  However, in accepting that these feelings may not have been sexual, the Panel found that Mr Pickles did have feelings for the complainant, which were inappropriate.  In particular, the Panel found that Mr Pickles encouraged the complainant to engage in sexual acts with a third person, and also engaged in late night messaging with her.  Further, Mr Pickles accepted that the complainant had developed an emotional dependency towards him, which he enjoyed, and      saw something in himself that wanted to rescue the complainant, given her fragility.  Mr Pickles also accepted that he had said to the complainant words to the effect that he would be there for her for a long time and was not going anywhere.

The Panel therefore, found that Mr Pickles failed to provide the complainant with a good quality of care in that he acted out his feelings for the complainant outside of and during the supervision sessions and failed to maintain appropriate boundaries, in that he was involved in a personal and erotic relationship with the complainant, who was also his supervisee. 

This allegation is therefore upheld. 

2. Mr Pickles accepted that he was engaged in a dual relationship with the complainant in that, whilst engaged in an erotic personal relationship with her, he was also at different times her supervisor and provided tutorials to her, although the Panel accepted that he was not her tutor.      Further Mr Pickles stated that he provided pastoral support to the complainant on a semi regular basis before she became his supervisee.  This was detrimental to the complainant as she became unsure of the boundaries of their relationship.  She also believed that she was being      encouraged to say that she was in love with Mr Pickles.  Mr Pickles also accepted in both his written and oral evidence that he did engage in numerous out of session text and Facebook messages with the complainant and accepted that in allowing this contact to continue he breached boundaries.    

Both parties accepted that they went out together for a late night snack, without anyone else there, whilst they were at Spring Harvest.  The Panel found that this was inappropriate given their personal and professional relationship.  The Panel accepted the complainant's evidence
that she viewed this meeting as Mr Pickles' way of making up to her for being unavailable to her during the day, when he had indicated to her by text message the previous week that he would have time for her. 

This part of the allegation is therefore upheld. 

Both parties accepted that the supervisory relationship had a therapeutic element to it as the complainant was working through her issues of self-confidence and distress.  Further, Mr Pickles in his evidence stated that the supervision he provided was supervision with a therapeutic bent.  The Panel found that this was a further instance of a dual relationship, which was to the complainant's detriment. 

This part of the allegation is therefore upheld. 

3. Both parties were unclear who had called whom for the FaceTime conversation, but both parties accepted that a FaceTime conversation did take place.  Mr Pickles in his oral evidence admitted that he watched and encouraged the complainant to engage in sexual acts with another female student with whom he was also engaged in a personal relationship, and that he asked to see certain body parts.  Mr Pickles further accepted that in participating in FaceTime in this way he failed to provide respect for the complainant's privacy and dignity.  

This allegation is therefore upheld. 

4. The Panel made the following findings: 

a)   Mr Pickles accepted that he did question the complainant about her relationship with other men and whether she had ever had sexual relationships with a woman.  The Panel found this method of questioning wholly inappropriate in that the questions were asked to satisfy Mr Pickles' own emotional needs and were not asked in the best interests of the complainant.  The Panel therefore, found that Mr Pickles
abused the complainant's trust in order to gain sexual and emotional advantage.   

This part of the allegation is therefore upheld. 

b)   Although there was disagreement between the parties as to the length of the call, Mr Pickles admitted that he did take part in a FaceTime conversation with the complainant and another woman, a former student.  It was also accepted by Mr Pickles that during this, he witnessed the complainant and the other student being sexually intimate with each other and he made suggestions about what they should do to each other, in order to satisfy his own sexual enjoyment.  The Panel found that Mr Pickles abused the complainant's trust in order to gain sexual and emotional advantage.  

This part of the allegation is therefore upheld. 

c)   Both parties accepted that they engaged in hugs, which Mr Pickles said had a "romantic feel" and which were intimate and therefore inappropriate and accepted that at least one of the hugs lasted for a number of minutes, although there was disagreement between the parties as to how many minutes this lasted.  The Panel found that Mr Pickles derived emotional satisfaction from these hugs and this amounted to a breach of the complainant's trust in order to gain emotional and sexual advantage.  This part of the allegation is therefore upheld.  Mr Pickles did admit that he put his hand on the complainant's bottom on one occasion, but stated that this was an accident.  Further Mr Pickles accepted that he may have stroked the complainant's bare back, but did so only because he was engaged in a hug with the complainant whilst she was  wearing a backless dress.  Mr Pickles accepted in his oral evidence that these hugs were inappropriate and that they were a breach of trust.  

This part of the allegation is therefore upheld. 

d)   There was a difference of opinion between the parties as to how they came to be against the bookcase, however, it was accepted that both parties were against the bookcase.  There was however, insufficient evidence available to the Panel to suggest that Mr Pickles pushed
the complainant against the bookcase.  Both parties accepted that they shared an intense look whilst they were against the bookcase and that Mr Pickles knelt down by the complainant whilst she was seated, and hugged the complainant.  The Panel therefore, found that in hugging the complainant in this way and sharing an intense look with the complainant, Mr Pickles abused the complainant's trust in order to gain sexual and emotional advantage.   

This part of the allegation is therefore upheld.   

Mr Pickles stated that he had no clear memory of what he said to the complainant whilst he knelt by her and the Panel therefore agreed that there was insufficient evidence to suggest that Mr Pickles did comment on how close he was to her genitals or that he moved the complainant's
hand to her genitals.   

This part of the allegation is therefore, not upheld. 

e)  Mr Pickles accepted in evidence that the complainant did send photographs of herself to him which culminated in the complainant sending Mr Pickles a nude photo of herself.  The Panel found that Mr Pickles did nothing to discourage the receipt of further photos from the complainant
and therefore permitted the complainant to send them.  Further Mr Pickles stated that he valued the photos sent by the complainant and the Panel therefore agreed that in view of this, it was more likely than not that Mr Pickles viewed these photographs as a gift.  The Panel therefore found that Mr Pickles abused the complainant's trust in order to gain sexual and emotional advantage.   

This part of the allegation is therefore upheld.   

f)    Mr Pickles accepted that he was involved in a personal and professional relationship with the complainant in that he was her supervisor and engaged in a personal relationship with her.  Whilst the Panel accepted that Mr Pickles no longer provided the complainant with tutorials, Mr Pickles was nonetheless involved in a personal and professional relationship with the complainant, which the Panel agreed amounted to an  abuse of the complainant's trust in order to gain sexual and emotional advantage.   

This part of the allegation is therefore upheld.

5. The Panel heard evidence that the complainant was a former student of Mr Pickles, but at the time of their supervisory relationship she was no longer a student of his, but remained a student at the College.  The Panel found that Mr Pickles provided training to the complainant in his capacity as her supervisor.  Further, when Mr Pickles was the Process Group Facilitator, he met the complainant on a one-to-one basis to discuss the complainant's personal issues.  The Panel therefore, found that Mr Pickles failed to ensure that the training provided was consistent with that expected of a practitioner in that he engaged in and encouraged an inappropriate relationship with the complainant and other students.   

This allegation is therefore upheld.

6. Mr Pickles accepted that he engaged in a personal relationship with the complainant and another student.  In the circumstances, the Panel found that Mr Pickles failed to protect the standards of the profession in that he cultivated and encouraged a personal relationship with the complainant and another student.  

This allegation is therefore upheld.

7. The Panel found that by engaging in a personal and erotic relationship with another student and the complainant, who was also a student and his supervisee, and failing to disclose the true nature of this relationship to his supervisor, Mr Pickles failed to monitor and maintain his fitness to practise.   

This allegation is therefore upheld.

8. The complainant in her evidence stated that she felt herself vying for Mr Pickles' attention as he was becoming increasingly busy and she was also jealous of his relationship with another former student.  The Panel heard evidence that when the complainant submitted a complaint to the College, Mr Pickles was instructed not to have any contact with her.  There was insufficient evidence available to the Panel to establish that Mr Pickles' withdrawing emotionally from the complainant was the reason that she felt suicidal.  The Panel therefore did not find that Mr Pickles did not fail to remedy the harm he caused to the complainant in withdrawing from her emotionally.   

This allegation is therefore not upheld.

9. The Panel heard evidence from Mr Pickles that whilst he did have professional support, he failed to utilise this sufficiently as he did not fully disclose to his supervisor the true nature of his relationship with the complainant whilst it was happening.  Mr Pickles stated that the reason he did not do so was because it was too shameful for him.  The Panel agreed that Mr Pickles failed to ensure that his work did not become detrimental to his wellbeing and he failed to seek appropriate professional support at any time during the period when his relationship with the complainant developed into a personal one.  

This allegation is therefore upheld.

10. In light of the above findings, the Panel was satisfied that there was a contravention of paragraphs 1, 4, 11, 17, 29, 30, 40 and 64 and the ethical principles of Being Trustworthy, Autonomy, Beneficence, Non-maleficence and Self-Respect of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling & Psychotherapy (2013).  Further the Panel found that Mr Pickles showed a lack of the personal moral qualities of Respect, Competence, Wisdom, Humility and Integrity to which all counsellors are strongly encouraged to aspire.

However, the Panel was not satisfied that there had been a contravention of paragraph 42 of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling & Psychotherapy (2013).   

Decision 

Accordingly, the Panel was unanimous in its decision that these findings amounted to Bringing the Profession into Disrepute in that Mr Pickles' behaviour amounted to disgraceful conduct.  The Panel further agreed that the public's trust in the profession would be undermined if they were accurately informed about all the circumstances of this case. 

Mitigation 

Mr Pickles accepted his part in this matter and made an admission to the allegations.  Further, following this incident Mr Pickles took time off work and has since engaged in therapy and attended courses to help him to learn from these incidents. 

Mr Pickles apologised to the complainant. 

Sanction 

The Panel was unanimous that Mr Pickles' membership of BACP should be withdrawn, given the serious nature of the findings and BACP's remit of public protection.

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May 2014: Phoenix Counselling Services, Reference No: 101959, Exeter EX1 1JA

The complaint against the above organisational member was taken to Adjudication in line with the Professional Conduct Procedure.

The complaint was heard under the BACP Professional Conduct Procedure and the Panel considered the alleged breaches of the BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy. 

The focus of the complaint, as summarised by the Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel, is that the complainant joined [. . . ] Service in May 2010, when she was a trainee counsellor at the [ . . . ].  [ . . . ] Service allegedly operated under the umbrella of Phoenix Counselling Services. 

The complainant alleged that at her induction, Phoenix Counselling Services did not make her aware of the management structures, company policies or of any complaints procedures within the organisation.  She also alleged that there was no CRB check made.  The complainant allegedly expressed some discomfort with her supervisor, who had been appointed by Phoenix Counselling Services, over the fact that he was both her manager and supervisor, but she was allegedly told by her supervisor that this ‘should not be allowed to get in the way'.  She alleged that this "made it muddled" for her. 

The complainant stated that her first supervision sessions were "OK" although she alleged that her supervisor made negative comments about her training organisation, her therapist, and, in the course of their supervision relationship, about various other therapists.  In addition, he allegedly asked her to keep secret (from her training institute) the fact that he offered a form of body work to both clients and counsellors at the Centre, as well as the fact that he attended tantric sex weekends with his wife.  He allegedly offered to lend the complainant a DVD on the subject of tantric sex.  The complainant alleged  that the self-disclosure of the tantric sex weekends was inappropriate in the light of their relationship, in which she was a trainee counselling supervisee and the supervisor.  The complainant later brought this up with [ . . . . ], who was at that time part of the management team at Phoenix Counselling Services.  [ . . . ] indicated to the complainant that she could not see anything inappropriate in this disclosure made by the supervisor. 

The complainant alleged that in various supervision sessions her supervisor allegedly made derogatory remarks about BACP, about Therapy Today and about the nature of boundaries.  In addition, he allegedly appeared sleepy sometimes, and had difficulty in focusing on what the complainant was saying. 

Around February 2011, Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly permitted the complainant's supervisor to invite her, along with some of the other counsellors, to take part in a form of body work free of charge as he needed to make up some hours.  The complainant's supervisor allegedly asked her to also keep this a secret.  

The complainant accepted the invitation and had about 13 sessions in all, whilst Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly permitted her to
still be supervised for her counselling work, which was being provided by the person who was both her supervisor and the manager of Phoenix Counselling Services.  

At the first of these sessions the complainant was allegedly asked to undress in front of her supervisor.  At his request, she took off her bra, but
refused to take off her pants as she was uncomfortable doing this.  She found the work very helpful until, at a session in August 2011, her supervisor allegedly informed her that she had a repressed sexual trauma and that the work would be more powerful if she took her pants off.  The complainant again refused, and was upset, allegedly leaving the session in tears.  At the next session, she allegedly told her supervisor that she was upset by the request to take off her pants and said that as he was also her supervisor she thought that boundaries were being breached.  The complainant's supervisor repeated that he did not think the treatment would work as well if she left her pants on and consequently she terminated the treatments.

In subsequent supervision sessions with her supervisor, he allegedly repeated his allegation that the complainant had a repressed sexual trauma, despite her denial.  The complainant talked to the organisation under whose auspices the body work was offered and later (June 2012) complained formally to this particular organisation. 

In August 2011, the complainant was promoted by her supervisor and the manager of Phoenix Counselling Services to the role of Associate Counsellor, despite the fact that she had not yet qualified as a counsellor.  The manager of Phoenix Counselling Services, who was also her supervisor, allegedly told her that she could use his private premises 2 afternoons a week and that he would "siphon off" [ . . . ] clients for her. 
Allegedly, this manager asked her to keep this secret from her colleagues in the organisation.  From October 2011, having qualified as a counsellor, the complainant did use her manager's private room, paying him a small fee, and seeing private clients there.  The manager of Phoenix Counselling Services was allegedly at that time the complainant's manager, supervisor and landlord.  However, when the complainant changed premises, Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly stopped sending her clients from the organisation, saying that the associate scheme was not being extended beyond [ . . . ] Service.  However, the complainant alleged that others who rented rooms from the manager of Phoenix Counselling Services, were allocated clients from [ . . . ] Service. 

In [ . . . ], the complainant discovered that an ex-client had committed suicide.  The complainant had previously seen this client who had then not appeared for two sessions. However, he had made contact again, saying that he wanted to re-engage with therapy.  The complainant talked to Phoenix Counselling Services who allegedly told her that there was a policy that if clients did not attend twice, then they needed to go through the initial procedures again.  The complainant allegedly pointed out that the client was particularly vulnerable and had trust issues.  She further
pointed out that if the client was not allowed to resume therapy he would see this as a rebuff.  The supervisor allegedly offered to hold onto the client's file and reallocate the client to another therapist, if the client demonstrated a commitment to the therapy and called the supervisor.  The complainant emailed the client with the decision.  The client committed suicide by hanging himself the next month.  On discussing this with colleagues, the complainant allegedly discovered that this policy was not necessarily adhered to.  This again raised questions for her
as to the alleged unethical practices within Phoenix Counselling Services.  

The complainant stated that at this time she was beginning to doubt her supervisor's integrity, particularly after the supervision session in which she allegedly experienced him repeating that she had an early sexual trauma.  However, she felt herself to be alone in this experience. She was also ashamed that she had kept secrets from her training institute. 

On 12 June 2012, the complainant had a conversation with  a colleague, which appeared to confirm to the complainant her doubts about the integrity of the organisation.  The colleague suggested that the complainant contact the body work training organisation directly and also asked if she could cite the complainant's name to others in the organisation who allegedly had similar issues. 

On 15 June 2012, the complainant gave notice that she was considering winding down her clients at [ . . . ] Service.  On 19 June 2012, she wrote a longer email to the manager of Phoenix Counselling Services expressing some of her concerns about her manager/supervisor.  Her
manager/supervisor responded saying that he would like to "engage with" the issues she had brought up, but allegedly this did not happen.  

Phoenix Counselling Services agreed that the complainant should arrange supervision with someone other than her current supervisor.  The complainant arranged supervision with an executive director of Phoenix Counselling Services, [ . . . ], who was at this time, part of the management team at Phoenix Counselling Services, and who then rescinded the offer a couple of days before the supervision was due to take
place.  [ . . . ] initially refused to give an explanation for the change in arrangements, but later, at an informal meeting with the complainant, she allegedly explained it was because she had heard the supervisor's version of events and that she did not herself see that what the complainant raised was an issue of complaint.

The complainant then sent an email expressing her concerns more formally to the newly appointed management team, explaining that she had already been in touch with BACP. [ . . . ], speaking for the management team of Phoenix Counselling Services, refused to respond in full to the
allegations until the complainant stated whether or not she was making a complaint with outside bodies. 

At this stage the complainant discovered that [ . . . ] Service was not a member of BACP, as she had been led to believe, although Phoenix Counselling Services, the parent body is an organisational member.  

The complainant further alleged that she and others who complained about the supervisor at Phoenix Counselling Services, were bullied
and threatened and that she herself experienced cyber-bullying from Phoenix Counselling Services.

The Panel, in accepting this complaint was concerned with the allegations made within the complaint suggesting contravention of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy, and those in particular as follows: 

1.        Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly failed to clarify the terms on which its services were being offered to the complainant, as a trainee counsellor and supervisee, in that it failed to make the complainant aware of the management structures, company policies or of any complaints procedures within the organisation, at her initial interview.  Further, Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly did not provide adequate information to the complainant as to whom she could approach to report any concerns she may have had with regard to the organisation or her supervisor.  

2.        Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly failed to avoid the conflicts of interest that arose from the relationships where the complainant's supervisor was her manager, her body work therapist and landlord.  Further, Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly failed to avoid the conflicts of interest arising from allowing a manager to offer counsellors, including the complainant, within the organisation, and to its clients, vouchers for body work to enhance the manager's own private work.  Once the conflicts of interest had arisen, Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly failed
to address them by protecting the complainant's interest and maintaining her trust in the practitioner, which should be paramount.   

3.        Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly failed to provide a good quality of care to the complainant, a trainee counsellor and supervisee,
in that it allowed her supervisor/manager to approach the complainant to engage her in body work.  Further it allowed her supervisor, who had provided a form of body work allegedly requiring the removal of her clothes, to raise issues from that work inappropriately in her supervision sessions.  Phoenix Counselling Services also allegedly failed to provide to the complainant a good quality of care in that her supervisor was allegedly sleepy in her supervision sessions and had difficulty focusing on what the complainant was saying in the sessions. 

4.        Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly failed to honour and respect the complainant's trust in allegedly, inappropriately, allowing the
complainant's supervisor to disclose personal information to the complainant about himself regarding therapeutic body work, and his attendance at tantric sex weekends with his wife.  Further, Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly failed to honour the complainant's trust in that she was allegedly asked to keep these disclosures secret from her training organisation. 

5.        Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly failed to conduct its professional relationship with the complainant in a respectful and fair way, by allowing the complainant to be subjected to derogatory remarks about her therapist and her training institute, and through its electronic communications with the complainant making negative comments about the complainant and other counsellors in the organisation. 

6.        Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly did not treat the complainant or other colleagues in the organisation fairly, in that it made an
individual arrangement with the complainant to siphon clients to the complainant, whilst also instructing her that this arrangement was to be kept
secret from her colleagues in the organisation.   

7.        Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly allowed a number of relationships with the complainant to develop, in that her manager was also
her supervisor, and that supervisor/manager was also her therapist and landlord.  Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly did not consider the implications of entering in to dual relationships with the complainant, which was ultimately to the complainant's detriment.  Further Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly failed to be accountable to the complainant for the dual relationships.  

8.        Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly failed to clarify the rights and responsibilities of both itself and the complainant in that it allegedly did not make it clear to the complainant that senior management might offer her therapeutic treatments, while she was in supervision and on placement with the organisation. 

9.        Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly abused the complainant's trust in that it allowed the complainant to be approached by her manager/supervisor, within the organisation, to offer her therapeutic body work, where advantage of the complainant was taken, as she believed that the body treatments would be more advantageous to her manager and supervisor, rather than to herself. 

10.      Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly failed to provide a good quality of care and to act with integrity, and in the best interests of a client when it did not allow the complainant to resume counselling with a vulnerable client, despite his request to resume counselling, and despite the fact that other clients had allegedly been allowed to resume counselling with the same counsellor, following an unplanned break.

11.      Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly did not treat the complainant fairly in that latterly she was not allocated clients from [ . . . ] Service although other counsellors were so allocated. 

12.      Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly did not respond promptly and appropriately to the complainant's complaint, as initially raised in her email of 19 June 2012, failing to respond to it in a timely, appropriate and adequate way.  Further Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly acted inappropriately in refusing to engage with the complainant with regard to the matters of complaint unless she informed it whether or not she intended to submit a complaint about its service to BACP. 

13.      Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly did not conduct its professional relationship with the complainant in a respectful way, by rescinding the offer of supervision with another supervisor at short notice, prior to when supervision was due to take place, and without an initial explanation. 

14.      Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly failed to appropriately monitor and review its work with the complainant, who was concurrently a trainee counsellor and a client of the organisation. 

15.      Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly did not try to remedy any harm it may have caused to the complainant. 

16.      Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly failed to engage in any consultation in order to ensure that the appropriate steps had been taken to mitigate any alleged harm caused to the complainant, and to prevent any repetition.

17.      Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly did not offer the complainant mediation or conciliation to resolve her issues with the organisation.

18.      Phoenix Counselling Services' alleged actions and behaviour, as alleged by the complainant, suggests a contravention in particular of paragraphs 1, 3, 4, 7, 8, 11, 13, 17, 33, 41, 42, 43, 45, 51, 52, 55 59 and 63 of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Therapy 2010.  It also suggests a contravention of the ethical principles of being trustworthy, autonomy, beneficence, and non-maleficence, and justice, and the personal moral qualities of integrity, humility, competence, fairness and wisdom to which counsellors and psychotherapists are strongly encouraged to aspire. 

Findings  

On balance having fully considered the above the Panel made the following findings:- 

1.        The Panel found that Phoenix Counselling Services had no explicit document setting out a written complaints procedure.  It had adopted an implicit unwritten "ad hoc" response to complaints. Phoenix Counselling Services thus did not provide the complainant with anything on paper that could be shared with her to which she could later refer.  Although she was provided with a list of counsellors when she joined Phoenix Counselling Services as a trainee, the complainant was not told who to approach if she had ethical concerns. 

The Panel found that the complainant was aware that there was no management structure in the usual way but that there was a team of four senior counsellors whose specific responsibilities within the organisation were unclear to her.  The Panel found however, that there was no explicit written statement as to the terms on which her services were being offered as a trainee counsellor and supervisee nor was she advised  of any organisational policies.   

The first part of the allegation is therefore upheld. 

The Panel found that the complainant did have concerns regarding her supervisor and that when she had those concerns she had not been told who she could approach to discuss those concerns other than her supervisor.   

The second part of this allegation is therefore upheld.  

2.       The Panel found that there was no conflict of interest in one of the directors of Phoenix Counselling Services being the complainant's supervisor, "manager" and hirer of rooms to her but the Panel was concerned that he was her bodywork therapist whilst fulfilling these other roles and considered that as such there was a conflict of interest.  Although Phoenix Counselling Services asserted that each applicant for one of the director's Rosen method Therapy was given the opportunity to discuss their suitability for that therapy, the Panel found that that the implications for the complainant of receiving the therapy from the person who was her supervisor were not discussed. 

With the exception of the allegation that there was a conflict of interest in respect of the complainant's supervisor being the sole director of Phoenix Counselling Services, the first part of this allegation is upheld. 

Whilst the Panel accepted that the term "manager" was not used, the Panel found that the complainant's supervisor did fulfil that role.  The
Panel found Phoenix Counselling Services failed to address the complainant's concerns as to the conflicts of interest and did not protect the complainant's interests or seek to maintain her trust in the practice.  The placing of vouchers in counsellors' files was not inappropriate if such vouchers were offered to the agency's clients since they were not in counselling with the complainant's supervisor; but the offer of free sessions to counsellors being supervised by the Rosen intern was not appropriate, and in this case it was ultimately to the detriment of the complainant.

This part of the allegation is upheld. 

3.         The Panel accepted the complainant's evidence that there was some crossover between the Rosen work and her supervision in that she was a counsellor in training but was offered the opportunity to undergo Rosen therapy with her supervisor and the Panel found that insufficient care was given to the impact that this could have on the complainant and the nature of the supervisory relationship.  In doing this it amounted to  failure of Phoenix Counselling Services to provide a good quality of care. 

This part of the allegation is therefore upheld.   

The Panel accepted the complainant's evidence that the supervisor referred to some aspects of Rosen Therapy in the supervision sessions.  The Panel found that this did not provide a good quality of care in that, having been in therapy sessions which required the removal of some of her clothes, the complainant was then in supervision with the same person, where issues arising out of the therapy sessions were raised in supervision.  The Panel considered this was not appropriate or acceptable.   

This part of the allegation is therefore upheld. 

The Panel heard from both parties that the supervisor was sleepy in two supervision sessions.  The Panel heard that he was under stress at the time.  Given that it was agreed by the complainant that this only occurred twice and there was insufficient evidence that this affected the quality of the work provided to the complainant, the Panel did not consider that the supervisor's actions amounted to a failure to provide a good quality of care. 

This part of the allegation is therefore not upheld. 

4.         The Panel found that there was insufficient evidence available to the Panel to uphold the complaints that the supervisor disclosed personal information to the complainant about himself and his attendances at tantric sex weekends with his wife.  

This first part of this allegation is therefore not upheld. 

The Panel further found that there was insufficient evidence available to uphold the allegation that the complainant was asked to keep the disclosures regarding tantric sex secret from her training organisation. 

The second part of this allegation is therefore not upheld. 

5.         The Panel found that it was insensitive that during the complainant's first interview with regard to her placement at Phoenix Counselling Services, a representative should make derogatory comments regarding her therapist, however jocularly those comments were, particularly as at that time this person had only just met the complainant.  

This part of the allegation is therefore upheld.  

The Panel found that there was insufficient evidence regarding the allegation that remarks were made about the complainant's training
institute.   

This allegation is therefore not upheld. 

The Panel found that considerable evidence was given to support the allegation that Phoenix Counselling Services had failed to treat the complainant in a respectful and fair way through its electronic communications with her and had made negative comments about her and other counsellors in the organisation.  The Panel was further disturbed by the harsh and caustic comments by Phoenix Counselling Services
made to and about the complainant both in the emails and at the hearing.  

This part of the allegation is therefore upheld.  

6.       The Panel considered the arrangement regarding allocation of certain clients to the complainant to be acceptable, since Phoenix Counselling Services explained that counsellors who became sufficiently qualified were permitted in some circumstances to take particular clients into their personal practice.  The Panel felt it was reasonable to ask such counsellors to be discreet in talking about this arrangement, and that discretion did not amount to secrecy. 

This allegation is therefore not upheld.

7.       The Panel found that Phoenix Counselling Services allowed a number of relationships with the complainant to develop. However, the Panel was less concerned that the complainant's supervisor was her manager and the hirer of rooms to her than the fact that the supervisor
was also her Rosen Method bodywork therapist.  

The Panel did find that Phoenix Counselling Services did not consider the implications of entering into dual relationships and that this was to the complainant's detriment. 

This part of the allegation is therefore upheld. 

The Panel accepted that in the penultimate Rosen Method session the complainant was upset by comments made to her by her bodywork therapist who was her supervisor and the Panel found that Phoenix Counselling Services failed to address that and also her supervisor failed to do so.  The Panel found that insufficient consideration was given to the impact of that relationship upon the complainant, which the Panel considered to be detrimental to her.

The Panel found that Phoenix Counselling Services failed to be accountable to the complainant for the dual relationship which it had allowed to develop in that it did not address the complainant's concerns when she raised this issue but considered her to be part of a wider conspiracy and that she was a troublemaker.  Further, when questioned, Phoenix Counselling Services refused to recognise that there was a detrimental dual relationship.

This part of the allegation is therefore upheld.  

8.       The Panel found that it was unreasonable to expect the supervisor to make clear to the complainant that during the course of her relationship, whether on placement or in supervision with Phoenix Counselling Services, she may be offered therapeutic treatments, particularly as this was not foreseeable at the time.  

This allegation is therefore not upheld. 

9.       The Panel found that when the complainant's supervisor offered her therapeutic bodywork through the Rosen Method, the complainant felt it might be valuable to experience for herself what clients who took up the same offer might be experiencing. She also felt it would assist her supervisor in gaining necessary hours' experience for his training.  The Panel found that the complainant trusted her supervisor, and was in awe of him and that she was also aware that her final qualification might be partially in his hands.  The Panel found that the supervisor took sufficient notice of the power imbalance and that ultimately he abused the trust put in him by her.  Given his standing within Phoenix Counselling Services, the Panel found that Phoenix Counselling Services was responsible for allowing him to offer the Rosen Method to a supervisee.

This allegation is therefore upheld.  

10.     The Panel accepted the evidence of Phoenix Counselling Services that the vulnerable client was happy to accept the arrangement that he should be provided with a different counsellor at that time.  It could therefore, not be said that Phoenix Counselling Services failed to provide a good quality of care.  

This allegation is therefore not upheld. 

11.     The Panel accepted the explanation given to them that the reason why at a particular time no further clients were allocated to the complainant's private practice was because there was a paucity of clients being assessed who could afford the higher fee this entailed.  There was no evidence that other counsellors were treated differently.  The Panel therefore did not find that Phoenix Counselling Services failed to provide a good quality of care or act without integrity in this regard.  

This allegation is therefore not upheld.

12.     The Panel found that although the Complainant's supervisor responded to the email of 19 June 2012 within 6 hours, he did not respond in an appropriate way.  The supervisor answered in his email that the relationship between Phoenix Counselling Services and the complainant was at an end.  He did not address any of the concerns the complainant raised in her email, thus not giving the complainant the opportunity to deal with her concerns nor to deal face to face with Phoenix Counselling Services.   

This part of the allegation is therefore upheld. 

Furthermore the Panel found that it was inappropriate to refuse to engage with the complainant unless she confirmed that she had not  complained to the BACP.   

This allegation is therefore upheld. 

13.     In evidence, Phoenix Counselling Services accepted that with the benefit of hindsight it should have offered a different counsellor to the complainant for supervision and that it had failed to do so due to the strong feelings it had as to the nature of the complaint.  The Panel also found that in withdrawing an offer of supervision at the last minute, Phoenix Counselling Services did not conduct its relationship with the  complainant in a respectful way. 

This allegation is therefore upheld. 

14.     The Panel was satisfied that good arrangements existed within Phoenix Counselling Services for group supervision and one to one supervision in which the complainant's work as a counsellor was monitored and reviewed.  However, Phoenix Counselling Services did not
monitor the outcome of the Rosen Method treatment for the complainant, having in the first instance not object to the supervisor offering such sessions.   

In that respect the allegation is partially upheld. 

15.     The Panel found that in addition to failing to remedy the harm the complainant had expressed in her correspondence and in the hearing, Phoenix Counselling Services not only did not remedy that harm, Phoenix Counselling Services exacerbated that harm in the way that it responded at the time, in its written evidence and in its responses during the hearing.   

This allegation is therefore upheld.

16.     The Panel found that at no time after the letter was written on 27 June 2012, did Phoenix Counselling Services seek to meet the complainant face to face to hear her concerns to be just and fair in hearing her concerns; nor to assess any harm that might have been
caused to her with a view to mitigating it or preventing any repetition.  Instead it responded defensively and aggressively to the complainant without due or any consideration to the possibility of conciliation.  The Panel did not accept the assertion by Phoenix Counselling Services
that its response was legitimate self-defence. 

This allegation is therefore upheld.

17.     The Panel found that Phoenix Counselling Services did not offer or give consideration to mediation to resolve the complainant's issues with the organisation.   

This allegation is therefore upheld.

18.     In the light of the above findings the Panel was satisfied that paragraphs 1, 3, 4, 8, 17, 41, 42, 43, 45, 51, 55, 59 and 63 of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy and the ethical principles of being trustworthy, autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and justice and the personal moral qualities of integrity, humility, competence, fairness and wisdom had been breached. 

The Panel did not consider that paragraphs 7, 11, 13, 33, 52 had been breached. 

Mitigation

While the Panel looked for some evidence of regret from Phoenix Counselling Services about the distress caused to the complainant it heard nothing that amounted to concern for her.  The Panel was told that a procedure for complaints had been written and that some learning had taken place although it was not clear to the Panel what this was.

Decision

In the light of these findings and the allegations that were upheld, the Panel was unanimous in its decision that these amounted to serious professional misconduct. 

Sanction

The Panel determined that the only appropriate action in these circumstances was the withdrawal of Phoenix Counselling Services' membership of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy.   

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May 2014: Phoenix Counselling Services, Reference No: 101959, Exeter EX1 1JA

The  complaint against the above organisational member was taken to Adjudication in line with the Professional Conduct Procedure.

The complaint was heard under the BACP Professional Conduct Procedure and the Panel considered the alleged breaches of the BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

The focus of the complaint, as summarised by the Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel, is that allegedly Phoenix Counselling Services allowed therapists to work unethically and without accountability and that Phoenix Counselling Services, as an organisation, behaved unethically in relation to policies, procedures and structure.

The complainant began counselling at Phoenix Counselling Services in [. . . ] and left the organisation, at Phoenix Counselling Services's request, in [ . . . ].

The complainant alleges that Phoenix Counselling Services allowed the Director/Owner to be her supervisor, manager and therapist concurrently.  The complainant states that she now knows that it was wrong for boundaries to be crossed and that the multiple relationships of therapist/client, supervisee/supervisor and manager/counsellor, allegedly initiated by the Director/Owner, should not have been allowed to happen.

The complainant alleges that within supervision, the Director/Owner would make comment about other colleagues, telling the complainant that one colleague had an eating disorder and revealing personal details regarding the complainant's college tutor.

In 2004, the complainant states that she was given additional responsibilities in covering Initial Appointments (IA), and was given the title of Associate Counsellor, and later, Senior Counsellor.  She was also paid for her counselling work, although she alleges that the Director/Owner asked her to keep quiet about this as not all counsellors were getting paid.  The complainant states that this made her feel special.

The complainant alleges that Phoenix Counselling Services asked its counsellors to retain the monies paid to Phoenix Counselling Services until the end of the month, when the counsellors would deduct what they were owed, and pay the remainder back to Phoenix Counselling Services.  The complainant alleges that this was in order that less money would be shown coming in on the agency's books.

In 2009/2010, the complainant's personal relationship was going through sexual difficulties.  The Director/Owner allegedly offered to help by "offering his body" and working at a physical and sexual level.  The complainant did not like the sound of this particularly, but she was persuaded by the Director/Owner and also by a colleague, who allegedly had herself experienced the form of therapy. 

Within the therapy room the complainant alleges that she and the Director/Owner took their clothes off.  The complainant was not comfortable, so the Director/Owner said that they should lie down on some big cushions.  The Director/Owner allegedly felt the complainant's breast at which
stage she stopped the therapy.  

The complainant says that she blamed herself for what had happened, feeling that she had allowed herself to be abused.  However, she was able to explore these issues with a different therapist and came to the understanding that she was not personally responsible.

The complainant alleges that after this incident the Director/Owner's behaviour toward her changed. The complainant felt that he rejected and isolated her and brought this up in supervision with him.  The Director/Owner allegedly said that it was he who felt rejected by the complainant.  The complainant states that she was shocked by this as she was the client, and he the therapist.  

The complainant states that whilst the Director/Owner's alleged behaviour towards her following this incident, meant that she nearly left Phoenix
Counselling Services, she stayed in order to "save others by being part of a group".  She requested supervision from a different source but the Director/Owner allegedly refused her request on the grounds that they needed to be in regular contact. 

The complainant alleges that Phoenix Counselling Services do not have continuity around client procedures.  She alleges that a client who returned to counselling after some months break was not invited to an Initial Appointment but passed to another counsellor with the original
form.  The complainant alleges that this was potentially devastating for the client, as contacting the client by post may have allowed her abusive brother to find her new address.  The complainant alleges that on other occasions, the Director/Owner has insisted on returning clients coming for an IA. 

At this stage, the complainant spoke to the Non-Executive Director at Phoenix Counselling Services, about her concerns.  A meeting was arranged for 26 June 2012, which included the Non-Executive Director.  As a consequence of the meeting, a letter was sent to the Director/Owner of Phoenix Counselling Services the next day, expressing that the complainant, along with others, had concerns.  The complainant alleges that the reply to the letter was threatening and the complainant and other counsellors were asked to leave the service by early to mid-July. 

On 6 July 2012, as the complainant was about to begin a counselling session, she was requested to meet the newly-appointed Executive Director.  The complainant alleges that this was unprofessional behaviour.  

The complainant alleges that, whilst Phoenix Counselling Services had agreed she could take clients with her into private practice when she left Phoenix Counselling Services, she was effectively barred from doing this with one couple who were allegedly told that this would be against Phoenix Counselling Services policy.  

The complainant alleges that Phoenix Counselling Services breached her confidentiality by disclosing the correspondence between herself and Phoenix Counselling Services to its volunteers and staff. 

The Panel, in accepting this complaint, was concerned with the allegations made within the complaint suggesting a contravention of the Code of Ethics & Practice for Supervisors of Counsellors 1996, the Code of Ethics & Practice for Counsellors 1998 and the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy 2009 & 2010 and those in particular as follows: 

1.    Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly, through the auspices of its Director/Owner, provided both counselling and supervision services to the complainant over a simultaneous period of time prior to April 2002.   

2.    Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly held dual and multiple relationships with the complainant in that, through the auspices of its
Director/Owner, she was being managed and provided with supervisory and therapeutic services, which were to her detriment, creating an inappropriate power imbalance in the relationship and diminishing her autonomy.  Further, Phoenix Counselling Services failed to be accountable to the complainant for the dual and multiple relationships.   

3.    Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly abused the complainant's trust in running Rosen Therapy alongside other forms of therapy where sexual and emotional advantage was taken of the complainant as a vulnerable client. 

4.    Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly failed to provide the complainant with a good quality of care, through the auspices of its Director/Owner, who managed, supervised and provided personal therapy to her, in that it allowed her as a vulnerable individual to be inappropriately approached by its personnel to persuade her to take up an offer of body work, which she was reluctant to accept and which she subsequently believed to be abusive to her. 

5.    Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly failed to prevent conflicts of interest arising from the multiple relationships held with the complainant
and further failed to respond to the conflict of interests to the complainant's detriment.    

6.    Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly failed to respect the complainant's privacy and confidentiality in that from July 2012 onwards it
inappropriately disclosed information to counsellors and volunteers within the organisation pertaining to the complainant and in doing so also abused her trust. 

7.    Phoenix Counselling Services, through the auspices of its Director/Owner, allegedly abused the complainant's trust and failed to provide
her with a good quality of care in that she was allegedly inappropriately told to maintain secret that she was one of the first paid counsellors and that this was something that would not be on offer to all the counsellors.   

8.    Allegedly Phoenix Counselling Services, through the auspices of its Director/Owner, in making derogatory comments during supervision about colleagues was evidencing poor practice and in doing so was not encouraging the supervisee to enhance and maintain good practice and support the protection of clients.    

9.    Allegedly Phoenix Counselling Services was not honest, straightforward and accountable in financial matters in that it made arrangements with its counsellors such that less money would be shown coming in on the agency's books. 

10.  Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly abused the complainant's trust and diminished her autonomy in that it encouraged emotional and financial dependence in that she was told that she was to be exceptionally a paid counsellor and which was to be kept secret; she was verbally given the title Senior Counsellor, which made her feel special, and she was subject to multiple and dual relationships within the organisation.  

11.  Allegedly Phoenix Counselling Services did not provide a good quality of care in that there was an inconsistent and inadequate approach to
the client procedures regarding Initial Appointments and returning clients. 

12.  Following the Rosen therapy session with the Director/Owner, the complainant during supervision with the Director/Owner, raised the issue that she felt rejected by him.   Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly, through the auspices of its personnel, attempted to turn it around by indicating that it was the complainant that was rejecting the supervisor and in so doing Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly failed to
respond appropriately to the grievance raised by the complainant or endeavour to remedy the harm that may have been caused to her. 

13.  On 6 July 2012, Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly failed to provide the complainant and her client with a good quality of care, in that
having already received what she perceived as an aggressive and accusing email from Phoenix Counselling Services, the complainant was then put in a difficult position when she was approached by Phoenix Counselling Services personnel at a time when she was entering the counselling room with a client.  Whilst the intervention was allegedly to invite the complainant to a meeting, the effect was to raise feelings of fear and anxiety for the complainant given the timing of the request and the fact that the meeting was due to take place in the Director/Owner's room.  

14.  Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly failed to respond appropriately to a letter of complaint, expressing deep concern and urgency,
raised by the complainant.  Further Phoenix Counselling Services allegedly did not endeavour to remedy any harm it may have caused to the complainant nor sought to utilise independent dispute resolution nor informed the complainant about the existence of the BACP Professional Conduct Procedure. 

15.  The alleged actions and behaviour of Phoenix Counselling Services, as experienced by the complainant, suggests a contravention in particular of paragraphs B.1.6 of the Code of Ethics & Practice for Supervisors of Counsellors, paragraph B.5.2 of the Code of Ethics & Practice For Counsellors 1998, paragraphs 1, 4, 11,18, 27, 33, 34, 52, 54 and 55 of the Ethical Framework for Counselling & Psychotherapy 2009 and paragraphs 1, 4, 11, 17, 20, 33, 34, 41, 42, 45, 46, 60, 62 and 63 of the Ethical Framework For Counselling & Psychotherapy 2010, a contravention of the ethical principles of Autonomy, Beneficence, Non-Maleficence, Justice and Self-respect in the Ethical Framework for Counselling and Psychotherapy 2009 & 2010 and the ethical principle of Fidelity in the Ethical Framework for Counselling & Psychotherapy 2009 and the ethical principle of Being Trustworthy in the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling & Psychotherapy 2010, and a lack of the personal moral qualities of empathy, integrity, respect, humility, competence, fairness and wisdom to which practitioners are strongly encouraged to aspire as outlined in the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling & Psychotherapy 2009 & 2010.    

Findings  

On balance having fully considered the above the Panel made the following findings:- 

1.        The Panel found that Phoenix Counselling Services through the auspices of one of its directors did not provide both counselling and supervision services to the complainant for a simultaneous period of time prior to April 2002.  The Panel found that the complainant did not
start both counselling and supervisory services with a Director/owner of Phoenix Counselling Services until 2005. 

This allegation is therefore, not upheld.  

2.        The Panel found that there were dual and multiple relationships which created confusion for the complainant, in that the Director/owner supervised the complainant's client work and provided therapy to her.  The Panel heard evidence from both parties that the supervision of the complainant by the Director of Phoenix Counselling Services was carried out either in the premises of Phoenix Counselling Services or in the private premises of that Director/owner and reference was made during the supervision sessions to the private therapy that the Director/owner and supervisor was providing to the complainant, both at the private premises and in the premises of Phoenix Counselling Services.  The complainant demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Panel that personal references to herself in supervision went beyond her work with clients and that as a result of the multiplication of relationships she felt beholden to her supervisor as the then sole Executive Director and owner of Phoenix Counselling Services.  The Panel did not accept Phoenix Counselling Services' contention that, even though the complainant was in therapy with the Director alongside a supervisory relationship, there was no power imbalance nor a diminution of the complainant's autonomy. 
The Panel however accepted the complainant's evidence relating to the power imbalance in the relationship and that she felt beholden to her
supervisor, diminishing her autonomy in relation to accepting the offer of private therapy. 

Further the Panel found that Phoenix Counselling Services failed to be accountable to the complainant for the multiple and dual relationships;
and despite Phoenix Counselling Services asserting that there were discussions of the dual relationship between the parties, there was sufficient evidence to show that the dual and multiple relationships were ultimately to the complainant's detriment given the power imbalance described by her.

This allegation is upheld.

3.        The Panel interpreted the allegation to other forms of therapy where sexual and emotional advantage could be taken of the complainant as relating to the alleged bodywork session that the complainant described, and not Rosen Therapy itself, as both the complainant and Phoenix Counselling Services stated that the Rosen Method was not used in their relationship.   

Although Phoenix Counselling Services denied there was any bodywork therapy session with the complainant, the Panel accepted the complainant's recollection of a single bodywork session in which she became very distressed and left the session prematurely.  Her recollection was convincing and the Panel found that she experienced emotional advantage being taken of her of a sexual nature which amounted to an abuse of her trust.  This was compounded by the fact, which the Panel accepted, that the complainant owned to having sexual difficulties at the time which had been discussed with the Director who was her supervisor.  The complainant said that both during and following the incident "she had switched off", which the Panel considered to be consistent with the experience of perceived abuse.  The Panel accepted that the complainant's recollection was patchy in places because of the trauma that the therapy had induced and found her evidence convincing.  The complainant's recollection, which the Panel accepted, of her being tearful going to the session demonstrated her vulnerability at the time of this single bodywork session.   

This allegation is upheld.

4.        The Panel found that although it was unclear to the complainant the precise offer made to her by her Supervisor, who was also a Director and owner of the Phoenix Counselling Services, the Panel accepted that an offer was made, which led to a bodywork session.  The Panel accepted the complainant's evidence that no explanation was given to her by her Supervisor as to what precisely would take place during that session; and that her supervisor suggested to her that they should both undress so that they were naked.  The Panel accepted the complainant's assertion that her supervisor touched her breast during the bodywork session, which she experienced as abusive to her. The Panel accepted that the total experience amounted to a failure by Phoenix Counselling Services to provide a good quality of care. 

This allegation is therefore, upheld.

5.        The Panel found that there were a number of relationships between the complainant and her supervisor who was also a Director and owner of Phoenix Counselling Services.  These were as the complainant's private therapist her supervisor and, in effect if not in title, her
manager.  Whilst the Panel accepted that the term manager was not used by Phoenix Counselling Services to describe this role, it accepted that this role was performed by the complainant's supervisor.  The Panel further found that Phoenix Counselling Services took no steps to resolve the conflict of interest arising from the multiple relationships. This gave rise to confusion, given that supervision sessions took place both in the premises of the Phoenix Counselling Services and in the private offices of the Director/owner and this gave rise to the complainant experiencing detriment. 

The Panel found that the conflict of interest that arose as a result of the bodywork session was to the complainant's detriment and that Phoenix
Counselling Services failed to respond to concerns which she later raised.   

This allegation is upheld. 

6.        The Panel found that Phoenix Counselling Services had failed to respect the complainant's privacy and confidentiality in that from July 2012 onwards, it had inappropriately disclosed information in emails to counsellors and volunteers pertaining to the complainant, and further both in a blog of one of the directors and on the website of Phoenix Counselling Services there was reference to the complainant although not identifying the complainant by name.  The content of the blog would have enabled the complainant to be identified by other counsellors and volunteers within the organisation.  The Panel found that this abused her trust.   

This allegation is upheld. 

7.        The Panel found it reasonable for Phoenix Counselling Services to ask the complainant for discretion when the paid counselling scheme was introduced and to suggest to the complainant that she be discrete as she was one of the first counsellors to be paid under the new scheme.  The Panel did not find that this was a breach of trust or a failure to provide a good quality of care.

This allegation is therefore, not upheld.

8.        Phoenix Counselling Services suggested that derogatory comments about others made to the complainant in supervision were made to promote care and concern for those colleagues to whom references were made.  The Panel, however, did not consider that this was sufficient
justification, as the complainant was worried that the remarks made to her could also be made about her to other counsellors.  The Panel  considered that this was evidence of poor practice and did not encourage the complainant as a supervisee, to enhance and maintain good  practice and support the protection of clients.    

This allegation is upheld. 

9.        The Panel accepted Phoenix Counselling Services' statement that the financial arrangements that were made with the complainant and other counsellors was a process that was adopted following recommendation from accountants who had advised them as to the suitability of the scheme and had informed them that the same was legal.  The Panel therefore did not find on the balance of probabilities that Phoenix Counselling Services was not honest, straightforward and accountable in financial matters 

This allegation is therefore, not upheld.

10.     The Panel did not consider that being asked to treat the financial arrangement with discretion was the same as being asked for it to be kept secret.  The Panel found that the complainant may have been referred to as a senior counsellor but that she had not been given the title "senior counsellor".  This part of the allegation is not upheld.

The Panel accepted the evidence of the complainant that her position as a paid counsellor made her beholden to Phoenix Counselling Services and that this led to emotional dependence on the organisation, but not financial dependence.   

The part of the allegation that refers to emotional dependence is upheld. 

The Panel further found, as in allegation 5, that there were a number of relationships between the complainant and her supervisor/therapist and that these multiple relationships were ultimately to her detriment in that they diminished the complainant's autonomy and abused her trust and resulted in her experiencing emotional dependency upon the supervisor allocated by Phoenix Counselling Services. 

This part of the allegation is also upheld.

11.     The Panel accepted the statement of Phoenix Counselling Services that the match between clients and counsellors was a service issue and that there was a consistent and adequate approach to client procedures regarding initial appointments and returning clients.  The Panel did not find that Phoenix Counselling Services failed to provide a good quality of care in this regard. 

This allegation is not upheld.

12.     With the agreement of the complainant and the Phoenix Counselling Services the reference to Rosen was struck from this allegation.

The Panel considered that this allegation was about the rejection of the concerns the complainant allegedly raised in supervision regarding her bodywork therapy. In the hearing the complainant's supervisor/therapist expressed no recollection of the complainant raising the issue of the bodywork session with him.  The Panel accepted that the complainant was clear that she had raised the issue in a subsequent session. 

The Panel found that the supervisor/therapist's alleged reference to being rejected by the complainant may have been caused by the  complainant stating that she was going to see another therapist for counselling. 

Nevertheless, the Panel further found that the complainant did express concerns to her supervisor/therapist about the bodywork therapy and
that Phoenix Counselling Services failed to respond to the issues raised by the complainant and failed to remedy the harm that this may have caused the complainant. 

This allegation is upheld.

13.     The Panel accepted that the effect of the request made by another Director of Phoenix Counselling Services to meet after a counselling session on 6 July 2012 raised feelings of fear and anxiety in the complainant, and that this followed what the Panel agreed was an aggressive and accusatory email sent to her by Phoenix Counselling Services.  The Panel accepted the complainant's evidence that this Director of Phoenix Counselling Services had spoken to the complainant outside the consulting room and further the Panel accepted the complainant's recollection that she had spoken to her within earshot of her client.  The Panel considered that in approaching the complainant in this way Phoenix Counselling Services had failed to provide the complainant and her client with a good quality of care.

This allegation is upheld. 

14.  The Panel found that Phoenix Counselling Services made no attempt to remedy the harm caused to the Complainant.  It made no enquiry as to the allegations; it was defensive in its actions and aggressive in correspondence.  In an organisation that purports to be "person centred" Phoenix Counselling Services failed to remedy any harm and took no steps whatsoever to utilise independent dispute resolution or mediation
to resolve the issues. Instead it exacerbated the situation by sending threatening emails. Phoenix Counselling Services admitted that it did not draw to the complainant's attention British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy's Professional Conduct Procedure, arguing that the Complainant was a member of British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy, an argument not accepted by the Panel. 

This allegation is upheld.

15. In light of the above findings, the Panel was satisfied that there was no contravention of paragraphs B.1.6 of the Code of Ethics & Practice for Supervisors of Counsellors nor paragraph B.5.2 of the Code of Ethics & Practice for Counsellors 1998.  However, in light of the above findings the Panel was satisfied that paragraphs 1, 4, 11, 18, 27, 33, 34 and 55 of the Ethical Framework for Counselling & Psychotherapy 2009
had been breached.  The Panel did not consider that paragraphs 52 and 54 had been breached. Further the Panel was satisfied that in light of the above findings that paragraphs 1, 4, 11, 17, 20, 33, 34, 41, 42, 45, 46 and 63 of the Ethical Framework for Counselling & Psychotherapy 2010, had been breached.  The Panel did not consider that paragraphs 60 and 62 were breached.  The Panel found that the ethical principles
of Autonomy, Beneficence, Non-Maleficence and Justice as contained in the Ethical Framework for Counselling and Psychotherapy 2009 & 2010 had been breached.  The Panel did not consider that the ethical principle of Self-respect had been breached.  The Panel found that the ethical principle of Fidelity and Being Trustworthy in the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling & Psychotherapy 2010 had been breached.   The Panel further found that Phoenix Counselling Services showed a lack of the personal moral qualities of empathy, integrity, respect, humility, competence, fairness and wisdom as outlined in the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling & Psychotherapy  2009 & 2010.   

Decision

In light of these findings and the allegations that were upheld, the Panel was unanimous in its decision that these amounted to serious professional misconduct.   

Mitigation

The Panel found that Phoenix Counselling Services through the auspices of one of its directors did acknowledge and admit that the approach to the complainant (as referred to in allegation 13) when a director wished to speak to the complainant could and should have been dealt with differently.  

Sanction 

The Panel determined that the only appropriate action in these circumstances, and given the gravity of the findings, was the withdrawal of Phoenix Counselling Services' membership of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy. 

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April 2014: Tariq Qureshi, Reference No: 685423, Greater Manchester M5 5BW

Information was brought to BACP's attention which was sufficient to refer for consideration under Article 12.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.  The information included allegations by the Teaching Agency as part of their proceedings and the decision of the Professional Conduct Panel and the Secretary of State.

The summary of the information, together with the allegations as notified to Mr Qureshi by BACP was as follows:

Mr Qureshi was employed as a teacher at [ . . . ] between 2009 and 2011.  It was alleged by the Teaching Agency that Mr Qureshi was guilty of unacceptable professional conduct, in that he:

1.    Acted in an inappropriate manner towards pupils by:

a)    Accepting pupils as friends on the social networking site ‘Facebook';

b)    Making inappropriate comments to pupil A;  

c)    Engaging in inappropriate conversations with pupils;  

d)    Engaging in inappropriate physical contact with pupil A;  

e)    Engaging in inappropriate physical contact with pupil C; 

f)     Making inappropriate comments during a Year 8 Maths lesson;  

g)    Showing an inappropriate video to a Year 8 class. 

2.    Accessed inappropriate websites on the school computer during school time. 

Mr Qureshi did not admit to the allegations or accept that his conduct amounted to unacceptable professional conduct. 

In October 2009, after allegedly discovering that Mr Qureshi had over 200 current and past pupils as friends on Facebook, Mr Qureshi was interviewed and told that this was inappropriate and asked to remove these pupils from his Facebook site.  In January 2010, Mr Qureshi allegedly notified Human Resources that he had complied with their request.  

In May 2010, following a complaint allegedly made against Mr Qureshi by a pupil's mother, a strategy meeting was convened to discuss those concerns.  On 17 May 2010, a decision was allegedly made to suspend Mr Qureshi pending the outcome of an internal disciplinary investigation, after it was discovered that pupils at the school remained on his Facebook page.    

Mr Qureshi allegedly attended a disciplinary hearing on 22 October 2010, where he was issued with a final written warning.  Mr Qureshi returned to work on 15 November 2010 following his suspension and was further investigated after concerns were raised regarding two allegedly inappropriate videos he had viewed in school, one of which was shown to the pupils.  Mr Qureshi was allegedly given a final written warning and a strategy meeting took place on 17 January 2011.

Mr Qureshi allegedly entered into a compromise agreement with the school before his employment with them was terminated. 

Mr Qureshi allegedly did not attend the hearing and in relation to the allegations, the Panel made the following findings: 

1.    Acted in an inappropriate manner towards pupils by:  

a)    Accepting pupils as "friends" on social networking site Facebook:  

The Panel found this allegation proved as there was no challenge to the fact that Mr Qureshi did have pupils as friends on his Facebook site.  The Panel further found that Mr Qureshi acted in an inappropriate manner as, amongst reasons, he was disclosing to pupils personal aspects of his life which did not relate to his professional life, and he should have recognised that allowing pupils as friends on Facebook had the potential to cross boundaries.   

b)    Making inappropriate comments to pupil A: 

The Panel noted that Mr Qureshi had acknowledged in his written evidence that Mr Qureshi said "Hi Darling" to pupils all the time and explained that he did this to put pupils at ease and as a means to building relationships.    The Panel found that the comments Mr Qureshi made were inappropriate and that by saying them, he behaved in an inappropriate manner to pupil A.  Furthermore, there was allegedly evidence that the former head teacher
had previously warned Mr Qureshi not to engage in conversations with pupils other than those of a professional nature.

c)    Engaging in inappropriate conversations with pupils: 

Mr Qureshi did not deny discussing his personal relationships with pupils.  The Panel therefore found that this allegation was proven and that it was inappropriate of Mr Qureshi to make these disclosures and that by doing so, he acted in an inappropriate manner towards pupils and did not maintain boundaries. 

d)    Engaging in inappropriate physical contact with pupil A 

It was alleged that Mr Qureshi had stroked a pupil on the arm and said "hello darling", tickled her on her waist from behind when this pupil was behind the
classroom door and another pupil had locked her inside with him.  The Panel accepted the evidence of pupil A and this allegation was therefore found proven. 

e)    Engaging in inappropriate physical contact with pupil C. 

It was alleged that Mr Qureshi slapped people with a ruler and that in particular he did that to this student a couple of times and every two weeks.   Mr Qureshi allegedly did not deny slapping pupil C with a ruler.  The Panel found this allegation proven and that Mr Qureshi's conduct was inappropriate.

f)     Making inappropriate comments during a Year 8 Maths lesson  

Mr Qureshi allegedly showed a video in class by Gyptian called "Hold You" to Year 8 pupils, which was allegedly a video showing male and female dancers with body language that was sexual.   It was further alleged that in reference to an icon flickering on screen Mr Qureshi said to a pupil: "I wish it was you flashing there".  Mr Qureshi allegedly did not deny either incident, the Panel found that the nature of the video suggested that suggestive remarks could have been made by Mr Qureshi to the pupils.  The Panel found that Mr Qureshi's comment was inappropriate and this allegation was upheld.

2.    Accessed inappropriate websites on the school computer, during school time.  

The Panel concluded that if the material Mr Qureshi was alleged to have downloaded was inappropriate to be shown by a Maths teacher in the exercise of their professional duties, it was fair to conclude on the balance of probabilities that the website where the material came from was inappropriate.  The Panel found that Mr Qureshi did access inappropriate videos during school time and that this was inappropriate.  

The Panel found that Mr Qureshi had breached professional boundaries with regard to his relationships with pupils in his care, time and time again.  The Panel therefore found Mr Qureshi guilty of unacceptable professional conduct and the Secretary of State accepted the Panel's recommendation and imposed upon Mr Qureshi a Prohibition Order for a period of three years.  

In addition, it is alleged that Mr Qureshi was a student counsellor on a placement from July 2012 and failed to notify his placement of the outcome of the
Teaching Agency's investigation until 13 March 2013, when the article about him in the Bolton Evening News had been published and his supervisor had terminated their contract.  As a result Mr Qureshi's placement has now allegedly been terminated.  

Further, Mr Qureshi failed to disclose to BACP in his application for membership dated 4 August 2012, that he had previously been suspended, received written warnings and had been the subject of investigations. 

The nature of the information raised questions about the suitability of Mr Qureshi's continued membership of this Association and raised concerns about
the following in particular:  

- Mr Qureshi completed an application form for BACP membership stating that the information contained within his application was true to the best of his knowledge and belief but he did not disclose that he had previously been suspended, received written warnings and was the subject of an investigation;

- Mr Qureshi failed to notify BACP that his placement had been withdrawn;

- Mr Qureshi's alleged actions have brought, or may yet bring, not only this Association, but also the reputations of counselling/psychotherapy into
disrepute; 

- Mr Qureshi's alleged behaviour is incompatible with the values and principles of the Ethical Framework, to which all members of BACP subscribe. 

Article 12.6 Panel Decision 

The member was invited to send in a written response, and made a response. 

The Article 12.6 Panel decided to implement Article 12.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association and withdraw BACP membership from Mr Qureshi to take effect 28 days from notification of this decision.  The reasons for its decision are as follows: 

- The Panel noted the comments made by the General Teaching Council in its findings, which stated that Mr Qureshi had breached professional boundaries in respect of his relationships with pupils in his care, time and time again. Further, the Panel noted that prior to the events which led to the Professional Conduct Hearing, Mr Qureshi received a warning and was suspended on two separate occasions, which indicated to the Panel
that Mr Qureshi had failed to take heed of the warnings he had been given.

- The Panel took note of the fact that Mr Qureshi did not attend the Teaching Agency's Professional Conduct Panel hearing and failed, initially, to respond to BACP's letter dated 24 May 2013 setting out the allegations against him. Further, Mr Qureshi in his response stated that he had dealt with this matter by burying it and trying to move on with his life and that when he disclosed [ . . . ] to BACP, he did not want to deal with the other issues as he found it unbearable. The Panel found that Mr Qureshi's failure to disclose to BACP the disciplinary investigations and his suspensions was a fundamental breach of the trust between Mr Qureshi and BACP. Furthermore, the Panel noted that Mr Qureshi failed to disclose the findings of the Professional Conduct Panel to his placement and it was only made aware of the hearing through an online newspaper article.

- Mr Qureshi in his response disclosed that he had suffered with depression as a result of this matter but did not demonstrate, to the satisfaction of the Panel, his ability to maintain his fitness to practise at a level which enables him to provide an effective service.

- The Panel noted the parallel between the boundary transgressions which were upheld by the Professional Conduct Panel in relation to Mr Qureshi's work with young children and the boundaries which are required in relation to his counselling work with vulnerable adults. Mr Qureshi failed to
demonstrate sufficient insight into his actions to evidence that he was now aware of the importance of maintaining boundaries.

- The Panel agreed that on the basis of the information available to it, Mr Qureshi's actions had brought the reputations of BACP and the reputations of counselling and psychotherapy into disrepute and his actions were incompatible with the actions of a member of BACP.

Article 12.6 Appeal Panel Decision 

Mr Qureshi appealed against the Article 12.6 Panel's decision to invoke Article 12.6 believing that it was unjust and unreasonable in all the circumstances to implement Article 12.6. 

The Appeal Panel, in addition to the information considered by the Article 12.6 Panel was provided with Mr Qureshi's Appeal against the decision to withdraw membership, as well as further supporting information received from Mr Qureshi.  All of the preceding information was carefully considered by the Appeal Panel. 

It was the duty of the Article 12.6 Appeal Panel to decide whether the decision of the Article 12.6 Panel to implement Article 12.6 was just and reasonable in all the circumstances and then to decide whether an appeal should be allowed or denied.  In particular it had to consider the fact that the Appellant, Mr Qureshi, did not attend the Appeal Hearing and decide how to proceed in the light of paragraph 18 of Article 12.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association which provides that: 

The refusal or failure of the appellant to attend the appeal hearing without good and/or sufficient reason and without good and/or sufficient notice in the
circumstances will be notified to the chair of the appeal panel.  What constitutes good and/or sufficient reason and/or notice shall be solely at the discretion of the chair of the appeal panel, who may take advice on the matter from the Head of Professional Conduct.  The appeal panel will decide
what course of action to take in these circumstances, ie either continue in the absence of the appellant, defer the hearing to another date, or terminate the proceedings.
 

The Panel considered the facts as known to it at the time of the Appeal Hearing and in arriving at a decision the Chair took the following facts into account:

- The Appeal was lodged on 8 October 2013. On 17 October 2013, the Appellant submitted a letter of statement by email together with other documents that he wished the Panel to consider and asked for information about where the hearing would take place, and the procedures involved, as he would like to have the opportunity to defend himself. 

- The Appellant submitted by email on 22 October 2013, a further letter for the Panel to consider and reiterated that he would like to be present at the hearing. 

- On 8 November 2013, the Appellant was notified by BACP that a date had been fixed for his Appeal Hearing on 17 February 2014, and he was further advised of the deadline to provide additional evidence and asked to confirm his attendance at the Appeal Hearing, by completing and returning the attendance slip, which he did not do.

- On 17 January 2014, BACP sent the Appellant a further letter reminding him of the date of the appeal hearing and asking him to return the attendance slip to confirm his attendance, which again he did not do.

- BACP wrote again to the Appellant on 4 February 2014 reminding him of the previous letters of 8 November and 17 January and giving him a deadline to confirm whether or not he would be attending the Appeal Hearing. The Appellant was also advised of the consequences of his non -attendance as is set out in paragraph 18 of Article 12.6. This letter was sent by Special Delivery and Royal Mail's Track and Trace service for Special Delivery confirmed that the letter of 4 February 2014 was delivered to the Appellant and signed for on 6 February 2014.

- On 14 February 2014, two days before the date fixed for the Appeal hearing, the Appellant telephoned BACP and spoke to [ . . . ]. He stated that he was feeling depressed, no longer could continue with his course at university and did not feel that the outcome of the Appeal would be positive. He was asked if he wanted to withdraw his Appeal or whether he would be prepared to attend at an alternative date. The Appellant stated that he would probably want to withdraw the appeal. He further stated that he was unemployed and that financially he would not be able to afford to attend the hearing in any event.

- The Appellant agreed to send an email confirming his decision and did so at 15:35 stating that he was suffering from depression, was unemployed and did not have the financial resources to meet travel costs, no longer felt that his appeal would be successful and did not wish to put himself through going ahead with the appeals procedure.

- The Appeal Panel noted that the Appellant had chosen not to attend the previous Panel set up to consider the issues in this case, namely the Teaching Agency's Professional Conduct Panel. The Panel further noted that in deciding not to attend this Appeal Hearing, the Appellant was repeating a pattern of avoidance in dealing with difficult issues, leaving decisions to be made by others in his absence.  

In all the circumstances and having considered the issues, and pursuant to the provisions of Article 12.6, the Chair of the Panel decided as follows: 

Ø  The Chair of the Appeal Panel decided to terminate the proceedings under the provisions of paragraph 18 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association, the Appellant having failed to attend the hearing without good and/or sufficient notice or reason.   

Ø  The Appeal Panel decided not to defer the Appeal Hearing to another date because the Appellant had indicated that he would not attend, as he did not think the outcome would be positive. 

Ø  The Appeal Panel considered that it would have been unrealistic to proceed with the hearing in the absence of the Appellant, who needed to give evidence to the Appeal Panel first hand. 

The Appeal process is therefore terminated and the decision of the original Article 12.6 Panel stands and consequently, Mr Qureshi's membership of BACP is withdrawn with immediate effect. 

Any future re-application for membership will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum & Articles of the Association.     

  

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April 2014: Anne Raynor, Reference No: 725045, Derbyshire, DE7 8AW  

A sanction was imposed on Ms Raynor following a Professional Conduct Hearing. 

Ms Raynor failed to comply with the sanction and consequently her membership of BACP was withdrawn.  Any future application for membership of BACP will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

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April 2014: Elizabeth Blissett, Reference No: 521582, Leicestershire LE16 9DQ

A sanction was imposed on Ms Blissett following a Professional Conduct Hearing. 

Ms Blissett failed to comply with the sanction and consequently her membership of BACP was withdrawn.  Any future application for membership of BACP will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.    

  

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February 2014: Deema Davidson, Reference No: 641255, Worcester WR5 3JG  


Information was disclosed by Ms Davidson to BACP, which was considered under Article 12.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association. 

The summary of the information, together with the allegations as notified to Ms Davidson was as follows:

Ms Davidson was employed by the [ . . . ] School as a counsellor.  On [ . . . ], the parents of a student submitted a complaint to the school regarding her alleged counselling of their daughter, X.  The parents advised that when X started at school, the school was notified that [ . . . ].  The parents advised that they did not seek or want any additional support for their [ . . . ] year-old daughter, as she was already receiving support from the [ . . . ]. 


The parents alleged that whilst X was in class, a note was passed to her asking her to attend the [ . . . ] Office at 12:00pm. The [ . . .] teacher then allegedly surmised and announced within the hearing of the class, that the request must be to see the school counsellor, as this was where she was based.  This
allegedly caused X to feel anxious as she realised that this must relate to her personal situation.  The parents stated that none of the students at the school [ . . . ].

Approximately 10 minutes before the meeting with the counsellor, it is alleged that a lady, who they now know to be Ms Davidson, allegedly entered X's class and asked that the meeting take place in another location, which was allegedly an open area.    

Within this open area, Ms Davidson allegedly began discussing with X [ . . . ] and the effect that this had had on her.  Ms Davidson allegedly questioned her about her beliefs, whether she felt [ . . . ].  Ms Davidson then allegedly went on to tell X about a support group that she was intending to set up at the school, for
children who had [ . . . ] and asked if X would be interested in attending.  Further, Ms Davidson allegedly showed X the list of names of the other students who would be attending the group.

The parents allege that at no point were they informed or approached for their consent for Ms Davidson to talk to their daughter.  Furthermore, they allege that X was not given the option of whether or not to attend this meeting and was somewhat "hijacked".

Ms Davidson advised that the purpose of her seeing X was to establish her suitability for the support group.  It was not a counselling session but a short meeting to gauge her interest.  Ms Davidson states that she did not press X for answers and X was free to leave at any time.  Further, Ms Davidson states that she had
assessed X as being Gillick competent.

A hearing was held on [ . . . ] 2013 to consider the complaint that had been made against Ms Davidson.  The school found that she failed to follow school policy and that as a result this caused distress to a student and her family.  Ms Davidson's actions were not found to amount to gross misconduct.  However, she was issued with a first written warning and was asked not to return to work to fulfil the remainder of her contract with the school.  Ms Davidson subsequently resigned from her post as school counsellor.

The nature of the information raised questions about the suitability of her continuing membership of the Association and suggested that her actions have
brought, or may yet bring, not only this Association, but also the reputations of counselling/psychotherapy into disrepute.  The information further suggested that there may have been a serious breach, or breaches, of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy and it raised concerns about the following in particular:

- Ms Davidson's actions have brought or may yet bring not only this Association, but the reputations of counselling and psychotherapy into disrepute;

- Ms Davidson's alleged behaviour was incompatible with the values and principles of counselling and psychotherapy and was lacking in the personal moral qualities to which counsellors and psychotherapists are strongly encouraged to aspire. Ms Davidson's alleged behaviour in this instance also suggested that her behaviour was incongruent with that expected of a BACP member;

- Ms Davidson's actions suggested breaches of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy to which all members must subscribe.

The member was invited to send in a written response and made a response.

Decision

The Article 12.6 Panel decided to implement Article 12.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association and withdraw BACP membership from Deema Davidson to take effect 28 days from notification of this decision.  The reasons for its decision are as follows:

- Ms Davidson did not make sufficient use of the supervision available to her prior to taking steps to approach students for the purpose of setting up a group;

- Ms Davidson displayed insufficient evidence of her learning and understanding from the issues raised as a result of the matters raised in the disciplinary hearing;

- Ms Davidson demonstrated a lack of awareness of the implications of her actions;

- Ms Davidson did not take all reasonable steps to ensure that she fully consulted with the school about the way in which she intended to set up the group and made assumptions without seeking clarification from the Senior Management of the school.;

- Ms Davidson carried out an assessment of X, a vulnerable child in an open space and asked probing questions which caused upset to X.

- The Panel agreed that Ms Davidson's behaviour had brought the reputations of counselling and/or psychotherapy into disrepute and further suggested that there had been a serious breach of BACP's Ethical Framework.

Ms Davidson did not appeal the decision and her membership was withdrawn.

Any future re-application for membership will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.

(Where ellipses [ . . . ]are displayed, they indicate an omission of text)

December 2013: Roger Casemore, Reference No: 501498, Worcestershire WR3 7HA

The complaint against the above individual member was taken to Adjudication in line with the Professional Conduct Procedure.

The complaint was heard under BACP Professional Conduct Procedure and the Panel considered the alleged breaches of the BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy 2002 together with the alleged breaches of the Code of Ethics and Practice for Supervisors of Counsellors 2001 and the Code of Ethics and Practice for Trainers 1997.

The focus of the complaint, as summarised by the Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel, is that between [ . . . ] and [ . . ], the Complainant was a student on the Counselling Certificate and later, the Counselling Diploma course at the University of [ . . .].  During this time, Mr Casemore was the Director of the counselling courses.  [ . . . ], during the first year of her diploma in counselling, the Complainant alleges that Mr Casemore offered to be her supervisor for her [ . . . ] client work.  The Complainant alleges that Mr Casemore was simultaneously her supervisor for her work with [ . . . ] clients, and the Director of the counselling course, whilst she was still a student at the University.  The Complainant also alleges that Mr Casemore was her tutor the previous year, when she completed the Counselling certificate course.

The Complainant describes the dual relationship of Mr Casemore allegedly being the course director and her supervisor, as a powerful relationship which coincided with the breakdown of her marriage.

Sometime after the supervisory relationship began, the Complainant alleges that an inappropriate relationship began, which allegedly culminated in a sexual relationship developing.  During a 1:1 meeting, the Complainant alleges that Mr Casemore commented on her being attractive, on other occasions met her for drinks at coffee shops and pubs to provide her with extra support, hugged her at the end of the supervisory session and shared with her a song that he had allegedly written.

The Complainant alleges that the physical intimacy of their meetings increased and in June [ . . . ], Mr Casemore came to her house.  In the summer of [ . . . ], the Complainant alleges that she and Mr Casemore had sexual intercourse in his office.  On [ . . . ]  September [ . . . ], the Complainant alleges that during a [ . . . ] Diploma Residential meeting in a [ . . . ] hotel, she allowed Mr Casemore into her room late at night and there was sexual contact.  The Complainant alleges that the supervisory relationship was terminated in autumn [ . . . ].

The Complainant alleges that during the final six months of her studies, whilst filing for divorce, her mental health deteriorated to the extent that she was unable to maintain her part-time work for [ . . . ].

The Complainant alleges that following the completion of her Diploma in the summer of [ . . . ], contact with Mr Casemore continued on a few occasions, due to her inability to pull away fully.

The Panel considered the fact that this complaint was made [ . . . .] years after the original incidents, together with the serious nature of the allegations that had been made.  The Panel also took into account the time scales for submitting a complaint as set out within the Professional Conduct Procedure.  The Panel accepted the Complainant's reasons for the delay, as good and sufficient reasons, and was satisfied that the complaint was submitted within a reasonable time given the particular set of circumstances as described by the Complainant.  In particular, the Panel took into consideration and accepted that, the Complainant was fearful of making a complaint against someone she regarded as prominent in the profession, had suffered a mental breakdown and subsequently underwent 2 years of in-depth work in psychotherapy, had to move out of the area where she resided during her studies and the impact that the recent media reports surrounding historic claims of sexual abuse had upon her.

The Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel, in accepting this complaint, was concerned with the allegations made within the complaint suggesting contravention of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy 2002, the Code of Ethics & Practice for Supervisors of Counsellors 1996 and the Code of Ethics & Practice for Trainers 1997 and those in particular as follows:

1. Mr Casemore allegedly failed to work ethically in that whilst he was Director of courses he became the Complainant's supervisor, and during one of their 1:1 meetings, he allegedly commented that he found her attractive.

2. Mr Casemore allegedly failed to set and maintain appropriate boundaries between his supervisory relationship with the Complainant and his role as Director of Courses, in that whilst he was the Course Director he offered and subsequently became the Complainant's supervisor.

3. Mr Casemore allegedly failed to take all reasonable steps to ensure that the personal and social contact between him and the Complainant did not adversely influence the effectiveness of the counselling supervision relationship and the effectiveness of the training being received by the Complainant, in that the relationship developed into a social one, resulting in Mr Casemore meeting the Complainant for drinks at a coffee shop and pub to provide extra support to her in relation to the marital difficulties she was experiencing. This caused the Complainant to feel like she was in a therapeutic counselling relationship, rather than a supervisory or training one.

4. Mr Casemore allegedly acted unethically in that he engaged in a sexual relationship with the Complainant, at a time when she was his supervisee and when she was a trainee on the course for which he was the Director.

5. Mr Casemore allegedly did not ensure that, as a supervisor and as a trainer, he conducted himself in a way which did not undermine the public's confidence in him, in that he allegedly made sexual advances to the Complainant whilst she was his supervisee and also when she was a trainee on the course for which he was the Director, which resulted in a personal and sexual relationship.

6. Mr Casemore allegedly failed to ensure that his emotional needs were not dependent on his supervisory relationship with the Complainant, in that he engaged in a personal relationship with the Complainant, allegedly sharing a song that he had written and ending their social meetings with a hug.

7. Mr Casemore allegedly failed to withdraw from supervision when his functioning allegedly became impaired by his relationship with the Complainant developing into a personal and emotional one.

8. Mr Casemore allegedly failed to clarify with the Complainant, the boundaries of their supervisory relationship in that they allegedly had social contact outside of the supervisory sessions, hugged and kissed and engaged in sexual intercourse.

9. Mr Casemore allegedly failed to suggest to the Complainant that she seek further in-depth work with a counsellor, when she allegedly disclosed the emotional difficulties she was experiencing in her relationship with her then husband, and instead allegedly offered to provide her with extra support.

10. Mr Casemore allegedly failed to consider the implications of entering into a dual relationship with the Complainant and the detrimental impact of becoming her supervisor, when he was her former tutor and the Director of Counselling Courses.

11. Mr Casemore allegedly failed to honour the trust of the Complainant and respect her dignity, by engaging in sexual intercourse with the Complainant in his office at the University, engaging in sexual contact with her whilst at a hotel in [ . . . ] during a [ . . . ] residential meeting on [ . . . ], and visiting the Complainant at her home when her then husband was out of the house.

12. Mr Casemore allegedly abused the trust placed in him by the Complainant in order to gain sexual advantage, by kissing and hugging her and having sexual relations with her.

13. Mr Casemore allegedly failed to recognise and remedy the harm that he had caused to the Complainant by engaging in a personal and sexual relationship with her.

14. Mr Casemore allegedly failed to foresee the conflict of interest that could arise from him being the Complainant's supervisor and the Course Director and protect the interests of the Complainant, in that he allegedly had an interest of a personal and sexual nature in her.

15. The alleged actions and behaviour of Mr Casemore, as experienced by the Complainant, suggests a contravention in particular of paragraphs A.1, B.1.4, B.1.5, B.1.7, B.1.13, B.1.15, B.25 and B.3.18 of the Code of Ethics and Practice for Supervisors of Counsellors 2001 and paragraphs A.1, A.7, B.1.2, B.1.6 ,1.6.1 & 1.6.3, B.1.9 and B.1.16 of the Code of Ethics and Practice for Trainers 1997 and paragraphs 4, 11, 18, 34 and 55 of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy 2002, as well as the ethical principles of Fidelity, Autonomy, Beneficence, and Non-maleficence, and the personal qualities of integrity, sincerity, respect and wisdom to which counsellors and psychotherapists are strongly encouraged to aspire.

Findings

On balance, having fully considered the above, the Panel made the following findings:

1. Mr Casemore stated that it was not unusual at that time for members of his team, including him, to provide supervision to the students for their placement casework, particularly if they were having difficulty finding a person centred supervisor.  Mr Casemore denied that becoming the Complainant's supervisor whilst he was Course Director was unethical, but admitted that his failure to manage the boundaries, which arose from this, was unethical.  Mr Casemore further admitted that he had commented to the Complainant that he found her attractive but this is something that he might say to any of his supervisees.  The Panel found that, whilst it was not necessarily unethical to be the Course Director and the Complainant's supervisor if such a situation was appropriately managed, it was unethical to perform those roles without maintaining clear boundaries, which Mr Casemore failed to do when he told the Complainant that he found her attractive.  As such the Panel found that Mr Casemore failed to act ethically and this allegation is therefore, upheld.

2. On questioning, neither party could recall whether or not it was Mr Casemore who had offered to provide supervision to the Complainant.  In his oral evidence, Mr Casemore stated that he may have told the Complainant that he was available to be her supervisor if she did not have one.  The Complainant stated that the issue may have come up in a tutorial but she could not recall asking Mr Casemore to be her supervisor.  There was insufficient evidence available to the Panel to prove that Mr Casemore failed to set and maintain appropriate boundaries between his supervisory relationship with the Complainant and his role as Director of Courses with specific regard to whether he offered and subsequently became the Complainant's supervisor.  This allegation is therefore, not upheld.

3. Mr Casemore admitted that he offered to provide extra support to the Complainant, in his capacity as both supervisor and Course Director, whilst she was going through a marital breakdown.  He stated that this support was not a counselling relationship but a therapeutic supervisory relationship.  The Complainant in her evidence stated that the support that she received from Mr Casemore felt like a therapeutic counselling relationship, which caused confusion for her.  Further, Mr Casemore stated that he gave no significant thought to the impact that a personal relationship would have on the Complainant, their counselling supervision relationship and the effectiveness of the training that she received.  Given that Mr Casemore gave no thought to this, the Panel found that he failed to take reasonable steps to ensure that the personal and social contact did not adversely influence the Complainant.  This allegation is therefore, upheld.

4. Mr Casemore admitted that he engaged in a sexual relationship with the Complainant at a time when he was both the Course Director and her supervisor.  The Panel accepted the Complainant's evidence that she had neither sought nor wanted the relationship, but had been fearful of the consequences for her training and personal support if she had declined The Panel found that Mr Casemore, in entering into such a relationship, had breached the fundamental tenets of counselling and supervision and in doing so the Panel found that Mr Casemore acted unethically.  This allegation is therefore, upheld.

5. Mr Casemore stated that he found the Complainant attractive and that his relationship with her grew over a period of time as both he and the Complainant were drawn to each other.  Mr Casemore further admitted that he kissed the Complainant and they had sexual contact at a time when the Complainant was his supervisee and a trainee on a course for which he was the Director.  The Panel found that in making sexual advances towards the Complainant and engaging in a sexual relationship with the Complainant, and furthermore, given Mr Casemore's position at the University and in the profession, he failed to ensure that he conducted himself in a manner which did not undermine the public's confidence in him.  This allegation is therefore, upheld.

6. Mr Casemore stated that it was his habit to share songs with friends and students, including the Complainant, if it felt appropriate to something they were discussing.  The Complainant in her evidence stated that when Mr Casemore shared his song with her, she felt special and was touched by the intimacy of it.  Mr Casemore also accepted that they hugged after their social meetings.  The Panel found that Mr Casemore's needs were paramount to the Complainant's own needs and he gave no thought to how she felt.  Further Mr Casemore acted on the emotion that he felt for the Complainant, which in his evidence he stated escalated over a period of time, and engaged in a personal relationship with the Complainant.  The Panel further found that the supervisory relationship created an opportunity for a relationship to develop.  As a result, Mr Casemore failed to ensure that his emotional needs were not dependent upon the supervisory relationship with the Complainant.  This allegation is therefore, upheld.

7. Mr Casemore accepted the Complainant's written evidence that the supervisory relationship ended in December [ . . . ].  Mr Casemore stated that he knew that the supervisory relationship had to end when sexual intercourse took place, but he denied that the sexual relationship impaired the supervisory relationship.  The Panel found that on balance, Mr Casemore's functioning was impaired, given that he did not terminate the supervisory relationship at the point that it developed into a personal one and instead waited some months after sexual intercourse took place, before terminating the relationship.  This allegation is therefore, upheld.

8. Mr Casemore admitted that he failed to maintain boundaries in his relationship with the Complainant given that they had social contact outside supervision, hugged, kissed, and engaged in sexual intercourse.  The Panel found that in doing this, Mr Casemore failed to clarify with the Complainant the boundaries of their supervisory relationship and therefore, this allegation is upheld.

9. The Complainant in her evidence could not recollect whether or not Mr Casemore had suggested that she seek further in-depth work with a counsellor.  Mr Casemore in his evidence stated that he may have suggested that the Complainant seek therapy but he could not be certain.  Furthermore, Mr Casemore accepted that he offered to provide the Complainant with extra support, but stated that this was not therapeutic.  Although the Panel found that this extra support was therapeutic in nature, there was insufficient evidence available to it to prove that Mr Casemore had not suggested that the Complainant seek further in-depth counselling.  This allegation is therefore, not upheld.

10. There was no evidence available to the Panel to suggest that Mr Casemore failed to give consideration to the implications of entering into a dual relationship with the Complainant.  Mr Casemore stated that at the time it was common practice for members of his team to act as a supervisor to those who were unable to find one.  Mr Casemore stated that in his role he regularly sought feedback from his supervisees to check with them how their supervision was going.  The Complainant stated that she felt honoured that Mr Casemore would want to be her supervisor and there was no evidence available to the Panel to suggest that the existence of this dual role in itself caused any detriment to the Complainant.  This allegation is therefore, not upheld.

11. The parties agreed that they engaged in sexual intercourse in Mr Casemore's office and that Mr Casemore visited the Complainant at her home.  The Panel found that in doing this, Mr Casemore failed to honour and respect the trust and dignity of the Complainant.  This part of the allegation is therefore, upheld.  The parties disagreed as to whether Mr Casemore visited the Complainant during a residential meeting.  The Complainant's evidence was that it did occur however, Mr Casemore stated that he could not recall whether it had occurred.  There was insufficient evidence available to the Panel to prove this part of the allegation, which is therefore, not upheld.

12. Mr Casemore admitted that he was attracted to the Complainant and hugged, kissed and engaged in sexual relations with her.  In doing so, the Panel found that Mr Casemore abused the Complainant's trust in order to gain sexual advantage.  This allegation is therefore, upheld.

13. Mr Casemore admitted that he gave no significant thought to the impact that a sexual relationship would have on the Complainant.  The Complainant, in her evidence, stated that she experienced high anxiety from keeping the relationship a secret from her peers and fearing that her husband may find out about the relationship, and make good his alleged threats of violence against her.  The Panel therefore, found that Mr Casemore failed to recognise and remedy the harm that he had caused.  This allegation is upheld.

14. Mr Casemore admitted that he was attracted to the Complainant and that he acted out that attraction.  The Panel found that in failing to manage this attraction and continuing to supervise the Complainant whilst he was the Course Director, Mr Casemore failed to foresee the conflict of interest which could arise from this and protect her interests, given that he engaged in a relationship of a personal and sexual nature with her.  This allegation is therefore, upheld.

15. In light of the above findings, the Panel was satisfied that paragraphs A.1, B.1.5, B.1.7, B.1.13, B.1.15, B.25 and B.3.18 of the Code of Ethics and Practice for Supervisors of Counsellors 2001 had been breached but not paragraph B.1.4 and paragraphs A.1, A.7, B.1.2, B.1.6, B.1.6.3, B.1.9 and B.1.16 of the Code of Ethics and Practice for Trainers 1997 had been breached but not paragraph B.1.6.1 and paragraphs 11, 18, 34 and 55 of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy 2002 had been breached, but not paragraph 4.  He had also breached the ethical principles of fidelity, autonomy and beneficence and Non-Maleficence.  The Panel was not satisfied that paragraph 4 had been breached.  The Panel also found that Mr Casemore lacked the personal moral qualities of integrity, sincerity, respect and wisdom.

Decision

Accordingly, the Panel was unanimous in its decision that these findings amounted to bringing the profession into disrepute in that Mr Casemore's actions amounted to serious professional misconduct, particularly in view of his eminent standing in the profession and in BACP, as identified in the testimonials that he supplied and in his verbal evidence.  The evidence further suggested that the member's standard of practice fell far below that expected of a reasonably competent practitioner, exercising reasonable care and skill.

Mitigation

Mr Casemore stated that following this incident, he changed the practice at the University so that members of his team, including him, no longer provided supervision to students.

The Panel took note of the supportive testimonials that Mr Casemore provided.

Sanction

The Panel was unanimous that Mr Casemore's membership of BACP should be withdrawn and took the view that, given the serious nature of the findings reached, any lesser sanction would be wholly disproportionate.

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December 2013: Stephen Lenehan, Reference No: 637303, Lancashire PR7 3NX   

Information was brought to BACP's attention by Mr Lenehan which was sufficient to refer for consideration under Article 12.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.   

The summary of the information received was as follows:

On 6 August 2012, Mr Lenehan wrote to BACP to make a complaint about various individuals, one of whom was a member of BACP.  Within his complaint he disclosed that "I [He] had been suffering from quite bad depression as I [he] regularly do(es)".    He further disclosed that sometime after February 2011 he was sectioned and remained in hospital until May 2011. 

In response to his complaint and the disclosure made, a letter was sent to Mr Lenehan dated 22 August 2012, reminding him of his obligation to maintain his fitness to practice and asking for confirmation of the arrangements he had in place to maintain his fitness to practice.  

Mr Lenehan responded on 24 August stating that he would not be renewing his membership and if he did choose to practice, it would be after the expiry of his membership.  As a result Mr Lenehan stated that his fitness to practice was of no concern to BACP.

BACP's membership department had however confirmed that Mr Lenehan renewed his membership and was a current member of BACP.

The nature of the information raised questions about the suitability of his continuing membership of the Association and it raised concerns about the following in particular:

  • Mr Lenehan failed to respond in an appropriate way to information requested by BACP regarding his fitness to practice;
  • Mr Lenehan failed to disclose to BACP during his period of membership, information which may affect his suitability for continued membership of BACP;
  • His actions have brought, or may yet bring, not only this Association but also the reputations of counselling/psychotherapy into disrepute;
  • The information further suggested that there may have been a serious breach, or breaches, of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

The member was invited to send in a written response, and did not make a response.

PANEL'S DECISION

The Article 12.6 Panel decided to implement Article 12.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association and withdraw BACP membership from Mr Stephen Lenehan to take effect 28 days from notification of the decision.  The reasons for its decision are as follows:

Mr Lenehan disclosed in his correspondence with BACP that he had suffered from depression regularly, that he had been sectioned and he described those events leading up to him being sectioned.  The Panel viewed these as significant events which raised concern for his safety, that of his colleagues and that of any clients or potential clients.  His disclosure indicates that his fitness to practice has been impaired and that he has breached paragraph 40 of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Mr Lenehan indicated to BACP in August 2012 that his fitness to practice would not be of any concern to BACP and he did not provide information in response to a request from BACP asking for details of any arrangements he had in place with regard to his fitness to practice with clients.  Since that time, he has not responded to the allegations despite been given two opportunities to do so.  Under Paragraph 50 of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy, there is a requirement to take part in the Association's professional conduct procedures and be professionally accountable for one's actions.  Mr Lenehan's actions indicate that he has breached Paragraph 50 of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

The Panel found these to be serious breaches of the Ethical Framework and, being mindful of public protection together with no evidence of mitigation, had no choice but to implement Article 12.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association and withdraw BACP membership from Mr Stephen Lenehan.

Mr Lenehan was given the opportunity to appeal the decision, but no appeal was received.  Consequently his membership was withdrawn. 

  

November 2013:  Andrea Scherzer, Reference No: 532777, London NW6 3JL    

Information was received by BACP, which was considered under Article 12.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association. 

The summary of the information, together with the allegations as notified to Ms Scherzer were as follows:

On 26 March 2012, information was provided to BACP by the senior NHS Manager of [ . . . ] NHS Trust regarding Ms Scherzer's dismissal from their employment.  

On 1 April 2012, Ms Scherzer made a second disclosure to BACP concerning her dismissal from her employment with [ . . . ] Health Trust on 28 February 2012. Ms Scherzer was notified on 4 May 2012 that her original disclosure relating to [ . . . ], and her subsequent disclosure relating to her dismissal from her employment, would be considered together by the Article 12.6 Panel.  

The nature of the second disclosure concerning Ms Scherzer's dismissal raised further questions about the suitability of her continued membership of this Association and suggested that she has brought, or may yet bring, not only this Association but also the reputations of counselling/psychotherapy into disrepute.  The nature of this additional information suggested that there may have been a serious breach, or breaches, of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy.  The information disclosed is as follows:

On 27 February 2012, Ms Scherzer was dismissed from her employment with [ . . . ] Health NHS Trust for gross misconduct.  The allegations against Ms Scherzer were as follows:

  • On Tuesday 8 November 2011, Ms Scherzer rendered herself unfit whilst at work due to the effects of having consumed an excess amount of alcohol.
  • Ms Scherzer lacked insight of how her excess alcohol intake had compromised her fitness to provide appropriate care and attention to the patient she saw on 8 November 2011.
  • Ms Scherzer breached 4.2 (c) of the Ethical Principles and Code of Professional Conduct in that she failed to inform the [ . . . ] of her suspension from work

The disciplinary panel also noted that Ms Scherzer had continued to work as a teacher in psychotherapy at [ . . . ] despite being advised in her suspension letter dated 22 November 2011, that she was not permitted to work.   Ms Scherzer submitted an appeal to [ . . . ] Health Trust against their decision to dismiss her and has advised BACP that her appeal was unsuccessful.

Further, Ms Scherzer gave evidence at the disciplinary hearing that she had had a problem with alcohol since 2002.   However, Ms Scherzer did not disclose this to BACP at any time during her period of membership nor in her response dated 29 November 2011 to BACP's letter dated 28 November, when Ms Scherzer stated, "In answer to your question, no, I have never had a problem with alcohol addiction".                                                                                     

The summary of the information originally disclosed by Andrea Scherzer was as follows:

Ms Scherzer [ . . . ] Ms Scherzer also disclosed the circumstances surrounding the incident [ . . . ] and the actions she has subsequently taken to mitigate and minimise any impact on her practice.

The nature of both disclosures raised questions about the suitability of Ms Scherzer's continuing membership of this Association and suggests that her actions have brought, or may yet bring, not only this Association but also the reputations of counselling/psychotherapy into disrepute. 

The information further suggests that there may have been a serious breach, or breaches, of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy and it raises concerns about the following in particular:

  • The [ . . . ] suggests that Ms Scherzer's behaviour is incompatible with the values of Counselling and Psychotherapy, and further suggest that her fitness to practise has been impaired.

The Panel carefully considered all the evidence that it had before it at the first meeting, together with the further evidence referred to above, including further evidence provided by the member herself.

Decision of the Article 12.6 Panel

The Panel decided to implement Article 12.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association and withdraw BACP membership from Ms Scherzer to take effect 28 days from the notification of the decision. 

The Panel gave reasons for its decisions as follows:

  • Ms Scherzer demonstrated no personal responsibility for her actions by stating that the client that she saw raised no complaint about her and placing the responsibility on her employer to notify her if they had had any concerns with her when she arrived at work, rather than being self-aware and realising for herself that it was inappropriate for her to be at work when she had had little sleep and had consumed a vast amount of alcohol the previous night. Furthermore, Ms Scherzer appeared to have had no significant understanding of her actions in that she saw a client when her abilities were impaired through her use of alcohol.
  • The Panel found that information had to be extracted from Ms Scherzer over a period of time and at times Ms Scherzer appeared to be economical with the truth in the following ways:  

-     When asked by BACP on 28 November 2011 whether she had an addiction to alcohol, Ms Scherzer responded in writing on 29 November 2011, stating that she did not have a problem with alcohol addiction. However, when asked by her then employer about her alcohol dependency, Ms Scherzer stated that she had had a problem with alcohol since 2002.

-     Ms Scherzer told her former employer that she had notified [ . . . ] of her suspension from work but later admitted that this was a lie and she had not notified [ . . . ] of her suspension at that time.

-     Ms Scherzer stated in a letter to BACP dated 29 November 2011, as follows; "So as of this time last year I no longer drink any alcohol". She further stated: "I decided last year to abstain from alcohol altogether". However, the Panel noted that, by Ms Scherzer's own admission, on 7 November 2011 she had consumed several bottles of wine.

-     Despite Ms Scherzer writing to BACP on 23 November 2011 to notify them of [ . . . ], Ms Scherzer failed to disclose the fact that on 18 November 2011 she had been suspended from her place of work.

  • The Panel noted that the incident at work which led to Ms Scherzer's dismissal was not an isolated incident. The Panel noted from the information disclosed by Ms Scherzer's former employer that issues were raised around her alcohol consumption in 2009, when Ms Scherzer was sent home after appearing to be under the influence of alcohol. The issue of Ms Scherzer's alcohol intake was again raised in June 2011 when it was recorded that whilst at work Ms Scherzer was shaky, had rapid inconsistent speech and there was a strong odour of alcohol. As a result of this Ms Scherzer took annual leave rather than medical suspension and thereafter returned to work on 6 September 2011.

  • The Panel also took note of the letter from the [ . . . ] Service dated 19 October 2012, which stated that Ms Scherzer had been in treatment at their service since November 2011 but had only been abstinent from alcohol for 2 months.
  • The Panel was concerned with the issue of patient safety and noted that although no complaint was made against Ms Scherzer by the client she saw whilst under the influence of alcohol, as a professional and a member of BACP, Ms Scherzer should not have allowed herself to go to work and see a vulnerable client, whilst she was under the influence of alcohol and when her judgment was clouded. The Panel viewed this as a serious transgression of the Ethical Framework showing unacceptable poor judgment.
  • Whilst the Panel took note of Ms Scherzer's personal experiences, it did not consider it an excuse for, or justification of, her actions.
  • Ms Scherzer demonstrated a lack of insight in not realising that she was too drunk to go to work and was unaware that her effectiveness to perform was impaired.
  • The Panel were also concerned that despite Ms Scherzer stating that she teaches and supervises students, her actions demonstrate that she appeared to have no insight into her own responsibility to protect the standards of the profession and to take reasonable steps to prevent clients being exposed to risk or harm. The Panel found that there had been serious breaches of the Ethical Framework. In particular by seeing a client, when by her own admission she was under the influence of alcohol, Ms Scherzer lacked the personal moral quality of wisdom. Further, Ms Scherzer's actions lacked the personal moral qualities of integrity and humility and the ethical principles of being trustworthy and of beneficence.
  • The Panel further found that Ms Scherzer lacked the insight to refrain from work when, by her own admission, the previous night she had consumed several bottles of wine and had virtually had no sleep.
  • The Panel found that going to work, when it was obvious that her fitness to practice was impaired as a result of the alcohol she had consumed, was a serious lack of Ms Scherzer's responsibility to maintain her fitness to practice to a level which would have enabled her to provide an effective service.

Ms Scherzer appealed against the Article 12.6 Panel's decision to invoke Article 12.6 believing that it was unjust and unreasonable in all of the circumstances to implement Article 12.6.

The Article 12.6 Appeal Panel, in addition to the information considered by the Article 12.6 Panel, was provided with Ms Scherzer's appeal against the decision to withdraw membership, as well as further supporting information from Ms Scherzer.  All of the preceding information, including the oral evidence given on the day, was carefully considered by the Article 12.6 Appeal Panel.

Decision

It was the duty of the Article 12.6 Appeal Panel to decide whether the decision of the Article 12.6 Panel to implement Article 12.6 was just and reasonable in all the circumstances and then to decide whether an appeal should be allowed or denied.

The Article 12.6 Appeal Panel was satisfied that the Article 12.6 Panel had reached a just, fair and reasonable decision based on the information with which it was presented. The Article 12.6 Appeal Panel came to the unanimous decision that the Appellant's appeal should be denied. 

The reasons for its decision are as follows:

The Article 12.6 Appeal Panel was satisfied that Ms Scherzer had admitted that she had seen a client at work while under the influence of alcohol.  The Article 12.6 Appeal Panel was further satisfied that Ms Scherzer was dismissed by her employer for gross misconduct and that her subsequent appeal against its decision failed.  The Article 12.6 Appeal Panel noted that while Ms Scherzer maintains she does not have an alcohol addiction, she does not dispute that she has a relationship with alcohol which entails her periodically drinking to excess.

The Article 12.6 Appeal Panel noted that Ms Scherzer attributed the appearance of being economical with the truth and issues with regard to information being extracted from her over a period of time to mistakes and administrative oversight.  However, the Article 12.6 Appeal Panel was not satisfied with Ms Scherzer's explanation.  

The Article 12.6 Appeal Panel was satisfied that Ms Scherzer's behaviour raised serious concerns over her integrity, honesty and relationships of trust. The Article 12.6 Appeal Panel was not satisfied that she demonstrated insight nor had taken sufficient responsibility for her actions.  The Article 12.6 Appeal Panel was also concerned that Ms Scherzer did not fully appreciate the gravity of her actions in seeing a client when under the influence of alcohol.  The Article 12.6 Appeal Panel also was concerned that she had not demonstrated good judgement and demonstrated little regard for the safety of the client. 

The Article 12.6 Appeal Panel noted the work that Ms Scherzer had done on herself, some of it starting as early as 2000.  This work involved therapeutic support and specialist help for certain periods of time.  The Article 12.6 Appeal Panel also noted that Ms Scherzer demonstrated some limited evidence of learning with regard to self-care and management.  However, despite the mitigation provided by Ms Scherzer, the Article 12.6 Appeal Panel was not satisfied that it had detracted from the very serious nature of the findings against Ms Scherzer.    

Mindful, of the purpose of Article 12.6 in relation to public protection, the Article 12.6 Appeal Panel was unanimous in its finding that the decision of the Article 12.6 Panel in invoking Article 12.6 was just and reasonable in the circumstances and denied the appeal. 

Consequently, Ms Scherzer's membership of BACP is withdrawn with immediate effect.

Any future re-application for membership will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.

(Where ellipses [ . . . ]are displayed, they indicate an omission of text)

  

September 2013: Anette Foss Ball, Reference No: 579176, London SW1X 7BL    

Information was submitted for consideration under Article 12.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.   

A summary of the information disclosed is that on 7 October 2009, Ms Foss Ball was notified by way of letter by the Office Manager of the Professional Standards Department, that her application to become an Accredited Counsellor/Psychotherapist could not be processed any further and it was returned to her.  This was because it appeared that Ms Foss Ball's application form had been completed by her supervisor, as the handwriting on the main body of her application was identical to the writing in her supervisor's report.  In addition, it was alleged that information that Ms Foss Ball had provided in section 8.1.1 of her application form was taken directly from the website, www.personcare.org.

On 30 January 2013, following a further application that Ms Foss Ball submitted for Accreditation, a letter was sent to her by the Service Manager in Accreditation, notifying Ms Foss Ball that there were some inconsistencies within her application form and invited Ms Foss Ball to respond.  Ms Foss Ball was advised that her previous application submitted in 2009 had been compared against her current application and it was apparent that there were substantial parts of her current application which were identical to parts of her 2009 application.  In particular, it was alleged that information provided by Ms Foss Ball in paragraph 8.1.1 of her 2009 application, now paragraph 8.1 in her current application, was identical.  Further, it was alleged that information Ms Foss Ball had provided in respect of her case study in paragraphs 8.2.4, 8.3.1 and 8.3.2 of her 2009 application, now paragraphs 9.1-9.6 in her current application, were identical with the exception of the date of the first sessions, the age and ethnicity of the client and the source of her stress.

Ms Foss Ball was invited to provide a written explanation for the matters that had been drawn to her attention and provided her response in a letter dated 12 February 2013.  Ms Foss Ball explained that in relation to her application form submitted in 2009, she was unable to complete the application herself due to an injury to her hand and therefore asked her supervisor to complete it on her behalf.  Ms Foss Ball stated that she did not clarify this when she received notification that her application had been withdrawn from consideration because at the time, she was dealing with some family issues.  Ms Foss Ball further advised that she copied the information from the website because she mistakenly believed that she was being asked to provide a written description of her working model rather than her own interpretation.  Finally, Ms Foss Ball stated that the case studies that she referenced related to two different clients.

Ms Foss Ball was informed by letter, dated 26 February 2013 by the Director of Marketing, Communications and Membership, that her application for accreditation had been disqualified from the process as her behaviour was not congruent with the declaration of honesty signed in both applications.  

The declaration of honesty contained within both Ms Foss Ball's application forms states as follows: "I declare that as far as I know, my application contains only true information.  I understand that if any incorrect, incomplete or plagiarised information is discovered, my accreditation may be disqualified". 

The nature of the information raised questions about the suitability of Ms Foss Ball's continuing membership of this Association and suggested that her actions have brought, or may yet bring, not only this Association but also the reputations of counselling/psychotherapy into disrepute.  The information further suggests that there may have been a serious breach, or breaches, of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy and it raised concerns about the following in particular:

  • Ms Foss Ball's actions have brought or may yet bring not only this Association but the reputations of Counselling and Psychotherapy into disrepute;
  • Ms Foss Ball's actions are incompatible with the actions of a member of BACP;
  • Ms Foss Ball's actions suggest breaches of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy to which all members must subscribe.

The member was invited to send in a written response and made a response.

PANEL'S DECISION

The Article 12.6 Panel decided to implement Article 12.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association and withdraw BACP membership from Ms Foss Ball to take effect 28 days from notification of this decision, pending appeal.  The reasons for its decision were as follows:

  • The Panel was of the view that Ms Foss Ball demonstrated a lack of understanding and self-awareness of the serious nature of the issues that were being considered under Article 12.6 and, in particular, was concerned by her comments that "...I'm placed in a position where I have to explain myself repeatedly" and "I have not done anything wrong".
  • In section 8.1 of Ms Foss Ball's application for accreditation, she was required to provide the following: "Describe a rationale for your client work with reference to the theory/theories that inform your practice".  Ms Foss Ball copied the information for this section from the Integrated Person Care website, word for word.  The Panel also noted that in the declaration of honesty that Ms Foss Ball signed, it was made clear that if any plagiarised information was discovered, her application for accreditation could be disqualified. 
  • The Panel noted that a clear copyright notice was contained on the Integrated Person Care website which stated: "All texts used in this website are copyright, but their use is allowed provided that both the website and Tommaso Palumbo are duly acknowledged".   Ms Foss Ball provided no evidence either that she was aware of this copyright notice or that she took steps to obtain the permission requested. 
  • In relation to the allegation that the case studies for her 2009 and 2012 application were identical, the Panel did not accept Ms Foss Ball's explanation that the similarities between the case studies were due to the strict application of her practise model.  The Panel carefully considered both case studies and found that they contained significant similarities. The Panel did not consider it likely that Ms Foss Ball's client in 2009 would present the same issues that her client in 2012 experienced and that she would use the same intervention described in both case studies.
  • The Panel agreed that on the basis of the information available to it, Ms Foss Ball's actions had brought the reputations of BACP and the reputations of counselling and psychotherapy into disrepute and her actions were incompatible with the actions of a member of BACP.

Ms Foss Ball was given the opportunity to appeal the decision, but no appeal was received.  Consequently her membership was withdrawn.  Any future application for membership of this Association will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

    

July 2013: Helen Castang, Reference No: 571780,Enfield EN3 6SX  

A sanction was imposed on Ms Castang following a Professional Conduct Hearing. 

Ms Castang failed to comply with the sanction and consequently her membership of BACP was withdrawn.  Any future application for membership of BACP will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

May 2013: Damon Bachegalup, Reference No: 611906, Bolton BL1 6P

A sanction was imposed on Mr Bachegalup following a Professional Conduct Hearing. 

Mr Bachegalup failed to comply with the sanction and consequently his membership of BACP was withdrawn.  Any future application for membership of BACP will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

April 2013: Damien Black, Reference No: 641919, Mid-Glamorgan CF31 2JG

The complaint against the above individual member was taken to Adjudication in line with the Professional Conduct Procedure.

The complaint was heard under BACP Professional Conduct Procedure 2010 and the Panel considered the alleged breaches of the BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

The focus of the complaint, as summarised by the Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel, is that on 11 August 2010, following the death of her father, the complainant allegedly asked Mr Black if he would be prepared to be her counsellor, whilst she worked through difficult feelings. Mr Black allegedly agreed to take her request to supervision, although later allegedly said he had not done this, but had instead consulted a colleague.  At the time Mr Black was employed as a supervisor for volunteer counsellors at A, an organisation managed by the complainant.

The next day, Mr Black and the complainant met again.  Mr Black allegedly told the complainant that he would counsel her, but that sessions should be informal.  He also allegedly said that if the boundaries of their therapeutic relationship caused difficulties then he would refer the complainant on to a colleague.  The complainant allegedly agreed to this, and offered to pay Mr Black for his time, an offer that Mr Black allegedly refused.  Over the next two hours the complainant discussed her feelings regarding the deaths of her father and her son (in 2003), and also her suicidal ideation.

The second appointment took place on 17 August 2010, in a café.  Mr Black explained aspects of Freud's theories saying it was important for the complainant to understand the concepts.  At this meeting, as allegedly requested by Mr Black, the complainant brought a photograph of her dead son.

The third meeting was on 26 August 2010 in the complainant's office, as Mr Black had allegedly not been able to find an alternative venue.  The complainant agreed to this, reluctantly, having allegedly said earlier that she would prefer to meet elsewhere.

In a telephone call, the complainant said that she was confused about her growing feelings for Mr Black, and was consequently stressed and struggling.  Mr Black allegedly responded by saying that he was not looking for a relationship as he already had a partner, but that the complainant "ticked all the right boxes".  During the next session, which was also held in the complainant's office, Mr Black  allegedly told her how flattered he was by what she had said, and allegedly spoke in depth about his unhappy marriage.

There were allegedly another nine sessions between August and October 2010.  The complainant alleges that her feelings of attachment were increasing and she was trying to explore these within the therapeutic relationship.  Allegedly, Mr Black agreed that she could ring his mobile anytime in order to discuss her suicidal thoughts.  The numbers of weekly meeting were increased to two, at the complainant's request, with one session in a café and one in her office.  The content of these sessions was allegedly around childhood abuse suffered by the complainant.  In retrospect, the complainant alleges that whilst one of these meetings was counselling, the other was seductive flattery as well as supervision for work issues.

After one session they hugged, and Mr Black allegedly said that the hug was "payment enough".  After another session, they allegedly kissed, and whilst the complainant told Mr Black she was ok with this, she now says that she was not.  Allegedly another couple of incidents of a sexual nature took place.  Mr Black allegedly told the complainant that this should stay between the two of them.

The complainant became very confused, and allegedly no longer understood the nature of the relationship between her and Mr Black.

Mr Black then allegedly stopped the therapeutic relationship, saying that "it was turning into psychotherapy", whilst requesting that they remained friends.  On 16 October and 7 November 2010 there were allegedly two sexual episodes between them.  The complainant wanted to break off contact, but Mr Black allegedly refused to do so, to the alleged detriment of the complainant's health.

The complainant sought medical help and counselling, whilst still in contact with Mr Black. Through talking to a professional colleague, she alleges that she realised that Mr Black had behaved inappropriately.

During this entire period Mr Black continued to work at the organisation.  On 23 March 2011 the complainant contacted Mr Black to discuss the ending of his contract, which was due to run out.  Mr Black allegedly requested a meeting, over lunch which the complainant agreed to.  After lunch they discussed the incidents between them, and Mr Black allegedly first denied these had happened, and then later allegedly accepted that they had.  The complainant subsequently contacted Mr Black's supervisor (for his NHS work) to explain what had happened.

The complainant alleges that Mr Black's behaviour was inappropriate, deceitful and manipulative.

The Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel, in accepting this complaint was concerned with the allegations made within the complaint suggesting contravention of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy, and those in particular as follows:

  • Mr Black allegedly failed to consider the implications of entering into a dual relationship by agreeing to counsel someone with whom he already had a professional relationship, without formal supervisory consultation.
  • Mr Black allegedly failed to clarify and agree the rights and responsibilities of both practitioner and client by saying that sessions should be "informal" without making clear what that meant.
  • Mr Black allegedly failed to offer the complainant a competent service by not offering periodic reviews.
  • Mr Black allegedly did not demonstrate a good standard of care by failing to refer the complainant when she expressed suicidal ideation, and in abruptly stopping the counselling without an onward referral.
  • Mr Black allegedly failed to respect the complainant's privacy and confidentiality by holding a counselling session in a café.
  • Mr Black allegedly did not demonstrate a good quality of care by telling the complainant that she could ring him anytime, therefore increasing the complainant's dependency on him.
  • Mr Black allegedly failed to clarify the terms on which he was offering his services by not being clear about the terms of payment, and in saying that a hug was payment enough.
  • Mr Black allegedly abused the trust placed in him by the complainant in order to gain sexual advantage by kissing the complainant and having other sexual contact with her.
  • Mr Black allegedly failed to exercise caution and also failed to be willing to be professionally accountable by continuing to have sexual and personal contact with the complainant after he had finished the counselling relationship, and in saying that it should stay between the two of them.
  • Mr Black's alleged actions and behaviour, as experienced by the complainant, suggest a contravention in particular of paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 11, 14, 17, 20, 59 and 62 of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy 2010, as well as the ethical principles of Being Trustworthy, Autonomy, Beneficence, and Non-maleficence, and the personal qualities of integrity, humility, competence and wisdom to which counsellors and psychotherapists are strongly encouraged to aspire.

Findings

On balance, having fully considered the above, the Panel made the following findings:

I.      The Panel first considered whether there was a counselling relationship at all between the complainant and Mr Black.  On the evidence provided the Panel concluded  that  there  was  a  counselling  relationship,  albeit  one  that  was formulated solely on the basis of a poorly articulated verbal contract.  It took into account the complainant's evidence that she was in no doubt that counselling had been agreed with Mr Black, and noted the regularity of meetings between the parties on Mondays and Thursdays each week between 17 August 2010 and the beginning of November 2010.  It did not, on balance, find as credible Mr Black's explanation  that  these  meetings  were  all  to  discuss  a  funding  bid,  and  his possible appointment as a trustee of the organisation where the complainant worked. The Panel found that the number and regularity of the meetings were wholly disproportionate to such discussions.   The Panel therefore, found that there was a counselling contract between Mr Black and the complainant.

II.      The Panel found on the evidence provided by both Mr Black and the complainant that there was an already existing professional/work relationship between them, and that in addition, there developed a social relationship as well.  Given the Panel's finding above, that there was also a counselling relationship between the parties, the Panel found that there was a clear responsibility on Mr Black to consider the implications of entering into such dual relationships and that on the evidence before it he had failed to do so to the detriment of the complainant.  This part of this allegation is therefore upheld. On the evidence presented to it the Panel was not satisfied that Mr Black had failed in his duty to take this matter to formal supervision and this part of the allegation is not upheld.

III.      The Panel, in finding that a counselling relationship did exist between Mr Black and the complainant, accepted the evidence of the complainant that the terms of the contract were "woolly" and that Mr Black had told her that the relationship should be "informal".   The Panel found on the evidence that such "informality" was not clarified from the outset by Mr Black and that he had failed in his obligation to clarify and agree the rights and responsibilities of both himself as practitioner and of the complainant as client. The allegation is therefore upheld.

IV.     The Panel similarly found that, in his failure to clarify and agree the rights and responsibilities of both parties to this counselling relationship, Mr Black had also failed to offer periodic reviews of that relationship with the complainant.  The allegation is upheld.

V.      The Panel accepted the complainant's evidence that she expressed suicidal ideation to Mr Black early on in the counselling relationship. The Panel found that such early mention of suicide did not automatically require referral but rather a risk assessment. The Panel accepted the evidence of the complainant that she was not at risk after the early counselling and that she had not mentioned it again to Mr Black. This allegation is accordingly not upheld.

VI.     The Panel accepted Mr Black's own evidence that it was not appropriate to hold a counselling session in a café other than in the most exceptional circumstances and accordingly found that he had failed to respect the complainant's privacy and confidentiality in doing exactly that with her without good reason.  The allegation is upheld.

VII.     The Panel found that there was no evidence to suggest that Mr Black had told the complainant that she could ring him at any time on his mobile, and that by giving his mobile number to the complainant the Panel found that he did not, by doing that, increase her dependency on him. The allegation is not upheld.

VIII.     The  Panel  found  on  the  evidence  that,  in  denying  the  very existence  of  a counselling contract, Mr Black had failed to clarify the question of payment for the counselling sessions. This part of the allegation is upheld.  While the Panel also accepted that both parties agreed that there had been a hug between them, it found that there was insufficient evidence to conclude that Mr Black had said that the hug "was payment enough". This part of the allegation is therefore not upheld.

IX.     The Panel found, on the basis of the evidence presented by the complainant, that Mr Black had kissed her, and that on 16 October and 7 November 2010, there had  been  sexual  contact  between the complainant and  Mr  Black.  The complainant's evidence was found by the Panel to be consistent, detailed and focussed and found that the distress caused to her in giving this evidence was genuine.  Mr Black's evidence, in denying these specific allegations was, by contrast, found by the Panel to be unfocussed in that questions put to him were rarely answered directly. Similarly, the Panel found his evidence to be sometimes inconsistent in important respects, for example concerning his evidence that throughout all this time the complainant never expressed any sign of stress or that she was in a difficult place, which was found by the Panel to be plainly contradicted by other parts of his evidence.  His verbal admission at the hearing that he had been in a sexual relationship with another colleague with whom he had a professional relationship suggested to the Panel that there was a pattern of behaviour at work, and this was found by the Panel to be at odds with his presentation of himself as a settled and happy family man.  Given these findings of fact, the Panel found that Mr Black had abused the trust placed in him by the complainant in order to gain sexual advantage. The allegation is upheld.

X.      The Panel accordingly found that through these incidents of inappropriate sexual contact, Mr Black had failed to exercise caution, and the Panel found that he had also failed to be willing to be professionally accountable for his behaviour through his attempt to persuade the complainant that "it should stay between the two of them". The allegation is upheld.

XI.      In light of these findings, the Panel was satisfied that paragraphs 1, 3, 4, 6, 11, 17, 20 and 59 and the ethical principles of being trustworthy, autonomy, beneficence and non-maleficence of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy 2010, had been breached. The Panel also found that Mr Black had showed a lack of the personal moral qualities of integrity,   humility, competence, and wisdom, to which all counsellors are encouraged to aspire. The Panel was not satisfied that paragraphs 2, 14 and 62 had been breached.

Decision

The Panel noted that these findings involved the exploitation of a vulnerable client and that compliance with paragraph 17 of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy is mandatory ("Practitioners  must not abuse their client's trust in order to gain sexual advantage"). Accordingly the Panel was unanimous in its decision that these findings amounted to Serious Professional Misconduct and contravened the ethical and behavioural standards that should reasonably be expected from a member of the profession.

Sanction

The Panel was unanimous that Mr Black's membership of BACP should be withdrawn and took the view that, on the findings reached, any lesser sanction would be wholly disproportionate.

March 2013: Michael Parkes, Reference No: 602138, Telford TF2 7EF

A sanction was imposed on Mr Parkes following a Professional Conduct Hearing. 

Mr Parkes failed to comply with the sanction and consequently his membership of BACP was withdrawn.  Any future application for membership of BACP will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

March 2013: Gavin Eley, Reference No: 516195, St Albans AL1 4UB

Information was brought to BACP's attention which was sufficient to refer for consideration under Article 12.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.   

The information indicated that Mr Eley had been arrested and subsequently charged with a number of serious offences.  Mr Eley was informed by BACP on 17 July 2012 that the nature of this information raised questions about his suitability for continued membership of the Association and in particular raised concerns that his alleged actions have brought, or may yet bring, the reputations of BACP and the profession into disrepute. It was further suggested that his alleged behaviour was incompatible with the values and principles of counselling and psychotherapy and lacking in the personal moral qualities to which counsellors and psychotherapists are strongly encouraged to aspire, and that it was incongruent with that expected of a BACP member. The information also suggested that his fitness to practise was impaired.  Information was also submitted confirming that Mr Eley pleaded guilty to 9 charges and that on 19 October 2012 he was sentenced to 7½ years imprisonment and given a sex offenders prevention order.

The member was invited to send in a written response. No such response was received but the member did telephone BACP on 17 August 2012 and in the course of the conversation indicated that he wished to terminate his BACP membership and that he did not practise any more. He further indicated that he was "fine" with the Article 12.6 procedure and that he would not be providing any further response.

PANEL'S DECISION

The Article 12.6 Panel decided to implement Article 12.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association and withdraw BACP membership.  The reasons for its decision were as follows:

  • The Panel noted that the member, through his plea of guilty, had admitted nine offences.
  • The Panel also noted  the very serious view taken by the Crown Court of these charges as expressed in the lengthy prison sentence given to the member
  • The Panel is satisfied that the member's behaviour has brought the reputations of both BACP and of counselling and psychotherapy into disrepute and that his behaviour self-evidently constitutes a very serious breach of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy and substantially impaired his fitness to practise. 
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March 2013: Sue Basham, Reference No: 569791, Ware SG12 0XP

A sanction was imposed on Mrs Basham following a Professional Conduct Hearing. 

Mrs Basham failed to comply with the sanction and consequently her membership of BACP was withdrawn.  Any future application for membership of BACP will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

January 2013: Alison Wildsmith, Reference No: 561866, Bristol BS48 1TF

Information was received by BACP, which was considered under Article 12.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association. 

The summary of the information, together with the allegations as notified to Ms Wildsmith was as follows:

Ms Wildsmith was employed as a counsellor by the [ . . . ] NHS Foundation Trust.  Following a disciplinary meeting, the Panel found against Ms Wildsmith on the grounds of gross misconduct.  The allegations made against Ms Wildsmith by her employer related to soliciting private work from an NHS client in her care, breaching confidentiality and inappropriate contact with a client.  The NHS also raised issues around alleged poor record keeping, alleged failure to seek supervision, alleged lack of fitness to practice due to feeling unwell and alleged lack of empathy for clients affected.

The nature of the information raised questions about the suitability of Ms Wildsmith's continuing membership of this Association and suggested that her actions have brought, or may yet bring, not only this Association, but also the reputations of counselling/psychotherapy into disrepute.  The information further suggested that there may have been a serious breach, or breaches, of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy and it raised concerns about the following in particular:

Allegedly, Ms Wildsmith inappropriately provided private counselling to a client she had previously seen as part of her work with her employer without informing her employer.

  • Allegedly, Ms Wildsmith inappropriately breached client confidentiality.
  • Allegedly, Ms Wildsmith failed to keep appropriate records of the alleged breach of confidentiality.
  • Allegedly, Ms Wildsmith failed to make adequate use of supervision or other consultative support in managing her work with the client.
  • Allegedly, Ms Wildsmith had inappropriate and unprofessional contact with a client outside of the counselling relationship.
  • Allegedly, Ms Wildsmith inappropriately disclosed highly personal information to a client.
  • Ms Wildsmith's alleged behaviour suggested a contravention of the Ethical Principles of Being Trustworthy, Autonomy, Beneficence and Non-maleficence and paragraphs 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 17, 20, 24, 40, 63 and 64 of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling & Psychotherapy (2010) and of the Ethical Principles of Fidelity, Autonomy, Beneficence and Non-maleficence and paragraphs 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 16, 18, 32, 55 and 56 of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling & Psychotherapy (2009) together with the personal moral qualities of Empathy, Competence, Wisdom and Courage to which counsellors and psychotherapists are strongly encouraged to aspire.

The member was invited to send in a written response and made a response. 

The Article 12.6 Panel decided to implement Article 12.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association and withdraw BACP membership from Ms Wildsmith, to take effect 28 days from notification of this decision.  The reasons for its decision were as follows:

  • Ms Wildsmith herself (with the single exception of the allegation that she failed to keep adequate records) admitted multiple breaches of the BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy;
  • The Panel found those breaches to be serious and were evidence of a failure to practise safely;
  • The Panel found in particular that there was an absence of appropriate boundaries around Ms Wildsmith in her practice and that she had failed to make adequate use of supervision;
  • While the alleged failings of her then employer, as described by Ms Wildsmith, offered some mitigating circumstances, the Panel found that these did not outweigh her own serious failings;
  • The Panel found that as a consequence of these breaches of professional conduct, the member had brought the reputation of both BACP and Counselling and Psychotherapy into disrepute and the public's trust in the profession might reasonably be undermined if it were accurately informed about all the circumstances of the case.

Ms Wildsmith appealed against the Article 12.6 Panel's decision to invoke Article 12.6 believing that it was unjust and unreasonable in all of the circumstances to implement Article 12.6.

The Appeal Panel, in addition to the information considered by the Article 12.6 Panel, was provided with Ms Wildsmith's appeal against the decision to withdraw membership, as well as further supporting information from Ms Wildsmith and the [ . . . ] NHS Partnership Trust.  All of the preceding information, including the oral evidence given on the day, was carefully considered by the Appeal Panel.

Decision

It was the duty of the Article 12.6 Appeal Panel to decide whether the decision of the Article 12.6 Panel to implement Article 12.6 was just and reasonable in all the circumstances and then to decide whether an appeal should be allowed or denied.

The Appeal Panel came to the unanimous decision that the Appellant's appeal should be denied.  The reasons for its decision are as follows:                                              

  • Ms Wildsmith showed a serious lack of in-depth understanding of the professional standards, which are inherent in the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy, which, as a member, Ms Wildsmith has agreed to abide by and, those expected of an accredited member of the BACP. Further, she failed to recognise the gravity and nature of the professional responsibilities expected of a practitioner when working in a professional and organisational setting, in that the Panel heard from the [ . . . ] Partnership NHS Foundation, that the policies and procedures of the organisation were available on the intranet and to which all staff had access. Ms Wildsmith denied that she did have access to a computer where she could review these policies and procedures but, the Panel decided that Ms Wildsmith was under a duty to make herself aware of the policies and procedures, and that in failing to do so she did not act responsibly. As a result of this, Ms Wildsmith failed to ensure that she provided her client's with a good quality of care by providing competently delivered services as a practitioner who was appropriately supported and accountable. The Panel was also not satisfied that Ms Wildsmith demonstrated an ability to take personal responsibility for her actions and it was clear that she often assigned her own personal responsibility to others, such as her supervisor.
  • The Panel was not satisfied that Ms Wildsmith had sufficiently considered the implications to the client of changing from counselling a client in the NHS to taking on that client privately. The Panel was not satisfied that she had considered adequately when and if there would have been an appropriate time to take on an NHS client on a private basis. Whilst Ms Wildsmith had indicated that she had sought the guidance of her first supervisor on this particular issue, there was no evidence that she had infact done so, nor had the investigator appointed by [ . . . ] Partnership found any evidence within the counselling notes of the client to suggest that this issue had indeed been taken to supervision and discussed. Furthermore, the Panel heard evidence that Ms Wildsmith had not accessed the policies and procedures available to all staff within the [ . . . ] Partnership, which specified that staff were precluded from taking on privately any NHS client's without permission. In addition, the Panel was not satisfied that Ms Wildsmith had sought out further guidance from her line manager regarding this issue.
  • Ms Wildsmith admitted a breach of confidentiality in that a letter, which related to one client, had been incorrectly addressed to another client. Ms Wildsmith stated that she was "sure" that she had recorded this breach within the counselling notes of these client's but, the Panel heard evidence that the investigator appointed by [ . . . ] Partnership, who had access to the client's notes, found no mention of this breach within the notes. The Panel preferred the evidence from [ . . . ] Partnership and was not satisfied that Ms Wildsmith had kept appropriate records of her work which were accurate.
  • The Panel heard evidence of how Ms Wildsmith used supervision for her counselling work both within the NHS and privately. In her private work she used peer supervision, which in hindsight she accepted was insufficient given the complexity of this particular client and the amount of time that could be allocated to her work with her clients. The Panel found that this lack of sufficient supervision was not adequate to have met the needs of this particular client given that Ms Wildsmith accepted that this was a complex client, whom she agreed she was out of her depth with. Furthermore, Ms Wildsmith accepted in evidence that the purpose of her seeing this client on a private basis was merely to "hold him" by listening to him, until the commencement of the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy that he was waiting to receive.
  • Ms Wildsmith admitted that her boundaries were poor in relation to this client, commenting that "they went away". She admitted that following the ending of their counselling relationship, she had met with the client during her lunchtime where she made him coffee. Ms Wildsmith advised the Panel that the purpose of meeting him was to stop him contacting her, as she believed he wished to have a social relationship with her. The Panel was concerned about the impact that this would have had on the client who could reasonably have believed that the meeting with her was for the purpose of a social relationship. The Panel was also satisfied on the evidence that the meeting was more for her benefit than that of the client and that Ms Wildsmith was unwise in meeting with the client under those circumstances. The Panel further heard evidence from Ms Wildsmith that the counselling sessions with this client took place in his home. On questioning from the Panel, Ms Wildsmith conceded that meeting in a client's home was not the best forum for a counselling session to take place, and further heard that she had done so as she was unable to obtain a counselling room at a more appropriate location. The Panel was satisfied, given the dynamics of their relationship, that it was inappropriate to have counselled this client in his home as it displayed further evidence of the lack of boundaries in place.
  • Ms Wildsmith admitted that part of her approach, when counselling clients is to disclose personal information, if it felt appropriate. On questioning by the Panel, she admitted that she had disclosed information of a highly sensitive and personal nature to a client. Ms Wildsmith was unable to provide an explanation as to why it was appropriate to make this disclosure to the client, save to say that this disclosure occurred at the end of a busy day by which time her health had deteriorated and she was no longer fit to work. Ms Wildsmith informed the Panel that although in hindsight she should have cancelled her remaining clients, she did not at the time consider it in the best interests of her clients to do so.
  • Despite the mitigation provided by Ms Wildsmith that she now has a new supervisor for her private work, and her apology, the Panel was deeply concerned about the serious nature of her professional malpractice. The Panel was further concerned that as a result of the serious nature of her actions, the public's trust in the profession and the Association might be reasonably undermined if they were accurately informed of all of the circumstances of this case. In addition, the Panel found that the actions of Ms Wildsmith had brought the reputation of counselling/psychotherapy into disrepute and, her actions amounted to Professional Misconduct in that Ms Wildsmith contravened the ethical and behavioural standards that should reasonably be expected of a member of this profession.

The Appeal Panel was unanimous in its finding that the decision of the Article 12.6 Panel in invoking Article 12.6 was just and reasonable in the circumstances and denied the appeal. 

Consequently, Ms Wildsmith's membership of BACP is withdrawn with immediate effect.

Any future re-application for membership will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.

(Where ellipses [ . . . ]are displayed, they indicate an omission of text)

  

  

November 2012: Teresa Webb, Reference No: 514620, London N16 9EX

A sanction was imposed on Ms Webb following a Professional Conduct and Appeal Hearing. 

Ms Webb failed to comply with the sanction and consequently her membership of BACP was withdrawn.  Any future application for membership of BACP will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

  

September 2012: Lesley Pilkington, Reference No: 526923, Hertfordshire WD3 5PE

A sanction was imposed on Mrs Pilkington following a Professional Conduct and Appeal Hearing. 

Mrs Pilkington failed to comply with the sanction and consequently her membership of BACP was withdrawn.  Any future application for membership of BACP will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

    

September 2012: Bridget Bowley, Reference No: 560855, Belfast BT36 7QD

The complaint against the above individual member was taken to Adjudication in line with the Professional Conduct Procedure.

The complaint was heard under BACP Professional Conduct Procedure 2010 and the Panel considered the alleged breaches of the BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

The focus of the complaint, as summarised by the Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel is that the complainant received counselling from Ms Bowley from February 2010, individually and later simultaneously in a group.  The relationship was strictly professional, until, as alleged by the complainant; Ms Bowley telephoned him early one morning and divulged personal information about her distress and asked him for some sleeping tablets.  The complainant alleged that Ms Bowley telephoned him again that day, making the same request and allegedly venting her feelings about the organisation she worked for.  Over the next two days the complainant alleged that Ms Bowley tried to telephone him several times, including leaving a voice-mail message for him and speaking to him on one occasion, allegedly apologising for her behaviour and wishing to resume the counselling arrangements.

The Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel, in accepting this complaint was concerned with the allegations made within the complaint suggesting contravention of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy, and those in particular as follows:

  • Ms Bowley allegedly imposed her own personal issues and distress upon the complainant, thus allegedly infringing the boundaries appropriate to a professional counselling relationship.
  • Ms Bowley allegedly improperly asked the complainant for some of his own prescription-only drugs on two occasions.
  • Ms Bowley allegedly broke the trust she had built up with the complainant.
  • Ms Bowley's alleged actions in communicating inappropriately with the complainant allegedly added to his physical pain as well as causing him distress.
  • Ms Bowley's alleged behaviour, as experienced by the complainant, suggested a contravention in particular of the ethical principles of being trustworthy, beneficence, non-maleficence and the personal qualities of integrity, competence and wisdom, and of paragraphs 1, 17 and 40 of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling & Psychotherapy (2010).

The complainant did not attend the Hearing.  However, pursuant to paragraph 4.9(a) of the Professional Conduct Procedure, a decision was made to proceed with the hearing in the Complainant's absence.

Findings

On balance, having fully considered the above, the Panel made the following findings:

I. Ms Bowley accepted both in writing and verbally that she had telephoned her then current client, the complainant, because she wished to discuss her own distress about incidents that were not to do with the counselling that he was receiving from her. The Panel found that by so doing Ms Bowley had wrongly imposed her own personal issues and distress upon the complainant, thus seriously infringing the boundaries appropriate to a professional counselling relationship. Therefore this allegation is upheld.

II. Ms Bowley accepted both in writing and verbally that she telephoned the complainant and improperly asked for some of his own prescription-only drugs on at least one occasion. However Ms Bowley accepted the complainant's assertion that she may have telephoned him (out of her own need to discuss her own distress) on two or more occasions and she could not specifically recall the number of calls that were made. In her oral evidence, Ms Bowley accepted that she had asked the complainant for some of his own prescription- only drugs, but she was not able to account for her reasoning in doing so, other than saying that she could not see the decline in her mental health at the time. Therefore, the Panel found, on the balance of probabilities that Ms Bowley had asked for the complainant's prescription only drugs on at least two occasions. The Panel also found that in making the calls to the complainant, in order to satisfy her own needs and without considering his well-being, Ms Bowley had not acted in the best interests of her client, nor had she demonstrated integrity in her dealings with him. This allegation is therefore upheld.

III. Ms Bowley accepted both in writing and verbally that her actions in ringing the complainant to discuss her own needs seriously broke the trust she had built up with him. The Panel found that at the time Ms Bowley was not able to recognise the gravity of requesting drugs from her then current client, nor of the seriousness of crossing boundaries in this way. Therefore this allegation is upheld.

IV. Ms Bowley accepted both in writing and verbally that her actions in communicating inappropriately with the complainant added to his emotional distress, although she stated that she could not know whether he had been affected physically. Whilst the complainant had chosen not to attend the Professional Conduct Hearing, the Panel accepted his written evidence that he had been caused emotional distress so this part of the allegation is upheld. However, the complainant had not provided any corroborative evidence as to the fact that he suffered physical distress, so this part of the allegation is not upheld.

V. Ms Bowley stated, when questioned, that her fitness to practise had been impaired during the time that she was working with the complainant, even prior to her telephone request for some of his prescription-only drugs. She also stated at the hearing that her fitness to practise continues to be impaired. Thus she had failed to monitor her fitness to practise for some time. The Panel therefore found that Ms Bowley had not been wise to continue counselling when she was under so much personal stress, and nor was she able to work competently with the complainant.

VI. In light of the above findings, the Panel was satisfied that paragraphs 1, 17 and 40 of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy 2010 had been breached, as well as the ethical principles of being trustworthy, beneficence, non-maleficence and the personal moral qualities of integrity competence and wisdom.

Decision

Accordingly, the Panel was unanimous in its decision that these findings amounted to serious professional misconduct on the grounds that Ms Bowley's behaviour seriously contravened the ethical and behavioural standards that should be reasonably expected from a member of the profession.

Mitigation

Ms Bowley accepted her part in the issues described above in a full and frank manner. The Panel also took cognisance of the challenging events in her private life that preceded and continued throughout the events that gave rise to these proceedings.

Ms Bowley told the Panel that she had ceased to work as a counsellor, as her fitness to practise remains impaired, and that she could not see herself returning to the profession in the foreseeable future.

Sanction

Ms Bowley's membership of BACP is withdrawn with immediate effect.  

September 2012: Joel Mahabir, Reference No: 505899, London W5 5NE

A sanction was imposed on Mr Mahabir following a Professional Conduct Hearing. 

Mr Mahabir failed to comply with the sanction and consequently his membership of BACP was withdrawn.  Any future application for membership of BACP will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

  

September 2012: Maggie Noskeau, Reference No: 517257, Nottingham NG9 6FU

A sanction was imposed on Ms Noskeau following a Professional Conduct Hearing. 

Ms Noskeau failed to comply with the sanction and consequently her membership of BACP was withdrawn.  Any future application for membership of BACP will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

  

September 2012: James Hennah, Reference No: 545652, Bristol BS5 8TN

Information was brought to BACP's attention which was sufficient to refer for consideration under Article 12.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.   

The summary of the information was that Mr Hennah was charged with a number of sexual offences and that he admitted two offences of sexually touching a child and one of voyeurism when he appeared before Exeter Crown Court on May 18th 2012.  In the publicly available information relating to his reported behaviour, mention is made of him being an accredited counsellor. He subsequently informed BACP by letter dated 18 May 2012, received 21 May, that he admitted to pleading guilty to three of the four charges made against him and that he wished to terminate his membership.

The nature of the information raised questions about the suitability of his continuing membership of this Association and raised concerns about the following in particular:

  • Mr Hennah's alleged actions have brought, or may yet bring, not only this Association, but also the reputations of counselling/psychotherapy into disrepute.
  • Mr Hennah's alleged behaviour was incompatible with the values and principles of counselling and psychotherapy, and was lacking in the personal moral qualities to which counsellors and psychotherapists are strongly encouraged to aspire. His alleged behaviour in this instance also suggested that his behaviour was incongruent with that expected of a BACP member.
  • The information further suggests that Mr Hennah's fitness to practise has been impaired.
  • By attempting to resign his membership, Mr Hennah allegedly wished to avoid accountability to BACP.

Panel's decision

The Article 12.6 Panel decided to implement Article 12.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association and withdraw BACP membership from Mr James Hennah to take effect 28 days from notification of this decision.  The reasons for its decision are as follows:

Mr Hennah's plea of guilty to the three serious charges referred to above, with the consequent requirement to sign the Sex Offenders Register, together with his declaration to BACP that "I have failed and done untold damage", render him now quite unsuitable for continuing membership of the organisation.

In particular the Panel concluded that his actions:

i)  have brought, or could bring the reputation of BACP into disrepute;

ii) have brought or could bring the reputations of counselling and/or psychotherapy into disrepute;

iii) that if the public was accurately informed of all the circumstances of the case, the public's trust in the profession would be adversely affected;

iv) are evidence that his fitness to practise is seriously impaired.

The Panel found no mitigating circumstances.

June 2012: April Russello, Reference No: 522490, London NW11 0PE  

A sanction was imposed on Ms Russello following a Professional Conduct Hearing. 

Ms Russello failed to comply with the sanction and consequently her membership of BACP was withdrawn.  Any future application for membership of BACP will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.    

February 2012: Leslie Shepperd, Reference No: 526708, Gloucestershire, GL17 9BA

A sanction was imposed on Mr Shepperd following a Professional Conduct Hearing. 

Mr Shepperd failed to comply with the sanction and consequently his membership of BACP was withdrawn.  Any future application for membership of BACP will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.    

December 2011: Patricia Halpin, Reference No: 517780, Longfield DA3 8HP

A sanction was imposed on Ms Halpin following a Professional Conduct Hearing. 

Ms Halpin failed to comply with the sanction and consequently her membership of BACP was withdrawn.  Any future application for membership of BACP will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

November 2011: Emma Jackson, Reference No: 616265, Nuneaton CV10 8QA  

Information was received by BACP from Ms Jackson sufficient to refer for consideration under Article 12.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.   

The summary of the information is that Ms Jackson disclosed that she was convicted of taking a prohibited item into a prison when she was working at a prison as a volunteer counsellor.  Ms Jackson was sentenced on 5 October 2010 and stated that she was no longer fit to practise.  She also admitted that her behaviour had breached the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy.  When making the disclosure Ms Jackson sought to resign her membership of BACP.   

The nature of the information raised questions about the suitability of Ms Jackson's continuing membership of this Association and suggested that her actions had brought, or may yet bring, not only this Association, but also the reputations of counselling/psychotherapy into disrepute. 

The information further suggested that there may have been a serious breach, or breaches, of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy and it raised concerns about the following in particular:

  • Allegedly, Ms Jackson's conviction suggested her behaviour was incompatible with the values of counselling and Psychotherapy and was lacking in the personal moral qualities of integrity and wisdom to which counsellors and psychotherapists are strongly encouraged to aspire, and further suggested that her fitness to practise has been impaired.
  • Allegedly, by attempting to resign membership and in not providing further information Ms Jackson was not prepared to be accountable to her professional body for her reported behaviour.

The member was invited to send in a response, and did so.

Decision

The Panel decided to implement Article 12.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association in this case, and withdraw membership from Ms Jackson to take effect 28 days from notification of this decision.  The Panel gave reasons for its decision as follows:

  • The Panel accepted that Ms Jackson had not tried to avoid accountability by attempting to resign her BACP membership and that she was truly remorseful for her actions. However, the Panel considered that her actions were so grave that they may have brought, or may yet bring, not only this Association, but also the reputations of counselling/psychotherapy into disrepute, were the public accurately informed about all the circumstances of this case. 
  • Ms Jackson's behaviour in this instance was incompatible with the values of Counselling and Psychotherapy and her fitness to practice has been impaired.

Ms Jackson was given the opportunity to appeal the decision, but no appeal was received.  Consequently her membership was withdrawn. 

Any future application for membership of this Association will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

  

September 2011: Jim Kilgour, Reference No: 616227, Falkirk FK1 5AD  

Information was received by BACP which was sufficient to refer for consideration under Article 12.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.   

The summary of the information, together with the allegations as notified to Mr Kilgour were as follows:

One of the informants allegedly spoke to Mr Kilgour with a view to recommending a vulnerable client for private person centred counselling.  Following a meeting with the client and her husband, the informant introduced Mr Kilgour to the client, which allegedly resulted in Mr Kilgour providing counselling to the client on a weekly basis.  It is alleged that within weeks of the commencement of counselling with the client, Mr Kilgour had developed a personal relationship with her.  Further it is alleged that Mr Kilgour engaged in a sexual relationship with the client and disregarded his supervisor's advice. 

The nature of the information raised questions about the suitability of Mr Kilgour's continuing membership of this Association and suggested that Mr Kilgour's actions have brought, or may yet bring, not only this Association but also the reputations of counselling/psychotherapy into disrepute. 

The information further suggested that there may have been a serious breach, or breaches, of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy and it raised concerns about the following in particular:

  • Mr Kilgour allegedly engaged in a personal and sexual relationship with a vulnerable client.
  • Mr Kilgour allegedly disregarded his own supervisor's advice concerning entering a relationship with the client.
  • Mr Kilgour's alleged behaviour suggested an abuse of client trust, poor therapeutic boundaries and a lack of care. Mr Kilgour's alleged behaviour also suggested incompatibility with the values and principles of counselling and psychotherapy. Further it suggested Mr Kilgour's alleged behaviour lacked the personal moral qualities of humility, wisdom, respect and integrity to which counsellors and psychotherapists are strongly encouraged to aspire.
  • The information further suggested that Mr Kilgour's fitness to practise has been impaired.

The member was invited to send in a written response, and did so.

PANEL'S DECISION

The Panel decided to implement Article 12.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association in this case and withdraw BACP membership from Mr Kilgour to take effect 28 days from notification of this decision.  The Panel gave its reasons for its decision as follows:

  • Mr Kilgour's growing feelings of attachment for the client should have been taken to the supervisor before a friendship was embarked upon.  In failing to do so, Mr Kilgour demonstrated a lack of judgement, and a lack of the personal moral qualities of humility and wisdom.
  • The Panel did not accept as valid Mr Kilgour's assertion that he did not inform his supervisor of events at the time because "counselling started and finished between sessions".  He could, and should, have arranged for a consultation.  In not doing so, Mr Kilgour demonstrated a lack of integrity.
  • In agreeing to meet the client so soon after the ending of therapy, Mr Kilgour showed scant regard for therapeutic boundaries or to his duty of care to an ex-client.
  • In beginning a friendship, and then a relationship with a vulnerable client, almost immediately after counselling ended, Mr Kilgour abused his client's trust for his own emotional advantage.
  • In agreeing to meet the client so soon after the ending of counselling, without taking advice, Mr Kilgour failed to exercise caution in his actions.
  • Overall, Mr Kilgour's actions demonstrate an impaired fitness to practice

Mr Kilgour was given the opportunity to appeal the decision, but no appeal was received.  Consequently his membership was withdrawn. 

Any future application for membership of this Association will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

August 2011: Danielle Douglas, Reference No: 514505, East Sussex BN26 6TY

A sanction was imposed on Ms Douglas following a Professional Conduct Hearing. 

Ms Douglas failed to comply with the sanction and consequently her membership of BACP was withdrawn.  Any future application for membership of BACP will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

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June 2011: Hina Patel, Reference No: 607278, Liverpool, L38 9EZ 

Information was received by BACP in addition to that brought to BACP's attention by unfavourable media coverage, which was sufficient to refer for consideration under Article 12.6 (formerly known as 4.6) of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.   

The summary of the information, together with the allegations as notified to Ms Patel were as follows:

That Ms Patel allegedly had sex with two 15 year old boys who were pupils at the school where she was working as a cover supervisor.  Further, it was reported that Ms Patel pleaded guilty to two charges that between 1 February 2010 and 18 March 2010, being a person in a position of trust in relation to two boys of 15 and not reasonably believing they were aged 18 or over, intentionally touched them and that the touching was sexual. 

The nature of the information raised questions about the suitability of Ms Patel's continuing membership of this Association and raised concerns about the following in particular:

  • Ms Patel's alleged actions have brought, or may yet bring, not only this Association, but also the reputations of counselling/psychotherapy into disrepute.
  • Ms Patel's alleged behaviour was incompatible with the values and principles of counselling and psychotherapy and was lacking in the personal moral qualities to which counsellors and psychotherapists are strongly encouraged to aspire. Ms Patel's alleged behaviour in this matter also suggested that her behaviour was incongruent with that expected of a BACP member.
  • The information further suggested that Ms Patel's fitness to practice had been impaired.

The member was invited to send in a written response, and did not do so.

The Panel was provided with the following written materials: 

  • The information submitted by an organisation.
  • Unfavourable media coverage.
  • Information from a Magistrate Court

PANEL'S DECISION

The Panel decided to implement Article 12.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association in this case.  The Panel gave its reasons for its decision as follows:

  • Ms Patel pleaded guilty to the intentional sexual touching of two fifteen year old boys at a time when she held a position of trust at their school.  This behaviour is incompatible with the values and principles of counselling and psychotherapy.
  • Were Ms Patel to remain in membership, her actions could be seen to have brought, or may yet bring the reputations of the counselling and psychotherapy profession, and the Association, into disrepute.

Ms Patel was given the opportunity to appeal the decision, but no appeal was received.  Consequently her membership was withdrawn. 

Any future application for membership of this Association will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

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June 2011: Paul McGahey, Reference No: 528734, Loughborough, LE12 8UQ  

Information was received by BACP from an organisation and Mr McGahey, which was sufficient to refer for consideration under Article 12.6 (formerly known as 4.6) of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.   

The summary of the information, together with the allegations as notified to Mr McGahey were as follows:

That Mr McGahey allegedly conducted counselling sessions with a vulnerable female client alone, outside office hours in May 2010.  It is further alleged that the client reported that Mr McGahey had allegedly kissed her on 15 June 2010 and on 17 June 2010 and had also touched her on 17 June 2010.  Mr McGahey allegedly did not deny kissing her but denied touching her.  Mr McGahey allegedly had admitted to developing caring feelings towards the client and had discussed his behaviour with his clinical supervisor.  It is also alleged that despite his discussion with his clinical supervisor on 17 June 2010, he allegedly kissed the client later that day.  It was also alleged that the client was extremely vulnerable and had been adversely affected by these incidents.  Mr McGahey's employer instigated a disciplinary hearing in July and it concluded that he had admitted kissing a vulnerable client on two separate occasions and although he had refuted having touched the client, that on the balance of probabilities this had also happened.  The disciplinary panel concluded that he should be summarily dismissed from his post with immediate effect for gross misconduct.  A subsequent appeal upheld that decision.  Mr McGahey notified BACP on 7 July 2010 that he was dismissed by his employer for gross misconduct on 6 July 2010, and subsequently made further partial disclosure.    

The nature of the information raised questions about the suitability of Mr McGahey's continuing membership of this Association and suggested that his actions have brought, or may yet bring, not only this Association but also the reputations of counselling/psychotherapy into disrepute. 

The information further suggested that there may have been a serious breach, or breaches, of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy and it raised concerns about the following in particular:

  • Mr McGahey's alleged inappropriate and sexualised behaviour toward a very vulnerable client suggesting an abuse of her trust, poor therapeutic boundaries and a lack of care towards the client. Mr McGahey's alleged behaviour also suggested incompatibility with the values and principles of counselling and psychotherapy. Further it suggested his alleged behaviour lacked the personal moral qualities of humility and wisdom to which counsellors and psychotherapists are strongly encouraged to aspire.
  • The information further suggested that Mr McGahey's fitness to practise had been impaired.

The member was invited to send in a written response, and did so.

The Panel was provided with the following written materials: 

  • The information submitted by the organisation and Mr McGahey
  • Further Information submitted by Mr McGahey.

PANEL'S DECISION

The Panel decided to implement Article 12.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association in this case. The Panel gave its reasons for its decision as follows:

  • In working on his own, outside of office hours, which was in breach of his organisations Lone Working Policy, and in giving his mobile phone number without consultation with his manager, Mr McGahey demonstrated poor management of boundaries.
  • In kissing his vulnerable client on the lips twice, on two separate occasions, Mr McGahey's behaviour was incompatible with the values and principles of counselling and psychotherapy.
  • In offering longer sessions at a time when it was contrary to the Service Policy, without prior discussion with his manager, Mr McGahey demonstrated a lack of humility and a failure to adhere to boundaries.
  • In his failure to recognise that kissing a client on the lips may be construed as sexual, Mr McGahey's practice fell below the standards expected of a reasonably competent practitioner.
  • The second kiss occurred at a time after Mr McGahey had discussed this in supervision and understood that the client needed to be referred on.  In this regard, Mr McGahey demonstrated poor boundaries, an abuse of trust, and a lack of care towards the client.
  • The Panel found, on the evidence provided, that Mr McGahey's behaviour is so serious as to warrant termination of BACP membership under Article 12.6.

Mr McGahey was given the opportunity to appeal the decision, but no appeal was received.  Consequently his membership was withdrawn. 

Any future application for membership of this Association will be considered under Article 12.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.   

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October 2010: Colin Senior, Reference No: 572412, DURHAM DH6 1JG

Information was received by BACP, which raised questions about the suitability of Mr Senior's continued membership of this Association.  The matters raised were considered under Article 4.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.  The Article 4.6 Panel decided to implement Article 4.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association and withdraw BACP membership from Mr Senior.  Mr Senior appealed against the decision and the matter was considered by the Article 4.6 Appeal Panel.

Prior to the Appeal Hearing Mr Senior notified BACP and provided reason as to why he could not attend the Hearing.  The Panel had to consider proceeding with the Appeal Hearing in his absence.  The Panel noted that he had been advised of the date of the Appeal Hearing in good time.  There was no reason to believe that if the case was adjourned that he would attend on a subsequent date.  The Panel also noted that he had wished the Appeal Hearing to proceed in his absence.  The Panel was firmly of the view having regard to the nature and the seriousness of the previous panel's findings that it was in the public interest to proceed and in so doing there was no injustice to Mr Senior.  

The allegations were as follows:

That over a period of time in 2008 and 2009, Mr Senior allegedly sent a series of abusive, disrespectful and disturbing messages to a number of individuals by various media including text, telephone, instant messaging and email.  The unwelcome messages were sent to four ladies most, if not all of whom were first known to Mr Senior as professional colleagues.  The alleged inappropriate content, nature and persistency of the messages gave rise to such serious concern and distress to some of the recipients that they approached the police for assistance.  In one particular case, this allegedly resulted in Mr Senior's  arrest and a formal caution for harassment.  It is also alleged that Mr Senior failed to notify BACP of his caution at the time of seeking and obtaining accreditation status.

Mr Senior allegedly made sexual disclosures on the World Wide Web including posting pornographic images of himself.  It is further alleged that the sexual presentation and exposure of himself on the World Wide Web has been linked to BACP and the counselling profession.  Mr Senior's alleged behaviour further raises concerns for the safety of any vulnerable clients that may be in receipt of counselling services from him, and concerns with regard to his fitness to practise.

The information further suggests that Mr Senior's reported behaviour is incompatible with the values and principles of counselling and psychotherapy, and is lacking in the personal moral qualities of integrity and respect, to which counsellors and psychotherapists are strongly encouraged to aspire.

The Article 4.6 Panel decided to implement Article 4.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association and withdraw Mr Senior's membership, to take effect 28 days from notification of the Panel's decision, pending an appeal.  The Panel's reasons for invoking Article 4.6 were as follows:

  • Whilst Mr Senior offered a justification for the very disturbing and disrespectful texts and emails, Mr Senior did not deny sending them, nor did he deny that they were unpleasant. Mr Senior admitted to "continuously calling" Ms A and also that the messages sent to Ms B "got out of hand". The Panel found the language and expression of text messages and telephone messages totally unacceptable under any circumstances, and incompatible with the values and principles of counselling and psychotherapy. In addition, they demonstrated a serious lack of the personal moral qualities of integrity and respect, to which counsellors and psychotherapists are strongly encouraged to aspire.
  • Mr Senior alleged that he had already sent off his application for accreditation, prior to the caution. The Panel accepted that this was the case, but nevertheless found that he had a duty to inform BACP that his circumstances had changed. While there was not an explicit obligation to declare convictions at the time, there was a moral obligation under the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling & Psychotherapy. However, the Panel were unanimous that this finding on its own would not have constituted grounds to withdraw membership of BACP.
  • There was insufficient evidence for the Panel to make a finding on the allegation that he made sexual disclosures on the World Wide Web, including posting pornographic images of himself.

Mr Senior appealed against the decision of the Article 4.6. and the matter went forward for the consideration of the Article 4.6 Appeal Panel

While it was frustrating for the Appeal Panel not to be able to question Mr Senior, it listened to the oral submissions by the complainants and asked in-depth questions of them, which the complainants found distressing as they recalled their experiences. 

DECISION

It was the duty of the Article 4.6 Appeal Panel to decide whether the decision of the Article 4.6 Panel to implement Article 4.6 was just and reasonable in all the circumstances and then to decide whether an appeal should be allowed or denied.

Mr Senior indicated in his appeal, that the incidents detailed in the Article 4.6 Panel's findings, had occurred at a particularly low period of his life, contributed to by problems resulting from alcohol abuse, which he admitted had led to lapses of judgement.  He admitted that he went about things in a totally wrong way.  He apologised for his actions and regretted any distress caused.  He also indicated that he is currently dealing with the problems that he allege gave rise to his behaviour, and that he was currently unable to practice. 

While the complainants described the distress they experienced arising from his actions, the Appeal Panel also had to carefully consider the mitigation offered by Mr Senior.  Despite his mitigation, the Appeal Panel was deeply concerned by the serious findings made against Mr Senior by the Article 4.6 Panel and especially with regard to his behaviour and actions relating to the complainants, as described by the original Panel.  The Panel considered that this amounted to bringing the profession into disrepute in that the public's trust in the profession might reasonably be undermined if they were accurately informed of all the circumstances of this case. 

The Appeal Panel was unanimous in finding that the decision of the Article 4.6 Panel in invoking Article 4.6 was just and reasonable in the circumstances and denied the appeal.  Consequently, Mr Senior's membership of BACP is withdrawn with immediate effect.

Any future re-application for membership will be considered under Article 4.3 of the Memorandum & Articles of the Association.

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September 2010: Nigel Madin, Reference No: 548509, Bakewell, DE45 1PH  

Mr Madin made a self-disclosure which was sufficient to refer for consideration under Article 4.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.   

The allegations were that Mr Madin's conviction for fraud by false representation suggested that his behaviour was incompatible with the values of Counselling and Psychotherapy, and may be lacking in the personal moral quality of integrity to which counsellors and psychotherapists are strongly encouraged to aspire.  It further suggested that his fitness to practise may have been impaired.

The member was invited to send in a written response, and he did so.  The Panel requested and received further information from Mr Madin.

The Panel carefully considered all the original evidence submitted under Article 4.6 together with the response and additional information received from Mr Madin.

DECISION

The Panel decided to implement Article 4.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association and withdraw BACP membership from Nigel Madin to take effect 28 days from notification of this decision.  The Panel gave its reasons for its decision as follows:

  • Mr Madin's conviction for fraud is a very serious matter. Whilst he was offered the chance to justify his claim that there was no monetary loss to the retailer, nor gain to himself, he was not able to do so to the satisfaction of the Panel.
  • Were the facts of this matter to come to the attention of the general public, it could bring the reputation of BACP into disrepute.

Mr Madin was given the opportunity to appeal the decision, but no appeal was received.  Consequently his membership was withdrawn. 

Any future application for membership of this Association will be considered under Article 4.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

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September 2010: Keith Rice, Reference No: 588301,Harrogate HG2 7NB

A sanction was imposed on Mr Rice following a Professional Conduct Hearing. 

Mr Rice failed to comply with the sanction and consequently his membership of BACP was withdrawn.  Any future application for membership of BACP will be considered under Article 4.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

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February 2010: Ron Dean, Reference No: 561792,Northampton NN4 0JA

A sanction was imposed on Mr Dean following a Professional Conduct Hearing, which took place in June 2009. 

Mr Dean failed to comply with the sanction and consequently his membership of BACP was withdrawn.  Any future application for membership of BACP will be considered under Article 4.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

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December 2009: John Sivyer, Reference No: 508675, Chalfont St Giles HP8 4RD  

Information was received with regard to Mr Sivyer sufficient to refer for consideration under Article 4.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.   

The allegations were as follows:

While working as an independent contractor providing counselling services to medical practices, Mr Sivyer pursued an inappropriate relationship with a vulnerable Client being counselled by him.  Following a number of counselling sessions with the Client in 2006, Mr Sivyer allegedly declared he had feelings for her in the last session before Christmas, which caused distress to her.  In January 2007, Mr Sivyer continued the counselling sessions. Mr Sivyer allegedly told the Client that he loved her and wanted a relationship with her, following which he allegedly declared his love for her in a card, and in long love letters sent on a daily basis for 2-3 weeks.  Mr.Sivyer allegedly met with the Client outside of counselling sessions, bought her presents, kissed her, fondled her breast, and talked to her about taking contraception.  During this time Mr Sivyer allegedly was not in supervision.  The Client informed Mr Sivyer that she had not developed feelings for Mr. Sivyer and ended the relationship.  In a subsequent meeting, Mr Sivyer allegedly asked her to destroy all the letters Mr Sivyer had written to her and advised her not to talk about the relationship to another counsellor or friend, as this matter could be reported to the appropriate authorities.  Mr Sivyer also allegedly informed her that he had had an affair with a student on a counselling training course that he had run several years prior, despite previously informing the Client that he had never previously fallen in love with a client.

In the following year, the Client felt prevented from accessing counselling as she could not return to Mr Sivyer for counselling.  She also felt unable to approach another counsellor for help, as this could result in Mr Sivyer's alleged behaviour being reported to Mr Sivyer's professional body.  This led to the Client feeling more emotionally unwell.  When the Client finally brought the matter to the attention of her GP in March 2009, Mr Sivyer allegedly made an unsolicited and inappropriate telephone call to the Client enquiring about a letter that she had sent to the GP practice.  During the course of the investigation by the GP practice, Mr Sivyer allegedly misled the investigator by telling her that this was the first time that a matter such as this had ever happened to him.  This was despite Mr Sivyer having had membership of BACP previously withdrawn in 1996, as a result of a complaint involving some similar issues to those raised in the information supplied by the informants.

The information suggested that Mr Sivyer's reported behaviour was incompatible with the values and principles of counselling and psychotherapy, and was lacking in the personal moral qualities to which counsellors and psychotherapists are strongly encouraged to aspire.  It further suggested that Mr Sivyer failed to exercise probity, care for the client and competence in his professional practice.

The member was invited to send in a written response, and did so.

The Panel carefully considered all the original evidence submitted under Article 4.6 together with the response from Mr Sivyer.

DECISION

The Panel decided to implement Article 4.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association and withdraw BACP membership from Mr John Sivyer to take effect 28 days from notification of this decision. The Panel gave its reasons for its decision as follows:

Mr Sivyer admits to having begun a personal relationship with his Client.  He also admits that he was not in supervision at the time, nor did he seek supervision to discuss his feelings for his Client.  In both beginning a relationship with the Client and in failing to seek supervision, Mr Sivyer demonstrated behaviour incompatible with the values and principles of counselling and psychotherapy, and lacking in the personal moral qualities to which counsellors and psychotherapists are strongly encouraged to aspire.

  • In his dealings with the Client, Mr Sivyer failed to exercise probity, care for the Client and competence in his professional practice
  • The Panel noted that Mr Sivyer's membership had been terminated once before, in 1996 for similar behaviour.  He should, therefore, have recognised his need for appropriate consultation in this case and sought supervision.  This is clear evidence of an inability, or unwillingness, to take seriously his duties to exercise care and competence in his dealings with clients.

Mr Sivyer was given the opportunity to appeal the decision, but no appeal was received.  Consequently his membership was withdrawn. 

Any future application for membership of this Association will be considered under Article 4.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.   

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November 2009:   Anna Czemerys, Reference No: 606089, NICOSIA 2055 CYPRUS

Information was received with regard to Ms Czemerys sufficient to refer for consideration under Article 4.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.   

The allegations considered by the Article 4.6 Panel were as follows:

  • That Ms Czemerys allegedly entered into a personal relationship with an ex-client whilst working for an organisation, where having a relationship with an ex-client constitutes gross misconduct

  • Ms Czemerys allegedly breached boundaries and trust in allegedly having a personal relationship with an ex-client and having "been seen out and about socialising with an ex ... patient"

  • Ms Czemerys' alleged lack of accountability and integrity in her dealings with her employer regarding issues of professional conduct, as suggested by her resignation following notification of their concerns and her refusal to attend a disciplinary hearing.

  • Ms Czemerys' alleged lack of honesty and respect toward her colleagues as suggested by her communication with them.

The member was invited to send in a written response, and did so.

The Panel carefully considered all the original evidence submitted under Article 4.6 together with the response from Ms Czemerys to the Panel's request for further information.

DECISION

The Panel decided to implement Article 4.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association and withdraw BACP membership from Anna Czemerys to take effect 28 days from notification of this decision.  The Panel gave its reasons for its decision as follows:

Ms Czemerys admits to having had a personal relationship with an ex-client but has been unable or unwilling to provide documentation evidencing that she properly discussed her actions, or intended actions, in supervision or with her managers.  This behaviour is incompatible with the values and principles of counselling and psychotherapy and lacking in the personal moral qualities to which counsellors and psychotherapists are strongly encouraged to aspire.

Ms Czemerys was given the opportunity to appeal the decision, but no appeal was received.  Consequently her membership was withdrawn. 

Any future application for membership of this Association will be considered under Article 4.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

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October 2009: David Tredrea, Reference No: 541814, London W1G 9PG

A sanction was imposed on Mr Tredrea following a Professional Conduct Hearing and Appeal. 

Mr Tredrea failed to comply with the sanction and consequently his membership of BACP was withdrawn.  Any future application for membership of BACP will be considered under Article 4.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

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July 2009: Sandra Black, Reference No: 500778, London SE22 0AX

A complaint against the above individual member was taken to Adjudication in line with the Professional Conduct Procedure.

The complaint was heard under the BACP Professional Conduct Procedure and the Panel considered the alleged breaches of the Code of Ethics and Practice for Counsellors 1998 together with the BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

The focus of the complaint, as summarised by the Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel, surrounded the situation whereby Ms Black had written a short story about the complainant, and the related therapy, allegedly without seeking her consent to do so. The article was published in a book that had psychotherapy as its subject area. Whilst Ms Black changed names in the article, the complainant alleged that anyone who knew her and read the article would be able to readily recognise her. The complainant considered the disclosure of sensitive information in the chapter to be a breach of confidentiality. It was a friend of the complainant who discovered the publication, and informed her of it. This resulted in the complainant ending the therapy prematurely in November 2008.

The complainant had been in therapy with Ms Black for a period of eight years and allegedly planned to complete therapy in January 2009.

The complainant also questioned the probity of Ms Black's practice and alleged that she had not reviewed her therapy during the eight years of the therapeutic relationship and therefore she questioned the motives for not doing so. Furthermore the complainant alleged that there was no agreed contract for therapy and that there had been no discussion of confidentiality. However, she alleged that she had assumed confidentiality would be guaranteed. The complainant further questioned Ms Black's motives with regard to the use of her material for publication.

The complainant alleged that there has been no apology from Ms Black. Whilst Ms Black did write to her to offer a final session, the complainant declined the offer, having lost all trust in Ms Black and in counselling in general.

The Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel, in accepting this complaint, was concerned with the allegations made which suggested a contravention of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy, and in particular:

• The alleged failure by Ms Black to reach agreement with the complainant about the terms on which counselling was offered at the start of counselling in 2000 and in particular with regard to confidentiality, suggesting a contravention of clause B.4.3.1 of the Code of Ethics and Practice for Counsellors 1998.

• The alleged disclosure of client material for the purposes of publication, without the complainant's knowledge or consent.

• The alleged exploitation of the complainant by Ms Black for personal advantage, in taking advantage of confidential material disclosed by the complainant during therapy.

• Ms Black's alleged failure to appropriately deal with the grievance raised by the complainant.

• Ms Black's alleged behaviour, as described by the complainant, suggesting a contravention of the ethical principles of fidelity, autonomy, and non-maleficence, and paragraphs 6, 16, 18 and 23 of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Findings

On balance, having fully considered the above, the panel made the following findings:

• There was a serious breach of confidentiality by Ms Black, which resulted in damage to her client, and which could, if the details of this case were made public, undermine the public's confidence in this profession.

• The trust between client and therapist, which is so fundamental to the therapeutic relationship, was broken by Ms Black the moment she submitted her story for publication, without consent from her client.

• Publication of the story meant that personally identifiable and sensitive information was put into the public domain without the client's knowledge or permission.

• Ms Black breached her duty of care to her client by failing to raise and/or address the issue of writing, and then having published, the details of her therapy without the client's consent, at any time during the remaining months of therapy.

• Ms Black only recognised that confidentiality had been breached when a friend of the client identified her as being the ‘client' in the published work.

• Once the client was made aware of the chapter by her friend some months later, Ms Black failed to acknowledge the feelings being experienced by the client and failed to address the issue with her. By failing to address these matters, Ms Black did not accept her own responsibility to be accountable to her client, which demonstrated a lack of respect and professional competence.

• The publisher's guidelines clearly stated that the identity of the client should be "fully disguised". Ms Black failed to do this, and the panel found this to be exploitative of the client.

• While Ms Black responded promptly to the grievance raised by the client, the panel was of the opinion that this was not an adequate response, in that she only offered a final session, rather than suggesting, for example, mediation or even an immediate apology for the obvious hurt caused.

• By publishing a story about the client, Ms Black seriously breached the trust placed in her by her client, and therefore contravened the ethical principles of autonomy, fidelity and non-maleficence.

• The panel found that Ms Black failed in her duty to respect the client's privacy and dignity, and that she had not paid careful attention to client consent and confidentiality.

• By failing to protect the client's personally identifiable and sensitive material from unauthorised disclosure, Ms Black failed to honour the trust placed in her by her client.

• The panel was satisfied that Ms Black did review her work in supervision. However, she did not discuss in supervision, the possible or actual implications and consequences of her writing the story, before or after publication and specifically when it had been brought to her attention that her client had been identified.

• The client disclosed information about herself to Ms Black for the purposes of receiving confidential therapy; this information was not disclosed for the purposes of publication. The panel found this change of use, without the client's knowledge or consent, to have been exploitative of the client.

• Although the panel accepted that Ms Black gained no financial advantage, she did achieve the non-pecuniary advantage of authorship status.

• When asked whether, in hindsight, she would do anything differently, Ms Black responded that she would not. The panel found this deeply concerning, particularly in the light of the client's statement that the discovery of the published story had "retrospectively contaminated" the entire eight years of therapy she had received.

Mitigation

Ms Black apologised to the client at the hearing, and said that she was ‘devastated' by the result of her actions.

Decision

The panel was unanimous in its decision that these findings amounted to serious professional malpractice, on the grounds that by publishing a story about her client, without seeking consent and by inadequately protecting her identity, Ms Black was negligent in her duty of care to the client. Furthermore, Ms Black was reckless in that she admitted that she had not considered, nor sought supervision on, the possible consequences of her actions. This lack of forethought, together with her failure to address the issues of breach of anonymity when it had been brought to her attention, amounted to serious incompetence.

Accordingly, the panel decided that if the public was made aware of the full facts of this case, it would bring the profession, and by implication, BACP, into disrepute and therefore, Ms Black's membership of this Association will be withdrawn with immediate effect.

Any future application for membership of BACP would be considered under Article 4.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association.

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June 2009: Janet McDermott, Reference No: 543385, Sheffield S7 1RR

A complaint against the above individual member was taken to Adjudication in line with the Professional Conduct Procedure.

The complaint was heard under BACP Professional Conduct Procedure 2002, (revised 2007) and the Panel considered the alleged breaches of the BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

The focus of the complaint, as summarised by the Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel, is that over a five-year period the Complainant experienced the therapy that she received from Ms McDermott as damaging and unsafe. The Complainant alleged that the ending by Ms McDermott was abrupt, unilateral and detrimental. The Complainant alleged that throughout the five years: Ms McDermott failed to maintain the fidelity and beneficence of the therapeutic relationship and abused the Complainant's trust by not holding clear, consistent boundaries around her practice, specifically; inadequate therapeutic agreements, inappropriate extension of agreed time boundaries, inappropriate contact outside sessions by telephone, email, letter and text and ending the relationship without care and respect for the Complainant's well-being. In addition, the Complainant alleged that Ms McDermott conducted inappropriate financial agreements, and further alleged Ms McDermott accepted being nominated by the Complainant as an executor and named beneficiary to her will. The Complainant alleged Ms McDermott worked beyond her competence throughout the relationship, ignoring the advice of other professionals, specifically the Complainant's psychiatrist and her own supervisor. It is also alleged that Ms McDermott failed to protect the Complainant's confidentiality from Ms McDermott's partner and showed a lack of professional judgement in criticising colleagues known to the Complainant. Ms McDermott allegedly paid insufficient attention to her own fitness to practice and failed to recognise at an early stage the depth of her unprofessional and emotional attachment to the Complainant. Ms McDermott allegedly abused the power dynamics of the therapeutic relationship by gratifying her own personal need for an emotional attachment and compounding the difficulties by making increasingly inappropriate personal disclosures and intimate expressions of love and care for the Complainant.

The Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel, in accepting this complaint, was concerned with the allegations made within the complaint suggesting a contravention of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy, and those in particular are as follows:

• Ms McDermott's alleged unprofessional and gross abuse of the therapeutic relationship and the Complainant's trust, for her own emotional gratification, to the detriment of the Complainant.

• The alleged precipitate ending by Ms McDermott, to a long period of therapy, without meaningful discussion with the Complainant, against the explicit advice of other health professionals including the Complainant's psychiatrist, and without sufficient care for the Complainant's continuing well-being.

• The alleged gross failure by Ms McDermott, to provide a good quality of care and maintain the essential and appropriate boundaries around the management of her work, including financial arrangements and the security of records, the conduct of the therapy, and the therapeutic relationship.

• That although Ms McDermott offered an initial formal contract, this allegedly was not amended when changes were introduced in therapy and she did not offer adequate reviews that took the Complainant's needs into account.

• The alleged lack of adequate contracting with the Complainant by Ms McDermott, without due care and attention to the ending of the therapeutic relationship.

• The alleged inappropriate and damaging personal disclosures by Ms McDermott, together with intimate expressions of love and care, attributable to her, and her lack of awareness of its impact on the Complainant.

• The alleged lack of care given to client records and sensitive information, leading to the Complainant's confidentiality being breached.

• That Ms McDermott allegedly nurtured a dependence on herself by the Complainant, which she was subsequently unable to manage or resolve, to the alleged detriment of the Complainant.

• That Ms McDermott allegedly failed to monitor and maintain her fitness and competence to practise at a level that enabled her to provide an effective service to the Complainant.

• Ms McDermott's alleged behaviour, as described by the Complainant, suggesting a contravention of the Ethical Framework, and in particular clauses: 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 18, 20 and the ethical principles of Fidelity, Autonomy, Beneficence, Non-Maleficence and Self-respect.

Findings

On balance, having fully considered the above, the Panel made the following findings:

• That Ms McDermott had fostered a relationship of attachment and dependence between herself and her client, which was to her client's detriment. Ms McDermott failed to recognise the depth of her unprofessional and emotional attachment to the client and this was evidenced by the sharing of inappropriate personal disclosures and expressions of love and care for the client. The Panel found that this was unprofessional and a gross abuse of the therapeutic relationship and the client's trust.

• That in fostering a relationship of anti-therapeutic attachment and dependence, Ms McDermott failed to provide the safe boundaries required for effective therapy.

• Ms McDermott admitted that after a long period of therapy, the ending was abrupt, badly managed and without sufficient discussion.

• That Ms McDermott showed a reckless disregard for the advice given by her supervisor and other professionals at several points during the 5 year period of therapy, including advice on the ending of therapy.

• Ms McDermott failed to provide a good quality of care or maintain appropriate boundaries around the management of her work in that she admitted to over-running sessions, agreeing to meet in the client's home, and giving presents.

• That whilst there was a lack of clarity and some confusion surrounding the financial arrangements in respect of the payment and refunding of monies for sessions, this did not amount to an abuse of trust for financial gain.

• Ms McDermott had accepted being nominated as an executor of the client's will. However, on learning that she was to be a beneficiary in the will, she sought to withdraw from the agreement. The Panel found that Ms McDermott had not exercised sufficient caution in entering into this agreement, and failed to recognise the implications for her standing and that of the profession.
• Whilst Ms McDermott kept locked records, there were lapses in relation to the security of her counselling records. Confidentiality was breached in that Ms McDermott admitted that her partner had sight of printed therapeutic material.

• Ms McDermott admitted that the conduct of therapy was often against the flow of standard practice and outside the conventional boundaries of counselling and psychotherapy.

• Whilst there were contracts for counselling in the first two years of therapy, the attempts that were made to offer re-contracting after this time were insufficient and not sustained. Ms McDermott agreed that there was a lack of clarity in the contracting, which the Panel found to be inadequate.

• Ms McDermott and the client agreed that they had attempted to review the work on a number of occasions and that two reviews had taken place with the client's psychiatrist. However, these reviews were not adequate insofar as they did not bring about effective management of the therapeutic process.

• Ms McDermott admitted that she had made inappropriate and damaging personal disclosures; had written and given the client poetry; and had sent emails and letters which made reference to her regard and love for her client. This correspondence was sustained over a long period of therapy and was evidenced in the exchange of over 2000 emails.

• Ms McDermott admitted that she had been advised in supervision to curtail this email activity in order to maintain proper boundaries, but she failed to do so.

• Ms McDermott had failed to recognise that allowing this sustained correspondence to continue would have had a significant impact on the client.

• Ms McDermott agreed that she had criticised colleagues known to the client and, in doing so, had shown a lack of professional judgement.

• Ms McDermott failed to adequately monitor and maintain her fitness and competence to practice, in that she edited what she took to supervision and came to believe that she was the only person who fully understood what was happening in the therapy with the client.

• That Ms McDermott had adequately obtained informed consent to work with the client.

• There was no evidence to suggest that Ms McDermott overrode the client's wishes or worked without her explicit consent.


Mitigation

Ms McDermott admitted to much of her behaviour in this case and made a full apology to the client. Ms McDermott indicated that she had reflected on issues connected to this case, ceased private practice, undertaken personal therapy, taken further training, sought further supervision and made more use of supervision. However, the Panel was not satisfied that, at this time, Ms McDermott had demonstrated adequate learning.


Decision

The Panel was unanimous in its decision that these findings amounted to serious professional malpractice in that Ms McDermott acted recklessly in her conduct and management of the therapeutic process with this client; that she worked well beyond her competence; and that she failed to provide adequate professional services that would reasonably be expected of a competent practitioner.

Accordingly, the Panel decided that Ms McDermott's membership of this Association should be withdrawn with immediate effect.

Any future application for membership of BACP would be considered under Article 4.3 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.  

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January 2009: BERYL DAWKINS, Reference No: 54542, YORK YO41 5PR

Information was received with regard to Ms Dawkins sufficient to refer for consideration under Article 4.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.

The allegations considered by the Article 4.6 Panel were as follows:

  • Ms Dawkins had an allegedly inappropriate and intimate relationship with a very vulnerable client, who had originally sought counselling to improve his relationship with his spouse, and which led to Ms Dawkins' suspension from the organisation for which she worked.
  • Ms Dawkins' subsequent failure to work effectively with the particular organisation, with regard to three clients, in that she did not provide the organisation with the counselling notes when requested and did not provide the organisation with the assurance that she had ceased work with those clients.
The member was invited to send in a written response, but declined to do so.

DECISION
The Panel decided to implement Article 4.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association and withdraw BACP membership from Ms Dawkins, to take effect 28 days from notification of this decision. The Panel gave its reasons for its decision as follows:

  • Ms Dawkins had failed to co-operate with BACP, despite having a contractual obligation to do so.
  • Ms Dawkins seriously breached the Ethical Framework in entering into a friendship with her ex-client, immediately after the termination of therapy, despite clear advice from her supervisor not to do so.
  • Ms Dawkins actions, if known, could bring the reputation of BACP into disrepute.

Ms Dawkins was given the opportunity to appeal the decision, but no appeal was received. Consequently her membership was withdrawn.
Any future application for membership of this Association will be considered under Article 4.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.  

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January 2009: Paul Rushworth, Reference No: 515113, Manchester M20 2DS (previous address), (current address unknown)

The complaint against the above individual member was taken to Adjudication in line with the Professional Conduct Procedure.

The complaint was heard under the BACP Professional Conduct Procedure © 2007, and considered allegations of breaches of the BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy © 2002/2007.

The focus of the complaint, as summarised by the Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel, was the alleged unprofessional and incompetent practice offered by Mr Rushworth to the Complainant whilst she was in therapy with him between April 2007 and February 2008.

The Complainant alleged that when she first met Mr Rushworth, she fully appraised him of her mental and physical health. She alleges that he was confident that he could help. From April until November, the Complainant attended the 1½-hour therapy sessions, which were conducted twice a week in her home. Following a bad experience with a caretaker therapist, recommended by Mr Rushworth, during his August vacation, the Complainant suggested Mr Rushworth's supervisor attend a session. Mr Rushworth refused but offered supportive contact by text between sessions. Printouts from the texts support allegations of inappropriate expressions of affection by Mr Rushworth.

From November 2007, sessions were changed to one-to-one, lasting 3 hours on Monday evenings and 6 hours on Thursday afternoons. The Complainant alleged that she dissociated during a session on 24 January 2008 and did not recover until 7 February 2008. Mr Rushworth refused to make an emergency visit, which the Complainant alleged was against the agreed contract. Mr Rushworth texted his intention to take leave in two weeks and when confronted, the Complainant alleged he behaved in an intimidating, aggressive and rude manner that ‘really scared' her. A week later on 18 February, Mr Rushworth apologised for his behaviour and told the Complainant that his supervisor had told him to stop the therapy and deal with his own emotional needs. On 22 February 2008, the Complainant emailed Mr Rushworth confirming the termination of therapy and requesting a refund of ⅓ of the £6,000 she had paid in fees. He responded by email the next day agreeing she make a formal complaint, refusing to refund the money and requesting further communication through solicitors.

The Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel, in accepting this complaint was concerned with the allegations made within the complaint suggesting contravention of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy, and those in particular as follows:

  • The alleged exploitation of a vulnerable client by Mr Rushworth, both emotionally and financially.
  • The alleged lack of appropriate boundaries exhibited by Mr Rushworth to the Complainant, demonstrated by his behaviour towards her and in the numerous text messages sent to her.
  • Mr Rushworth's alleged lack of fitness to practice in relation to the client and the lack of arrangements made for his client affected by this.
  • The alleged inappropriate and threatening behaviour displayed by Mr Rushworth towards the Complainant on their appointment of 11 February 2008.
  • The alleged lack of personal moral qualities integrity, humility, competence and respect demonstrated by Mr Rushworth in his dealings with the Complainant
  • The alleged lack of professional behaviour by Mr Rushworth, towards the Complainant, especially in regard to the lack of good quality of care, failure to keep the client's trust, inadequate fitness to practise, and failure to behave appropriately when things went wrong.

Findings
On balance, having fully considered the above, the Panel made the following findings:

  • Mr Rushworth exploited the Complainant emotionally and financially by engaging in 3 hourly and 6 hourly sessions a week (9 hours in total per week) and failed to recognise the emotional vulnerability of the client in these circumstances. This excessive number of hours per week led to financial exploitation of the client.
  • The Panel found that Mr Rushworth exploited the client by continuing with the counselling sessions, at a level of 9 hours therapy per week, during the two week period of the client's disassociated state and this was evidenced in the records of continuing payment to Mr Rushworth during this time. The Complainant reported that she could not recall these sessions.
  • Mr Rushworth exhibited a serious lack of appropriate boundary keeping, in that he sent numerous text messages to the Complainant, between sessions, including on Christmas Day and New Year's Day and on one occasion texting at 3 am. Many messages contained inappropriate expressions of affection such as "I'm here 4 u,always,deepest luv affection.paul",and "lots of love warm fuzzy's 4 u to guide threw the darkest moments. Now 4ever.paul". Numerous texts, instigated by Mr Rushworth, indicated an unnecessary intrusiveness into the Complainant's life. Mr Rushworth continued to text the Complainant despite being aware that she was in a "childlike disassociated state" and he failed to respect the Complainant's legitimate need to distance herself from his interventions.
  • Mr Rushworth, in his written submission, failed to demonstrate any awareness of the limitations of his competence. Despite being fully aware of his client's medical and physical history, he increased client contact hours to a level which demonstrated a serious lack of judgement and awareness of the impact this would have on a fragile and vulnerable client.
  • Both parties agreed that Mr Rushworth had arranged support from a colleague for the Complainant during his holiday absence.
  • Mr Rushworth did not provide evidence that he had taken appropriate supervision or sought other support for his work with this client.
  • The Panel recognised that the Complainant experienced Mr Rushworth's behaviour, during a meeting on 11 February 2008, as threatening but did not have sufficient information to conclude that the actual behaviour was threatening. However Mr Rushworth does admit, in his written statement, that he was annoyed and irritated. Both parties agreed that Mr Rushworth's behaviour had been inappropriate.
  • The Panel found that the case notes, relating to this particular client, supplied by Mr Rushworth, raised doubt as to whether they were contemporaneous or written in response to this complaint. There were inconsistencies in the notes for January 2008 where Mr Rushworth stated he would write to the client's psychiatrist when, according to other evidence, submitted by him, he had already done so.
  • The Panel found that Mr Rushworth had betrayed the client's trust by continuing to convince her that he was competent to deal with the complexities of her issues.
  • The Panel found that Mr Rushworth failed to behave in a professional manner and failed to provide a good quality of care for the Complainant.

Decision
The Panel was very concerned that Mr Rushworth failed to attend the Hearing and that he had given only 3 working days notice of his intention not to attend, having indicated previously that he would do so. Mr Rushworth's reasons for not attending indicated that his plans had been in place for some considerable time and therefore he should have either given adequate notice or asked for the Hearing to be re-arranged to a date more convenient to him. He failed to do this. Whilst Mr Rushworth provided a written response to the complaint, in the view of the Panel, he did not demonstrate full responsibility in taking part in the professional conduct procedures, as required of all members under the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling & Psychotherapy.

In the matter of the complaint against Mr Rushworth, the Panel was deeply concerned by Mr Rushworth's behaviour and actions with this particular client. The Panel considered that it amounted to bringing the profession into disrepute in that the public's trust in the profession might reasonably be undermined if they were accurately informed of all the circumstances of this case.

Accordingly, the Panel was unanimous in its decision that Mr Rushworth's membership of BACP should be withdrawn forthwith.
The Panel considered the appropriateness of imposing an educative Sanction in the circumstances; however, given Mr Rushworth's reasons for not attending the Hearing, that he has now left the country, and that he tried to resign his membership of BACP in the period prior to the Hearing, the Panel concluded that Mr Rushworth's actions indicated that he would be unlikely to comply with any Sanction.

Any future re-application for membership will be considered under Article 4.3 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.

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December 2008: Rosalind Rodway, Reference No: 508120, Oakham LE15 8JP

A sanction was imposed on Ms Rodway following a Professional Conduct Hearing, which took place in September 2008. 
 
Ms Rodway refused to comply with the sanction and consequently her membership of BACP was withdrawn.  Any future application for membership of BACP will be considered under Article 4.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

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December 2008: Samantha Haley, Reference No: 533595, Newcastle upon Tyne NE20 9LF

A sanction was imposed on Ms Haley following a Professional Conduct Hearing, the outcome of which was reported in the July 2008 edition of this journal. 

Ms Haley failed to comply with the sanction and consequently her membership of BACP was withdrawn.  Any future application for membership of BACP will be considered under Article 4.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

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October 2008: Joan Smith, Reference No: 530702, Great Yarmouth NR31 8NG

A sanction was imposed on Ms Smith following a Professional Conduct Hearing, the outcome of which was reported in the September 2007 edition of this journal.

Ms Smith failed to comply with the sanction and consequently her membership of BACP was withdrawn.  Any future application for membership of BACP will be considered under Article 4.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

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September 2008: Michael Carter, Reference No: 524771, LLANFAIRFECHAN L33 0BT

Information was received by BACP under Article 4.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association, which raised concerns about the suitability of Dr Carter’s continued membership of BACP.

The nature of the information received from a Trust and a client raised questions about the suitability of Dr Carter’s continuing membership of this Association and suggested that he had brought, or may yet bring, not only this Association but also the reputations of counselling/psychotherapy into disrepute.  The nature of the information also suggested that there may have been a serious breach, or breaches, of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy and it raised particular concerns as follows:

  • Dr Carter’s dismissal from the Trust on grounds of Gross Misconduct

Dr Carter’s alleged conduct leading to the findings upheld following appeal against his dismissal and the findings themselves as follows:

  • inadequate record keeping during clinical assessment and ongoing assessment and therapy of client A;
  • failure to seek supervision in respect of client A;
  • misrepresentation;
  • conducting an inappropriate relationship with client A.

Having thoroughly considered all the above, the Article 4.6 Panel decided to implement Article 4.6 with the result that his membership of BACP should be withdrawn, pending an appeal.  The Panel’s reasons for implementing Article 4.6 were as follows:

  • Dr Carter’s record keeping with regard to client A was inadequate.
  • In not seeking supervision for (work with) client A, Dr Carter did not appropriately support the client, and failed to be accountable for his own practice.
  • Dr Carter’s use of an NHS e-mail address for his private practice could have led to the assumption by a member of the public that he was employed by the Trust as a Consultant Therapist with experience in the areas listed on the website.
  • Dr Carter’s personal and sexual relationship with client A was incautious and inappropriate; Dr Carter should have consulted with his supervisor and/or other professional colleagues before entering in this relationship.  This was a clear breach of the BACP guidelines.

Following an appeal by Dr Carter, the task of the Appeal Panel was to decide whether or not the Article 4.6 Panel’s decision to implement Article 4.6 had been correct, in all the circumstances. 

The Appeal Panel found that Dr Carter’s personal and sexual relationship with client A was incautious and inappropriate.  (Dr Carter stated himself that it had been “unwise”).  In the circumstances, Dr Carter should have presented ensuing and current issues to his supervisor and/or consultative support person(s) before entering into, and continuing, his personal relationship with client A.  Panel members were of the view that they would have expected this of any practitioner, particularly one with Dr Carter’s responsibility and status.  Furthermore, the Panel was concerned that Dr Carter lacked appropriate professional insight by entering into, and continuing, his relationship with client A.

The Appeal Panel found that on the grounds stated above, the Article 4.6 Panel’s decision to implement Article 4.6 was correct and, thus, Dr Carter’s appeal against this decision has not been allowed.

As such, the Appeal Panel was unanimous in its decision that Dr Carter’s actions have brought the reputations of BACP and counselling/psychotherapy into disrepute.  Accordingly, Dr Carter’s membership of BACP was withdrawn with immediate effect

Any future application for membership will be considered under Article 4.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

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June 2008: Adam Tasker - Reference No: 544734, Oxford OX3 8HF

A client made a complaint against Mr Adam Tasker which was submitted under the Professional Conduct Procedure.  The complaint was accepted for adjudication by the Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel.  Mr Tasker decided not to respond to, or participate in the Procedure.  Consequently, the complaint, together with his failure to co-operate with the implementation of the Professional Conduct Procedure was referred for consideration under Article 4.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.  

The allegations considered by the Article 4.6 Panel were as follows:

  • That Mr Tasker knowingly exploited a client sexually with unsolicited hugs, physical massages, kissing and suggestive propositions to meet outside of therapy.
  • That Mr Tasker abused the trust of the client placed in him when she was vulnerable.
  • That, in addition to the sexual advances, Mr Tasker allegedly failed to observe the conventional therapeutic boundaries by engaging the client in social conversation after the sessions, neglecting the time boundaries, and not offering an explicit contract for therapeutic work.

Mr Tasker did not respond to the complaint submitted by the client under the Professional Conduct Procedure.  In Mr Tasker’s letter of 8 November 2007 he refused to participate in the Procedure and be professionally accountable to the Association for his actions, which indicated that he may have breached paragraph 42 of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy.   

Mr Tasker, was invited to respond to the complaint and also the fact that he failed to be accountable under the Professional Conduct Procedure, but again, did not make a response.

DECISION
The Panel decided to implement Article 4.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association in this case, and withdraw BACP membership from Adam Tasker, to take effect 28 days from notification of this decision.  The Panel gave reasons for its decision as follows:

  • In the absence of any response from Mr Tasker, the Article 4.6 Panel accepted the Complainant’s evidence as coherent and credible.
  • Mr Tasker chose not to respond to, nor participate in the Professional Conduct Procedure, which in itself, is a serious contravention of his obligations under paragraph 42 of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy and demonstrates a lack of professional accountability.
Mr Tasker was given the opportunity to appeal the decision, but no appeal was received.  Consequently his membership was withdrawn.

Any future application for membership of this Association will be considered under the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

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JUNE 2008: BRIAN HORROCKS - Reference No: 559030, NEWPORT PO30 5QZ

A client made a complaint against Mr Brian Horrocks which was submitted under the Professional Conduct Procedure.  The complaint was accepted for adjudication by the Pre-Hearing Assessment Panel.  Mr Horrocks decided not to respond to, or participate in the Procedure.  Consequently, the complaint, together with his failure to co-operate with the implementation of the Professional Conduct Procedure was referred for consideration under Article 4.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.

The allegations considered by the Article 4.6 Panel were as follows:

  • That Mr Horrocks abused his client’s trust in order to gain financial advantage.
  • That Mr Horrocks was not honest, straight forward, and accountable in financial matters concerning his professional relationship with the client.
  • That there was no clear contract for the work and that Mr Horrocks did not adhere to the initial terms on which his service was being offered.
  • That Mr Horrocks disrespected the client’s trust and autonomy by instigating a dual relationship with him, by disregarding appropriate professional boundaries and by enforcing the client’s compliance through emotional manipulation.
  • That Mr Horrocks did not have the competence to deal with the client’s serious behavioural problem.
  • That Mr Horrocks did not comply with the implementation of the Professional Conduct Procedure in contravention of his obligation under paragraph 42 of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Mr Horrocks, was invited to respond to the complaint and also the fact that he failed to be accountable under the Professional Conduct Procedure, but again, did not make a response.

DECISION

The Panel decided to implement Article 4.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association and withdraw BACP membership from Brian Horrocks, to take effect 28 days from notification of this decision.  The Panel gave reasons for its decision as follows:

  • In the absence of any response from Mr Horrocks, the Complainant had provided sufficient evidence for the Panel to be satisfied that there have been serious breaches of BACP’s Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy.
  • Mr Horrocks chose not to respond to, nor participate in the Professional Conduct Procedure, which in itself, is a serious contravention of his obligations under paragraph 42 of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy and demonstrates a lack of professional accountability.

Mr Horrocks was given the opportunity to appeal the decision, but no appeal was received.  Consequently his membership was withdrawn.

Any future application for membership of this Association will be considered under the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

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June 2008: RAYMOND COLLEDGE - Reference No: 535480, BIDEFORD EX39 3PY

Information was received by BACP, from sources including a Complainant, which raised questions about the suitability of Mr Raymond Colledge’s continued membership of this Association.  The matters raised were considered under Article 4.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.

The allegations considered by the Article 4.6 Panel were as follows:

  • Mr.Colledge allegedly committed sexual acts with a pupil in a school where he was a teacher, whilst allegedly performing a counselling role, resulting in his dismissal from the school, a police investigation, information being held on record relating to the enquiry and recently being the subject of Child Protection Strategy meetings.
  • While the allegations and police investigation related to a period before Mr. Colledge submitted an application for membership of BACP, he failed to disclose these matters upon application, contrary to the requirements of his signed application dated 17 June 2000.  Furthermore, he had not made disclosure of these matters to BACP during his period of membership.
  • A County Council had sufficient concerns for strategy meetings to take place upon learning of Mr. Colledge’s work as a counsellor, and that as part of that work he may be working with children.  Further evidence of their concern was that they agreed to share their concerns with BACP for consideration under Article 4.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association.

Mr Colledge was invited to respond, and made a response in which he denied the allegations.  The Panel requested further information from a number of parties which was supplied.  Mr Colledge was also requested to supply further information, which was not received.  The Panel carefully considered all the information submitted together with Mr Colledge’s response.

DECISION

The Panel decided to implement Article 4.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association in this case, and withdraw BACP membership from Ray Colledge, to take effect 28 days from notification of this decision.  The Panel gave reasons for its decision as follows:

  • The extract from the witness statement provided by the Constabulary was very credible and in support of the information supplied by the Complainant and the County Council, and appeared to undermine Mr. Colledge’s statement.
  • The Panel was of the opinion that, on the information considered, there was some foundation in the allegations, and that, were these matters to come into the public domain, Mr Colledge’s continued membership of BACP could bring the reputation of BACP and/or the profession into disrepute.
  • Mr. Colledge failed to disclose these matters, which are of a grave nature, upon application for membership of BACP, contrary to the requirements of his signed application dated 17 June 2000.  Furthermore, he had not made disclosure of these matters to BACP during his period of membership.
  • Mr Colledge was given the opportunity to appeal the decision, but no appeal was received.  Consequently his membership was withdrawn. 

Any future application for membership of this Association will be considered under the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

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June 2008: Philip Blundell - reference no: 587143, Morecambe LA4 5QD

Information was received by BACP, which raised questions about the suitability of Mr Philip Blundell’s continued membership of this Association.  The matters raised were considered under Article 4.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association.  The Article 4.6 Panel decided to implement Article 4.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association and withdraw BACP membership from Mr Blundell.  Mr Blundell appealed against the decision and the matter was considered by the Article 4.6 Appeal Panel.

Mr Blundell appealed against the Article 4.6 Panel’s decision to withdraw BACP membership for the following reasons:

  • Mr Blundell had pleaded guilty in court to an offence of theft which involved a breach of trust to his employer over a long period of time, and this was incompatible with the values of counselling and psychotherapy.
  • The serious view taken of this by the court was reflected in the length of sentence imposed.
  • If the public was accurately informed of all the circumstances of this case, its trust in the profession would be adversely affected.
  • Mr Blundell failed to notify BACP, as his professional body and as required to do so by his signed declaration, of his custodial prison sentence and the acts and circumstances that led to his imprisonment.

DECISION

It was the duty of the Appeal Panel to decide whether the Article 4.6 Panel’s decision was fair and appropriate.

Mr Blundell admitted he had been foolish, dishonest and guilty of a lack of clarity with reference to the theft charges and the acts that led up to that charge.  The Panel, therefore, was unanimous in its decision that his appeal against the first three bullet points of the Article 4.6 Panel’s decision was not allowed

However, the Panel accepted that Mr Blundell was not in a position to notify BACP of his prison sentence at the time, but that he had kept the College [where he had attended as a student] apprised of events throughout this time.  Therefore, his appeal was upheld on the fourth bullet point.

In view of the circumstances, the Panel decided that his membership of BACP should be withdrawn and that its decision would be published on the website and in Therapy Today.  However, the Panel decided that Mr Blundell could re-apply for membership at any time after his sentence is spent in November 2008.  Any re-application for membership will be considered under Article 4.3 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association and any successful re-application will be published on the website and in Therapy Today accordingly.

Mr Blundell is to be complimented on seeking therapy and supervision since his discharge from H M Prison; however, the Appeal Panel wish that Mr Blundell reflect carefully on his fitness to practise and his level of competence prior to re-applying for membership of BACP as this will need to be demonstrated in any re-application.  Mr Blundell is advised to contact the Professional Conduct Department for further details at any time.

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October 2007: Irene Steele – reference no: 514259 – Shrewsbury SY5 9DE

A sanction was imposed on Ms Steele following a Professional Conduct Hearing, the outcome of which was reported in the October 2006 edition Therapy Today.

Ms Steele failed to comply with the sanction and consequently her membership of BACP was terminated. Any future application for membership of BACP will be considered under Article 4.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

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May 2007: Geoffrey Walker – reference no: 518644 – Leeds LS16 7QG

Information from a university had been received by BACP, under Article 4.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association, which raised concerns about the suitability of Mr Walker’s continued membership of this Association. An Article 4.6 Panel had decided that Article 4.6 should be invoked in this case. Following an Appeal Hearing, the task of the Appeal Panel was to decide whether or not the decision of the Article 4.6 Panel was correct in all the circumstances. The summary of the allegations is as follows:

A complaint had been received by a university from a student on a counselling course who was receiving supervision from Mr Walker, an approved counsellor and supervisor of the university at that time. The student complained that Mr Walker acted unethically in that his actions and comments constituted harassment under the university’s Harassment Policy. The student’s complaints were, as described by Mr Walker, that he:

  • used informal and sometimes inappropriate language;
  • focussed too frequently on matters of a sexual nature;
  • used a particular process about body image inappropriately causing her embarrassment;
  • used personal disclosure;
  • expressed a personal opinion of the job of the student’s new boyfriend in a derogatory fashion.

The complaints were upheld by the university which considered that Mr Walker’s behaviour towards the student was considered to be professionally inappropriate and constituted verbal harassment of a sexual nature.

The nature of the information received suggested that Mr Walker’s membership of BACP had brought, and/or could continue to bring, the Association and/or the reputations of counselling and psychotherapy into disrepute.

In response to this information, Mr Walker "owned that he was culpable in respect to some of the complaints". However, in addition to the above complaints, Mr Walker also admitted two further incidents which were of considerable concern to the Appeal Panel:

  • he acknowledged that he had previously invited a participant on a course to go out with him;
  • and that two other clients had discontinued working with him, expressing discomfort with his informal approach.

In considering these matters, Mr Walker identified some reasons for his behaviour and sought personal therapy on these matters for a short period. In addition, he had changed his supervisor, recognising that his relationship with his previous supervisor had become "too complacent", and had put various strategies in place in an attempt to minimise these events occurring again. Nevertheless, Mr Walker detailed a number of personal issues and, coupled with the very short period of personal therapy on these matters, the Appeal Panel was also concerned about his fitness to practice.

The Appeal Panel noted that the written responses and explanations of the Appellant were inadequate given the serious nature of the original complaint, and that they needed to test the validity of what had been written and establish the depth of learning that had taken place. In the circumstances, the Panel expressed considerable frustration and concern over the non-attendance of Mr Walker in that it was denied the opportunity to question him on these matters.

The Appeal Panel noted and considered the reasons given by Mr Walker for his non-attendance at the Hearing and decided that these were neither good nor sufficient. The Panel was further concerned at the lack of robustness on Mr Walker’s part in not making himself available; by comments made about a "wall of professional rules"; and his contentedness to self-regulate himself, whilst failing to be professionally accountable to the Association.

The Appeal Panel noted the Appellant’s protests in his correspondence. However, it needs to be stated that, as a member of BACP, Mr Walker should understand BACP procedures and processes were, and have been, duly followed. The paucity of his response made it all the more important that a Panel should have had an opportunity to question him to verify and clarify these matters. It is sad to note that he felt he would not "receive fair or balanced treatment" when that is the essence of these procedures.

Taking into account all communications forwarded and especially on reviewing the Appellant’s letter dated 20 November 2006, the task of the Appeal Panel was to decide whether or not the decision of the Article 4.6 Panel was correct in all the circumstances.

In mitigation, the Appeal Panel noted Mr Walker’s acknowledgement of his "culpability" in the acts complained about and the steps he states he has taken to reduce or minimise the risk of these acts occurring again, coupled with the fact that he has been practicing for 11 years.

Nevertheless, the Panel recognised the seriousness of the complaints made to the University and, coupled with Mr Walker’s refusal to be professionally accountable, it was unanimous in its decision that the Article 4.6 Panel’s decision was correct in all the circumstances. Accordingly, the Panel decided that Mr Walker’s appeal should be denied. As such, his membership of BACP was terminated.

Should Mr Walker wish to re-apply for membership of BACP in the future, any application will be considered under Article 4.3 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association whereupon he will be required, in person, to respond to the matters raised in this case.

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Apr 2007: ASSIST Trauma Care – reference no: 110700 – Rugby CV21 2RX

A sanction was imposed on ASSIST Trauma Care following a Professional Conduct Hearing, the outcome of which was reported in the July 2006 edition of this journal.

ASSIST Trauma Care failed to comply with the sanction and any future application for membership of BACP will be considered under Article 4.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association.

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Apr 2007: Michael Curran – reference no: 502184 – Belfast BT12 7AS

Information was received by BACP under Article 4.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association, which raised concerns about the suitability of Mr Curran’s continued membership of BACP. The nature of the allegations suggested that his membership of BACP had brought, or if his membership continued, could bring the reputation of the Association and/or professions of counselling and psychotherapy into disrepute and that there may have been serious breaches of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling & Psychotherapy.

Following an Appeal Hearing, the task of the Appeal Panel was to decide whether or not the decision of the Article 4.6 Panel was correct in all the circumstances.

The Article 4.6 Panel was concerned that Mr Curran appeared to have had a sexual relationship with a person whom he had informed he was counselling. The information indicated that he referred to his relationship with the woman as more than a friendship, but as a counselling relationship. While Mr Curran appeared to contend that it was a "joke", the Panel was of the opinion that the woman took the reference to be a serious one and that he led the woman to believe that he was acting as a counsellor. It appeared to the Panel that the woman may even have thought that what was being offered to her by way of intimacy was connected with his position as a counsellor and that Mr Curran made use of his counsellor status to seduce the woman.

The Panel was further concerned that Mr Curran’s alleged behaviour and lack of boundaries distressed the woman, did her a disservice, and could damage the profession. The Panel was also of the opinion that Mr Curran’s alleged behaviour did not demonstrate adherence to the ethical principles of counselling and psychotherapy, nor demonstrated the personal moral qualities of integrity and respect, as referred to in the Ethical Framework for Good practice in Counselling & Psychotherapy.

In the course of its deliberations, the Panel was cognisant that this constituted one of many examples of good and sufficient reasons for the implementation of Article 4.6: "members who are accused of, or have committed, acts that are deemed incompatible with the values of counselling and/or psychotherapy".

The Appeal Panel was unanimous in its decision that the decision of the Article 4.6 Panel was correct and that his appeal should be denied. Consequently Mr Curran’s membership of BACP has been terminated forthwith.

Any future application for membership will be considered under Article 4.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

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Dec 2006: SUSAN BODGENER – reference no: 500854 – ELLESMERE SY12 0HD

Information was received by BACP under Article 4.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association, which raised questions about the suitability of Ms Bodgener’s continued membership of this Association. The nature of the allegations suggested that her membership of BACP has brought, and/or may bring, the reputation of this Association and/or the professions of counselling and psychotherapy into disrepute and that there may have been a serious breach of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

BACP was concerned by the alleged nature of the disciplinary action taken against Ms Bodgener by the NHS and her subsequent dismissal for gross misconduct. It was further concerned with the allegations that Ms Bodgener appeared to have being working outside her level of competence and that she failed to inform BACP of the action taken against her.

It was decided to implement Article 4.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association and Ms Bodgener was given the opportunity to appeal against this decision and be heard by an independent panel. Initially, Ms Bodgener appealed and subsequently withdrew her appeal. Ms Bodgener accepted that the withdrawal of her appeal would result in her membership of BACP being terminated forthwith. Consequently Ms Bodgener’s membership of BACP has been terminated.

Any future application for membership will be considered under Article 4.3 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

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Sep 2006: Beauchamp Colclough – reference no: 501805 – NG32 3QB

Information was received by BACP, under Article 4.6 of the Memorandum & Articles of Association, which raised questions about the suitability of Mr Beauchamp Colclough’s continued membership of this Association. The nature of the allegations suggested that his membership of BACP has brought, and/or may bring, the reputation of this Association and/or the professions of counselling and psychotherapy into disrepute, and that there may have been serious breaches of the Codes of Ethics & Practice/Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

BACP was concerned with the seriousness of a number of allegations received regarding the unethical treatment of some of Mr Colclough’s clients. The nature of the allegations were substantiated from a number of complainants, including information published in the national press. The nature of the allegations indicated that there may have been a breach of the principle of non-maleficence: Mr Colclough having allegedly sexually and emotionally exploited a number of his female clients. Additionally, the information received also indicated that there may have been a breach of the ethical principle of fidelity since the alleged abuse of these clients involved the fostering of trust; and that clause 18 of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy, under the section Keeping Trust, had been breached in that he may have abused his clients’ trust to gain sexual advantage, had sexual relations with these clients, including sexual intercourse, and exhibited sexualised behaviour.

Mr Colclough did not challenge these allegations nor appeal against the decision to implement Article 4.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association and consequently his membership of BACP has been terminated forthwith.

Any future application for membership of this Association will be considered under the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

These findings are published for the purposes of public information in the interests of protecting the public. It is recognised that there can be learning opportunities for other practitioners and, as such, should any reader wish to use the information for educational, or other associated, purposes, please ensure that you remove the name, together with any other identifying features of the practitioner concerned, as this information is not deemed to be relevant in these circumstances.

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Feb 2006: Sarah Lander – reference no: 536714 – Leamington Spa CV32 6SA

A sanction was imposed on Ms Lander following a Professional Conduct Hearing, the outcome of which was reported in the March 2005 edition of this journal. Ms Lander failed to comply with the sanction and consequently her membership of BACP was terminated.

Any future application for membership of BACP will be considered under Article 4.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

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Dec 2005: Elizabeth Randell – reference no: 530216 – Surrey RH4 1LA

A sanction was imposed on Ms Randell following a Professional Conduct Hearing, the outcome of which was reported in the October 2004 edition of this journal. Ms Randell failed to comply with the sanction and consequently her membership of BACP was terminated.

Any future application for membership of BACP will be considered under Article 4.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.

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Oct 2005: Paul K. Carney – reference no: 501452 – Warwick CV34 5HR

Information was received by BACP, under Article 4.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association, which raised questions about the suitability of Mr Carney’s continued membership of this Association. The nature of the allegations suggested that his continuing membership of BACP may have brought or may yet bring this Association and/or counselling into disrepute, and that there may have been serious breaches of the Codes of Ethics & Practice/Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy. The Panel was specifically concerned as follows:

Letters indicated that Mr Carney may have abused a client in a number of ways, exercising power over the client, abusing the client both psychologically and sexually. It would appear that he had breached the ethical principles of fidelity, autonomy, beneficence and non-maleficence. It would also appear that breaches of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy had occurred under ’Quality of care’ page 5, particularly in regard to dual relationships and under ’Keeping trust’, with particular regard to paragraph 18, page 7.

The letters of apology appeared to continue the abusive language by, in one case, saying that he did enjoy the thought of his former client being able to ’climb up on to my [his] lap’, and still declaring his affections.

Mr Carney did not appeal against the decision to implement Article 4.6 of the Memorandum and Articles of Association and consequently his membership of BACP has been terminated.

Any future application for membership will be considered under Article 4.6
of the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.