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.
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.