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.
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.