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.
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.
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