An email to highlight problems with HPC regulation

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An email to highlight problems with HPC regulation

Post by miriam » Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:03 pm

Dear fellow psychologists,

I’ve been motivated to write to the HPC policy unit to address some of the (as I see them) major flaws in regulation of psychologists.

The first is about how regulation does nothing to prevent malpractice, as bogus psychologists can just avoid the restricted titles and continue to offer their services with impunity. The second is a personal gripe about how you have to pay full fees whilst on maternity leave. If you feel likewise about either issue do copy and paste my email or write your own to:


-------------------------email 1-----------------------

Dear sir/madam,

I am writing to highlight my concerns about the way in which psychological therapies are to be regulated. I feel that only limiting the terms “clinical”, “counselling” and “practitioner” psychologists fails to protect the public from people who offer counselling, psychotherapy, talking therapies or other mental health interventions who do not use these titles. It means that any person offering bogus services merely has to avoid claiming the protected titles but can continue to practise with impunity, whilst those of us who are legitimate have to pay more fees and jump more hoops than ever before.

By way of an example, consider a lady who has set herself up as a “Psychologist” and “Eating Disorders Specialist” on the basis of a BSc, a one-year MSc in Health Psychology, a 6 day course on Eating Disorders and her own experience of eating disorders as a teenager. She even offers “inpatient treatment” by offering rented rooms in a house owned by her parents, and pseudo-medical treatments. The result almost killed a child (see the serious case review here: ... Report.htm) yet she continues to advertise her services:

The BPS considered that there was prima facie evidence for a misconduct investigation, but this was ceased when regulation passed to the HPC as she does not use any of the restricted titles. Surely this highlights a major flaw in the regulatory system and more needs to be done to protect the public?

I hope this highlights my concerns about the issue and that something can be done to ensure proper regulation of those offering psychological therapies, and not just those who choose to use a few particular titles!


Consultant Clinical Psychologist

-------------------------email 2-----------------------

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to express my outrage that you expect me to pay full membership of the HPC whilst on maternity leave. The alternative is to leave and re-join which is even more expensive. Surely this makes no sense and you should have a “dormant” level of membership which is cheaper like most other organisations such as my union?


Consultant Clinical Psychologist
Last edited by miriam on Thu Jan 14, 2010 11:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by joanner » Tue Oct 13, 2009 8:40 pm

I think those are both really good emails, Miriam. I am surprised maternity leave is not factored into HPC membership rates. It really isn't professional-friendly at times, is it?

I am also disgusted by the blase attitude of the government/HPC towards refusing to regulate the term 'psychologist' more carefully. I am still baffled as to why they rejected the views of the BPS around this issue when they are the professional body most aware of how to regulate psychologists effectively.

Let us know what feedback you get!

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Post by eponymous85 » Thu Oct 15, 2009 7:52 pm

Shocked by the eating disorders specialist story. A good demonstration of the problems with current hpc regulation. Hope you succeed!
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