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Figlio, K. (1991). Commentary on the Paper by Cecilia Clementel-Jones on the Italian Register. Brit. J. Psychother., 7(4):423-425.

(1991). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 7(4):423-425

United Kingdom Standing Conference for Psychotherapy

Commentary on the Paper by Cecilia Clementel-Jones on the Italian Register Related Papers

Karl Figlio

I was asked by the Council of the United Kingdom Standing Conference for Psychotherapy (UKSCP) if I would comment on the paper by Clementel-Jones. Although I will consider this paper with UKSCP in mind, my comments are personal and have not been discussed by Council.

For a psychotherapist, the most striking feature of Clementel-Jones's paper is that it is historical. One can see the specific context within which the proposed regulation of psychotherapy has been formed. In Italy mental health services must be understood against the background of the socialist psychiatric reforms - Psichiatria Democratica - initiated in the 1960s by a group of psychiatrists, sociologists and social workers allied with the psychiatrist, Franco Bassaglia; and coming to legislative fruition in 1978 (Jones 1988, Ramon 1985). The law set out to reduce drastically mental hospital inpatients, to switch to community-based services, to emphasise social factors in mental ill-health and rehabilitation, and to minimise stigmatisation and isolation of the emotionally disturbed.

The structural changes brought with them a cooperative approach to mental health work amongst the different professional groups and, with it, the blurring of traditional professional roles and boundaries of authority. The libertarian spirit infused the reforms with a desire to avoid formal professionalism and the individualising of a client's distress, which it aimed to handle as a social problem. This trend led to an ambivalent attitude

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