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Pokorny, M.R. (1995). History of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy. Brit. J. Psychother., 11(3):415-421.

(1995). British Journal of Psychotherapy, 11(3):415-421

Professional Issues

History of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy

Michael R. Pokorny

Many of you have said that you would like to have an outline of how we came to celebrate the launch of the National Register of Psychotherapists on 20 May 1993 in a ceremony at the House of Lords. Our story seems to begin in 1971 when the Foster Report recommended, as an aside, that the profession of psychotherapy should be regulated. Starting in 1975 the Joint Professions Working Party, chaired by the late Paul Sieghart, recommended in its 1978 Report that Indicative Registration was appropriate for psychotherapists. This meant that only registered practitioners would be legally allowed to call themselves psychotherapists. The Behavioural Psychotherapists wrote a dissenting appendix which denied the need for any kind of registration for psychotherapists.

In this atmosphere of shared mistrust a number of psychotherapy organisations went to a meeting at the Department of Health where they were told by the Minister that unless the profession could agree there was nothing that the government would do. The Minister was not going to decide about psychotherapy. That is still their position. In a letter to me dated 13 January 1993, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Tim Yeo, wrote, and I quote:

I was very interested to learn of the commendable progress that the United Kingdom Standing Conference for Psychotherapy has been making towards a unified umbrella organisation for psychotherapy. The forthcoming Register is of particular interest and a necessary step in progressing towards regulation.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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