You are currently viewing Web Publishing – Newsletter #005

Web Publishing – Newsletter #005


Ethical bodies routinely web publish complaints cases until a therapist has completed the sanctions it imposes to its satisfaction or five years if the therapist then leaves BACP.  

This contravenes Human Rights because it damages or destroys therapist’s careers. 

Whilst some therapists have acted unethically, any of us could find ourselves on one of these sites as a result of a complaint, justifiable or not. Time to end this practice.   

BACP’s own Professional Conduct Publication Policy states: 

Section 38. Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights protects the right to respect for private and family life and, in this context, the right to a professional reputation. This policy provides a framework for decisions concerning publication which may represent an interference with a Member’s Article 8 rights. It provides for a decision to be made for each case on its individual facts.

Consider the following case: 

In February 2009, George Appleton strangled 36 year old Clare Wood and burned her body.  She had ended a 6 month relationship, but despite a restraining order, he harassed her, damaging property, threatening violence and attempting assault. Greater Manchester Police had not informed her of his three prison sentences for similar offences.  The Domestic Violence Disclosure Scheme, or Clare’s Law as it is now known,allows any involved party to enquire if anyone they suspect has a criminal history. Notably, it does not require web-publishing every offender and their cases for the whole world to scrutinize and vilify. Sober reflection might support that regime.  

In contrast:  

If an ethical body decides that a therapist it judges as being under its jurisdiction has contravened some clause in its extensive ethical code, however minor,  it will web-publish its version of the case. This can damage and possibly destroy their career, livelihood and possibly much more because other ethical bodies may refuse them, along with EAP’s and advertisers too.  Anyone searching the therapist’s name can access the data for their own purposes and the notice can remain for five years, and more if the ethical body forgets to remove it.  

The question to be asked  

Is a therapist who has forgotten to tell a client they were away one day or, one who was in civil dispute with their neighbour unconnected with counselling more dangerous to the public than a violent offender with a string of conviction?  The answer is obvious. Web publication is grossly disproportionate, especially when it is made searchable for the public. That must cease immediately.   Far from protecting the public, it can destroy potentially capable therapists on the basis of a single event, removing them from their existing clients and indeed any future ones.  

We offer support meetings every 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month at 8.00pm.  We can also offer one-to-one support and can often identify breaches of ethical body procedures to support the defence of a complaint, in addition to helping with preliminary responses should you be involved in a case currently.  Please contact us individually and confidentially on our e-mail address should  you wish to join our support group or need further confidential assistance.

Past and future newsletters are to be appear on our twitter and facebook pages in the near future and we hope that colleagues will “follow” “friend” us for future updates to come directly to your phones etc and more details to follow in the coming weeks.

With best wishes and thank you for reading.

David Waite

Leave a Reply