Wanted: more funding for psychological therapies

I was reading in the BPS Clinical Psychology forum magazine how strapped NHS Trusts are diverting money earmarked for psychological therapies to prop up overstretched mainline services.

This is despite the Tory government promising more money for Clinical Psychology posts in the NHS and more money for training additional Clinical Psychology PhD places.

For service users, this means an even longer waiting list.

Apparently, if you are in crisis, you’re pretty fucked. I’m surprised the Tory’s haven’t told us all to stiffen our upper lip and pull ourselves up by our shoe laces.

There is also some kind of new ‘programme’ to increase access to psychological therapies, called something like IAPT, or some such acronym. I tend to remember it as CRAP.

No longer can you expect psychological therapies to be delivered by a qualified clinical psychologist, but nurses, social workers, teachers and your Aunt Betty can do it. You don’t even have to go to an office. They’ll deliver the ‘therapy’ over the phone, and they’ll ‘cure’ you in 6 sessions. If you actually want to see a clinical psychologist, in person, and for more sessions, tough shit.

I don’t necessarily think that psychological therapies have to be delivered by clinical psychologists. A large part of their effect is probably the therapeutic relationship. And, apparently, up to three-quarters of ‘psychotherapists’ don’t use evidence based therapies.

But, at least with a clinical psychologist, you KNOW that they’ve had at least three years of supervised training, that they are registered with the HPC, and they are bound by the BPS. Can the NHS guarantee these things about Aunt Betty?

Plus, have you ever met a psychiatric nurse? While there are some fantastic ones out there, the service users I have heard from are fairly unanimous in psychiatric nurses being extremely discriminatory against service users. Psychiatric nurses tend to have been indoctrinated into the cult of the biomedical model and ‘wouldn’t the ward run more smoothly if you were a good little girl and took your meds’. If there were any nursing group I would volunteer to deliver psychological therapies it would be ICU nurses. They are amazing and epitomise the caring compassionate profession.

The Tories are always talking about competition. Let service users vote with their feet. You pay your taxes, you are entitled to have a well qualified and regulated therapist.

And, if you have depression or anxiety and are waiting nigh on a year to see a clinical psychologist, spare a thought for those with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. They can expect to wait an AVERAGE of 8 years to see one.

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