There is an outstanding matter in my history concerning the professional side of my psychotherapeutic practice that now requires comment, particularly given I have been tweeting to a couple of the profession’s alumni today.
I have not spoken before, nor will I speak of it again after posting this blog, for a number of reasons:
1. It concerns an allegation of professional misconduct with a client. For me to discuss professional complaints concerning a former client within any forum other than that regulated by the ethics of psychotherapeutic confidentiality is absolutely forbidden.
2. The ‘allegations’ against me are extremely serious and have resulted in pretty much total shunning from my ‘peers’, with one outstanding exception. She may wonder at my silence with her personally but this stuff is so toxic – I felt protective of her vulnerability. I’ll be sending her a copy of this because she’s earned an explanation from one of us; it might just as well be me if no-one else will tell her. Lucky for me she has a fondness for Sagittarian black sheep.
3. I can speak of the allegation itself only as it was reported to the psychiatric unit I was a patient in, in 2003. It was recorded in my ward notes and said (paraphrasing):
“Patient was a psychotherapist but she slept with a client and was drummed out of the profession”
There was no indicator who the source of this information was… possibly… I no longer care to remember but my recall of the allegation is perfectly clear.
This report is factually untrue and the evidence can be checked.
The fact is I retired from the psychotherapeutic profession on health grounds in March 2001. The events that gave rise to the ‘essence’ of this ‘complaint’ occurred in October 2001, some months after I retired with an unblemished professional record. Had the ‘drummed out of the profession’ fiction any truth to it, there would be a record somewhere. In that record would be my defense or mitigation – and since this is my one and only time comment on the matter – that can’t be proven as fact but hearsay. In a profession that claims compassion, acceptance, tolerance, understanding and forgiveness, the projections upon me are remarkably telling. This ‘peer’ group process becomes even more curious when set alongside our shared professional history and experience. Did they learn nothing from Freda Sharpe?
This group behaviour was present in the psychotherapy profession when I worked within it – I found it in the UKCP; the psychotherapeutic ‘professional’ lynch mob there to protect the ‘sanctity’ of their self-image. There was nothing holy or ‘fair’ in their rejection of my professional accreditors: standards too stringent, was their given reason but UKCP ‘humanistic’ played dirty and responded with silence when confronted on the matter. I know because I did the confronting.
Fortunately, this was my only contact with the gossip of my behaviour – I am supremely disinterested in knowing any more. That is a problem for those who engaged in it, not me.
A reminder for those peers involved in this ‘lynchmob’ that, as far as I was concerned at the time of this incident in 2001, I was no longer using psychotherapeutic ethics because they were proving to be unreliable in practice. I was doing my best to adhere to shamanic ethics as best I understood them. This involved making copious ‘mistakes’ and is in no way different from the ethics I learned from my psychotherapeutic trainers and accrediters. My ‘learning-through-terrible-mistakes’ was familiar behaviour during our therapeutic experience together. I was also under the impression we learned a very great deal about envy and scapegoating, or perhaps it was only me?
Since my ‘mortal sin’ in 2001, I have had contact with only one of my peers – she and her husband came to visit me when I was in prison; she’s that kind of woman. We knew each other well enough for seventeen years. She commented, during that visit, that I had the air of ‘knowing’ something she didn’t. She was right and this – my once and only comment on the matter – is what I know. I’m curious that she, too, appears to have added me to her shun list. That’s not the behaviour of the woman I knew who qualified top-of-the-class in our training together – I thought she knew better than that; to at least have asked me what I might have to say on the matter but no-one ever did.
No matter how cynical the group process became during my psychotherapeutic learning with my peers, we never lost sight of the Sacred. This ensured the presence of compassion or ‘return’ to compassion through some of our more darker journeys in the Pluto / Scorpio realms. Yet somehow a ‘permanent’ absence of compassion managed to get in and take up residence within the relationship; not so much righteous as self-righteous. As a human being, I have a right to a fair trial; not a kangaroo court set up in my absence and judging on the basis of prosecution ‘evidence’ that fails to accord with known fact. Any psychotherapist who suggests such a process acceptable within the profession requires lessons in Human Rights Law; any psychotherapist needing lessons in Human Rights law for intra-professional problems has an identified and urgent training need. If this is what such practitioners do to each other, what the hell are they doing to their clients?
Whilst I may be disappointed in my peer group, I have a continuing and deep respect for all those involved in my training, development, supervision and accreditation because they delivered on their promises where humanly possible and trusted to the Sacred when they could not. They taught me the value of leaping into the void and trusting that some of the awful situations I experienced were, above all, meaningful. The skills they shared enabled me to spend nearly five years in prison, on enhanced regime and with a clean disciplinary record throughout, all the while confronting abusive behaviour. I was a real pain in the arse, just like always, but within the professional ethical boundaries they taught me. The only time this ever changes is when I am responding to a situation without boundaries or rules. My peers knew of my shamanic activities and intentions before I retired. The process transforms a potential shaman undergoing initiation which can sometimes look like mental illness to uninitiated eyes – I honestly thought my peers knew better than to always accept a single narrative in matters of envy.
It is hard not to have some feelings about how things fell out, especially as we can be sure such matters will be whispered in ‘private’ if I don’t drag out those few aspects that can be examined in the cold light of day. I speak now only to depower this particular narrative’s capacity to be an obstacle to my intention. There’s something I’d like to create for the women of my adoptive community and I don’t want this so-called ‘complaint’ to sabotage my creative efforts In this situation. Given that the best defense is no defense in psychotherapeutic confrontations, I can offer facts whilst giving thanks for the ethics empowering me to keep silent in this situation.
That is all I have to say on the matter.