Sticking plaster over a deep wound

Listen to the BBC Radio 4 coverage of the joint BPC & UKCP survey on quality psychotherapy services in the NHS, published earlier this year 

Service user Louisa, shares her experience of psychotherapy services, both in the NHS and privately, poignantly describing lower intensity treatments as a sticking plaster over a deep wound and that psychoanalysis gave her a language for the things that she couldn’t speak of before. here

Valued psychotherapy and counselling services are currently facing closure, threats of closure or various forms of downgrading. Some of these are psychoanalytically-based but the cuts are being experienced across the board.

A survey of over 800 members of the British Psychoanalytic Council and the UK Council for Psychotherapy working in the NHS found that in the last year there has been:

Increased negative outcomes for clients:

  • 77% of therapists reported negative outcomes for clients as a result of cuts to psychotherapy services such as longer waiting lists, premature ending of treatment and reduced choices around therapy types.
  • Therapists reported that waiting too long for therapy or getting the wrong type of therapy or not enough of the right type could lead to increases in clinical symptoms.

Greater need but fewer services:

  • Over two thirds (68%) reported that they are being relied upon to deal with increasingly complex cases.
  • But at the same time there is an increasing pressure to use much shorter term (CBT informed) interventions that are not suitable for all clients.
  • Fewer psychotherapy services are being commissioned (48% noted decreases in the number of psychotherapy services commissioned, with only 5% reporting increases). 63% of therapists reported decreases in the number of psychotherapy posts.

See the summary findings of the joint survey on the BPC site : here