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But I have sent two responses, and I wonder what others here think of the policy and of my responses, and what more might be worth saying by whom to whom.
One response, about the policy, went to my MP:
However, you could do more good, more quickly if in addition you made more-abundant use of the thousands of already trained, qualified and available counsellors in Britain .
The necessary additional policy change is to guide the GP practices and groups of practices that will from April be the budget allocators that they need not be restricted by NICE’s guidance to use only “evidence-based treatments”, which in practice usually means hiring only counsellors trained in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). NICE’s approach is normal in the field of drug therapy; but counselling, in contrast to pharmaceutics, is an art not a science. The NICE concept of measurable scientific evidence verified by “gold standard” randomised double-blind trials is fundamentally flawed when applied to the mental health-giving benefits of counselling. The DoH may be aware of research indicating that many modalities of counselling (CBT, Person-Centred, Integrative, etc) are of approximately equal mental health-restoring value.
What can usefully be measured is lasting outcomes of real benefit to individuals and concern to government, such as people moving off benefits and into work, and reduced sick leave for those in work, rather than narrow and over-precisely defined mental health presentations such as x% reduction of depression or y% lessening of stress in ‘patients’. Those outcomes are after all only, at best, intermediate objectives.
How about using the counsellors available in Britain now to progress your primary objectives, without restriction at least for the next five years as to what modality of counselling they practise, and letting experience of how well they meet those objectives be your guide as to how best to train and use counsellors later on?
The other, about the report, I sent to Sky:
But when will the ghost of the "knight in shining armour rescuing the damsel in distress" be laid to rest?
The report shows (on the Internet) an attractive blonde lying on a soft leather surface, anxiously looking at a man wearing a suit whose face is invisible (off-screen), and who is sitting over her and using a pen and paper.
The impression on the surfer's eye, I suggest, is that a counsellor is hidden (surely, not since the death of Freud?), male (though about 4/5 of counsellors are women), remote, powerful, and formal – when actually, counselling is a warm-hearted eye-to-eye relationship in which the counsellor wears ordinary clothes, is mostly listening, and where a pen and paper never appears unless in the