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The London Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy Introduces On-Line Appointment Scheduling.

Posted May 31 2009 3:58am

LACAP has made the unusual step of publishing its therapist's diaries to the public, which allows for a person wanting an initial consultation to book directly into available times.


Phil Rickwood is on the editorial team. He commented:


This looks like a small step that follows IT trends. But there is more to it than that. What you have to understand is that the vast majority of both private and public psychological services in the UK are run on a core model of 'what is frustration?' which can and perhaps should be challenged. Why is psychotherapy in the UK run on a waiting list culture?”


The idea is that if you apply for a psychotherapy you had better be serious about the commitment, and you had better have a good think about it. Most therapist's will respond to an application by mailing out quite a lengthy protocol, and after wading through that ten page application you will still have to wait for a period of weeks before even a first meeting is arranged. Research shows that from application to commencing treatment can be a ten week process!”


Donald Kirkpatrick is the Clinical Manager at LACAP, and a senior psychoanalyst.


The underlying idea, that a level of frustration ups the desire to do a thing, is not stupid. But the theory serves to screen out applicants who are uninformed or naïve about psychotherapy. It saves the organisation from confronting the higher treatment failure rates that are supposed to happen when less than 'standard' patients are accepted into treatments.”


LACAP has a different take. LACAP offers an immediate response, as we believe that this can relieve distress. We are concerned to broaden access to treatments, rather than restricting things. It seems odd to me that a psychoanalyst cannot work with the idea that an initial consultation may be productive of wanting to do a psychotherapy, if the analyst is doing their job. Why can't the analyst openly discuss things through at the first meeting: both in terms of 'what is psychotherapy?' and in terms of whether it is suitable (or not) for that person. Perhaps the time for thinking, and about committing to a therapy is best after you have talked things through a bit. Why would it be a demoralising result to have found out that a candidate doesn't want this kind of psychological service?”


Information about making appointments for individual counselling can be found here:

http://www.london-counselling-psychotherapy.co.uk/Individual.Therapy.Apply.htm


The London Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy publishes the diaries of the 35 senior therapists who are available for first meetings. The 20 or so junior therapists do not take initial consultations. Appointments can be booked in on-line with 24 hours notice. The on-line publication of diaries allows meetings to be made quickly. It also allows for the candidate to check that this is a good time and day for ongoing meetings. Applicants can research and decide which therapist they might want to see, using the details about the therapists that LACAP publishes on its site.


Phil Rickwood again:


LACAP is trying to strike a balance here. Consumer principles may not be appropriate for psychotherapy. In a therapy one pays to lose something – an attachment to an idea that is what is causing you suffering. But equally it is possible to put into question the 'ivory tower' sanctity of psychoanalysts, and wonder why they are so reluctant to talk about what they are doing with people who are considering a treatment.”


LACAP has commented on its ethos here:

http://www.london-counselling-psychotherapy.co.uk/Blog.Pages/Lacaps.ethos.htm

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