Pink Therapy says “NO” to enforced and mandated counselling for welfare claimants

The government’s recent policy concerning unemployed people registered with Job Centres in the UK includes ‘providing’ counselling to all benefit recipients. If they refuse this provision their benefits will be removed.

We, at Pink Therapy, wish to support the other national registering bodies for counsellors and psychotherapists, and make the strongest possible objection to the mandatory use of therapy being used in this way. This goes against the ethical basis of our profession, which states that therapy must be freely entered into and must never be imposed. 

Whilst there is little doubt that many unemployed people have enduring mental health difficulties, forcing people to engage in therapy as condition of continuing to receive essential welfare benefits is the grossest breach of the tenets of counselling.  Counselling cannot be administered under duress. Furthermore, counsellors are obliged to abide by an ethical framework and providing counselling under the circumstances proposed by the government will contravene this framework and leave the counsellor open to complaints of malpractice.

We are fully in favour of offering therapy to people who are depressed, anxious or suffering from any form of emotional distress, but we do not support coercion. Pink Therapy urges the government to halt this policy of ‘blaming the victim’ for its own failures and to look to providing what most benefit claimants need: jobs, decent living conditions and a living wage.

Dominic Davies
Fellow – British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
UKRC Senior Registered Counsellor/Psychotherapist
National Council of Psychotherapists Accredited Psychotherapist
Chief Executive – Pink Therapy 

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