The British Psychotherapy Foundation
By Steven Flower, Chair
This has been a long gestation and a difficult labour, but the baby is doing well. On 31st March 2013, the merger of the British Association of Psychotherapists (BAP), the London Centre for Psychotherapy (LCP) and the Lincoln Clinic and Centre for Psychotherapy (Lincoln)was completed and a new organisation, the British Psychotherapy Foundation, was formally established.
More than five years ago representatives of the BAP, LCP and the Lincoln first began to meet to discuss the possibility of a closer working relationship. The competition between us and the duplication of so many courses and committees seemed an unhelpful use of financial and human resources. At a time when Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in all its forms was facing significant challenges, was this really the best that we could do for our own organisations and for the profession as a whole?
Over many months we moved from thoughts about shared seminars and events to a recognition that our long-standing competition with one another and the wish to collaborate were difficult to reconcile. It seemed clear that the biggest difference would be made, if we could find a more substantial way of joining together, becoming one organisation rather than three that sought to retain their separateness. That momentous strategic step took a huge amount of time and energy to realise. But finally, after years of hard work and discussion, we developed a viable proposal and our members took the historic decision to create a new organisation.
The British Psychotherapy Foundation is committed to being a strong professional organisation, providing access to treatment for the public, comprehensive support to our members and education and training to the next generation of psychotherapists. Drawing on the best of each of the founding bodies, we will be pursuing the following objectives:
1. To provide education and training through four associations:
- the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy Association (PPA);
- the Independent Psychoanalytic Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Association (IPCAPA)
- the British Jungian Analytic Association (BJAA);
- and the British Psychoanalytic Association (BPA).
2. To provide a gateway London clinic and a range of clinical facilities where people seeking help for mental distress can be assessed and referred for the most appropriate treatment.
3. To build on, support and develop training and clinical services already offered outside London.
4. To offer a comprehensive package of benefits to members, wherever they live.
5. To build an efficient and effective organisation with sound governance which attracts, retains and develops its managers and staff.
The energy and creativity that has gone into the merger is evident in the tremendous work of bringing together the activities and structures of three organisations. Alongside the commitment of our members, we have recognised the need to draw on professional expertise and to authorise our staff. The merger was only possible with the help of lawyers, accountants, administrators and our excellent Interim Director, Susie Parsons.
For all the similarities between our three organisations, what became pre-occupying was the process of dealing with the many areas of difference. Work in areas of law, finance, technology has been immense. But the real delicacies have been in areas of identity. To many members, the old organisations had been good and much loved professional homes. The challenge is to create sufficient coherence in the new organisation while at the same time allowing opportunity for the expression of difference and uniqueness.
At the beginning of July, Ann Byrne will join us as our first Chief Executive. She comes to us from her current post as CEO of the Women’s Therapy Centre where she has shown excellent management capacities, the ability to be innovative in delivering clinical services and a track record of successful PR and Fundraising. We very much look forward to her arrival and to the continued building of the British Psychotherapy Foundation.
I am confident that we will be able to offer much to all our members including those who live outside London. I dearly hope we can begin to find ways of creating a sense of home and I know the professional life of the BPF will be a rich one. I hope we will be an organisation characterised by openness and warmth and that these qualities will complement the rigour and depth of training and thinking of which we are capable. I hope we will extend the range of our clinical services, finding ways of reaching groups and individuals who have previously had little access to us. I hope we will find a strong and creative voice, one that reaches the public and takes its place alongside other analytic voices. We have grown out of an extraordinary process of collaboration and joint working. I hope we will be a good partner to other organisations already working in this and related fields.
More information about our activities can be found on our website at www.britishpsychotherapyfoundation.org.uk