In accordance with its commitment to enhance public protection and public confidence in its register, the UKAHPP has an obligation to publish findings of all fitness to practice cases upheld against its registrants. Findings and related information will be published on the UKAHPP website under the following headings:
Hearing Findings and Decisions
- Adjudication Panel’s Report: Nature of allegations; preliminary assessment; fitness to practice deliberation; findings; mitigation.
- Sanction Orders: Initial Interim Order (may apply as a safeguard whilst investigation is in process, if public protection is determined to be a high risk – an interim order is not an indication of a registrant’s misconduct); Mediation; Caution; Conditions of Practice; Suspension; Termination; Interim Order (applied post hearing in the event of an appeal).
1. CASE 1
Complaint against Richard LAWTON (Associate Member)
A complaint against Mr. Lawton (Associate Member) was received on January 4th 2017. The nature and seriousness of the complaint was considered to present a prima facie case for further investigation and the complaint was accepted by the General Secretary. As the Complainant experienced significant communication difficulties, considerable support was required from their Facilitator, appointed under the Complaints Procedure, in order for the complaint to be expressed more clearly and in detail.
Owing to the serious nature of the initial information received, contact between the Complainant and Mr. Lawton was prohibited immediately following the first contact from the Complainant. Mr. Lawton was also advised of the information received to date and that a more detailed complaint was being prepared. The complaint was received in its final form on February 18th 2017
Further it was felt that the seriousness of the complaint made an investigation essential meaning that any requests for mediation could only be considered after the completion of an investigation.
The Ethics Officer acted as the Complaint Coordinator.
Mr. Lawton declined the offer of a Facilitator to support him.
Hearing Findings and Decisions
Following receipt of Mr. Lawton’s response to the complaint on March 20th an Investigation Panel was convened. The Investigation Panel submitted a report on May 22nd.
The Investigation Panel, after considering all the information, took the view that the following codes of the UKAHPP Code of Practice had not been observed.
Code 2.1. UKAHPP members accept responsibility for the consequences of their acts and make every effort to ensure that their services are used appropriately.
Code 2.2. UKAHPP members acknowledge that their own recommendations and personal actions can alter the lives of others. They are alert to personal and other pressures and influence that might lead them to misuse this professional influence.
Code 2.5. UKAHPP members represent themselves and any associated organisation accurately.
Code 4.1. The rights of clients as consumers are asserted by UKHPP Members. These include the right to exercise freedom of choice with regard to participation.
Code 4.2. UKAHPP members recognise their own needs and their potentially powerful and influential position and make every effort to avoid exploiting the trust and dependency of clients….
Code 4.3. UKAHPP Members fully inform consumers as to the purpose and nature of different approaches and procedures. They also state clearly at the outset of the working relationship any terms, conditions and methods of practice preferably in a written form. They maintain these throughout the course of the relationship or obtain clear agreement if any alterations need to be made. As clear an indication as possible should be made as to the probable duration of any treatment.
Code 4.4 UKAHPP Members avoid exploiting the trust and dependency of clients.
Code 4.4.4. Potential conflicts of interest might arise are made clear to all parties.
Code 4.5. A working relationship is terminated by the UKAHPP Member when it appears reasonably clear to the practitioner that the client is not benefiting from it, or at the client’s request, or by previous agreement. Care is taken to ensure that the client is well prepared for termination of the working relationship.
Code 4.8. The UKAHPP Member’s physical work environment is appropriate to the services offered and conducive to the safety and privacy of the clients and therapist.
Code 5.2.1. UKAHPP Members are responsible for monitoring their own effectiveness and competence to practice.
1. Adjudication Panel’s Report
An Adjudication Panel was appointed to consider the report of the Investigation Panel. The Adjudication Panel comprised two accredited UKAHPP members and a suitably qualified lay person was appointed as Chair.
Owing to periods of unavailability of both Mr. Lawton and Panel members, the earliest possible date for the Adjudication Panel to meet was October 28th 2017. It was attended by Mr. Lawton and the Complainant’s appointed Facilitator.
The Adjudication Panel did not uphold the following alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct.
2.5 The Panel heard no evidence that Mr. Lawton had not represented himself accurately.
4.1 The Panel heard no evidence that persuaded the Panel to believe that the Complainant could not terminate their relationship at any time.
4.8 The Panel heard no evidence to persuade the Panel to believe that the working environment was inappropriate.
The Panel did uphold the following alleged breaches of the Code of Conduct
2.2 The Panel found from the evidence that Mr. Lawton, through his lack of insight, failed to acknowledge the impact his failure to build and maintain boundaries had on the Complainant.
4.2 The Panel from the evidence found that Mr. Lawton’s lack of insight contributed to him not recognising his own need in relation to poor supervision.
4.3 The Panel found from the evidence this allegation proved, specifically Mr. Lawton’s admission that he did not know what a contract was nor was able to say one was in place.
4.4 From the evidence the Panel found that Mr. Lawton had breached this code due to his failure to set, implement and maintain boundaries.
4.4.4 From the evidence the Panel found that there was a conflict of interest, which Mr. Lawton should have recognised and taken positive action to deal with.
4.5. From the evidence the Panel was clear that the working relationship should have been terminated, however due to Mr. Lawton failing to put in place a contract at the start of the relationship with the Complainant, he was unable to do this.
5.2.1, from the evidence the Panel found this code breached and it was clear to the Panel that Mr. Lawton had failed to monitor his own performance, even on the day of the hearing informing the Panel that he was waiting for the decision of the Panel before he decided whether to change his supervisor.
The Panel members were unanimous in their decisions on alleged breaches of the UKAHPP’s Code of Practice as set out in the Investigation Panel report. The Panel imposed sanctions.
From the evidence the Panel was of the unanimous view that Mr. Lawton’s practice was a public protection risk and that the following sanctions are necessary and proportionate, to reduce the identified risk and to enable Mr. Lawton to improve his practice.
The sanctions were verbally read to Mr. Lawton on the day of the hearing, October 28th 2017.
1. Suspended for a maximum period of three months as a member of the UKAHPP. During this time Mr. Lawton is required to undertake six sessions with a body psychotherapist supervisor to develop Mr. Lawton’s reflective practice and insight.
The supervisor must have no previous association with Mr. Lawton and be approved by the General Secretary of the UKAHPP.
2. At the conclusion of the six sessions, the supervisor will complete a report on Mr. Lawton’s suitability to commence practice and regain membership of the UKAHPP by removal of suspension.On removal of suspension, subject to a positive report by the supervisor, Mr. Lawton is to meet for one session with the reporting supervisor, for every six therapy sessions completed, for a period of three months.
3. At the conclusion of the three month period, Mr. Lawton is to continue with supervision on a ratio of one session with the reporting supervisor, for every eight therapy session completed. This is to continue for a period of six months. At the end of this period a report will be submitted to the General Secretary on Mr. Lawton’s suitability to practice without further requirements to report to the UKAHPP.
4. Mr. Lawton, must immediately remove from any material whether paper or electronic, that he can treat complex PTSD or dissociative disorders, under membership of the UKAHPP, until Mr. Lawton has undertaken training is identified by his supervisor as being appropriate for his needs
Following the adjudication of the complaint, Mr. Lawton exercised his rights under the UKAHPP Complaints Procedure and submitted an Appeal. This was considered by the UKAHPP External Moderator.
The Appeal was not upheld. The decisions of the Adjudication Panel were considered to be fair and the External Moderator commended the Adjudication Panel on the appropriateness of the sanction order.