“We’re not surprised half our psychologist colleagues are depressed”

The NHS is in deep trouble. Junior doctors are striking about their contract, the Department of Health keeps requiring emergency cash injections,deaths are up, and morale is at an all-time low. Though there is talk of cash injections into therapy services, on the frontline psychological therapists are feeling the strain. When psychologists and therapists meet nowadays, the talk is often less about work and more about who’s just resigned, the latest edict about time limits and targets, and the pernicious market culture that is eroding what we do.

While junior doctors are protesting in public, we’ve heard less from psychologists or psychological therapists. People are scared of speaking out publicly – fearful for their livelihoods and protective of the profession they believe in. Take Rachel. She is a clinical psychologist, currently off sick with depression and anxiety from her NHS job. One day she heard herself telling a distressed client that they only had four sessions left. Rachel vividly describes her anguish knowing that her client – who had been abused, and dropped from several services before – was about to experience the same thing again. Rachel now feels a failure because she had to put service targets above the needs of the client and above her own values. Hearing Rachel’s compassion and love for her work, it’s impossible not to think that the NHS is about to lose someone whose values, commitment and thoughtfulness make her a brilliant therapist.

Full story in The Guardian, 18 February 2016

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