This guidance aims to be relevant to a wide variety of theoretical models as well as professional and personal positions held by members of the main accrediting bodies. These are: BPS, BACP and UKCP and NCS. It is clear that therapists’ professional training as well as their personal and therapeutic experience means there are likely to be significant differences in how they think about and work with the various issues relating to prescribed drugs. Many therapists will be highly critical of their use whilst others may believe prescribing privileges should be extended to therapists.11 It is also important to note that, in addition to holding different views, therapists also operate within a variety of settings. These may include NHS primary care, secondary care and specialist services; statutory or third sector services; private practice and other private sector services and agencies. Different professional settings will shape therapists’ decision-making as well as the opportunities available to them for working collaboratively with other healthcare professionals.
Given this rich diversity of professional backgrounds, trainings and settings, this guidance does not aim to be prescriptive nor attempt to offer a set of therapeutic ‘competences’ or ‘guidelines’. Rather, by using the available evidence base, therapists of all persuasions will be invited to consider a number of key questions and concerns relevant to their therapeutic work with clients who are either taking or withdrawing from prescribed psychiatric drugs.
Therapists will also be invited to reflect on their own professional background and training, their personal and practice-based experiences as well as their relationship to and understanding of the ‘medical model’ and its associated interventions.
While this guidance is therefore written for therapists, much that is included may be of professional interest to those working in allied helping professions (e.g. nursing; occupational therapy; social work; and those in relevant caring and medical roles). It is therefore hoped that allied professions might be able to make use of some or all of these materials in ways that will serve their clients’ interests while at the same time best honouring their own professional and ethical values.