I am disappointed but not surprised by your response. It shows how deep the BACP’s lack of understanding of privilege and oppression is and how unable you are to listen to those who are members of oppressed groups (and who suffer multiple oppressions). When they try to tell you their experience and get you to hear them, you simply double down. It feels like a very misguided and unprofessional exercise in corporate marketing which doesn’t belong in the context of a counselling and therapy organisation. It shows how out of touch you are with so many of your members (and those who are prevented from even becoming members because of your lack of real action to promote diversity and tackle exclusion). You claim to be moving towards greater inclusion, but you’re simultaneously rejecting change and trying to hang on to the privilege you are reluctant to share with others. I know I’m not the only one who has protested about your stance – the existence of the Word document you sent me makes that abundantly clear. I’m not sure whether you’re aware of how sending someone what is the equivalent of a much photocopied piece of paper makes them feel completely ignored and dismissed. Actually, you probably have no idea. And that’s the problem.
Your words are hollow. They have no other purpose than to deflect criticism and allow you to continue as you are without having to examine what you’re doing. They are the words of a politician who is trying to avoid addressing their own failings, trying not to commit to definite action that can be used to hold them to account. What’s even sadder is that you don’t understand the first thing about oppression and privilege. You avoid any consideration of the fact that your organisation is systemically oppressive and that the top needs to be dismantled. We don’t need patronising and infantilising “gestures”. We don’t need to be “consulted”. We need to share the positions of power that would allow us to create the solutions for ourselves, not what someone who has privilege and doesn’t experience our oppressions deems to be the right thing.
You say you act in the interest of clients. Can you show me how many clients you interviewed in order to allow you to say that with such confidence? Can you show me the data that confirms that the kind of hierarchy of power that SCoPEd creates has proved beneficial to clients? Can you show me evidence that without this hierarchy clients are harmed? Can you explain to me why the decision makers entrusted with creating this new hierarchy are a very privileged few? If there is no transparency around the veracity of what members are actually voting for, presenting the votes of a tiny minority as approval is disingenuous.
You claim (in that Word document) that you are aware of the need to reverse discrimination and refer to “workstreams” you’ve “already started”, whatever that may mean. The fact that you fail to provide details makes everything easily deniable. The less accountability, the better. You mention bursaries. Are you going to make upwards of £50,000 available to those who need it if they want the qualifications that provide access to the top of the SCoPEd hierarchy? How many bursaries are needed to reverse the inequality and provide clients from oppressed groups with enough therapists from similar backgrounds? Where is the money coming from? How are you going to redress the inequalities in training so that all therapists have a better understanding of the part they play in the power dynamics of privilege and oppression? I can see no commitments, I can see no goals.
I didn’t mention sex workers in my original email, but they are another oppressed and excluded group in therapy and I regret not having done so. When I see the terrible inaccuracies and lies in the article you’ve published, Working with Students Involved in the Sex Industry by Anna Fisher, where she’s been given the freedom to make sweeping statements without providing evidence or citations, I realise how little interest you have in being inclusive. To suggest those of us who work with sex workers minimise their trauma and gaslight them because it goes against our “ideology” is preposterous. The fact that you publish such material with no validity checks tells me all I need to know. It is representative of your attitude of holding on to your prejudices for dear life regardless of the facts. Without this attitude, SCoPEd wouldn’t be possible.
This isn’t what I want an organisation that represents me to be about. You have no interest in getting us to join in the decision making. You just want to silence us with marketing platitudes so you can go about your business while paying lip service to inclusivity and diversity. Well, I’m sorry, but I for one am not convinced.