Is therapy unsafe?

We were concerned to read the following piece on the BBC News website on 02 November 2017, which gave examples of two clients having experienced abuse at the hand of their therapists. Also concerning was the suggestion that as an unregulated profession, counselling is inherently unsafe.

We have sent our reply directly to the BBC as outlined below, and will post further news as we receive it.

However please feel free to comment below with your own thoughts about this.

COSRT’s response to the BBC:-

Dear Sir, Madam,

I was gravely concerned to hear about the experiences of the two individuals in your report – “Marie” and Kate – by June Kelly, BBC Home Affairs Correspondent, and would like to express my heartfelt sympathy to them both. To hear of people having been abused by the very people whom they have placed their trust to help them is always shocking to hear.

However, I am also concerned that the tone of the piece is that as a profession, counsellors and psychotherapists cannot be trusted and are a danger to the public. This is not the case.

It is correct that the profession is not currently subject to statutory regulation. The professions are in the process of exploring regulation and protected titles, and would welcome this.

However, most therapists work under their respective member organisations, such as the College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists (COSRT), British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), and the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) to name just a few. Therapists who are members of these organisations agree to work to a very strict ethical code designed to protect the public. Any therapist breaching their member organisation’s code of ethics are subject to a rigorous complaints procedure and if necessary will be removed from their member organisation.

Of course there is no law that states that these therapists cannot continue to work in private practice, however it is vital for the public to ensure that any therapist they see is firstly qualified to help with the issue they are struggling with, that the therapist is a member of the relevant professional body/organisation, and preferably accredited with their professional body.

If anyone is suffering with the effects of past sexual abuse we would encourage them to visit the COSRT website – – where they can find a therapist directory of suitably qualified and accredited sex and relationship therapists.


Krystal Woodbridge BSc (Hons) RN Dip NMC COSRT MBACP

Psychosexual and Relationship Therapist

COSRT Media Representative

07977 318143