More guidance on drugs

Ella Rhodes reports.

Therapists would like to see professional guidance on working with people taking prescribed psychiatric drugs according to a recent survey. The study of more than 1200 therapists, published in Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, found there was complexity in working with clients who were taking these drugs or withdrawing for them.

The study’s authors included three members of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence – counselling psychologist Lewis Blair and psychotherapists James Davies and Anne Guy – along with researcher Gabriel Davies and counsellor Victoria Heydon-Hatchett. They explored the challenges for therapists in helping clients find good information on their medication while also not offering medical advice – which is outside of a therapist’s usual remit.

Just over 88 per cent of the therapists surveyed, all members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and the British Psychological Society (BPS), agreed that specific professional guidance on the issue would be useful or very useful in helping them work competently with clients using or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs. The All Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence has led the development of guidance for therapists working with clients taking these drugs, Guidance for Psychological Therapists Enabling conversations with clients taking or withdrawing from prescribed psychiatric drugs.

This guidance has been endorsed by the BPS, BACP, and UKCP and others and can be accessed via prescribeddrug.info along with other resources. 

To read the full research report see: tinyurl.com/3w52fdrd

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