Private Practice Special Interest Group Update

Wilton, A., 2000. Private Practice Special Interest Group Update. Reformulation, ACAT News Autumn, p.x.


Our CAT private practice interest group had its third meeting on Saturday 24th of June at the house of Michael Knight in Belsize Park where the previous two had also been held, thanks to Michael.

The purpose of the group has been from the start to provide an on-going forum for individuals who work in private practice or are interested in doing so. Our meetings to date have each attracted six or seven participants which, although only a small percentage of the total number of CAT private practitioners, has proved a good number for a discussion group and we have had some lively and useful exchanges of ideas on a wide variety of subjects. These have ranged for example from discussions about the length of CAT in private practice, issues of physical safety, assessments, note taking, CAT as a training therapy, ethics and issues to do with the law, developing awareness of CAT amongst GPs, negotiation of contracts in private practice, and the possibility of setting up some kind of a system of offering some low cost CATs.

Our latest meeting in June proved to be very worthwhile. Seven people actually attended and a further ten responded to Michael Knight’s recent circular exploring interest in the CAT PP Interest Group amongst PPs, saying they were in principle, interested in attending. The times that individuals seemed to find most suitable for meetings were Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings or scheduled into other CAT events such as the AGM or Conference.

This meeting confirmed the consensus reached at earlier meetings that the purpose of the group is to be a forum for discussion, development, and mutual support. Ideas that come from the group can be fed back to ACAT. The ethos of the group would be the promotion of CAT.

Suggestions from this meeting were:

To ensure that the Private Practitioner list was accessible via our CAT website.

To explore how PPs might have access to support, exchange of ideas via the Internet in addition to the PP Group.

To consider a survey of the whole membership of ACAT by Membership Division (the director of whom was present) to discover the full extent of private practice, particularly where there are therapists who may work in other settings, NHS for example but undertake some private work. The meeting expressed concern at areas of the country where there is little or no private practice coverage, e.g. Midlands and North West.

The discussion of how PPs set up contracts with their clients brought a suggestion that those therapists who have a formalized contract sheet be invited to share these with the group.

Discussion about the Length of CAT in Private Practice

This was the main item for discussion on the agenda and produced a lively exchange in which all present shared their experiences and experiments. The idea of a time limit was held to be an important feature of CAT while the period of 16 weeks was not felt to be necessarily optimal. Periods of work talked about, ranged from four weeks to two years. There was much discussion of the assessment of what period would be most helpful to a particular individual when the option of length of time in therapy was not governed by pressure of waiting lists as is often the case within the NHS. Quite frequently it was found that clients returned to negotiate further periods of work. It was held important that the wishes of the individual patient concerned be carefully respected. The discussion lead into an exchange of ideas on how to handle endings. All present found this a very helpful and encouraging sharing of work experiences.

The main topic for our next meeting, which will be convened by Michael Knight and is tentatively set for October or November, is an exploring of all the issues that can come up with a prospective patient from the first encounter often over the telephone, through assessment, to setting up an agreement or more formal contract, negotiation of fees etc.

We seven who attended the last meeting found it very helpful and congenial. We enjoyed each other’s company and the support and encouragement of colleagues, as private practice can be quite lonely. We also found it a pleasure to meet in someone’s home rather than in a classroom at Guys of St Thomas’s. Our thanks to Michael Knight for hosting the group.

I would like to end by encouraging other PPs to try the group. Probably few of us will manage to go to all the meetings but each one we do attend is likely to have a different group of individuals and the opportunity to air and debate issues important to us and to our patients.

Angela Wilton

Full Reference

Wilton, A., 2000. Private Practice Special Interest Group Update. Reformulation, ACAT News Autumn, p.x.

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