Blog: Exeter counselling “cult” struck off by British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

In February 2014 I commented on a public statement by Palace Gate Counselling Service (also known as Phoenix Counselling Service), an Exeter-based organisation that took the bizarre step of making a lengthy blog post condemning two therapists who have made complaints against them.

They stated that these two therapists have accused them of running a “therapeutic cult” and that this was the subject of a hearing at the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. These hearings appear to have triggered their resignation from the BACP, though the hearings continued regardless of their resignation.

Palace Gate claim to be deeply dissatisfied with how the BACP have handled the allegations. The outcome of the hearing has not yet been published. However, Palace Gate have made a new online statement in which they confirm that allegations have been found proved and they have been struck off.

“Although we have not been members for 5 months, the BACP states it is withdrawing our membership. The decisions are so unreasonable, & the process so flawed, we have decided it would be a waste of energies to appeal.”

The hearings appear to have been prompted initially by concerns about the behaviour of one of their staff. However, as this person was not a BACP member, the topic of the hearings was about how Palace Gate handled these complaints.

Some may wonder whether the BACP have gone far beyond their remit, subjecting this firm to an unfair process.

Or, you may wonder if this is simply the usual self-justifying whining from people who have been caught out in serious professional misconduct, and who lack insight into what they’ve done.

Either way, the eventual publication of the BACP findings will no doubt be of considerable public interest.


This is a blog published by Phil Doré, a nurse therapist working in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services who comments in a personal capacity.

Over the years Phil has developed a particular blogging interest in cases where people have been abused by a counsellor or psychotherapist and also by the lack of regulation in this field.

Phil can be contacted by e-mail at thus_spake_z at hushmail dot com or on Twitter @thus_spake_.

The Not So Big Society blog is available here:


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