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Re: Derek Gale - Loughton,Essex, England
Posted by: poacwqnh ()
Date: October 26, 2011 12:58AM

If any one is under any illusions about Gale's personality, the following website accurately and succinctly pin points all of his wonderful traits as a man with Narcissistic Personality Disorder:


...and this comment accurately and succintly pin points Auntie as a spammer. Gah!

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Discussion in 2013 DG mentioned in passing
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 24, 2014 10:44AM

(Quoted from below)"Somebody else was also impressed by Thorne’s naked sessions: Derek Gale, struck off by the Health Professions Council as an arts therapist and by the UKCP as a psychotherapist in 2009. He has the dubious distinction of being the only psychotherapist in recent years that the UKCP has actually struck off. Gale wasn’t a Jungian, but he fits neatly with the suggestion of throwbacks from the 1960s who view themselves as some of guru. "(unquote)

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Naivety is simply a lingering desire for the world to work as it ought to rather than how it does When therapists become gurus and cult leaders

Posted on July 21, 2013 by Zarathustra 13

Earlier this week I posed the question of why such a high proportion of psychotherapists either sanctioned for misconduct or awaiting fitness-to-practice hearings seem to be from the Jungian tradition. I’ve had a couple of interesting responses.

One person pointed out that when I ran through the list of cases I’d actually missed one out. Another Jungian, Stuart Macfarlane, was suspended for two years by the Guild of Analytical Psychologists. The GAP is a member organisation of the UK Council for Psychotherapy, but for some reason the complaint hearing isn’t listed in the UKCP complaints archive. The GAP’s page doesn’t state specifically what he did, but it seems to involve some sort of breach of boundaries.

Also, surprisingly, the decision page is undated, though the document properties say the page was created in October 2012.

So, why Jungians? I had the following suggestion by e-mail. Note that the bad boys are all men (and probably all of a certain age – nearing old age and children of the 60’s).

I think the “mystical and mysterious” Jungian approach appeals to the ego of a certain kind of man who wouldn’t otherwise have ever found himself working as a psychotherapist – having to listen to others talk about many and varied problems when all he wants is a stage for his ‘revere me because I’m a wise man’ act. Children of the 1960s?

That certainly would apply to the age ranges of John Smalley and Geoffrey Pick, two of the more high-profile misconduct cases of the last couple of years. Interestingly Stuart Macfarlane is married to Penelope Tree, a former fashion model who was a high-profile figure in the Swinging Sixties until her modelling career was cut short by acne.

I wonder if we’re seeing something of a hangover from the 60s era of gurus offering enlightenment, in a time when there was a seeker born every minute. This reminds me of the debates around 2009-10, when (now-shelved) plans for psychotherapy to become state-regulated were being virulently opposed by a small but noisy campaign.

Many of those leading the opposition struck me as being the worst bunch of malevolent hippies since the Dharma Initiative in Lost. The same names seem to crop up again and again.

When I posed my question about Jungians, I received this feedback from Amanda Williamson, a counsellor based in Exeter. It may interest you to know that a therapist with whom I suffered an unethical experience involving pressure to be naked (a theme common amongst many of the other complainants in this particular case) hero worships Brian Thorne, in particular for his infamous sessions with Sally, where, lo and behold, he and Sally got naked.

Ah yes, Brian Thorne, Emeritus Professor of Counselling at the University of East Anglia. He was one of those predicting that the sky would fall in if psychotherapy were to be regulated. He’d also published a book chapter describing how he and a patient called Sally got naked together. Given how dodgy that sounds, did he obtain informed consent from Sally? Before deciding to take off his own clothes, the professor says “there was no question of checking with Sally for it was only I who could give permission to myself”. The professor experienced “intuitive promptings” which, he says, “enabled me to encourage Sally to undress, or on occasions to initiate a particular form of physical contact, whether it was simply holding hands or, as in the final stage, joining in a naked embrace”. That would be a no, then. Thorne insists that this was a unique situation and not necessarily a model for how other therapists should act.

Though from these comments it sounds as though there may be at least one dodgy therapist who views it as a model.

Somebody else was also impressed by Thorne’s naked sessions: Derek Gale, struck off by the Health Professions Council as an arts therapist and by the UKCP as a psychotherapist in 2009. He has the dubious distinction of being the only psychotherapist in recent years that the UKCP has actually struck off. Gale wasn’t a Jungian, but he fits neatly with the suggestion of throwbacks from the 1960s who view themselves as some of guru. He was also a deeply abusive individual, and the findings against him at the HPC were spectacularly damning. He was found to have called one client a “stupid cunt” and humiliated another in front of a therapy group for having self-harmed. He discussed his sexual fantasies with clients, took clients on holiday with him and got them to do unpaid work for him. At the end of the hearings, this was the impression the HPC formed of him.

Having had an opportunity to observe Mr Gale over a long period of time both as a witness and as a person conducting his case in this hearing, the Panel has come to the firm view that he has a cavalier attitude towards the needs of clients and the requirement to follow clear guidelines. This is demonstrated by numerous instances, including his evidence in cross-examination that he had never read the HPC’s Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics, the fact that he failed to heed the warning and advice given to him to exercise caution over socialising with clients, and the fact that in stating that he had now modified his practice to accord with prescriptive rules he was doing so only because of the rule and without embracing the rationale for the rule. Brian Thorne appears to have formed a different view of Gale. He appeared at the HPC hearing to sing his praises.

I have a copy of the transcript (in which for some reason Thorne is referred to as “Professor Robert Thorne”) . He tells Gale, I have come to respect your honesty and integrity as a person and as a professional, and that for me has considerable meaning; secondly, I’ve come to appreciate you as somebody who is deeply reflective about the work that he does; that he is prepared, as it were, to look at his work with new eyes, fresh perspectives and so on, if that is what is actually clearly being called for. But to respond quite directly to your last question, I sometimes feel that it may be that it is the very fact that, for goodness knows how many years ago, I think it’s about 30 years, you have been involved in therapeutic work, which is actually rare, which is I think also extremely demanding, but also has within it quite a number of important issues I think which mainstream therapeutic approaches can probably learn from and benefit from. [page 38]

Within the transcript there’s some interesting snippets about Gale’s therapy groups. Skim to pages 56-57 and we learn that one client was allowed to cut Gale’s hair in order to give her extra status in the group from having the privilege to cut the leader’s hair. We also find out that t-shirts were printed with a blown-up picture of Gale and the words “I’m his favourite.” There’s mention in the HPC decision of Gale asking clients to call him “Daddy”. This isn’t a therapy group. It’s a cult.

Thorne wasn’t the only eminent professor to become involved in the Gale hearings. Gale applied to have his interim suspension lifted, in exchange for having weekly supervision sessions of his practice. But who would act as supervisor? Andrew Samuels, Professor of Analytical Psychology at the University of Essex – another Jungian, another figure formed in the 1960s, and subsequently to become chair of the UKCP – made an offer to provide supervision. The offer was promptly rejected by the HPC.

The allegations against Gale were so serious that simply toddling along once a week for supervision was just not enough to protect the public. Professor Samuels has strongly denied offering to be Gale’s supervisor, but as it happens one of the complainants obtained his letter to the HPC. Here it is. It’s pretty unambiguous. Two eminent professors, one of them later going on to become UKCP chair, dancing to the beck and call of a cult leader. So, what have we learned here? Quite possible the mysticism and idealism of the Flower Power generation may have given impetus to various individuals who liked to inflate their egos by playing the wise man or guru.

In some instances such as Gale, the guru became the head of a therapy cult. Needless to say, such individuals are not suited to the role of therapist. Click to View Larger Share this: · Email · Twitter · Print · Facebook · Google · LinkedIn · Like this: Like Loading... Related Tagged: andrew samuels, brian thorne, cults, derek gale, gurus, john smalley, jungian, regulation of psychotherapy

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13 Responses “When therapists become gurus and cult leaders” ? 1. Jo D. Baker July 21, 2013 Two professors? You missed out another, Windy Dryden who also made a tit of himself by hanging out with Gale:


Reply 2. Flowella July 21, 2013 And where is the eminent former Chair of UKCP now? Having raised hell and insisted on a ‘multi track’ policy at UKCP in which people could either accredit/regulate or not – depending on how they felt about it – he has now resigned his post (early) and left the organisation to deal with the outcome. The organisation is now in a state where half the members feel they have a choice about signing up to Professional Standards Authority Accreditation (through joining the Central Complaints Procedure) and the other half could not care a less. Consequently it has recently had to be clearly stated ‘THERE IS NO LONGER A MULTI TRACK POLICY ALLOWED’. UKCP are left with the ultimatum that they all get PSA accredited together or they will not get accredited at all because the PSA will not tolerate a mixed and muddled response (surprise surprise many people you warned you that this would not be ethical months and years ago). Outcome? confusion and chaos for the membership. My view is that any organisation can only be as competent and functioning as its leaders – so what are they doing in leading the profession right now? Answers please from the leaders of UKCP especially those who are part of creating this problem.

Reply 3. Jo D. Baker July 21, 2013 I see from the Gale HPC transcript that the prominent therapist Dr John Rowan also made an appearance at the hearing to provide support to his mate. Just one excerpt from his evidence:

Gale: Can you say anything about the impressions you formed of whether the project (the Gale Centre, my insertion) was a good idea or not?

Rowan: It seemed like quite a triumph, quite an achievement. Everybody who I saw at that event seemed very happy and very enthusiastic about it, as if this was something of an achievement, something marvellous that had been successfully completed.

Gale: You talk in your book about humanistic psychology and peak experiences.

Rowan: Yes.

Gale: Would you think that might have taken the form for some people as a peak experience?

Rowan: I couldn’t say.

Gale: You couldn’t say?

Rowan: I really couldn’t say.

Gale: Because you said it was a “triumph”, that was why I asked you?

Rowan: Yes. Peak experience is a kind of ecstatic experience like you have on a mountain top. I don’t think it’s quite a mountain John Rowan’s biography can be found here at Wikipedia: [])

Unless something has changed since the last edit he is a member of the UKCP as well as a fellow of both the British Psychological Society and the BACP. These “throwbacks to the 1960?s” get everywhere.

Reply o Zarathustra July 21, 2013 So that’s a grand total of four of these superannuated hippies, lining up alongside an evil hippy. Maybe we should have a protest anthem.

Reply 4. Josefa Bayes-King July 26, 2013

I really think that you have hit the nail on the head here. It is not so much a question of whether or not these people claim to be Jungians, but the fact that they all do seem to have one thing in common: to wit they are pueri aeturni who have never grown out of the idiotic cults of the 1960?s. With regard to the person who was a member of GAP, they are not as yet recognised by UKCP. Things may change in this regard after the IAAP Congress due to take place in Copenhagen at the end of August this year. The best Jungians I ever knew were all pretty unorthodox, as indeed am I when necessary – but were VERY SCRUPULOUSLY ETHICAL. It’s a bit like Picasso (who I in fact can’t stand but am regarded as a heretic over this!) – he learned all the discipline of traditional art before he went about breaking all the rules. In Australia, especially when working with Indigenous people, analysts are called upon for more self-disclosure than would normally be deemed “proper”. However the sharing occurs very much with the needs of the patient in mind It is usual for bot parties to draw a diagram showing where they sit within their family tree. This is done as a respect for Aboriginal culture. They will not open up without some feeling of a yarn, and traditionally greet strangers with “G’day. Who are your mob then?” So they need some sense of who I am, where I come from and what I’m doing in their land. HOWEVER. This does not give me carte blanche to cry all over them (or even to mention the fact) if subsequently a close family member dies or (G-d forbid!) my husband leaves me. That is my stuff to be dealt with away from patients, who have the right to expect me to be present for them and not vice versa. Josefa

Reply o anon August 29, 2013 “The Guild of Analytical Psychologists” (G.A.P.) ,as it is now known previously came under the name of “The Guild of Analytical Psychology and Spirituality” GAPS, and at the time it was an Organisational Member of UKCP and the therapist concerned was on the list of therapists on the UKCP site.

Reply § anon August 29, 2013 Screenshot from 29th October 2011. [] §

Zarathustra August 29, 2013 Thanks for the screenshot. Noted and downloaded.

5. S July 31, 2013 Well, Zarathustra, you seem quite abusive yourself… Ageist, sneering at someone who supposedly left modelling because of acne, etc I began reading the site with some sympathy and interest, but I now consider you to be on the same par of psychological competance as some of those whom you (delightedly) criticise.

Reply o Zarathustra July 31, 2013 Not sneering, simply commenting. What did I say that was ageist? R

eply 6. lordship September 3, 2013 Z – thanks for keeping going on this – it destroyed me and my marriage a while ago – there really is no defeating the closed minds these guys create – think you know who I am :-)

Reply o Zarathustra September 3, 2013 Hi Lordship. I *think* I know who you are. If so, hello!

Reply 7. soularea February 22, 2014 For a really good discussion of this issue see: “The unfolding and healing of analytic boundary violations: personal, clinical and cultural considerations” in Journal of Analytical Psychology 2005, 50, 661–691. Abstract: Jungian analysts are not exempt from an unconscious engagement in a group complex. The author hypothesizes that there is a silent, dark legacy of belief in the superiority of men’s judgment and the inferiority of women’s, left by Jung, that has had a wounding impact on some Jungian analysand

s. Conscious and public mourning may be needed to heal our cultural complex. The author, a woman, traces the origins of her own patriarchal complexes and reveals how in her first analysis these mingled with the patriarchal complex shared by a Jungian institute, her two male analysts, and their former analyst, a pillar of the institute’s community.

Her first analyst aborted her analysis to begin a personal partnership with her. Her second analyst unconsciously colluded with the first analyst in not exploring this outcome as a violation. This resulted in a second compromised treatment.

The senior analyst who had been these two analysts’ own analyst was consulted, and he too failed to address the transgression. After experiencing severe symptomatology, the patient entered a third analysis with a woman where transference and regression were the focus.

Eventually, meaning was found in the confrontations with the particular Jungian organization and its ethics committee, who acknowledged the first analyst’s behaviour to be unethical. The author sees this process as a paradigm for the enactment and healing of a group complex.

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Article from 2012
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 25, 2014 05:43AM

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Text and comments from the URL given above
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: March 25, 2014 09:41PM


Reading a charlatan writing about charlatans

Posted on November 10, 2012 by Zarathustra -- Not so Big Society blog

This week I was up at my local university doing a bit of training. While I was browsing the bookshelves, I randomly made an interesting find. What is Psychotherapy? A Personal and Practical Guide by Derek Gale. That name immediately rung a bell. He was struck off by the Health Professions Council and by the UK Council for Psychotherapy for a horrific litany of abuse against his patients. I was curious to see what such a character would say about psychotherapy, so I got the book out on loan.

Gale’s story is a pretty nasty one. He groped his patients, discussed sexual fantasies with them, called one a “stupid cunt”, got them to do unpaid work for him, smoked cannabis in front of them and in some cases went on holiday with them. The list of allegations put before the HPC reads more like the behaviour of a cult leader than a therapist. Tragically one of his victims, Gena Dry, later took her own life. Despite this he had some surprising connections. His in-house book company, Gale Centre Publications, listed Windy Dryden, Professor of Psychotherapeutic Studies at Goldsmiths, among its authors.

His saga was also something of a test case in the regulation of psychotherapy.

He was registered as an arts therapist with the Health Professions Council (now the Health and Care Professions Council) and as a psychotherapist with the UKCP. At the time, proposals were underway for psychotherapists to also be state-regulated by the HPC rather than the current system of voluntary self-regulating bodies like the UKCP. Although these proposals were subsequently shelved, it’s worth noting that the UKCP ignored complaints about him for years until the HPC took action.

Ironically, his book actually has a chapter on “Charlatans well intentioned and otherwise”. I browsed to it to see what he had to say.


I do not intend to dwell on the proliferation of cranks and charlatans, some of whom are out to make a quick buck. Fortunately the public do not seem to be as gullible as it is sometimes assumed to be and these people do not stay in business long, unless they have some genuine service to offer…

Wow, that took some gall for him to state.


…I find more seriously worrying the practices of people who have a recognised qualification in one of the caring professions and a job which puts them in a position of trust. These professional qualifications are not a qualification in psychotherapy and a doctor, social worker or educator who claims to practise psychotherapy while remaining blissfully ignorant of what psychotherapy is, trades on the public’s confidence in his profession and is therefore as great a charlatan as the person who holds a bogus diploma.

Though perhaps not as great a charlatan as someone who urges their patients to strip naked during group therapy.

Gale isn’t the person to make this point, but there is a valid point in here about who is or isn’t a psychotherapist.

A large number of professionals, myself included, are involved in providing psychological therapies but don’t have a formal qualification in the field. You might hear of a doctor or nurse doing, say, cognitive-behaviour therapy, without being a qualified cognitive therapist. In many cases those involved – again, including me – have to acquire training and supervision on the hoof, as and when we can.

Interestingly enough, there isn’t a fixed definition of who is a psychotherapist. If a psychotherapist wants work from the NHS or social services, they’d need to have some sort of recognised qualification and usually be registered with either British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy or the UKCP. However, if they’re practising independently they could vary from having completed an arduous post-graduate training to being just some hippy with no qualifications at all.

Then, of course, there’s the thorny question of what’s the difference between a counsellor and a psychotherapist.

Thinking about my own nursing practice, I’m heavily influenced by cognitive-behaviour therapy and family therapy. Interestingly enough, I tend in daily practice to be more willing to saying I’m “doing CBT” than “doing family therapy”. Perhaps due to a perception that CBT is more straightforward and less complex than family therapy – though I’m sure there’s people who’d be more than happy to dispute that.

If a psychotherapist is someone’s registered with the UKCP or BACP, then it’s worth noting that Derek Gale was accused of continuing to practice after being struck off. Though according to his Twitter profile he appears to have now retired to write books and send tweets to Ricky Gervais.

Who is a psychotherapist? Ultimately the only thing I can say for certain is that it isn’t Derek Gale.


When therapists become gurus and cult leadersIn "andrew samuels"

What future for the UK Council for Psychotherapy?In "derek gale"

UKCP takes 3 years to find therapist guilty of misconduct, another year to publish its findingsIn "derek gale"

Tagged: abuse, derek gale, psychotherapy, regulation of psychotherapy, ukcp

Posted in: Uncategorized

? … And they’re off! But it’s a disappointing start for the Mental Capacity Act

7 Responses “Reading a charlatan writing about charlatans” ?

politicalnurse November 11, 2012

Good Post Zarathustra but it get me thinking about how nurses cannot be therapists even though they might have some knowledge of psychological therapy. Unless they are registered with something like BACP as you mention above. With the rush for IAPT we need now more than ever to clarify for everyone’s sake, who in fact are the therapists and who are using communications skills therapeutically?

Zarathustra November 11, 2012

Interesting observation. My current job title is “nurse therapist”. “Nurse” is a protected title, and you can go to prison for using it inappropriately. “Therapist” can mean absolutely anything – psychotherapist, beauty therapist, sit-under-this-pyramid-and-hum-a-mantra therapist…

…yet the bit of my job title that people seem impressed by is “therapist”.

politicalnurse November 12, 2012 Rate This

there is something not right there ;-)

yiota July 3, 2013Rate This

hmmm psychotherapist = psycho the rapist = derek gale

lordship September 3, 2013
Rate This
if anyone is interested in what our friend Mr Gale is up to now you can always follow him on twitter [] – and although he claims to have stopped practising as a “psychotherapist” I can assure you that some of the names mentioned in his tweets are those of “former clients” and some who made statements in his defence at the HPC hearings. It is therefore reasonable to assume that he still has no respect for his “former clients” privacy nor their boundary welfare in continuing personal relationships with their former “therapist” in fact a cynical person may conclude that Mr Gale may well be still running his nasty little cult.

(Zarathustra's email deleted for privacy--Corboy)

Danielle September 10, 2013
Rate This

I completely agree. I saw his Twitter, and see Jo is a follower of his. I had the misfortune to go to one of his gatherings, where they all had to perform in some way, when I was 13 years of age. My Father and Auntie were trapped in his Cult for years, and he made my Auntie believe her father had sexually abused her. When he hasn’t ever touched her at all! She luckily escaped, along with her husband, who too was trapped in the cult for many years.

Unfortunately my Father doesn’t believe he is evil! Therefore resulting in him and his sister no longer speaking. Derek would use my Dad against my Auntie, he pushed them further and further a part. I hate him so much! It’s unreal. He’s a nasty bastard, and I would only be happy if he was dead! Nasty, but true! He sexually abused my Auntie, he’ll always be a monster.
He also analysed me and my sister upon meeting us for only ten minutes. Saying we’re disturbed children, and that we clearly have a lot of issues to sort out, and that we should see him in the sessions. Thank god I never went to any of that!!!

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Why the word "cult" is needed - -it's descriptive!
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: February 11, 2016 03:27AM

Many a cult apologist tries to argue that the word 'cult' is un-necessary.

* That 'cult' is a term that is inflammatory

* That anyone using the 'c' word is an anti religious bigot

* They claim "new religious movement' is just as accurate a descriptor without being inflammatory

The term 'cult' is necessary. All true cults give no legitimate reason for dissent, for constructive criticism, and no valid reason to leave.

Persons who endured Derek Gale's attentions used the word 'cult' to describe the situation. No other word would do.


Again and again the word “cult” appears in witness testimony, for that is what they felt the Gale Centre had become. One witness described the atmosphere in the centre.

"I saw this group of people hanging on Derek’s every word and thinking that the sun shone out of his behind. I thought to myself I’m never going to be like that.

"I became exactly like that. You just get sucked in…

"It was a bit like you walk into a cliquey group of people and, you know, there’s a whole set of language going on that’s sort of bespoke to that crowd of people. I very much got the sense that, you know, Derek was the, I suppose, centre of this group and that everything sort of gravitated out from him.

" I think the thing that sort of shocked me the most was how much people waited for his opinion rather than pre-offering their own. So there was a sense that, you know, the sort of group hung on his every word.

"So it was almost like things didn’t happen until he said what was going to happen

In other words, an atmosphere that sounds exactly like a cult.

At the end of the 15 days, by no means all of the allegations were found proved. The panel did not find sufficient proof that he confined a client to his room, that he allowed people to become injured in the group, or that he disclosed details of the affair between two clients to the group.

However, those allegations that were found proved were damning enough. The panel agreed that he smoked cannabis in front of clients, that he breached the confidentiality of the client who had been cutting her arms, that he blurred boundaries by taking clients on holiday, that he called a client a “cunt”, that he kept inadequate notes, that he talked about his sexual fantasies in front of clients. This was sufficent to merit only one possible outcome. Gale was struck off by the HPC. Subsequently, he was also struck off by the UKCP.

In the striking-off order, the HPC gave their impressions of what sort of “therapist” Gale was, based on their 15 days of intense scrutiny.

Having had an opportunity to observe Mr Gale over a long period of time, both as a witness and as person conducting his case in this hearing, the Panel has come to a firm view that he has a cavalier attitude towards the needs of his clients and the requirements to follow clear guidelines. This is demonstrated by numerous instances, including his evidence in cross-examination that he had never read the HPC’s Standards of Conduct Performance and Ethics, the fact that he had failed to heed the warning and advice given to him to exercise caution over socialising with clients and the fact that in stating he had now modified his practice to accord with restrictive rules he was only doing so because of the rule and without embracing the rationale behind the rule.

The story has a tragic end. One of Gale’s clients was a talented singer-songwriter called Gena Dry, who was among those testifying at the hearing. Following her “therapy” with Gale, she had been plagued by suicidal thoughts, which she had recorded in her diary. On 9th February 2010 she turned up unannounced at her mother’s house in Chippenham.

Her mother later told the Daily Mail,

“When she arrived Gena looked to be in a terrible state. She was tearful, her face was swollen and she was unsteady on her feet. I asked her what the matter was. She was not coherent.”

The following morning her mother dropped her off at the train station so she could get back to London. She boarded the train, but never arrived. Her body was found by the railway line.

For the complete article and comments read here:



A few excerpts


At the end of 2014 I decided I wanted to understand the full story of Gale’s misconduct, so I sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the Health and Care Professions Council for the hearing transcripts. I got a polite reply back saying they would aim to deal with the request within 20 working days. It actually took them nearly 2 months before a large zip file appeared in my inbox, and when I opened the file, it became clear why it had taken so long. Inside were 15 transcript documents, many of them over 100 pages long, with various redactions for confidentiality. It seemed that my curiosity had caused some poor member of admin staff at the HCPC a lot of work.

What follows is mostly gleaned from those mammoth 15 days of hearings at the HPC.

Gale had first entered therapy towards his 17th birthday, to deal with “my own manifest and manifold problems as a teenager.” These early experiences of therapy were a mix of Jungian dream analysis, cognitive therapy and voicework. During the 1960s and 1970s he studied the work of Alfred Wolfsohn, a German singing teacher who applied singing and voicework to the practice of psychotherapy. Around 1980 he was working in a social services unit for teenagers. When the unit was closed down, he decided to enter the therapy business.

By the 2000s, he was running the Gale Centre from his home in Loughton, Essex, charging £65 an hour for drama therapy and voice coaching, both on an individual and group basis. He was also publishing psychotherapy books, some penned by other therapists, some by Gale himself.


Gale had developed a reputation for being unorthodox, and for being something of a “Marmite” therapist who people either loved or hated. Over the years, more and more people started raising concerns about the style of therapy he was offering. They claim that at first their complaints were met with indifference, particularly from the UKCP. One complainant, Howard Martin, later told the Guardian, “I was trying to tell them about Gale for three years. The UKCP did nothing.”1 Eventually, action was taken. In 2006 the UKCP suspended his membership. In 2007 the HPC did the same, and ordered a fitness-to-practise hearing.

The list of allegations brought by the HPC included breaches of just about any fundamental aspect of psychotherapy ethics you can think of. Confidentiality, professional boundaries, respect for the dignity of clients…all were alleged to have been flouted by Gale. He was even alleged to have smoked cannabis in front of his clients. Gale, for his part, denied all the allegations. He claimed to be the victim of a conspiracy by disgruntled former clients.

Gale called his clients, especially those who formed something of an inner circle, his “family”. Within this family, he viewed himself as the father figure, even sending people greetings cards signed “Daddy”. The family didn’t just meet up within the boundaried confines of therapy sessions. They held social gatherings, and even went on motorcycling holidays together across Spain and Italy. If Gale was Daddy, of course that meant the clients were his children. This was not lost on the complainants, who said that the effect of this was to infantilise them.

The family had a pecking order among the siblings, with the children vying for the approval of the father. One client once cut his hair free of charge, because that gave her extra status in the family. Others renovated the Gale Centre, which just so happened to be Gale’s home, free of charge. One client testified at the hearings that he found this “exploitative.” Gale, for his part, did nothing to discourage the pecking order. He even handed out t-shirts bearing his photo and the words, “I’m his favourite.”

If there were favourites in the group, there were also prodigal children. At one residential setting, one client was alleged to have been sent to his room for a week as punishment for storming out of a session. While he stewed in his bedroom, Gale told the assembled group that they would be meeting the next day, “To find out why he is being such a cunt.” The atmosphere was described as feeling like a “lynch mob”. One witness to the incident felt that when the client had stormed out it had been an attempt to regain some sense of agency, and that, “In my view, Derek broke [the client] that day.”

If calling a client a “cunt” sounds like a deeply un-therapeutic word to use, it was by no means the only example of what Gale referred to at the hearings as “industrial language.” His vocabulary also included such choice phrases as “daft bitch” and “fucked up”.

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