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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Faculty of Medical Psychotherapy Member Support

Key resource

This purpose of this section is to provide a resource for Medical Psychotherapists, in line with a key element of the Faculty Strategy. This was developed through the work of the member support group, which is led by Jan Birtle. Group members are:


  • James Johnston
  • Jale Punter
  • Mark Evans
  • Sue Mizen
  • Lawrence Martean, Trainee Rep.


This section is in development and will take the form of an active hub providing information resources, communication, workforce updates, and provision to contact colleagues for support, advice and advocacy. Members are invited to contribute and we hope there will be the facility to contact colleagues through a bulletin board in due course.

Faculty of Medical Psychotherapy Member Support



Three strands to the strategy to support Medical Psychotherapy colleagues


An information pack supporting Medical Psychotherapy as a shared resource available to colleagues to provide a platform for service developments and to assist in the situation where services are under threat.


Strengthening communication, monitoring and information sharing in order that there is a strategic overview of the Medical Psychotherapy workforce and local availability of advice when required.

To develop a support system for Medical Psychotherapy colleagues, including strategic advocacy and professional support. 



Other information


Contact us

If you are interested in becoming a senior mentor or contributing in other ways to the support of colleagues please contact Jan Birtle. Email:



Information pack

The key areas we have considered are:


  • 1.1  Training
  • 1.2  Clinical services, including organisational context
  • 1.3  Economic cases
  • 1.4  Case scenarios, business cases anonymised.


The information pack is taking shape with a range of key documents gathered together, including: The Role of the Medical Psychotherapist, Council Reports, Training and Core Curriculum documentatvion, all of which are in the public domain.


In addition there are further documents either available or in development focussing on key areas where the group considers Medical Psychotherapy makes a significant and unique contribution to quality of services, organisational risk and financial management. These build on existing work and cross-reference to other strategic aims, the intention is to base these on local practice but develop general documents which can be shared with colleagues. James Johnston has provided documentation on the value of training and is feeding this into the strategic discussions around job planning for Consultants while Kevin Healy argues the case at College level. 


There is also a possibility of including anonymised case scenarios and business plans, with the caveat that care be taken to respect confidentiality in relation to commercial or clinical issues. While this may be contentious due to the competitive environment in which we increasingly operate, the sharing of arguments which have been influential would be of advantage in providing high quality commissioned services.  Sue Mizen’s work on the health economic case for psychotherapy is a valuable resource for those of us wishing to develop business cases.


Your input with case scenarios, business cases and economic arguments for psychotherapy would be very welcome. Please forward contributions to Jan Birtle.  


Strategic overview

The workforce in Medical Psychotherapy is under pressure nationally, with several retirement vacancies being deleted from budgets. The situation is being monitored and the Faculty is engaged in lobbying and reviewing the bigger picture, Mark Evans is actively involved in this work and again linking with colleagues across other Faculties including those under pressure. 


We have identified opportunities to strengthen our communication and to this end Jale Punter has facilitated the development of the Faculty Regional Representative Network.


The Regional Reps are core to our communication strategy, they sit on their local Divisional Executive Committees and through this are in a position to highlight local workforce issues and raise the profile of Psychotherapy. They are known to local colleagues, provide advice on job descriptions and can lobby for service and training quality.


Support for medical psychotherapists on the front line

The Regional Reps are often the first port of call for colleagues when services are under threat and we encourage this contact, especially as an early step.


In this instance Regional Reps can access strategic support from Faculty colleagues, for example response to consultations around service reconfiguration, often relieving pressure for those in the hot spots.


We are also aware of, and some of us have personally experienced, the professional stresses experienced when services are under pressure and are consequently now developing a network of volunteers willing to offer mentorship to colleagues in transition or flux. 


This may often best be a colleague outside the immediate locality. We will also make information about the availability of mentorship, and how to access this, through the Faculty member’s web site. 


This will also be linked into other support structures, including the Psychiatrists Support Service.



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IC 2016

News and events


NEWSLETTER: Autumn Winter 2015 2016

NEWS: Financial Support for Medical Psychotherapy Trainees’ Personal Therapy


Thinking Cradle to Grave: Developing Psychotherapeutic Psychiatry - Updated July 2015


ARTICLE: Psychoanalytic ideas and their place in psychiatry training in the UK and live Twitter chat - The Lancet, August 2014


ARTICLE: Psychiatry, subjectivity and emotion - deepening the medical model - The Psychiatric Bulletin June 2014


NEWS: British Psychoanalytic Council

The BPC now offers accreditation to medical practitioners. Email 


Medical Psychotherapy Trainees & Trainers Summer meeting

8 July in London

Programme and registration form

Please note the contact details on the form.  College staff are unfortunately unable to help with queries

Intervention Triangle, weights, measures, controversies

II International Mental Health Congress, 21-22 October 2016, with associated events 17-25 October 2016, Evora and Estremoz, Portugal


Join us 

Any member of the College is eligible to join the Medical Psychotherapy Faculty. Please contact the College Membership Section.