Pro bono work with PCW by Nick Kemp

Since creating the PCW model over a decade ago, each month I generally see a number of pro bono clients in my Nick Kemp Therapy Leeds clinic. These are generally referred from Leeds community health from Liz, a longstanding senior worker. I have always taken the view that its important to work with a wide demographic of people and of course these clients would be unable to afford my standard session rates. Most of these clients are extremely distressed and many are unable to read or write, so Liz will complete the client information for them.

Typical conditions include anxiety, addictions and compulsions. In my experience all clients respond really well to the conversation nature of PCW and many of these individuals have already tried standard CBT with little success. It continues to be my experience that CBT and similar approaches spend far too much time on analysis and talking “about the problem” rather than directly resolving the issue by focusing on the process that causes it. I recently watched the highly acclaimed movie “I Daniel Blake” by Ken Loach and Loach launched a blistering and in my view quite appropriate attack on the government’s attitude to the poorest in society.

In the past I have differentiated between professional talk therapy workers who earn a living from their work and hobbyists or enthusiasts who mostly conduct the occasional client session. These are very different types of people and often the enthusiasts will have attended a wide range of personal development courses (which is fine of course) but lack the skills and experience to financially support themselves from this kind of work. They also will though lack of experience be inevitably far less skilled and this kind of client would in my view be quite a challenge for them. These types of clients are often very plain speaking (especially in Yorkshire) so they are mostly unimpressed by practitioners who use endless jargon terms and/or try to take the client through a series of pre calculated techniques.

Frank Farrelly the creator of Provocative Therapy who was a big influence on creating PCW, worked with many such clients in his capacity as a social worker. My opinion is that this kind of work really helped him develop his work as such clients are a real test for any practitioner’s skills. Next month I have an abundance of such clients booked to see me and it actually costs me to see them as I fund the room charges. I’m happy to do this as in these times I think these days more than ever its important that we look out for each other. Also see


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