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tv   I Can Cure You  BBC News  November 6, 2021 8:30pm-9:01pm GMT

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ofthe of the swift who have been part of the swift response. — who have been part of the swift response, thank you to them, and to all the _ response, thank you to them, and to all the good — response, thank you to them, and to all the good samaritans, because we know that _ all the good samaritans, because we know that it could have been much worse. _ know that it could have been much worse. if _ know that it could have been much worse. if so — know that it could have been much worse, if so many people hadn't stepped — worse, if so many people hadn't stepped in. the events of last night were tragic— stepped in. the events of last night were tragic beyond belief. this is an were tragic beyond belief. this is ah artist— were tragic beyond belief. this is an artist that we know has a following amongst young people in particular, young people with bright futures, _ particular, young people with bright futures, those are the people that were _ futures, those are the people that were at— futures, those are the people that were at the event, went to have a good _ were at the event, went to have a good time, — were at the event, went to have a good time, and no one, no parent, no friends, _ good time, and no one, no parent, no friends, ho _ good time, and no one, no parent, no friends, no sibling should see their loved _ friends, no sibling should see their loved one — friends, no sibling should see their loved one off to a concert by a world—renowned artist and not be able to _ world—renowned artist and not be able to expect them to come home safely. _ able to expect them to come home safely. and — able to expect them to come home safely, and when we read these ages, 14, 16, _ safely, and when we read these ages, 14, 16, 21. _ safely, and when we read these ages, 14, 16, 21. 21. — safely, and when we read these ages, 14, 16, 21, 21, 23, 23, 27, it safely, and when we read these ages, 14,16,21,21,23,23,27, itjust breaks_ 14,16,21,21,23,23,27, itjust breaksvour_ 14,16,21,21,23,23,27, itjust breaks your heart. and i know that the images —
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breaks your heart. and i know that the images we have seen are hard to stomach, _ the images we have seen are hard to stomach, and i imagine moore will surface _ stomach, and i imagine moore will surface that are hard to stomach. since _ surface that are hard to stomach. since late — surface that are hard to stomach. since late last night i have been on the scene — since late last night i have been on the scene i— since late last night i have been on the scene. i have spent time at the reunification centre talking to families, _ reunification centre talking to families, hearing their anguish, those _ families, hearing their anguish, those that didn't know where their loved _ those that didn't know where their loved ones — those that didn't know where their loved ones were, sometimes it is harder— loved ones were, sometimes it is harder not— loved ones were, sometimes it is harder not to know, so i appreciate everybodv's — harder not to know, so i appreciate everybody's work and collaboration trving _ everybody's work and collaboration trying to _ everybody's work and collaboration trying to identify everyone. our primary— trying to identify everyone. our primary focus has been... studio: _ primary focus has been... studio: we heard from one of the judges and the mayor of sylvester who confirmed that two teenagers and six people in their 20s died after the crowd surged towards the stage at the music festival in texas. a i4—year—old and a 16—year—old are among the dead. 13 people are still in hospital, including five under the age of 18. the mayor said there will be a thorough investigation, witnesses will be spoken to, people
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in hospital will be spoken to. the security plans will be looked at, but there will be an in—depth look at everything that took place and why it took place. he also said there are a lot of rumours on social media and we don't rule anything out, but ignore them, essentially. now on bbc news, jordan dunbar reports on unregulated mental health treatment online. imagine someone said they could cure your biggest problem. imagine after years of trying medication and being on waiting lists, someone reached out to you and said... i can cure you. they told you they have the key... ..to take your pain away. wouldn't you want to believe it was true? i know i did, and i'm not alone. it was like they went just were inside my brain. they are the missing link. so you think you've struck gold. my name isjordan dunbar
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and i spent three years on an nhs waiting list for specialist therapy. and by the end, i was desperate for help. before the pandemic, the amount of people trying to get help on the nhs was high but now, it is at record levels. when you can't find the help you need, like most people, i went looking for answers online — that's when i started seeing adverts on my social media from companies saying... we can cure depression. we can cure your anxiety. really slick adverts using slogans like... live a life without fear. who would you be if you weren't afraid? language that, in that state of mind, when i was so down, really spoke to me. with so many people going online to get help, what help are they getting and who is giving it? i was asked to video myself doing exposures and the videos had to be of a certain length so that they would fit on this person's instagram feed.
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it's making me feel sick, actually, the thought that this is going on. this is the dark world of depression cures. laura was hoping to find support after suffering from terrible anxiety. how did it come about? so i went on instagram and i thought "i wonder if there is anybody who thinks the same as me or is experiencing the same maternal ocd symptoms that i am now" so worrying about kids? yeah, worrying about my kids, constantly on the lookout for danger. ifound an instagram post and i'd liked a couple of them and then, this company came to my direct messages. so they contacted you? they contacted me and said... i'd like to help with your ocd. and i was very "oh, wow! "thank you!", you know,
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"someone is taking notice!" jake started expressing bad anxiety attacks at university. he hoped to find someone who could help with them. so you searched on instagram and it was one of the first results? yeah, it was one of the first result that popped up. i clicked on it and it kind of resonated with me. what was it that really tempted you? when a person has got quite a large following and markets himself as a person who has had ocd and has got over it and is now treating, you know, you think that that's, you know, that's a great sign. hi, anne. how's it going? hi, jordan. good, thank you. anne had been through nhs treatment for anxiety but it had not helped as much as hoped. i wasn't in quite a dark place, obviously — i was searching. on the internet, looking for alternatives. - she found a programme with online videos and exercises that caught her eye. it promised 100% cure.
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so before i even started - the programme, that in itself gave me a lift. it was describing the thoughts, it was describing how those thoughts made you feel. it was describing the behaviours that you wanted to do in response to those thoughts. it was like theyjust were inside my brain. i'd never, ever spoken to anybody that understood it the way this person did. in a good way? in a good way. ina wow! "this person really gets it." because the marketing, you wanted to believe. i think it was kind of like a kid in a candy store moment. this is how it feels. i've got the key- to make you better. and i'm the only one. the day that you signed up, do you remember how you felt? oh, it was fantastic. i was so hopeful. did it say how long it will take until you are cured? yes, it claims that for somel people, it is a matter of only a few hours. hours? hours, yeah. wow! but really, they are claiming even for those that it takes.
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a bit longer, you know, within weeks. - i was told... you'll be better within 4—5 sessions. i was like "great. "brilliant." how did you feel, then, when you heard you could be better in 4—5 sessions? i'd have paid anything, and that is — it was that carrot, dangling that carrot in front of me. so they are the missing link to getting better? they are the missing link. so you think you've struck gold. it felt like a real turning point. . it felt good and they put me in whatsapp group with other people that were suffering. and then i connected with those people and we had a real emotional connection because we understood each other. but while things began well, it started to become clear that some of these companies were not as helpful as they claimed. the first couple of sessions were good. and it seemed quite encouraging but then red flags started to show. i found that it got to the point where he kind
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of sounded disinterested and i'd finish what i was saying and he wouldn't even respond and i'd have to sort of ask him, you know, after i'd finished, "what do you think?" because it sounded like he was sort of fiddling around, doing something behind... and there is no image? you cannot see anything? no image. all over whatsapp audio. anne had a similar experience with a different company. content of the course - was not helping me at all. and it was not long before there was some alarm - bells going off. 0k. what were the red flags, then, that started making you think this might not be the cure i was hoping? the first one was not to talk about anxiety to anyone. i that had taken me a long time to get to a place - where i could talk about it, and then i was specificallyl being told not to talk about it and not ask for help. - and what was the reasoning behind that? because they believe i that this fuels anxiety,
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so if you're talking about it, it's like feeding it. - i wanted to speak to an expert who knows all about how to carry out therapy and treatment. carolyn is head of standards at the biggest private therapy member's body, the bacp. so speaking from my own personal experience, my training wasjust shy of four years. what should therapy feel like? well, fundamentally, it should feel safe. 0k. you should be able to feel safe and trusting of your therapist so that you can open up and explore all the things that you need to talk about in therapy. a therapist need to be authentic, genuine, grounded, be able to offer empathy warmth, acceptance, you know, completely non—judgemental and respectful. you should be experiencing all of these things from your therapist. the sessions would consistently be cut short. why? he would say that it was going around in circles or "you're asking for reassurance".
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that's a reassurance—y question. _ so it's your fault? it's my fault. it's a toughie because at the time, he knows best. i'd say the lowest — the lowest for me was 20 minutes of a 50—minute session. so you got your money back, right? you got half the money back? no compensation, no mention of "ok, that session was cut short but we'll make it up or you can have another one". how much money do you reckon you spent overall on the treatment? i think i was quite lucky, actually, and i spent £2500, which was a lot of money for me at the time. i mean, i'd been made redundant and it was a good chunk of my redundancy money. you could buy individual sessions and they would be much more expensive, £200, you know, getting to nearly £300. or you could buy in bulk or — buy in bulk, it's like you're going to costco. what is the normal rate? on average across the uk, probably around £50 per session.
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would, say, paying £300 for telephone calls, would that surprise you in terms of price? yeah. well, it's over above the — it's over and above the average. i'd be curious to know what they're offering for such a significant amount of money. yeah, it's way above, way above top end. some of the companies we heard complaints about offer more thanjust one—to—one... laura was in one of these groups. the group, was that on whatsapp? yes. so would you be putting on your worries and then they'd be giving advice and...? yeah, and that was not right either because we were all untrained, unqualified. it should not have been our responsibility to give other people in the group our unqualified opinion. we knew everything about each
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other, ins and outs of our darkest fears, compulsions. your medical history? yes, what medication we were taking, whether we were taking it or not and who we'd spoken to in the past. there was no confidentiality and so, everybody knew my business. and you knew... ? and i knew everybody else's. we were in group chats and there was people that i would interact with and there were some people my age that this particular person would discuss openly other clients he had, other patients, if you can call them patients, and discuss them and bitch about them. would he, like, to talk about their particular problems or their behaviour? yeah, orjust laugh about them orjust discuss them openly, speak about what they were struggling with. what is the harm for all of those clients involved when confidentiality is broken? well, firstly, as another person in that group, you might be thinking "if this
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therapist is talking about that person in this way, are they talking about me in this way in other arenas, with other people?" it feels really disrespectful. my view is that that would cause distrust, which is absolutely counter—productive to therapy being effective. when someone has that kind of power over you where they know your issues and the issues you're struggling with, it's natural to have a concern that they may expose you if you speak against them or speak out against them. so are they then trapped? yeah, they feel trapped or they don't want to ruffle any feathers in the group chat. people were afraid to leave the group chat. you were told - to stop medication. i started reducing my- medication to taking a tablet, one tablet every second day.
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in hindsight, that wasl very stupid, you know. very stupid and i'm embarrassed to say i even tried it— and i would just put it downi to i was in quite a vulnerable place at the time i and it's in the past. the company denies telling anne to stop her medication. they say it must be done in conjunction with your doctor. i mean, i'm not medically trained and this is why, you know, people really need to speak to a medical professional about it. so you would not give advice on medication? no, no, no, no. no, i would not give advice. i would always encourage a client, if they are thinking of stopping their medication, to go and speak to their gp or other prescriber. if you are talking about medication, it has to be with a medical practitioner rather than solely someone that giving you therapy? yes, because there can be dangerous consequences of suddenly stopping your medication. did all those things — - i stopped talking to family about it, i stopped asking. for help — and very quickly,
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i could feel- i was getting worse. and not only that but this hope that i had had at the start, - previous to starting _ the programme, was obviously completely obliterated. i was never directed towards anybody else who could help me. i'd say i was just isolated from the community, from the experts, from nhs treatment, from specialist, qualified treatment. did they explain why it was not working? yes, they said if it doesn't. work, it is because you have not done it properly- or you are lazy — and lazy was the word they would use. they used it — that's not my — it's not me paraphrasing. - it actually says even a child can do this and children do| do this, so... i'm starting to feel a real sense, then, of failure. oh, 100% failure, yeah. it's misleading to make that claim that you can cure anybody with this particular technique or method. and is it harmful to say that within four or five or ten
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sessions, you will be cured unless you have not followed my instructions? it's unethical to hold the client as the only person responsible for their progress. i was asked to video myself doing exposures and the videos had to be of a certain length so that they would fit on this person's instagram feed. sorry, the treatment you are going through where you had to expose yourself to fears was videoed? yeah, so we were asked to video ourselves in distress to show the world, basically. and it was — we were told that it would be helping people. so, you know, you felt guilty. and if it was not quite right, we were told to do it again. and so you're in distress, then trying to act, you know? and it was just so unethical. you know, i once left my daughter in a creche — i really did not want to do it, i did not need to do it — and i was filming myself outside the creche in distress, talking about how my anxiety had gone up and down and it —
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it was put on as an advert. you know, this could potentially be putting somebody into a situation where their symptoms get worse. there's no safety or containment there. so for somebody who's in distress, you know, i just find that really problematic. do you think it is exploitative... yes. ..to use it as advertising? yes, yes. something many of these companies have in common is the hundreds of positive reviews out there. that was, i mean, i did that, and the only explanation i can give to say why is i was offered free sessions, free treatment and in return i wrote these testimonials, these reviews. and the other thing is i was defending my recovery, i felt like i had to succeed at this because this was my last chance, so you are almost convincing
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yourself that it is working. how would you feel about paying your clients for testimonials, or offering free treatment, say for testimonials for you as a therapist, why is that a problem? its exploitative. in terms of our ethical framework, that would be classed as exploitation of our clients. to use an exploitative tactic like this, if you do that you will get cheaper achievement, that feels completely wrong to me. it has to be said that there will also be people out there that felt the treatment they got from unqualified or unregulated therapist did help them, it did give them some relief and it is not illegal. but it's a question of harm. what happens if something goes wrong and they are not part of the system? you can you get help from them?
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did you have any idea that this whole world of treatments and cures and private therapy was completely unregulated? did you think there was some sort of protection or oversight? i had absolutely no idea. which is crazy, you know, you just assume, which is, i don't think is a silly assumption. who could you talk to? i felt like i could not talk to anybody. at first i felt so humiliated and ashamed of myself, especially as a scientist, i kept telling myself that i should have known better. to start there is no regulation, no complaints number? now, i mean i often get the argument that well, you know, you can go to a qualified person and get really bad treatment, and you can, but at least you can complain, there is a system where you can go, but with something completely unregulated and unqualified, and so unethical, if it's
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legal, there is no where you can go, you are completely alone. anyone can legally call themselves a psychotherapist, therapist or counsellor in the private sector at the minute, so anyone can set themselves up as one. hello there, i'm jordan. but if you did want to have some letters after your name you can get official looking qualifications very easily. i was able to get this certificate for cognitive behavioural therapy, one of the most popular types of therapy, forjust £13. that was in 2019, and there's even more courses available now. the fact that i could just set up a slick website and say
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i have been through depression, i can cure you, how does that make you feel? it makes me feel angry. the training that i went through was really rigorous, it was really demanding, on a personal level as well as an academic level. it was really demanding. really hard work to try to be therapist, particularly and more importantly, i feel angry for members of the public who are potentially being exploited by those people and hard and that really worries me. what harm is being done? i wanted to find out what the politics are behind the current system. we asked the government if there are plans to regulate. qualified practitioners and professional standards authority.
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there are arguments against further regulation, it could cost more money to implement which would then be passed onto therapists and patients. it could even reduce the number of therapists there when we need more than ever. but we do want to see change. this issue was raised in the house of lords when it was seen how easy it was for me to set myself up as a therapist. a bbcjournalist recently obtained a counsellor qualification certificate online for the price of ?i2.99. online for the price of £12.99. the price of customer session at a 24—hour gym or a windproof umbrella. have we got to this point now where it feels like there is a regulatory vacuum, there is very little official oversight of an entire industry? there's nothing therapeutic about it, nor is there anything
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illegal about it and that is the big issue. it's not legal to call yourself... but you can't call yourself a psychiatrist. or a vet. any of those sorts of things, because they are what is known as protective titles, and a counsellor is one. research has shown that less than two—thirds of patients are unaware whether or not there therapist as a member of the professional body. what's difficult about this issue is that we are coming at it from the point of view of most people don't know it exists, and they're surprised and shocked that there is no regulation and people have been harmed, but then like you say, if this is the first time people are hearing about it that it's the first time the top politicians are hearing about it, so there is not that momentum to talk about it, to even explore it yet.
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that's right, and until it becomes something that is something big in the in tray or the inbox of a politician, then they got all sorts of other stuff. itjust literally has not yet come out. it is not an issue on anybody�*s radar. what was the moment when you decided you were going to leave, that this is not the cure, not the answer, this isn't the key? i wasn't getting much of a response to the particular person and i spoke about my concerns of this particular person, and he said to me, we should really try someone who was trained in a professional, and no—one wants to see their son or daughter or child in distress. it came from a qualified person that i really respected. it was like a light bulb going on for me and ijust saw it so clearly, and it terrifies me, that shift
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in perspective, of how in it i was and how convinced and brainwashed i was, and that's when i was like i am out, gone. how did you actually get out? what did you do? i left the whatsapp groups and i blocked this person and ijust, and i was terrified, my ocd and doubting disorder, i really doubted that i had done the wrong thing, not only had i still had my disorder that was probably worse off than when i started, but that i had these layers of shame and guilt and humiliation to deal with at the same time. what is your reaction to all this, everything i've told you? i am really alarmed by it. i am really really concerned that there are wonderful people out there who have potentially been harmed by these unscrupulous practitioners with very little training. it's really sad and upsetting and i think it is holding mental health go back i think it would be a huge problem in the not two distant future.
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we have met people who had bad experiences with unqualified therapists and treatment but for the vast majority of people, including me, therapy works. their story does not end there. laura eventually, with the help of a charity and the nhs got the she needed. i felt like this person actually wanted me to get better, and that that therapy was then benefiting me when i was in the treatment with the unqualified person, looking back, all that was doing is benefiting them, and i am probably in the best place i have been with my mental health, i am following my values, i can feel again, and i am feeling the full spectrum of emotion, from anxiety, and i am feeling a little bit low, but being able to laugh and try again which feels really good.
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it sorta feels you are alive? i feel like i am alive, not a lump of rock or wood. i would say i have improved. thanks the help of my family and my friends, and talking about again, and asking for help again stop i don't i would 100% believe i in therapy in a massive advocate for it, but it does take time, you have to bei patient, if someone i is promising a quick fix or a key, it's too good to be true. j for all the talk of ending the stigma around mental illness, celebrities opening up and corporations saying they care about our mental health, most people still don't know how to get help safely, and with nhs at record levels, the pandemic taking its toll, more and more people will want to get help
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in the private sector. these people need to know what type of help they are getting, and that it is safe. is it time to looked again at how we regulate therapy? hello, it is a mild, windy night to come, windiest across northern and eastern parts of scotland with some wins lasting through much of sunday as well gusting at 60—70 mph in places, may be closer to 80, on exposed coasts and hills, with further outbreaks of rain. any western areas will stay mostly cloudy. there will be some clear spells to the east. temperatures between 6—10 celsius as sunday begins. further outbreaks of rain with those severe gale force winds
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in northern scotland. just later on in the day, there is winds will slowly ease, as they will elsewhere, and many places, bar the odd shower in the west, will have a dry sunday. there will be a lot of cloud around, some bright outbreaks, but sunniest in the afternoon in north—east england and yorkshire. again, these strongest winds will slowly be easing as the day goes on. temperatures a little bit down compared with where we have been today, but still on the mild side. a chilly night, on sunday night, a touch of frost in the east.
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gusting 60 this is bbc news with the latest headlines for viewers in the uk and around the world. nearly 100 people have died in an fuel tanker explosion in sierra leone, after the lorry collided with another vehicle in the capital, freetown. the former british prime minister sirjohn major says parliaments reputation has been trashed at home and abroad — after the government tried to block the suspension of an mp who broke lobbying rules. i think the way the government handled that was shameful and wrong and unworthy of this or indeed any government. rapper travis scott says he's "absolutely devastated" by the deaths of eight people, including a i4—year—old, at the texas festival where he was performing. tens of thousands of people are marching around the world
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to demand urgent action in combatting climate change —

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