BBC uncovers unregulated mental health cures

The BBC recently aired a programme ‘I Can Cure You: Online mental Health Cures’ where Jordan Dunbar (reporter) explored and investigated the murky world of unregulated mental health services and therapists.

As NHS waiting lists reach record levels, more and more people are looking for treatment for their mental health online. Reporter Jordan Dunbar was one of them. He was targeted by adverts promising to cure his depression. As he looked deeper, he uncovered a world of cures and treatments promising to solve disorders like anxiety, OCD and more. All carried out by people with no qualifications. He hears allegations of bullying, manipulation and exploitation of vulnerable people all desperate for help, with companies charging thousands of pounds in the process. With these practices being completely legal, who is looking out for us when we look for help? (BBC)

Did you know that the term ‘counsellor’ or ‘psychotherapist’ is not regulated – anyone can use these titles and they do not need any training to do so. Jordan spoke to many people who in their desperation to receive help and support, sought out therapists or services online. Some of the stories uncovered by Jordon are shocking and extremely concerning.


One women spoke about being asked to do therapeutic work whilst videoing herself in order for it to be used to publicise the service. She was even asked to repeat videos if they weren’t good enough. Another person spoke about how their therapist cut sessions short, blamed them for the difficulties and conducted sessions whilst out and about shopping and driving! This is exploitation of vulnerable people at a time when they need care and genuine support.

Some titles are ‘protected’ like Psychiatrist and Clinical Psychologist, and therefore you cannot use these titles without the correct qualifications and you must be regulated by the appropriate professional body e.g. HCPC. Other unprotected titles rely on the therapist joining relevant regulatory bodies who monitor and agree training requirements.

So if you’re looking for a therapist – what should you be looking for?

Check out our next blog – Top 5 Tips to choosing the right Therapist