Naked truth

February 11, 2010

I read the story "Stark facts exposed about anti-regulation therapist" (28 January) with some surprise.

I have no quarrel with any of the facts. I am aware that the battle over regulation for psychotherapists and counsellors is being fought with a passion and a personal vindictiveness that sits uncomfortably with the avowed values of the two professions.

What I regret very much is that although you quote Brian Thorne's view that the Sally episode occurred and was written up "when an altogether different culture prevailed", no evidence was offered to support his view, thus leaving the uninitiated to suppose that this was a baseless claim made as part of a weak defence by a silly man.

It is anything but baseless: as late as 1991, one could refer to serious texts such as Aileen Goodson's Therapy, Nudity and Joy. It was in those days well understood that nakedness could be a useful tool in encouraging an adjustment in body image or self-esteem. Indeed, similar work continues to this day, but usually through the medium of photography.

One could cite the cover of Led Zeppelin's 1973 album Houses of the Holy, which shows a photograph of two young children climbing naked over the Giant's Causeway in County Antrim. It is inconceivable that this cover would be published nowadays.

Today, we live in a world terrified of nakedness unless it is for the commercial exploitation of sexuality, when as a society we embrace it with pathological eagerness. Thorne's work with Sally more than 30 years ago, whether wise or not, has absolutely nothing to do with the current debate over regulation. Those who say it has are trading in salacious gossip.

Michael P. Wilson, Superintendent minister, Cambridge Methodist Circuit.

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