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Revelations of a celebrity pyschotherapist in The Secondary Victim at Park Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

WRITTEN by former psychotherapist Matthew Campling, The Secondary Victim receives its world premiere at Park Theatre (Park90), where it runs from November 14 to December 9, 2017.

The Secondary Victim explores the growing world of blame culture within psychotherapy in private practice.

Inspired by real life experiences and with insider insights into an increasing problem for the profession, this new production directed by Matthew Gould explores the vulnerability of counsellors in the age of accusation.

The production will star Susannah Doyle (About A Boy, Drop The Dead Donkey, Apple Tree Yard) as Ali, Gary Webster (Minder, Family Affairs, EastEnders) as Victor, Natasha Bain as Marilyn, Michael Hanratty as Hugo, Matt Holt as Jonny and Christopher Laishley as Teddy.

Ali is a respected psychotherapist and loyal wife. When she receives a complaint of sexual impropriety by a young male former client, her professional and personal world is thrown into a maelstrom of suspicion and distrust. Against a background of contemporary blame culture, Ali finds herself fighting for her reputation, her marriage and eventually her life.

Writer Matthew Campling has a BA Honours in Counselling and a Master’s Degree in Psychotherapy. In addition to his twenty years of private practice, he was a regular guest expert on ITV’s Trisha, and was a popular media spokesperson on the subject of male mental health. He has had three non-fiction books in the area of therapy published. The Secondary Victim is his 10th produced play.

Matthew Campling notes: “In 2014, a former client made allegations of serious unethical behaviour against me. Despite my being exonerated by the BACP (British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy), this hugely distressing experience made me acutely aware of how a therapist can be compromised outside the counseling room. We must always protect victims and investigate accusations, but the current, ever-mounting rise of ethical enquiries means this issue is an increasing area of counselor vulnerability.”

The BACP’s number of complaints by clients taken to an ethical panel review has rocketed from 17 in 2010 to 74 in 2016. The Secondary Victim shows both sides of this concerning statistic, inspired by Matthew Campling’s personal experience.

Matthew Gould’s directing credits include The Pete ‘n Keely Show (Tristan Bates Theatre), Hello, Norma Jeane and The Glass Protégé (Park Theatre), I’m Getting my Act Together and Taking It On the Road (Jermyn Street Theatre) and The Telescope (Aloff Theatre).

The Secondary Victim is suitable for ages 12+.

Image: Natasha Bain, Susannah Doyle and Gary Webster (l-r) in The Secondary Victim at Park Theatre. Photo by Matthew House.

Tickets: Previews £14.50, Standard £18, Concessions £16.50, Child (under 16) £13, Young Patrons £10 (November 14 – 21), Groups: buy 10 tickets get the 11th free. To book, call the box office on 020 7870 6876 or visit

Times: Tuesday to Saturday evenings at 7.45pm, Thursday and Saturday matinees at 3.15pm.

Also at Park Theatre (Park90): The Revlon Girl (until October 14) and Fishskin Trousers (October 17 to November 11).