1. Skip to main content
  2. Skip to left side bar
  3. Skip to right side bar
  4. Skip to footer
  1. Text Size
    1. A
      View the site with default sized text
    2. A
      View the site with medium sized text
    3. A
      View the site with large sized text

Print Page

About Us

Counselling Changes Lives

BACP’s primary purpose is to support counsellors and help them better serve their clients. Our Association was formed nearly 40 years ago by a group of counsellors who were passionate about the value of counselling and its potential to improve the lives of individuals and communities. This passion and commitment, and the knowledge that counselling changes lives, are still at the heart of everything we do.

In the 12 months leading up to April 2016, we undertook a strategic review of our Association’s mission, values and objectives. We consulted with our members to find out what they wanted from us and how we could best support them. This feedback resulted in our new strategy, a restructure of our business and a reprioritising of our resources.

At the beginning of April 2016 we launched our new strategy. Below, we introduce this new strategy and explain how we’ll go about achieving our strategic intents in the years that follow.


What we do

Our desired position: We act in the interest of the public as a professional, relevant, credible and communicative organisation for the counselling professions, bound by a common purpose, underpinned by clear philosophy and transparent values.

Our purpose: We will advocate the role and relevance of the practice of the counselling professions in improving psychological wellbeing and mental health, and promoting social justice, in our contemporary and diverse communities.


How we’ll achieve change

We’ve drawn up a series of ‘strategic intents’ to help us achieve our position and purpose. These are the elements of our work that have been identified through consultation with our members as being the most important. The intents are themselves supported by a comprehensive operational plan, and our resources have been aligned in order that we can concentrate on these vital elements of our work.

Our strategic intents are to:

Promote expertise in the counselling professions to enable confidence in BACP and its members

Use our resources efficiently and effectively to fulfil our internal and external strategic objectives to maximise impact

Be alert to change and encourage innovation in a fast moving world, and our policy and interventions will be informed and evidence based

Commission, undertake and encourage research and relationships to ensure that we can champion best practice in the counselling professions

Uphold the highest standards of differentiated practice, ensuring that our standards are fit for purpose and communicable to clients and commissioners

Educate the public about the practice and benefits of the counselling professions and learn from people how to develop responsive services

Position the profession in the minds of commissioners and employers, to argue the case for best practice and the benefits of the counselling professions

Develop relationships with the wider professions and all our stakeholders

Define the scope and standards of training and practice for the counselling professions, drawing on evidence and experience, reflected in differentiated membership categories

Commit to the highest standards of customer service, public engagement and membership engagement.


Key themes

The counselling professions change the lives of individuals and communities across a broad range of client groups. For this reason, it's extremely important to us that our own work is similarly diverse, as well as being adaptable to the changing landscape in which our members operate. We will continue to campaign, influence policy-makers and fund research in a way that is congruent with the varied work of our membership. 

We have also identified three specific areas that we intend to focus on more deeply in the coming years. These are; 

Older people; exploring the role of counselling in improving the lives of older people, and promoting the value of talking therapies to this group

Children, young people and families; continuing our successful work in this area, including promoting the importance of early intervention and joined-up mental health services

Four nations; exploring how we can better serve our members based in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and influence governing bodies throughout the UK.

These themes will form the backbone of our work over the next five years. As with the strategic intents, they have been chosen following consultation with our members and stakeholders.

You can expect to see our commitment to these areas of work reflected in our campaign and policy activities, in our research work and in the range of services and benefits we provide for our members.


What does all this mean for me as a member?

You and your clients are at the heart of everything we do and supporting you is central to our philosophy and values. We work hard to enable you to access resources to help you develop and maintain effective and competent practice. In line with our new strategic direction, we’ll be looking to further improve the services and resources we offer you, making your membership more relevant and better value for money.

Raising standards across the counselling professions, and promoting high standards, have always been high priorities for us. We seek to ensure people have access to the best, evidence-based, standards of practice in the counselling professions. By renewing our commitment to raising the profile of our members in the media, with commissioners, policy makers and the public, we hope to improve your professional credibility and employment prospects.


Our promise to you

This sharing of our new strategic direction marks the beginning of a journey of improvement. There is a lot for us to do and we’re looking forward to sharing our progress with you regularly, and getting your feedback on how we’re doing.

We’ll be expanding these pages over time and including more detailed information about how we are progressing, as well as adding specifics about what the new strategy means to you – whether you are one of our 44,000 members, a commissioner, policy maker or member of the public.

We will seek through our membership and public engagement to champion the counselling professions, confident in the notion that ‘Counselling Changes Lives’.