Our philosophy

Counselling changes not just the lives of individuals, but of families and communities.

Our desire for social justice determines everything we do and guides our relationship with our members and the public, as well as commissioners and government. It’s why we champion the counselling professions as a viable, and increasingly evidence-based choice for people. We know counselling works.

We’re alongside our members throughout their careers and put them at the heart of what we do. We understand their needs and support them in making a positive difference to the mental wellbeing of their clients.

We do this by promoting and facilitating research to produce trusted best practice, and by providing a robust framework to ensure the profession follows and adheres to the highest possible standards that protect individuals seeking therapy.

As a result, we help the general public, individuals and commissioners make better, more informed choices about the provision of counselling, and continue to raise the ethical and professional standards of the profession.

Charitable objectives

As a registered charity, our two key charitable objectives underpin our work and we use our income and property to promote these aims. In all of our activities, whether we’re providing services to members, commissioning research or campaigning, these are the objectives that guide us, and the principles by which we measure our success.

Our charitable objectives are:

  • to promote and provide education and training for counsellors and psychotherapists working in either professional or voluntary settings, whether full or part time, with a view to raising the standards of the counselling professions for the benefit of the community and in particular for those who are the recipients of counselling or psychotherapy
  • to inform and educate the public about the contribution that the counselling professions can make generally and particularly in meeting the needs of those whose participation and development in society is impaired by physical or psychological health needs or disability.

Our values

Our values were developed through conversations with employees about what it means to be BACP and what we need to succeed.

By living our values we’ll be better able to achieve our purpose and to meet the changing needs of our members.

  • Responsibility - we take responsibility for all our actions and do the right thing, feeling safe to admit our mistakes
  • Encouragement - we encourage ideas for continuous improvement, being open to change and challenges
  • Support - we value each other and our diversity, promoting inclusiveness and tolerance
  • Passion - our work will reflect our passion for counselling changing lives
  • Excellence - we strive for the highest standards
  • Collaboration - we work together for the best outcomes: communicating, listening, learning and sharing ideas
  • Trust - we have integrity, building and maintaining trust, openness, honesty and fairness 

Current strategy

Our strategy, launched in spring 2016, was put into place after careful consideration of the above objectives, and the Charity Commission’s guidance on public benefit.

Because we know that counselling changes lives, we will:

  • 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, ensuring our policy and interventions are 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 promote 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

Our work reflects the varied activities of our members and adapts to the changing environment they work in.

Following consultation with our members and stakeholders, we identified key areas for particular focus:

  • 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
  • Workforce - driving growth in paid opportunities and bringing employers across the sectors closer to the counselling and psychotherapy professions

These areas form the basis of our campaign and policy activities, research work and the range of services we provide for our members.

We are BACP and counselling changes lives.