Earlier this year, we carried out our annual membership survey to find out more about you, how you work and what you value most about your membership, as well as what you want from us as your professional body. Here we share some of the results, and explore how what you've told us is shaping the services we provide and the work we do. 

Nearly 8,000 of you took part in our Membership Engagement survey earlier this year, a figure that represents around 18% of our total membership. Thank you to those of you who took the time to offer your feedback, and congratulations to our lucky prize draw winners. The survey will inform much of our work in the coming years, as we look to improve your membership experience and the way we serve the public and represent the profession. 

Your professional journey

  • 57% of you say your main reason for becoming a counsellor was a desire to help others
  • 41% say an interest in the subject that was the primary reason
  • 32% were looking for a change of career

Hearing more about why you decided to become a counsellor and about the part that counselling plays in your wider career is extremely valuable to us. By understanding more about your motivations and your working life we hope to be able to meet your needs more effectively. 

  • 24% of you are currently working as supervisors
  • 50% work in private practice
  • 37% have a portfolio career which includes non-counselling work

We understand the importance of supervision and we've got resources available both for counsellors looking for a supervisor and for those of you already working as supervisors who wish to improve your skills. For those of you in private practice, we'll be publishing more resources over the coming year to support you with practical things such as record keeping. See Good Practice in Action

Raising awareness of BACP and the profession

  • 52% of you believe the top challenge for the profession to be improving recognition of the invaluable service therapists provide
  • 50% agree we should focus on 'advising and informing national and international policy'
  • 42% agree we should focus on 'raising awareness of BACP and the profession'

In our strategy, we commit to educating the public about the practice and benefits of the counselling professions and positioning the profession in the minds of commissioners and the public. We share your views on the importance of these activities, and we're working hard to improve how well we do them.

The launch of our fresh new look and user-friendly website will support us in promoting our work and the profession to governments, decision makers and the public.

Over the next year, we'll be exerting our influence around the implementation of the NHS Five Year Forward View alongside the review of the NICE depression guidelines, which have the potential to impact widely on the profession and the delivery of counselling in the NHS.

We'll also build on the existing scoping work in order to develop our key strategic intent around older people. We'll further explore the role of counselling in improving the lives of older people and promote the value of talking therapies to this group, with stakeholders and by working with new key partners. 

Shared values and challenges

  • 69% of you strongly agree that you share the values we have set to safeguard clients
  • 56% of those joined us in the last year gave enhanced professional credibility as a top reason for joining
  • 67% are likely to renew their membership

A vital part of our work is to set, promote and maintain standards for the profession in order to safeguard clients as they embark on their life-changing journey through counselling. It’s clear from our survey that you share these values and that public-protection and professional credibility are top priorities for you in your work.  

Many of you rate highly the professional status that being a member of BACP gives you and most are very likely to continue in membership.  

There are shared difficulties too. When asked to selected your greatest individual challenges:

  • 52% included the cost of training 
  • 49% included finding paid work

Through our online resources and accredited courses we aim to help people new to the profession to find high quality courses that best suit their needs.

Through our Register, we will continue to promote the importance of using or employing BACP registered members who have met a minimum standard. There is still much work to be done in this area, but by focusing on the wider issues around raising standards and building an evidence base we believe that we can make an impact on how counselling is perceived and further improve your employment prospects.

Thank you

We can only achieve our aims with your support and your honest feedback. Thank you again to those of you who took part in this survey for helping us improve your Association so that we can better support you as you change lives through counselling.

The online survey was available to all members for four weeks from 13 February to 13 March 2017. We got back 7,881 completed surveys. This sample represents around 18% of our total membership, which was 43,963 at the end of February 2017.