Thank you to all 4,323 of you who took the time to complete this year’s membership survey. The survey was sent to all BACP members and was an opportunity for you to let us know what we’re doing well, where we can improve and feedback on your experiences and relationship with us.

This year’s response rate was approximately 7% and although this is lower than last year, respondents are broadly representative of our membership categories.

We use your feedback to continually improve the support and services we offer, so that you receive the best possible membership experience.

Key findings

What matters to you

You told us about the areas of our work that are most important to you, and shared what you think our priorities should be when working on your behalf.

This year, you said it’s still important BACP:

  • provides you with resources that support professional and ethical practice
  • keeps you informed about issues within the field of counselling and the profession and how they affect you
  • sets standards for the profession
  • protects clients from unsafe or unethical practice by providing support, information and a complaints procedure
  • keeps you informed about our work and how it affects you

What we’re doing well

  • 77% say we provide you with resources that support professional and ethical practice well
  • 70% say we set standards for the profession well
  • 67% agree we keep you informed about the issues within the field of counselling and the profession
  • 65% agree that we work well to deliver a robust regulatory framework and hold and maintain a PSA accredited register which promotes confidence in BACP members
  • 62% agree we provide good online continuing professional development (CPD) opportunities
  • 61% say we protect clients from unsafe or unethical practice well by providing support, information and a complaints procedure

We’re pleased to see that in 2023, the areas which you say should still be our priorities are also the areas where you think we’re doing a good job.

Your membership

  • 77% say you’re likely to renew your membership either without hesitation or with some consideration of member value
  • 72% say you’re a member of BACP because it gives credibility to your practice

Although we’re pleased to see that your membership remains important to you, we’re disappointed to learn that our performance in this area has reduced slightly compared to 2022. It’s important to us that you get the most out of your membership and that you understand and recognise the value that BACP can offer as your professional body. Over the next year, we’ll be focusing on showcasing the different ways we can continue to support you, and the benefits you get from being a BACP member, throughout communications.

What we could do better

  • 57% say we support members by increasing awareness of EDI within the profession

EDI is an incredibly important area for us and our commitment to it forms part of our five-year strategy: with one of our six objectives being to 'promote a diverse and inclusive profession and access to services'.

Over the past 24 months we’ve launched our EDI strategy and two supporting initiatives; our mentoring scheme, which paired 30 mentors with mentees until August 2023 to provide and receive support, and to gain opportunities and new insight from the shared relationship, while our bursary scheme aims to encourage underrepresented groups into the profession by providing financial support for counselling and psychotherapy training.

We’ve also worked with The Coalition for Inclusion and Anti-Oppressive Practice to launch a new toolkit called Race is complicated: A toolkit for psychological therapies training. The Coalition focuses on promoting inclusive and anti-oppressive professional training as part of a greater vision to address further barriers to inclusive practice.

We hope to increase our work in this important area over the coming years and ultimately, deliver on our commitment to create a diverse and inclusive profession.

  • 43% agree we raise awareness of the counselling professions in the public and the media

We’re continually working to increase awareness of the profession with the public and the media, and in 2023 we secured a host of opportunities to celebrate the work of our members and the benefits of counselling and psychotherapy across national platforms. During the last 12 months, BACP has featured in over 1,500 media appearances across TV, radio, press and online channels, creating over 980,000,000 opportunities for our name to be seen by the public.

Some key examples of this work includes our Children, Young People and Families Lead, Jo Holmes, contributing to a BBC Panorama investigation into crisis pregnancy advice centres, our Head of Professional Standards Caroline Jesper highlighting in The Telegraph the importance of people finding a registered counsellor and our Workforce Lead, Kris Ambler, featuring in a Financial Times piece about people retraining as therapists.

Additionally, we continued our successful Counselling changes lives GP surgery advertising campaign; promoting BACP, the benefits of therapy and signposting those in need to our qualified members. Our posters and leaflets appeared in over 3,000 surgeries, around 50% of all surgeries in the UK.

We also launched our Anxiety is… campaign, which used artificial intelligence to create images which illustrate symptoms of anxiety from quotes describing people’s real life anxiety symptoms. This particular campaign appeared in over 20 newspaper articles and three radio broadcasts with a reach of almost 32,000,000.

And we continue to reach those members of the public seeking therapy, through our ongoing Google AdWords, Meta and programmatic advertising campaigns, which to date have generated thousands new enquiries for our Directory members.

Promoting the valuable work of our members with the public, the media and other stakeholders remains a key priority for us, and we’ll be continuing much of this work, and more, into the next year.  

  • 32% say we influence government and policy-makers to improve opportunities for counselling professionals

This year, we’ve continued our work to lobby government and policy makers and have seen some important wins in this area. We provided a briefing to Kevan Jones MP, who spoke about the importance of counselling and psychotherapy and of early intervention during a Westminster Hall debate, our evidence on student mental health was used in a report to the Welsh Government which provided recommendations to improve the mental health of Welsh students and we were involved in the lobbying efforts to bring in a new law to protect rape survivors from unnecessary and invasive requests for the police to access their therapy notes.

In Scotland, we were delighted to see that the importance of counsellors and psychotherapists have been recognised and included as a core part of Scotland’s new Mental Health Strategy and our support of the Fund the Hubs campaign proved to be worthwhile as the UK Government committed to fund at least 10 early intervention mental health hubs for those aged 11 to 15 in England.

Our work in these areas is often long-term, and we continue to lobby the Government to improve opportunities within the profession and to showcase the positive impact that counselling and psychotherapy can have on the nation’s mental health.

  • 28% say you feel part of a community of members

It’s important to us that members feel part of a community when they join BACP, so we’re disappointed to see this figure remains quite low in 2023. All members have access to our Communities of Practice, a member-only platform where you can connect, collaborate and network with your peers. We created the Communities of Practice following a successful member motion in 2021 and you can also access it through our Learning centre.

We also host regular events such as Making Connections and our local network meetings, which take place online and in-person at locations throughout the four nations of the UK. These events provide members with the opportunity to learn, share best practice and engage with likeminded individuals and BACP staff. 

We know there’s more we can do to bring our members together as a community, and would welcome your ideas on how we can improve on our work in this area.

Your relationship with us

  • 58% say you trust us
  • 58% thinks BACP membership supports you with your practice
  • 45% agree we act in the best interests of members

Remember, the annual member survey is not your only opportunity to share your views with us, and you can feedback your thoughts, concerns and opinions in a variety of ways throughout the year -  through the customer thermometer on our email communications, attending member events and other regular surveys.

All members receive a renewal survey after their annual review, this provides us with regular feedback and helps us to respond to and address concerns throughout the year. We’d encourage all members to complete this survey where possible.

Please contact us at any time through our email address. We review all feedback that comes into this inbox and share it with the relevant department.