Board of Governors

Our Governors are elected, appointed or co-opted to oversee our strategic direction and the management of the Association. Representing and accountable to our members, their role is to provide strong leadership, enhance our decision making and to make sure that we achieve our objectives.


Natalie Bailey, Chair

I’m an integrative counsellor and psychotherapist in private practice. Currently, I’m a lecturer at the University of East London on the MSc Integrative Counselling and Coaching programme.

For more than 15 years I’ve worked as a counsellor, psychotherapist, and supervisor in a number of settings including, the NHS, secondary schools, further and higher education. I’ve worked with young people in a creative media FE college and alternative provision - a rewarding experience which lasted 10 years. It's this experience as a counsellor and psychotherapist that led to an interest in serious youth violence in London. The impact of this lived experience has provided acute knowledge, understanding, and insight into the specific challenges facing young people affected by youth violence, and is the focus of my current doctoral study at Chester University.

Before joining the Board as a member, I wanted to contribute to the broader ongoing discussions regarding changes in the counselling profession. I’ve been serving as a Trustee on the Board since 2016, elected as Chair in 2019 and re-elected Chair for a second term in November 2023.

Sekinat Adima, Deputy Chair

As an integrative counsellor, I’ve been working with vulnerable clients for many years focusing on the issues of domestic violence.

Currently, I’m working on a new Department of Work and Pensions initiative that focuses on emotional outcomes for children in low-income families who might not otherwise be able to access counselling, using a mentalisation-based treatment (MBT) model. I joined the BACP Board in 2020.

Punam Farmah, Member of the GRaN Committee

I've been a teacher of psychology, sociology, religious education, business skills and health and social care - supporting vulnerable learners and those with additional support needs. I've worked with colleagues to ensure inclusive access to the curriculum, shaping teaching and learning, as well as delivering CPD. I've recently become a tutor of counselling, working with undergraduates to shape their journey as integrative counsellors and I'm a counsellor in private practice with an interest in supporting mental health awareness and engagement in the South Asian community.

My experience of teaching and learning has provided me with an insight into how the discipline of psychology is viewed and experienced and its impact upon on the wider world. My experience as a counselling tutor has shaped my abilities to nurture safe and ethical practitioners who are equipped to make a difference to society.

Ewan Irvine

I worked as a caseworker for two Members of Parliament for 15 years. For over 30 years I’ve been involved in alternative therapies, and have facilitated a number of workshops and training courses on these, which has included mindfulness and meditation.

For many years, I’d wanted to look at counselling, especially within men's health and took the opportunity to train at Fife College.

In my spare time, I enjoy writing.

Josephine Bey

After enjoying many years as a Clinical Director of an EAP, I now run my own consultancy firm supporting businesses and organisations to improve employee engagement through sustainable mental health and inclusion strategies. Before retraining in psychotherapy, I worked in the City of London. It was a time that's afforded me a well-rounded view of what workplace wellbeing really looks like.

Today I work with clients and patients across a vast array of sectors and my experience includes working with the NHS to the Armed Forces and prisons to Harley Street. I'm proud to have supported survivors and armed forces personnel following the Westminster Bridge attacks, the Grenfell Tower fire, the Manchester Arena bombing and coronavirus pandemic bereaved and key workers.

Emma Farrell

My counselling career has been broad, from working in residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation services, to private practice. I'm currently the Head of Psychological Services for a mental health charity and Lead Tutor on level 2 to level 6 counselling courses. My passion lies with working with the family unit, so in addition to my qualifications working with adults, children, young people, couples and clinical supervision, I've recently completed the first year of family therapy training. I'm a keen writer and am about to publish my first therapeutic children’s book.

My experience shows me that the general public are not aware of the unregulated nature of counselling and psychotherapy and the steps they can take to protect themselves when searching for a therapist. Raising public awareness was one of my motivating factors for joining the board of BACP.

Dr Charlotte Venkatraman, Interim Chair of the Research Committee

I started my working life as a doctor and went on to specialise in forensic psychiatry. I loved the job and remain passionate about mental health in general and about accessing services in particular.

I was a trustee for Mind, the mental health charity for three years, where I learned a lot about governance and strategy. I became a trustee for BACP in 2023 and I welcome the opportunity to apply my skills while acquiring new ones.

My counselling training had a Buddhist background and I have personal experience of paganism, ecotherapy and shamanism. I currently run a private counselling practice specialising in integrating spirituality into daily life. I also provide counselling for an organisation, which supports women who have experienced sexual violence.

Ian Jones, Senior Independent Trustee and Chair of the GRaN Committee

I'm a practicing solicitor and have spent my professional career split between private practice and in-house roles including time at BP and BT. I've been a general counsel for a global communications technology company and also worked in real estate for over 30 years. I teach and write about risk management, governance and ethics. I was appointed the Senior Independent Trustee of BACP in November 2023.

My interest in mental health and wellbeing for over a decade is driven by my personal experience. I have lived experience of profound mental distress for many years before being formally diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety 15 years ago. Since that time, I've benefitted from both counselling and psychotherapy. I therefore know about the life changing benefits of both disciplines. I'm committed to looking at all ways of reducing mental distress and wellbeing.

Since 2020 I've been a trustee with lived experience on the board of Together for Mental Wellbeing. I sit on the Finance, Resources and Investment Committee, and the Audit and Risk Committee for that charity. I'm also the charity’s independent whistleblowing trustee. I was re-appointed for a second three-year term in June 2023.

Marc Leppard, Chair of the Public Protection Committee

I have over 30 years background in risk, corporate governance and compliance with senior roles in financial services and corporate sectors. I've been a civil servant, a financial services regulator and have also run compliance functions in financial services and corporate sectors.

I've been a director of a counselling service and am also a lay member with the Royal College of General Practitioners. I chair a local wildlife trust which links mental health services to open spaces. I'm also a Director and Chair of risk, audit and assurance in various sectors including housing and higher education. I've been appointed a Lay Observer with the UK Ministry of Justice. I also conduct health, respect and well-being inspection visits to detention suites. 

I have a keen interest in the provision of mental health services and am looking forward to working with BACP as a Governor and Chair of the Public Protection Committee

David Chenery, Chair of the Finance, Risk, Audit, Policy and Performance Committee

After completing 36 years with Barclays Bank, I worked in the charity sector for 19 years, the last eight with Age UK in the role of National Manager, Finance Governance. Combining my banking skills with deep charity financial governance knowledge, I’m looking forward to working with BACP as a Governor and Chair of the Finance, Risk, Audit, Policy and Performance committee.

I’ve a keen interest in the provision of mental health services for younger people and volunteered for a time with a charity which provided counselling for children in primary and junior schools. My personal life revolves around supporting my family and our dogs. 

Board delegated committees

We have four committees which support the Board by focusing on strategic business areas. Each committee is made up of lay and member volunteers and is chaired by a Trustee.

Following a restructure in 2021, these committees are:

  • Finance, Risk, Audit, Policy and Performance Committee (FRAPP) has delegated responsibility for our financial strategy and budgeting processes as well as managing our risk profile, audits and performance against strategy. (It combines the functions of our former Finance and Policy Committee (FaPC) and Audit, Risk and Performance Committee (ARaP).)
    Chair: David Chenery

  • Governance, Remuneration and Nominations Committee (GRaN) has delegated responsibility for considering and determining the framework for the remuneration of our senior staff members. It also supports nominations to the Board of Trustees. (This committee was formerly the Remuneration and Governance Committee (R&G).)
    Chair: Ian Jones
  • Public Protection Committee has delegated responsibility for developing our public protection strategy. It supports the functions of the BACP Register, including professional conduct.
    Chair: Marc Leppard

  • Research Committee has delegated responsibility for developing, informing and monitoring our research strategy, overseeing our research procedures, policies and plans, and approving and reviewing research projects.
    Interim Chair: Dr Charlotte Venkatraman

President and Vice Presidents

BACP President, Professor Lynne Gabriel OBE

I'm a professor of counselling and mental health at York St John University and was Chair of BACP between 2008 and 2011.

I was appointed an OBE in the Queen’s Jubilee Birthday Honours in 2022 for services to higher education and mental health.

I took over from David Weaver, who stepped down as our President at our AGM at the end of his five-year tenure.

I’m honoured to be asked to be President of my professional body. I'll work with our Chair and CEO to look at how I can support BACP to move forward. I see my role as being a supportive presence to BACP.

Vice Presidents

Luciana Berger and Jabeer Butt OBE.