Annual research conference 2022

Striving for equality, diversity and inclusion in research, practice and policy

Our annual conference, this year co-hosted by Abertay University, took place in person in Dundee and online on 19 and 20 May 2022. Recorded presentations are available to view on-demand until August 2022.

There were three keynote presentations along with research papers, discussions (in-person only), methods workshops (in-person only), lightning talks, poster presentations and symposia.

Congratulations to all our 2022 award winners:

  • BACP New Researcher Award - Elizabeth Li
  • PCCS Books Student Research Award - Dr Tanya Beetham
  • CPCAB Counselling Research Award - Dr Dashnye Daloye

NICE consultation on Depression in Adults

We responded to the third, unprecedented revision of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) depression guidelines for adults earlier this year.

It’s important when we respond to these guidelines that our arguments are underpinned by research, to ensure that they’re robust and evidence-based. While we’re pleased to see much more focus on client choice and the recommendation that all psychological therapies should be considered as first line treatments for depression, we still think that the following areas could be improved on:

  • adopting a broader and more inclusive approach to the research used to inform the guidelines, including large routine datasets
  • consistency in the use of the term counselling
  • a more neutral way of presenting the different psychological therapies, ie alphabetical order, that reflects the statement that all should be considered as first line treatments
  • including longer-term treatment options for those who want and need it.

The guideline is currently expected to be published on 29 June 2022, but this is subject to change. You can read more about our response, as well as the history of the guideline development, on our NICE depression guideline campaign page

Meet the team



Two of our research team presented their research at the Society for Psychotherapy Research held in April. Jenny and Phaedra discuss their experiences in our recent blog.

Research bites

A selection of current research

Atiyeh and Gray (2021): Counsellors’ competency to counsel refugees: A constructivist grounded theory study, Counselling and Psychotherapy Research

This qualitative constructivist grounded theory study explored how counsellors perceive their preparedness to counsel refugee client and how they conceptualise multicultural competence when doing so.

All counsellors lived and worked in the US and were diverse in their occupational setting, experiences, reported religion and ethnicity. 

The themes identified include:

  • contexts, which refer to work settings, reasons for doing this work, client reactions to counsellors and the rewards counsellors gained from working with refugees
  • challenges, where counsellors reported barriers such as concerns over limited training opportunities, bias and assumptions towards the client, their lack of flexibility and fluidity and language barriers
  • complexity, which describes the complex power dynamics between the counsellor and the client, cultural intricacies within the therapeutic relationship, and the need for an integrative and holistic approach 
  • competency, where counsellors felt that deposition (e.g. openness, curiosity), skills (e.g. emotional intelligence, assessing symptoms) and knowledge (e.g. cultural values, awareness of global issues) are required when working with refugee clients

Finan et al (2021): “At what cost am I doing this?”: An interpretative phenomenological analysis of the experience of burnout among private practitioner psychotherapists, Counselling and Psychotherapy Research

This qualitative study using interpretative phenomenological analysis explored the psychotherapists’ lived experience of burnout while working exclusively in private practice (within Ireland). Eight semi-structured interviews were conducted among practitioners who have experienced burnout within the previous two or eight years.

Three themes were identified:

  • a professional identity crisis: “maybe I just don’t have what it takes?”
  • the embodiment of burnout: “constantly running on red”
  • the process of rebalancing: “being real”

Participants said the effects of burnout impacted their identity and found its physical manifestations more recognisable than its emotional or attitudinal aspects. They considered burnout to be helpful for returning to a healthy work-life balance and described experiencing burnout ideographically - as rebalancing perspective and lifestyle.

The findings suggest that practitioners should attend to their ‘inner monologue”, be self-aware and set realistic expectations of themselves. They should seek appropriate support, such as effective and robust supervision, and attend training on effective monitoring and responding to profiles of burnout.

Radez et al (2021): Why do children and adolescents (not) seek and access professional help for their mental health problems? A systematic review of quantitative and qualitative studies, European Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

This systematic review identified studies which report barriers and facilitators to children and adolescents seeking and accessing professional help for mental health problems.

Overall, 53 eligible studies were identified (22 quantitative, 30 qualitative, one mixed methods). Four main barriers or facilitators were identified:

  • young people’s individual factors
  • social factors
  • factors related to the relationship between the young person and the professional
  • systemic and structural factors

Young people most frequently describe barriers relating to societal attitudes towards mental health and help-seeking, such as perceived public stigma and embarrassment. They also report a lack of knowledge regarding mental health and available supportive resources.

Those with prior experience of mental health difficulties described not recognising the need for professional help or not perceiving their problems serious enough to require help. Negative attitudes towards professionals, and perceiving help-seeking as a sign of weakness, were commonly reported. Adolescents endorsed a preference for relying on themselves when facing mental health difficulties, rather than seeking professional help.

The findings suggest that interventions should focus on providing psychoeducation to improve knowledge and understanding of mental health problems. This should include self-help skills and strategies, the process of help-seeking, and where to find to help and what to expect from it (e.g. confidentiality). Digital tools and school-based services may also increase access to support, as they function through a self-referral process where individuals can communicate with the service or professional directly, so improving their perceived independence. Digital tools may also be beneficial for those who may find it difficult to discuss their feelings in person.

Research resources

Good research practice

Whether you're a student, a practitioner or a trainer, our new research resources are designed to support you to use research in your practice.

The series covers seven different topic areas, each containing a panel discussion, member interviews, a presentation and a written information resource.


Highlights from the June issue of Counselling and Psychotherapy Research Journal include:

Our online Counselling and Psychotherapy Research (CPR) journal is free to access with your membership log in. 

All seven of our specialist divisional journals are free online for all members, so take a look at these for perspectives on working with different client groups.

BACP members also have free access to the EBSCO research journal database and discovery service.

Advertise your research project

If you're looking for participants for a research project, BACP members and members of our CYP Practice Research Network and Postgraduate Research Forum are welcome to advertise on our website. See our Research noticeboard for further details and current projects.