1. Would my job title dictate which column I would sit in on the SCoPEd framework?

No. Your job title wouldn’t define the column you would sit in. 

Therapists currently using the titles counsellor and psychotherapist could fit into all three columns of the draft framework. The title you are currently using wouldn’t define which column you would sit in if the framework is agreed and then adopted by BACP. The final decision on column titles will be made by the SCoPEd Oversight Committee (SOC) which includes representation from all six partners, as well as Experts by Experience (EbE). No decisions have been made yet.

2. Does SCoPEd create a new hierarchy or a distinction between counselling and psychotherapy?

SCoPEd doesn’t create a new hierarchy or a distinction between counselling and psychotherapy. The draft SCoPEd framework simply maps what already exists.

The evidence shows some areas of differentiation between counselling and psychotherapy that already exist in terms of entry points, associated competences and practice standards, and in some cases the length and level of training and experience.

When it comes to training and entry points, the mapping shows that psychotherapy trainings are delivered at level 6 and 7, are generally longer and have higher practice requirements, for example number of required client hours, extent of supervision and mental health familiarisation. Counselling courses are delivered across a much wider range of levels, from level 4 to 7. Counselling trainings also have a wider range of training and practice requirements depending on the type and level of the qualification.

3. Does the evidence that informs the draft SCoPEd framework identify an existing distinction between counselling and psychotherapy?

The evidence shows some areas of differentiation between counselling and psychotherapy training in terms of entry points, associated competences and practice standards and, in some cases, the length and level of training and experience.

This is not surprising as some trainings are longer, delivered at higher levels and require more client hours, supervision, levels of reflective practice and associated skills, like research. It would be inaccurate to say all therapists are trained to the same level and standard at any given point.

However, this differentiation is not reflected in how the titles counsellor and psychotherapist are currently used by professional bodies and individual therapists.

We see the framework as a way of describing different groups of therapists who are all highly qualified, ethical and well trained, but not necessarily in the same way. 

4. Does BACP believe there is a distinction between counselling and psychotherapy?

BACP’s position is that there is no single point of differentiation between counselling and psychotherapy when looking across the whole continuum of practice.

However, when it comes to training and entry points, the mapping shows that psychotherapy trainings are delivered at level 6 and 7 and are generally longer and have higher requirements for training and practice hours. In contrast, counselling courses are delivered across a much wider range of levels with a minimum entry point of level 4, and all levels beyond that up to and including level 7. Counselling trainings also have a wider range of training and practice requirements.

These differences cannot be simply described as a difference between counselling and psychotherapy or the titles ‘counsellor’ and ‘psychotherapist’, which we know are used differently by professional bodies and inconsistently across the profession. We are working hard, with our partners, to address this issue. Decisions about titles rest with the SOC which now includes EbEs to represent the client voice.

One of the enabling features of a shared framework is that those who enter the profession at an earlier entry point have a clearer progression pathway based on post qualifying CPD, training and experience if they choose to follow it.

We recognise this is an emotive and delicate issue which speaks to individual identity and concerns about implied hierarchy but, agreeing a shared understanding of different groups of therapists and the titles they use would be of immense benefit to external audiences and those who use our members’ services.

5. Why were the column titles removed from the July 2020 iteration of the framework?

The column titles were removed from the July 2020 iteration of the framework and called column A, column B and column C in order to encourage a focus on the detail of the competences and practice standards within them.

The column titles that were used in the first iteration of the framework should have been more carefully considered, and we recognise that their inclusion caused concern amongst some of our members.

6. What will happen with SCoPEd column titles in the next iteration?

The final column titles will be decided by the SOC, which is managed by an independent Chair and includes the CEOs from all six partners as well as EbEs.

BACP will continue to play an active role, participating in this SOC level discussion and listening to and reflecting on the feedback we receive, with a focus on what is best for all our members and those who use and employ your services.

7. Are all counsellors going to sit in column A and all psychotherapists in column C?

No. It is really important to remember that therapists currently using the titles counsellor and psychotherapist can be represented in all three columns of the draft framework. The title you are currently using wouldn’t define which column you would sit in if the framework is agreed and then adopted by BACP.

8. Would BACP adopt a framework that differentiates between counsellors and psychotherapists?

It would be wrong to speculate and pre-empt a future decision of BACP’s Board. The Board will make a decision about whether to adopt the final framework based on whether it believes adopting the framework is in the best long-term interests of all BACP members and those who use and employ your services.