1. What type of framework is SCoPEd and what does it represent?

SCoPEd is a competence framework that maps the core competences, training and practice standards for counselling and psychotherapy with adults. 

 The framework is generic, so doesn’t make any distinctions between the different modalities and approaches that exist across counselling and psychotherapy.

 The SCoPEd framework does not include specialisms, some of which have their own competence frameworks (for example, CYP, Workplace).

2. What is a competence framework?

Competence frameworks identify and bring together all the relevant standards that are key to working effectively in a specified area.

A competence framework will give us a way of representing the diverse and varied knowledge, skills and experience of our members to external audiences. The SCoPEd framework includes a mapping of training and practice requirements.

3. Is the January 2022 SCoPEd framework the final version?

The publication of the January 2022 SCoPEd framework marks the delivery of a joint commitment by partners to map current reality of core training, practice and competence requirements. 

In February 2023 all partners agreed to adopt and implement the SCoPEd framework.

4. What themes does the SCoPEd framework include?

Core training and counsellors and psychotherapists’ skills and knowledge has been mapped across five themes:

  • professional framework
  • assessment
  • therapeutic relationship
  • knowledge and skills
  • self-awareness and reflection

5. What are the key changes in the January 2022 SCoPEd framework? 

The January 2022 SCoPEd framework includes evidence and feedback received by the SCoPEd partners since the previous version was published in July 2020, and since the partnership group was expanded.

It includes submissions from:

  • the partners’ members and registrants
  • the partners themselves
  • other stakeholders, like commissioners and employers,
  • the SCoPEd Experts by Experience who joined the SCoPEd working groups in 2021

These contributions have resulted in some significant changes to the content and language of the framework, including:

  • greater emphasis on the role of the therapeutic relationship and the qualities of the therapist
  • further focus on equality, diversity and inclusion as a theme embedded and integrated throughout the framework
  • additional standards relating to online and phone therapy
  • more consistent use of language that is inclusive and more accessible to a wider audience
  • the addition of a glossary of terms

You can find more details in the January 2022 SCoPEd methodology document, which gives information on feedback themes, issues considered and what decisions were reached after analysis and consideration by both the SCoPEd Technical Group and the SCoPEd Expert Reference Group.

6. Why are there no titles in this version of the framework? 

The January 2022 framework continues to use the established terms of Therapist A, B and C alongside how these relate to current membership categories used by the partners.

7. When will the column titles be agreed?  

Titles are being reviewed by the SCoPEd partners as part of our joint work. This will involve the SCoPEd Technical Group doing some further work and putting together an option proposal for the SCoPEd Oversight Committee. 

BACP will keep our members updated with decisions around titles. 

8. What is the entry point on the SCoPEd framework?

Entry points are where the competences and practice standards can be achieved upon successfully completing a core training which meets the criteria for a column of the framework.

The mapped gateways and entry points in the framework reflect existing accreditation schemes, registration points and membership categories. 

The partnership has been able to map membership categories to the columns to show the equivalency of membership categories across the partner organisations. 

Our membership categories will be aligned to the SCoPEd columns, rather than individual members being mapped to the SCoPEd columns.

9. What is a gateway on the SCoPEd framework? 

A gateway is a progression point that enables a therapist to evidence that they have met the required competences and practice requirements to progress from one column to another.

The framework recognises that therapists will have continued to train and gain experience throughout their career that would mean they meet additional competences. Using the gateways, existing members could move through the columns by evidencing their post-qualifying training and experience.

10. Would I have to complete additional, expensive training to move between columns in the SCoPEd framework?

No, membership categories for each partner membership body will be aligned to the SCoPEd columns, rather than members being mapped to the SCoPEd columns.

If you thought your training, knowledge and experience would be represented in another BACP membership category (and therefore a different SCoPEd column) you will be able go through a process of evidencing that.

As is the case now, when a member wishes to move to a different membership category they have to evidence that they have the appropriate knowledge, skills and experience to do so. This will not change.

It will be up to each BACP member as to whether you would want to apply to change your BACP membership category and therefore move between SCoPEd columns.

Members will still be able to practice competences in other columns, providing you have skills, knowledge, and experience to do so ethically.

Visit BACP members and the SCoPEd Framework for more details.

11. Is personal therapy included in the SCoPEd framework?

Personal therapy is not straightforward because some trainings put more emphasis on personal therapy than others. This is more to do with the theoretical approach than competences and practice standards. It therefore hasn’t been possible to map a common standard for personal therapy as a requirement. It’s possible that this will continue to be an area of difference.

12. Are specialisms included in the SCoPEd framework?

No. The SCoPEd framework only maps the generic core competences arranged in five themes, training and practice standards necessary for working with adults.

All of our members are valued and are trusted to use their professional judgement to practise any specialisms in line with our current Ethical Framework and with support from their supervisor, as they do now. This won’t change.

13. What does mental health familiarisation mean in the SCoPEd framework?

We understand that it’s hard to define what mental health familiarisation means, in relation to the framework.

The intention is to offer people the opportunity to gain the knowledge, understanding and insight that equips them to work within or alongside other mental health services, with clients who have extraordinary needs and with family members of mental health service users.

This includes a knowledge and understanding of:

  • a working awareness of presentation, diagnosis and treatment in the context of UK mental health care services
  • a range of appropriate models of assessment which include (but are not limited to) learning about how the medical model understands mental wellbeing and mental illness
  • the influence of socio-economics, class, gender, disability, age, culture, religion, race and sexuality on the incidence, definition, diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and mental health
  • the impact of intersectionality (where a person belongs to more than one marginalised group)
  • the wider contexts of mental health provision in order to develop sensitive practice appropriate to the needs of people who experience greater mental and emotional distress

In relation to the wider mental health system it would also include an understanding and appreciation of:

  • the impact on clients and their families of mental health presentations, diagnosis, stigma and social attitudes
  • the different professional and personal roles in mental health care
  • how the role of the therapist sits within the wider system
  • recognising the therapist’s role in provision of non-discriminatory services for people with exceptional needs; preventing additional mental health distress caused by normative social expectations and exclusion
  • relevant ethical and legal considerations, including appropriate familiarity with the Mental Health Act 2007 and the Equality Act 2010

There is no one way of meeting these standards. Training organisations may choose how to fulfil these standards which may be via lectures, videos, a formal placement. Some practitioners may gain this knowledge through first-hand experience in an appropriate setting.

14. Does the SCoPEd framework include vocational training routes? 

Yes. The SCoPEd framework recognises the diverse and varied entry points into the counselling and psychotherapy profession including vocational diplomas. This is one of the defining features of the framework, and is unlike other professions where a degree is the only entry point.

The SCoPEd framework will enable us to better represent the skills of our members, as well as offering clearer progression routes or gateways for those who want to do further training.