Here you can find answers to some commonly asked questions about SCoPEd; what it is, our aims for SCoPEd and the likely next steps.

1. What is SCoPEd?

SCoPEd (the Scope of Practice and Education) is a ground-breaking shared framework that maps existing core competences and practice standards for counsellors and psychotherapists working with adults.

It has been developed in collaboration by six PSA accredited register bodies across counselling and psychotherapy, including BACP.

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

SCoPEd is not a stand-alone framework being developed in isolation – for BACP it is an integrated part of our work to promote the best interests of all members.

2. What is BACP's aim for SCoPEd?

We believe SCoPEd will enable a credible, diverse and thriving counselling and psychotherapy profession that is better understood, valued and trusted by clients, employers, commissioners and society.

Our aim is to agree a ground-breaking shared framework, developed in collaboration by six professional bodies across counselling and psychotherapy to map existing evidence-based minimum training standards, knowledge and experience required for therapists working with adults.

3. When was the latest SCoPEd framework published?

The latest version of the framework was published by the SCoPEd partners on 2 February 2022. You can find the SCoPEd framework January 2022 here. 

4. What are phases one and two of SCoPEd?

The publication of the January 2022 framework marks the delivery of phase one work on SCoPEd – a joint commitment by partners to map the current reality of core training, practice and competence requirements. The SCoPEd partners are now working on phase two of our collective work.

Phase two means BACP working together with the SCoPEd partners towards the potential adoption of the framework by each partner organisation. The partners have jointly committed to:

  • conduct an impact assessment of the SCoPEd framework
  • creating a shared set of principles – based around fairness, inclusion and transparency – for implementing the framework
  • working towards agreed shared titles (which are not included in the January 2022 framework)
  • agreeing transparent and evidence-based mechanisms for members and registrants to progress between the columns of the framework as they develop their training, skills, knowledge and experience throughout their professional journey

5. Has the impact assessment been conducted?

Yes, the report was published in December 2022 and can be viewed on our update from the SCoPEd Oversight Committee news page

6. Who undertook the impact assessment?

An independent agency Eastside Primetimers. They're a consultancy and recruitment provider in the charity sector advising on development, funding, and growth and have a strong track record of impact assessment.

7. What was the process for choosing the agency to undertake the impact assessment?

Before the work was commissioned members of the SCoPEd Oversight Committee all took part in a workshop to discuss the aims and coverage of an impact assessment. This led to the creation of a brief which was distributed to 10 potential suppliers.

A panel of three partners, one Expert by Experience and a SCoPEd project worker met with two agencies to discuss their submissions. The panel decided unanimously upon one supplier to undertake the work.

8. What did the impact assessment include? 

The assessment comprised a qualitative element of interviewing various stakeholders including clients and patients, practitioners, trainers, awarding bodies, employers and commissioners, membership body staff, and the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Care Excellence (PSA). A variety of viewpoints were covered, including critical voices from those within counselling and psychotherapy, some of whom were contacted due to their specific skills and experience including within professional networking and campaign groups.

It also comprised of a quantitative element which involved statistical consideration of some of the data held by partners and data in the public domain.

9. Would the SCoPEd framework restrict the therapeutic services I offer?

No. SCoPEd is intended to be an enabling framework not a restrictive one. You would be able to offer the services you currently provide as long as you had the training, skills, knowledge and experience to ethically deliver them.

For example, if you are a therapist in column A, you may well have one or more of the competences listed at level B or C and you would be able to continue to deliver therapy based on those competences. Alternatively, you may have additional specialisms which sit outside the framework. The key thing is working within your competence which is a requirement of the Ethical Framework.

10. Would I be able to progress between the different columns on the SCoPEd framework? 

Yes. You would do this by moving from one BACP membership category which will be aligned to the standard of the SCoPEd framework.

Visit where would I be represented in the SCoPEd framework for more details.

11. Would my existing training, knowledge and experience still be valid with SCoPEd?

Yes. All your existing training, knowledge and experience would be valid. SCoPEd simply sets out a clearer framework which will create opportunities for you to develop and progress as a BACP member.

12. Is SCoPEd a mechanism for bringing in statutory regulation?  

No. The SCoPEd work is not connected to the issue of statutory regulation and the government have recently made it clear that they do not have any plans for statutory regulation. Decisions about statutory regulation are made by the Government, not by professional bodies.

However, if the situation changes and the Government decides to go down that route then we are keen that our profession is prepared and best positioned to inform and influence the way statutory regulation is implemented. SCoPEd, with its emphasis on the distinct characteristics and qualities of counselling and psychotherapy, as distinct from the biomedical approaches, will go some way towards making the argument that this profession needs a bespoke approach by those with strong understanding of the profession rather than a generic health regulator.

13. Is SCoPEd seeking to align counselling and psychotherapy with NICE guidelines and IAPT?

Quite the opposite. SCoPEd maps the current training and practice requirements for counsellors and psychotherapists with adults which represents the rigour, competences and standards of the profession beyond the NHS context. 

We see the framework as a powerful way of promoting counselling and psychotherapy as an alternative, evidence-based approach which challenges the existing narrow IAPT focus by presenting the skills and competences of all our registrants in a way that is accessible and authoritative. The intention is to inform and influence policymakers and to promote patient choice with far greater access for all to a wider range of modalities.