1. Why is SCoPEd important? 

SCoPEd is important because it would bring benefits for all BACP members, clients, counsellors, psychotherapists, trainees, employers, commissioners and wider society.

We are working on our members’ behalf to deliver your priorities – to set standards for the profession, protect clients from unsafe or unethical practice and provide you with the resources and support you need to practise. SCoPEd is critical to delivering on these priorities.

Beyond our own membership, the challenge is that there’s no common framework for training and standards across professional bodies. Terms such as ‘accredited’ and ‘registered’ mean different things in different organisations. This can be confusing for employers and commissioners and ultimately means that you miss out on development and paid opportunities.

By ensuring our profession is better understood, valued and trusted, we believe it would increase access to paid opportunities for qualified counsellors and psychotherapists and enable them to thrive wherever they are represented in the framework.

Fiona Ballantine Dykes, BACP Chief Professional Standards Officer and Deputy CEO explains the importance of SCoPEd. 

Fiona Ballantine Dykes, BACP Chief Professional Standards Officer and Deputy CEO talks about the SCoPEd framework and diversity. 

2. How does SCoPEd help deliver BACP member priorities? 

SCoPEd is key in delivering three of BACP members’ four main priorities highlighted in our 2020 member survey. 

  • setting standards for the profession
  • protecting clients from unsafe or unethical practice, and
  • providing members with resources that support professional and ethical practice

3. How would SCoPEd help therapists and trainees?

The SCoPEd framework would:

  • enable opportunities for growth for all trainees and qualified counsellors and psychotherapists at all stages of their professional journey, without having to retrain
  • create a shared framework, agreed by different PSA accredited register bodies, which brings greater credibility to the profession
  • encourage a diverse and varied profession accessible by therapists with very different backgrounds and types and levels of training, knowledge and experience
  • give employers and commissioners a single framework to use, which would help the profession become better understood, valued and trusted by those who employ therapists and commission our services

By ensuring our profession is better understood, valued and trusted, we believe SCoPEd will increase access to paid opportunities for qualified counsellors and psychotherapists and enable them to thrive, wherever they are represented in the framework.

4. How would SCoPEd help employers, commissioners and wider society? 

The SCoPEd framework would:

  • present a clearer picture of the wider counselling and psychotherapy profession, showing collaboration across the profession in this way for the first time
  • distinguishing highly trained and qualified counsellors and psychotherapists – which includes all BACP members – from those who undertake trainings which fall far short of the minimum requirements identified in the SCoPEd framework
  • give greater clarity about the range of skills that different counsellors and psychotherapists can provide
  • map shared minimum training standards, knowledge and experience in this way for the first time
  • enable employers and commissioners to make more evidence-based and informed choices by improving their understanding of the skills, knowledge and experience of a wider pool of qualified therapists

Ultimately, SCoPEd would enable counsellors and psychotherapists to have greater access to more opportunities to provide professional help for people across society.

5. How would SCoPEd help encourage diversity?

We recognise and value different entry routes to counselling and psychotherapy.

The diverse range of backgrounds, approaches, philosophies and professional training that our members bring to their work is a huge strength of BACP, and SCoPEd would further enhance and embed that diversity.

Ensuring fair access to the profession is critically important for trainees and clients and a key part of our Equality, diversity and inclusion strategy.

SCoPEd is an inclusive framework that would encourage a diverse and varied profession by:

  • ensuring different points of entry for different people at different levels – for example, the framework recognises that you are a qualified therapist with a level 4 qualification or a level 7 qualification
  • laying out more accessible routes for progression regardless of where you first enter the framework – for example, enabling all members to move between columns without having to retrain

In time, SCoPEd would help to significantly change the demographic of therapists at those levels which are currently very unrepresentative and difficult to enter unless you do the ‘right’ training.

6. How would SCoPEd enable opportunities for growth? 

At the moment there is no shared framework.  As a result, you are faced with an often-bewildering range of options with no clear pathways for you to identify and choose to focus on for your professional development.

SCoPEd would enable you to plan and develop your professional journeys with much more certainty and understanding, and this would apply to trainees and qualified counsellors and psychotherapists at all stages of their professional journey.

7. How would SCoPEd bring greater credibility to the profession? 

SCoPEd would give greater clarity about the range of skills that different counsellors and psychotherapists can provide.

It would present a clearer picture of the wider counselling and psychotherapy profession, showing collaboration across the profession in this way for the first time in a shared professional standards framework.

This is far more credible than each membership body developing its own professional standards framework, which creates a lack of consistency and clarity across our profession.

8. How would SCoPEd help those who employ therapists and commission our services?

Instead of having to engage with six or more professional bodies, commissioners and employers would be able to use one shared professional standards framework to inform decisions based on competences and practice standards.

The development of SCoPEd is already creating opportunities that didn’t previously exist. For example, the profession now has representation on the NHS’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) Advisory Board as a direct result of the evidence that professional bodies are able to work together in the common interests of clients and those who use our services.

9. Why does BACP believe SCoPEd would increase access to paid opportunities for members?

SCoPEd is a tool that would enable us to better represent and describe what all of our members can do, wherever they are represented in the framework, which would increase understanding and awareness of the profession.

With the leading professional bodies working together with one voice and acting collectively in the interests of clients, we would be able to engage more effectively with key external stakeholders like employers, commissioners and government.

We believe this mix of increased engagement with key stakeholders and the clearer representation within the framework of the skills and value that BACP members can bring to the clients, employers and commissioners you work with is vitally important.

We believe that this in turn would create access to more paid opportunities for you at all stages of your professional journey.