The project

The SCoPEd (Scope of Practice and Education) project aims to agree an evidence-based framework to inform the training requirements, competences and practice standards for counsellors and psychotherapists who are working with adults.

As the organisations representing around 60,000 counsellors and psychotherapists, we take our responsibilities to the public, the profession and to our members extremely seriously and we felt it was important to address the ambiguity within the current landscape.

We hope that this ground-breaking work will help to clarify the professions for the public, trainers, employers, clients and patients and other stakeholders in this field.

The team used an evidence-based process to map existing competence frameworks and coupled this with practice standards to identify areas of overlap and difference between counselling and psychotherapy.

The major finding of this process is the emergence of areas of difference between counselling and psychotherapy, based on the content of training and associated practice standards.

The draft SCoPEd framework details the overlapping and differentiated competences and practice standards across three levels, which for the purposes of clarity in the document are described as ‘qualified counsellor’, ‘advanced qualified counsellor’ and ‘psychotherapist’.

The next iteration of the SCoPEd framework was published on Tuesday 14 July and has taken into account the response from the member and stakeholder consultation in 2019.

The original version of the framework (which is still available to view below) was published in January 2019.


What is a competence framework?

Competence is usually defined as the integration of knowledge, skills and attitudes. Competence frameworks identify and bring together all the relevant knowledge, skills and values that are key to working effectively in a specified area. By mapping existing competence frameworks, the SCoPEd framework identifies the knowledge, skills and values that are relevant to counselling and psychotherapy.

Who is on the project team?

The project is made up of:

  • a Steering Group, which includes the chief executives of the three organisations and oversees the framework development process
  • a Technical Group, consisting of representatives of the three organisations who have drafted this framework. The Technical Group has conducted the main mapping of competences. The group consists of three counsellors (BACP), two psychotherapists (UKCP and BPC) and one psychotherapeutic counsellor (UKCP). Each member of the Technical Group has a range of teaching experience within counselling and psychotherapy trainings, from level four diploma to MA/MSc Programmes.
  • an Expert Reference Group (ERG), comprising academic experts in the field of counselling and psychotherapy drawn from the three organisations. This group scrutinises and oversees the methodology utilised and the iterative development of the framework. The ERG has been overseen by an independent chair and supported in its research by an independent information analyst.

Intellectual property notice

The SCoPEd framework has been developed using an evidence-based process. The contents remain the property of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), the British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC) and the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) as part of the SCoPEd collaboration. The intended use of the framework is to inform the development of course content, curricula and practice standards, and the contents of the SCoPEd framework may not be altered in any way.

Copyright notice

These materials are subject to copyright of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), the British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC) and the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) as part of the SCoPEd collaboration © 14.11.2018. All rights reserved.

Further questions?

If you can't find the answers in our SCoPEd FAQs you can email