Why do you think the framework is important?

I believe the framework is integral to the very survival of our profession. The profession is not taken seriously by other professions, in particular medicine and psychology, where we are often experienced as "do-gooders" who offer "tea and sympathy", rather than skilled practitioners. The lack of minimum education standards means that skill and expertise varies considerably and a "qualified counsellor" can mean anything from someone who has spent five minutes training online and someone who has endured years of face to face study, personal development groups, personal therapy and many hours of supervised practice in placement. The public are ill informed and do not know what criteria they should be looking for as a minimum. There is very little paid employment, which drives the poorly trained and inexperienced into private practice before they are competent. We need to create more employment for counsellors and without SCoPEd the profession stands no chance of being taken seriously and employment opportunities just won’t be created.

Do you support the aims of the framework?

I am completely supportive of the aims. The profession simply cannot survive without a competency framework which demonstrates the skills and knowledge within the profession.

What is your understanding of how the framework will benefit members?

The framework will give members a clear understanding of entry points and where they can focus training and CPD to advance their careers. It will enable members to educate potential employers as to their competences and skills when applying for work and could be used to inform clients, so they know that their expectations of a particular counsellor are realistic. The framework will also professionalise counselling and psychotherapy and increase credibility with employers and decision makers. This in turn will increase employability.

Are there any aspects of the framework you’re concerned about?

No I’m not concerned. Change is absolutely necessary and long overdue for the profession. Hierarchy doesn’t threaten me, it’s evident in every profession from hairdressing salons (the junior stylist, the senior stylist and the salon manager) to legal (the junior, the associate, the partner) to medicine (junior doctor, houseman and consultant). It gives a career path and enables the client to pay appropriately for the level of service they desire. If I have a minor legal issue, I would probably not want to pay to see a partner, because I would not need his or her extensive experience or knowledge. If my query is more complex, then I might consider employing a partner, so that I could draw on that knowledge and experience.

I believe it is ethical that our profession is transparent and counsellors, particularly those in private practice, state their level of training and expertise in a manner that is clear to clients, to enable them to make an appropriate choice. Counsellors are not all the same and the differences should be made transparent and celebrated.

Views expressed in this article are the views of the writer and not necessarily the views of BACP. Publication does not imply endorsement of the writer’s views. Reasonable care has been taken to avoid errors but no liability will be accepted for any errors that may occur.