We launched our pilot bursary scheme for counselling and psychotherapy training in November 2022. This supports our work to improve equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the professions.

We're funding 10 bursaries for individuals to train in counselling or psychotherapy, or to progress within the counselling field, starting in September 2023.

Our pilot scheme offers five entry-level bursaries for applicants beginning their training (Level 2) and five progression-level bursaries for applicants studying for diplomas or up to master’s level (Level 3 and above).  A bursary provides financial support to cover the costs of the training course and associated expenses like supervision and personal therapy, IT, books or travel. Unlike a grant, it does not have to be paid back on successful completion of the course.

Following our first successful wave of bursaries, the pilot scheme is now undergoing a planned internal review. Once this review is complete, we will be re-opening the scheme. Any information regarding the next wave of bursaries, including an anticipated launch date, will be posted on BACP website in due course.

Find out more about the bursaries offered:

Next steps

If you've submitted your application, you should still be able to access your account on the Blackbullion website, but you cannot make any changes. You can still access the core information, the bursary terms and conditions and the FAQs.

The initial sifting and longlisting will begin in December 2022 through to January 2023. This will be based on the eligibility criteria with applications anonymised and ranked by Blackbullion. Those that meet these requirements will progress to the next stage of the process and will be submitted for BACP review. If you have any questions or concerns in the meantime, please contact support@blackbullion.com .

If you started an application but haven’t yet submitted it, unfortunately you’ll be unable to continue with it. Due to high levels of interest, we’ve reached the maximum number of applicants and cannot process any further applications at this time.

If you’d still like to train, there’s more information about entry routes to becoming a counsellor or psychotherapist and careers within the profession in the Careers and jobs section of this website.

Why this scheme is important

Feedback from members has highlighted the challenges for Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities in accessing the profession through training, with counselling and psychotherapy seen as a profession for those who can afford to train.

From members who were able to train, the feedback was clear. Training is seen as Eurocentric, it doesn’t sufficiently cover EDI issues and there’s no support for trainees from minority backgrounds, with issues around the curriculum, trainers and trainees' experience.

While inequalities in health and wellbeing have historically existed, the pandemic has intensified and widened the gap, highlighting the need for structural and systemic change. There is an urgent need to take a proactive stance and develop preventative work and long-term support that are culturally relevant and address issues around stigma, fear and barriers to access.

Members have previously pointed out the importance of role modelling and representation within training, and the effect these can have on morale and future aspirations. If our trainees, and those wishing to enter the world of counselling, are unable to see people like them who they can connect with, it can create a barrier to training.

The questions 'Where are people like me?' and 'Where do I fit in?' can result in 'This isn’t a place for people like me' because of our backgrounds, experiences and those we learn from and about. Counselling is generally considered as a white middle-class profession (Ballinger 2017). Training in counselling can be costly and non-viable for those who are less financially privileged and from marginalised communities.

This scheme is one initiative to help to remove a barrier to accessing the profession and is part of our ongoing work to encourage people from racialised communities into counselling and psychotherapy.