Wherever possible, you should try to resolve any grievances directly with the practitioner before making a formal complaint. You will need to include details of the attempts you have made to resolve the matter, or explain why it has not been possible for you to do so, within your complaint.

If the practitioner works for a BACP organisational member, you should complain through the organisation’s internal complaint procedures before referring the matter to us.

If you wish to discuss any concerns about your therapy or therapist, please contact our Ask Kathleen service. We can answer any questions you may have and offer guidance on what to do next.

What complaints we can deal with

To be considered under our professional conduct procedure, a complaint must:

  • relate to individuals or organisations that were BACP members when the alleged misconduct happened
  • be submitted within three years of the date the professional relationship with the practitioner ended, or the complainant became aware of the alleged misconduct
  • relate to a therapeutic based service provided by the member

We do not have any jurisdiction to consider criminal or civil law matters, or any matters which are not related to a therapeutically based service provided by a BACP member. We cannot accept any complaints for which legal action is in process or proposed.

What action we can take

If a complaint is upheld, we can take the following actions against a member:

  • impose a requirement for specific changes or improvements in their practice by a specific date
  • suspend or withdraw any professional status or rights conferred by their membership of BACP
  • withdraw or terminate their BACP membership
  • publish details of the complaint and any sanctions in the Notices section of our website, in our journal, and elsewhere if in the interests of public protection

Our goal is to ensure the member addresses the poor practice that led to the complaint. If they fail or refuse to comply with the sanction, we may withdraw their membership.

We cannot prevent a practitioner from continuing to practice or obtain financial compensation or reparation for the complainant.

For further information, please see

Professional Conduct Procedure (pdf 0.5MB)

We also have the Article 12.6 procedure for serious complaints which cannot be dealt with under the Professional Conduct Procedure.

How to make a complaint

You must make your complaint in writing, providing a detailed but concise account of what went wrong, together with any supporting evidence. Your complaint must:

  • be signed and dated
  • include the name of the practitioner or organisation and their location, so that we can confirm they are BACP members
  • enclose all relevant evidence
  • give details of why it has not been possible to resolve your complaint by any other means, including any attempts at resolution

These documents may help you in making a complaint:

Complaint guideline (pdf 0.2MB)
How to express a grievance or make a complaint, and the issues to consider

Complaint form (docx 86KB)
You do not have to submit a complaint on this form but it may assist you in compiling your complaint

Example of a complaint (pdf 0.2MB)
Illustrates how to present a complaint and the key issues to consider

Checklist (pdf 0.1MB)
Information you should make sure you have included before submitting your complaint

Guidance on confidentiality (pdf 2MB)

Guidelines for third party complaints (pdf 0.2MB)

Timescales for making complaint (pdf 0.2MB)

What we do with your complaint (pdf 0.1MB)

Please send your complaint by post to us at: Professional Conduct, BACP, 15 St John’s Business Park, Lutterworth LE17 4HB.