The definitions are provided as supplementary information. They should be understood as non-binding good practice guidance, which do not override or weaken the commitments contained in the Ethical Framework. Definitions may be adapted or refined to suit particular services or settings, where any changes are consistent with the Ethical Framework and these Ethical Guidelines.

For other terms and definitions, please see the Ethical Framework glossary.


In Section, the code indicates the sections and points within the Ethical Framework (BACP 2018)where the word or term appears.

  • C = Our commitment to clients
  • E = Ethics
  • GP = Good practice

So, for example, C2e can be found in the section Our commitment to clients, point 2, subpoint e.

BACP 2018: Introduction, GP31, 31a,31b, 31f, 38, 55e, 83d​

Term Definition Section
Abuse Violation of another person's rights, for example by physical force, psychological manipulation or deception. BACP 2018: GP35
Accountability Taking responsibility for one’s work and being willing to give an accurate account about what has occurred to anyone to whom this responsibility is appropriately owed, for example, clients, employers and professional colleagues. BACP 2018:
C6, GP50–54
Accurate All due care has been taken about the truthfulness, completeness and exactness of what is being communicated. BACP 2018: C2e, 5b, E12, GP15, 45, 71, 75
Accurate records Records that are factually correct and complete and are careful to distinguish fact from opinion or interpretation. BACP 2018: C2e, GP15, 71
Adjustments Changes to the physical circumstances or the way that a service is delivered in order to make it accessible to someone, particularly someone with a disability. BACP 2018: GP22f
Agency 1) Any organisation that provides the services to clients.
2) The right to use one’s own power and authority to act for self.
BACP 2018: GP64;
BACP 2018: E12
Agreement A shared understanding between two or more people about any terms or conditions that have been mutually accepted. Agreement is an essential requirement for a legally enforceable contract. BACP 2018: GP26, 31, 31a, 31b,
31f, 64, 83d
Anonymised The removal of any information that would allow the person concerned to be identified or identifiable by any means from what is being communicated. Failure to anonymise adequately within the counselling  professions can lead to a breach of trust with the person concerned and cause harm resulting in significant embarrassment, anxiety or distress. Where there is any uncertainty about whether anonymisation will protect someone’s identity, it is ethically and legally good practice to seek that person’s explicit consent to use that information and for how that information will be used.

Anonymisation is different in meaning from ‘pseudonymisation’, a term used in current data protection regulations. ‘Pseudonymisation’ is defined as ‘the processing of personal data in such a manner that the personal data can no longer be attributed to a specific data subject without the use of additional information, provided that such additional information is kept separately and is subject to technical and organisational measures to ensure that the personal data are not attributed to an identified or identifiable natural person’ (GDPR Article 4.5). An example of this would be where a client’s contact details and the client’s records are kept separately, but linked with a reference number. Pseudonymised information is regarded as personal data, and subject to the data protection law.

By contrast, anonymised information ceases to be ‘personal data’ with the associated legal requirements and protection when any means of identifying the person concerned has been genuinely and irreversibly removed. The GDPR is very clear: 'The principles of data protection should therefore not apply to anonymous information, namely information which does not relate to an identified or identifiable natural person, or to personal data rendered anonymous in such a manner that the data subject is not or no longer identifiable. This regulation does not therefore concern the processing of anonymous information, including for statistical or research purposes.’ (GDPR (26)).
BACP 2018: GP55g, 78, 83a.
Appropriate Fitting and ethically right for its purpose. This term is widely used throughout the Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions.  
Appropriate records Adequate, relevant and limited to what is necessary. The decision about what is appropriate will take into account the ethical and legal requirements for processing (includes making, keeping, using and sharing) records. See Information Commissioner’s Office ( for the latest information. BACP 2018: C2e
Attitudes Persistent ways of feeling, behaving or holding an opinion about someone or something. BACP 2018: GP74
Being trustworthy The principle of being trustworthy prioritises honouring the trust people place in the practitioner, both as a person and as a professional, with particular attention to being trustworthy to clients in the counselling professions. This principle underpins the emphasis on integrity, openness and honesty, candour, integrity, and probity throughout the Ethical Framework. Even when a practitioner has done everything in their power to be trustworthy, this cannot guarantee that trust will be given. The most a practitioner can achieve is to create the conditions in which it would be appropriate to be trusted. Whether or not trust is granted depends on the other person. BACP 2018: E5
Boundaries The limits in relationships between practitioners and their clients that, if crossed could cause harm to the client or contravene professional standards and ethics. BACP 2018: C4c, GP33, 33a, 63, 79
Breaching confidentiality Disclosing something that has been communicated in confidence by mutual agreement or with the expectation that it will be kept secret. The expectation of secrecy may have been stated expressly or implied. Confidentiality is breached when any disclosure is made without the consent of the person concerned, legal authorisation or being legally defensible in the public interest. Breaches can occur accidentally or deliberately. In most circumstances, obtaining the consent of the person concerned provides an ethical way of avoiding a breach of confidentiality. Any disclosure of confidential information requires respecting the possible rights to confidentiality of any third person who is identifiable within the disclosure. BACP 2018: GP9
Candour A commitment by practitioners about being open and honest about anything going wrong and to inform clients promptly if anything has occurred that places the client at risk of harm or causes harm to their wellbeing or safety, even if the client is unaware of what has occurred. BACP 2018: C6, E12 and GP52a-e
Capability The capacity to be able to do something. BACP 2018: E12, GP29, 57
Children and young people Anyone under the age of 18 years in the UK. 
See also: Safeguarding
BACP 2018: GP27a-d
Circle of confidentiality This circle represents the boundary between people who are included or excluded from the confidentiality agreement with the client. It encompasses all the people who have access to confidential information about clients as part of their usual work and are explicitly committed to treating that information as confidential, typically as a term of their employment. The people within the circle of confidentiality may be identified to clients by name or role, for example in contracting. The communication of confidential information beyond the circle of confidentiality will require client consent, being legally defensible in the public interest, or legal authorisation by court order or statute.
See also: Confidentiality
Client A client is anyone in receipt of coaching, counselling, pastoral care, psychotherapy or counselling skills from a member or registrant of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. This includes being a supervisee or trainee. All clients are entitled to receive services that satisfy the commitments stated in the current Ethical Framework in ways that are appropriate to the type of service being provided and its setting. Trainees, supervisees, and participants in research will receive the same applicable commitments and ethical standards as any client receiving services from a member of the counselling professions.

This term is widely used throughout the Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions.
Coaching A way of helping people that builds on their existing strengths to develop their potential by enhancing their understanding of themselves, beliefs, behaviours or actions. BACP 2018: Introduction – key terms, GP3
Colleagues Practitioners and people in closely associated roles who collaborate to deliver services to clients (and who are bound by similar or equivalent professional standards). BACP 2018: C2c, E10, GP14c, 16, 17, 22b, 24, 33d, 37b, 44, 56-59
Competent Working with sufficient knowledge and skills to satisfy the fundamental standards for the service being provided. 
See also: Professional standards
BACP 2018: E12, GP13, 74
Confidentiality The protection of information that has been communicated in the expectation that it will be not be disclosed to others.
See also: Reasonably foreseeable limitations to confidentiality
BACP 2018: C3b, GP9, 10, 13, 26, 31c, 42, 44, 55a-g, 64
Consent An agreement to a course of action based on a shared understanding of what will be involved. In the General Data Protection Regulation ‘consent’ of the data subject means any freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s wishes by which he or she, by a statement or by a clear affirmative action, signifies agreement in the processing of personal data relating to him or her (GDPR (32); Article 4.11; Article 7).
See also: Informed consent
BACP 2018: GP16, 26, 27a, 28, 55f, 78, 83a, 88
Contract  An agreement, written or oral, between the people involved about the terms on which something (goods or services) will be provided. Any business and therapeutic terms and conditions that are agreed between counselling professionals and their clients will usually form part of the legal contract between them. Contracts may be useful in reinforcing and clarifying practitioners’ ethical commitments to their clients and should generally be in writing, or in another form appropriate to the client’s needs. It is good ethical practice to ensure that any contractual terms are clear and easily understandable and that the contract is readily available for the people concerned to check what has been agreed between them. It is a legal requirement that any information and communication relating to the processing of personal data should be ‘easily accessible and easy to understand, and that clear and plain language be used’ (GDPR (39)) Where appropriate, information may be given using electronic form or using visualisation. Communications to a child ‘should be in such a clear and plain language that the child can easily understand’ (GDPR (58)). BACP 2018: Introduction, GP31, 31a,
31b, 31f, 38, 55e, 83d
Contractual incompatibilities These occur when there are differences or contradictions between contracts that apply to the work being undertaken. Incompatibilities may arise, for example, between a contractual agreement with a client, the practitioner’s agreements with supervisors and/or trainers, the contractual terms and conditions of a professional body to which a practitioner belongs, a practitioner’s contract of employment, any contractual agreements or regulatory requirements that apply to an organisation employing the practitioner. BACP 2018: GP31f, 83d
Counselling A specialised way of listening, responding and building relationships based on therapeutic theory and expertise that is used help clients or enhance their wellbeing. This term is widely used throughout the Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions.  
Counselling professions Providers of services informed by therapeutic theory and practice that are delivered with sufficient expertise to satisfy professional standards and ethics. These professions include coaching, counselling, pastoral care, psychotherapy and using counselling skills.  BACP 2018: Title, introduction, C, GP3, 37b, 47 87
Counselling skills A specialised application of communication skills informed by therapeutic theory and practice that are considered essential to practice in the counselling professions or may be incorporated into other roles, for example in health, social care, education, and human resources. The use of counselling skills outside the counselling professions may be regulated or informed by that profession’s codes of ethics and standards. BACP 2018: Introduction, GP3
Counselling related services  Used generically in a wider sense, to include the practice of counselling, psychotherapy, coaching, mentoring and pastoral care.
See also: Practitioner
Dignity The quality of being worthy of respect from self and others – opposite of humiliation. BACP 2018: E3, GP21
Dilemma A choice between two or more possible options or courses of action where it is unclear which to choose for the best. BACP 2018: E13, GP92
Disciplinary procedures Investigation and adjudication of allegations concerning bad practice or misconduct by an employee or a member of a professional body. BACP 2018:
Disrepute To bring a person or group of people such as a profession into disrepute is to damage their good name or reputation. BACP 2018: GP48
Dissemination Sharing, distribution or publishing, for example, the results of research.  
Diversity Variations and differences between people. BACP 2018: GP22a, 23
Dual relationship Having two kinds of relationship concurrently with the same person, for example client and neighbour, colleague and trainee, or supervisee and employee. BACP
2018: GP33b, 33c, 33d, 63, 79
Education Systematic instruction in theory and practice. BACP 2018: GP3, 62, 66
Effectiveness A measure of what has been accomplished or achieved. BACP 2018: E3
See also
BACP 2018:C6d, GP18, 54.
Equality Treating all people with equal fairness and impartiality, regardless of their differences. The Equality Act 2010 requires public bodies to protect people from discrimination due to any of the following characteristics – age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. Discrimination against a woman due to pregnancy or maternity is prohibited. The precise legal requirements vary between the different nations in the UK. Nonetheless, all practitioners in any nation or setting are ethically committed to respecting these characteristics. BACP 2018: E12, GP22a, 23, 57
Ethical-problem-solving A systematic approach to responding to and resolving ethical challenges and dilemmas. BACP 2018: E13, GP93
Evidence-base Evidence that is informed by systematic research, particularly into effectiveness and safety. BACP 2018: GP14b, 84
Explicit Stated in words or clearly communicated by other methods, for example by sign language or images. BACP 2018: GP9, 88
Face-to-face In the physical presence of the other person – not working at a distance and communicating through technological devices such as telephones or video links. BACP 2018: GP20
Gender identity This is interpreted broadly to include all varieties of binary (male or female), non-binary and gender fluid identities – see Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy in UK. GP22e
Generalisable A rule or principle derived from research that has wide or general application.  
Harm Emotional, psychological, relational, social, behavioural or physical damage, or neglect are forms of harm that may result in distress, heightened anxiety, damage existing relationships, reduce the capability to relate to others, and undermine the self-respect or sense of personal worth of the person concerned. BACP 2018: C6b,
E5, 12, GP9, 10, 11, 33b, 33c, 37, 52, 52a, 52b, 55d
Identity Sense of self in relationship to others that forms the basis of responsibility and motivation. Identity may have wide variations between people. Differences between between individualistic, relational and collective identity can be particularly relevant to the counselling professions and how people understand their own autonomy or agency, relate to others, or find the social resources that support their resilience and resourcefulness. BACP 2018: E12, GP22d, 22e, 22g,
Inclusion Being welcomed and drawn into an activity or service on an equal basis to anyone else. GP22a, 23
Informed consent Where the person giving consent is accurately informed about the reasonably foreseeable positive and negative implications in ways that that the person concerned can understand. In relation to processing personal information, data protection legislation sets a high standard for consent.
See also: Consent
BACP 2018:
GP26, 27a, 88.
See also C6b, GP30, 49, 75
Insurance A premium paid for protection from financial or other types of losses. Adequate professional practice and public indemnity insurance cover means having a sufficient amount of cover to protect clients from any loss or harm arising from the practitioner’s professional and occupiers liability, if something went wrong. BACP
2018: GP19
Integrity Being moral in dealing with others, including personal straightforwardness, honesty and coherence. BACP 2018: C5, E3, 5, 11, 12, GP33d, 37, 37b, 43-49, 86
Justice The principle of justice prioritises treating all clients fairly and impartially, and ensuring the adequate provision of services. This principle underpins respecting equality, diversity and inclusivity in how services are provided, being attentive to how ethical and legal obligations are implemented, a willing readiness to be accountable for decisions and actions, and a commitment for striving towards a provision of services that are accessible, fairly distributed, and of sufficient quality and quantity for potential clients. Managing any reduction in services due to shortages according to the principle of justice is particularly challenging. BACP
2018: E5
Knowledge A practitioner has knowledge when they are aware of and understand something both theoretically and practically. BACP 2018: C2b, E3, 12, GP14, 14d, 14e, 20,
22g, 27b, 62, 74, 84, 86
Known risks These are risks that can reasonably be anticipated from research, professional literature and guidance, or previous experience of working with clients or others facing similar issues, for example, the possibility of feeling worse before feeling better, impact on key relationships or performance of significant tasks etc.  BACP
2018: C6a, GP51
Law A system of public morals that are enforceable in the courts. The main sources of law are statutes, subsidiary legislation, and decisions made in courts (also known as case law). The commitment to giving the law ‘careful and conscientious consideration’ requires knowing the law relevant to their practice and to carefully consider how it ought to be applied to their circumstances. Careful or conscientious consideration may require practitioners to consult legal or expert advice when appropriate. Ideally law and ethics match each other but this is not always the case. When a conflict between ethics and law arises, it may be appropriate to campaign for changes to the law whilst observing the applicable law. Conscientious objection to a legal requirement that leads to defying the applicable law is not something to be undertaken lightly as it requires a willingness to be openly accountable for resisting or breaking the law, an acceptance of the risk that legal penalties may be imposed, and may require consideration under the Professional Conduct Procedure. BACP 2018: GP9, 14f,
23, 27c, 46, 70
Mental capacity The legal term for the mental ability to make one’s own decisions, defined in England and Wales in the Mental Capacity Act 2005, the Mental Health Acts 1983 and 2007,the Mental Health Act 1983 Code of Practice (DH 2015), and the impact of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which came into effect in 2008. For mental capacity in other jurisdictions, please refer to relevant applicable law.  
Monitor To observe or keep under review at regular intervals. BACP 2018: C6d, GP54, 91b
Multiple relationships Multiple relationships involved three or more types of relationship at the same time with someone, for example friend trainee and colleague. BACP 2018: GP33b,
Online Connected by computer or other digital technologies to communicate between people. BACP 2018: GP20
Participants Describes the people being researched in order to be inclusive of their different degrees of active involvement in the research. Research participants may be a cohort of individuals or organisations. In some forms of research, (such as action research) the researcher may be both researcher and participant in the research.  
Performance The accomplishment of actions at an appropriate level. BACP 2018: GP29
Practice The application of professional knowledge and skills to the work being undertaken, particularly when working directly with people. BACP 2018:
Introduction, E12, GP1, 11, 60, 63, 68, 79, 81b, 83a, 83e, 84, 90, 91, 92
Practitioner A practitioner is a member or registrant of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy who is providing therapeutically-informed services, particularly coaching, counselling, pastoral care, psychotherapy or using counselling skills. This includes being a supervisor, trainer, educator of practitioners, or a researcher of any aspect of the counselling professions. Trainees are practitioners when working with members of the public as their clients. BACP
2018: Introduction, C, E3, 5, 7, 10, 13, GP3, 11, 14d, 37b, 41, 42, 57, 58, 60, 61, 67,
82a, 84, Heading at 91
Privacy Freedom from disturbance or intrusion by other people. BACP 2018: C3, 3b, GP21,
31c, 55, 55d, 61
Professional standards Working to a recognised level or quality of performance, which applies to all services of that type. A fundamental professional standard sets the baseline for quality and safety below which a service ought not to be provided. Achieving the fundamental standard requires adequate resources for the type of work being undertaken combined with reasonable care and skill in how the work is delivered. An enhanced quality standard sets the level above the fundamental standard that is achievable through good use of existing resources. Developmental standards are ones that practitioners or the agency are aiming to achieve in the future. BACP 2018: C2, GP13-20, 66, 67, 83b, 83c, 91b
Pseudonymisation  Pseudonymisation means the processing of personal data in such a manner that the personal data can no longer be attributed to a specific data subject without the use of additional information, provided that such additional information is kept separately and is subject to technical and organisational measures to ensure that the personal data are not attributed to an identified or identifiable natural person.’ General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR: Art 4 (5)). Note that pseudonymisation is intended to be an addition to other forms of data protection measures and is not intended to preclude any other measures for data protection. (GDPR (26); (28)).  
Psychotherapy A specialised way of listening, responding and building relationships based on therapeutic theory and expertise that is used help clients or enhance their wellbeing. BACP 2018: Introduction, GP3
Quality The level of excellence achieved in how the research has been undertaken and reported.  
Qualitative research Qualitative research primarily uses exploration, for example, to gain an understanding of perceptions, opinions, reasons and motivations. Data collection methods may involve unstructured, or semi- structured techniques, and may include participation and collaboration involving both the researcher and participants. Participatory research provides the potential for the researcher to involve participants in a joint consideration of ethical issues throughout the research process, and in determining the findings.  
Quantitative research Quantitative research uses methods that emphasise objective measurements and the statistical, mathematical, or numerical analysis of data collected, for example, through polls, questionnaires and surveys, or by manipulating pre-existing statistical data, using computational techniques.  
Reasonably foreseeable limitations to confidentiality Any limitations that a reasonably competent practitioner ought to be able to anticipate as causing difficulties in protecting clients’ confidences, for example, arising from legal or contractual obligations to disclose confidential information or to protect people from serious harm. Some situations that arise in practice may be so unexpected or exceptional that they are not considered to be reasonably foreseeable. BACP 2018: GP55d
Record A catch-all word that includes all notes, records, memoranda, appointments, communications and correspondence, photographs, artefacts, video or audio recordings about an identifiable client. Records may exist in any format, typically but not exclusively, on paper or electronically. There is no distinction between factual and process notes in what the law regards as a record.  BACP 2018: C2e,
GP15, 31d, 32e, 71
Regulation An authoritative rule or instruction.  BACP 2018: GP14f, 83a
Relational autonomy The right to self-government where the people concerned view themselves as inextricably linked with other people, for example, as a member of a family, social group or tribe. BACP 2018: GP22d
Reliable A quality criterion particularly applicable to experimental or quantitative research that expects any exact repetition of the research process to produce the same results.  
Reliable electronic resources Information and resources accessed by electronic means that have been subjected to good quality controls before the item was posted and/or are from people or bodies who are respected for the accuracy and soundness of their output. BACP
2018: GP14a
Research A systematic enquiry or experiment to advance knowledge typically using statistical or qualitative methods.
See also: Appendix C
BACP 2018: GP3, 14b, 84-90
Research participants Someone being studied or providing information to a research project. ‘Participant’ is now widely preferred over ‘subject’ as it places greater emphasis on the active engagement of the person concerned rather than viewing them as depersonalised or passive. BACP 2018: GP88, 89
Resilience The ability to overcome or recover from challenging situations. BACP 2018: E3, 10,
11, 12
Review Carefully reconsider, examine or inspect. BACP 2018: C6c, GP14d, 32, 33d, 65, 89
Rigour Quality criteria that when applied to all types of research refers to the thoroughness with which the relevant methodological principles or quality criteria have been achieved in the research. In traditional quantitative and experimental research, rigour usually refers to achieving high validity, reliability and generalisability. In most qualitative research that is not aiming at generalisable knowledge, rigour requires high validity and providing sufficient contextual information to enable readers to decide what is transferable to other contexts that are of interest to them. As this type of qualitative research is contextually specific and therefore difficult to repeat in the exactly the same way, transferability replaces reliability as an indication of rigour.  
Risks Exposure to danger of physical, psychological or social harm.  
Safeguard(ing) Protecting people’s health, safety, wellbeing and human rights in order to enable them to live free from harm, abuse or neglect. BACP 2018: GP10, 55d
Safety Adequate protection from physical, psychological or social harm.  
Self-respect This principle prioritises growing the practitioner’s sense of personal and professional integrity through supporting and enhancing the quality of work undertaken and being actively engaged in its ethical and therapeutic purpose. Being attentive to self-care to ensure that one’s resilience and resourcefulness are sufficient to work to adequate standards in the counselling professions, monitoring one’s well-being in supervision, having a good work-life balance are all examples of the application of this principle. BACP 2018: E5
Sense of self An awareness or understanding of oneself and one’s relationships with other people and the environment. BACP 2018: E3, 12
Services Professional assistance provided by practitioners to their clients, or provided indirectly by providing services designed to enhance the work of practitioners working on the frontline, for example through supervision, training or research. This term is used widely throughout the Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions.  
Sexual orientation This refers to the sexual or romantic attraction someone feels to people of the same sex, opposite sex, more than one sex, or to experience no attraction – see Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy in UK. GP22e
Sexual (relationships) Any action or communication directed towards another person involving acts, words or behaviour that arouse or gratify sexual impulses or desires. BACP 2018:
GP34, 35, 36, 37b
Skills An ability to perform tasks well using knowledge and practical expertise. BACP
2018: C2b, E12, GP14, 14d, 14e, 27b, 62, 74, 81b
Social media Websites and electronic applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. BACP 2018: GP33c
Standards See Professional standards  
Student A person following a course of study at a university, college, institute or other educational establishment, including trainees on professional courses. BACP
2018: GP75, 76, 77
Supervision A specialised form of professional mentoring provided for practitioners responsible for undertaking challenging work with people. Supervision is provided to ensure standards, enhance quality, stimulate creativity, and support the sustainability and resilience of the work being undertaken.

Academic or Research-supervision is different. It is an academic role, usually provided by an academic institution to advise students and researchers in their studies.
BACP 2018:
Introduction, C6c, GP3, 14d, 33d, 37b, 53, 55d, 60-73, 83e, 93
Supervisor Someone who provides supervision.

Academic or Research-supervisor is different. It is an academic role, usually fulfilled by an experienced academic to advise students and researchers in their studies.
BACP 2018: Introduction, GP3, 8, 42, 52d, 62,
63, 65, 66, 68, 70, 71, 83b, 83e
Therapeutically-informed services Services developed from and informed by the theory and practices used in talking and listening therapies, typically coaching, counselling, pastoral care psychotherapy or using counselling skills. Such theories and practices may be drawn from a wide academic and professional base, including neurology, psychoanalysis, psychology, social sciences and other disciplines. BACP 2018:
Introduction, GP3
Trainee Someone working under the guidance or instruction of a trainer in order to develop their expertise. BACP 2018: Introduction, GP34, 37, 66, 80–83
Training Guidance or instruction usually within a structured programme or course. BACP 2018:
GP555d, 62, 66, 74-80, 82b, 83a, 83d, 83e
Transparency In relation to research, clarity and openness in communication, provision of information, and in the way in which the research process will be conducted.  
Unauthorised access or disclosure This involves acting without legal authority or client consent to obtain or release confidential information in ways that are contrary to professional standards and ethics and violate the privacy of the people affected. Unauthorised disclosures may be deliberate or they may be accidental, for example by unintentionally leaving notes or a file in a public place. BACP 2018: GP55a
Unfairly discriminating Treating people in a prejudiced or unfavourable way in comparison to others. Unfair discrimination includes anything that diminishes how we relate to and work with others because of a failure to respect someone’s characteristics that are significant to their way of being and relating. Unfair discrimination usually arises from prejudices against another person or group of people. Prejudices may operate at conscious or unconscious levels in individuals, groups or organisations. They include reacting against or being insensitive towards someone’s cultural values and beliefs, lifestyle, parental responsibilities, consensual sexual activities between adults, education, social and economic status, or party politics. These characteristics are in addition to those protected by law.
See also: Equality
2018: GP22b, 24
Value An assessment of the worth of the research as a contribution to knowledge.  
Validity A quality criteria applicable to all types of research concerning the compatibility between the methodologies used and the research question(s) being investigated. In statistical and experimental research, validity concerns whether what is measured and how it measured matches the research question. A validity check in computing-based research investigates whether data items conform to coding requirements.  
Voluntary Action undertaken of one’s own free will or choice – not coerced or constrained by another person. BACP 2018: GP25
Vulnerable Being exposed to any form of physical, psychological or social harm from which someone may find it difficult to protect themselves or to rectify any harm caused.  
Vulnerable adult The meaning of ‘vulnerable adult’ varies across different contexts but is widely used to refer to people over 18 years old who are regarded as vulnerable because they are unable to adequately protect themselves against significant harm and exploitation or unable to take care of themselves without assistance.

In social policy, a vulnerable adult is typically someone aged 18 years or older, who is receiving or may need community care services due to mental or other disability, age or illness and who is or may be unable to take care of him or herself without assistance, or unable to protect him or herself against significant harm or exploitation.

The legal definition of a vulnerable adult in England and Wales is anyone to whom health and social care is being provided as set out in the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (as amended by the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012).
Wellbeing Living in a good state of emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual health. BACP 2018: C2d, E3, 5, 12, GP11, 29, 91