The Scope of Practice and Education (SCoPEd) project is a collaborative piece of work between the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), the British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC) and the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).

It 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. 

The Chief Executive of BACP, Hadyn Williams, said: “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. We felt it was important to address the ambiguity within the current landscape.

“We have simply mapped what is there in the hope that we will be able to make it clearer to anybody seeking the services of, or working with, the professions what it is our respective members can offer.”

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.

Gary Fereday, Chief Executive of BPC, said: “We are delighted to be working closely with our colleagues at BACP and UKCP to agree a shared, evidence-based competence framework and associated practice standards. SCoPEd is an important and ground-breaking project that will provide considerable benefits for the profession and crucially members of the public by developing a greater understanding and awareness of what psychotherapists and counsellors are competent to do.”

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.

Chief Executive of UKCP Sarah Niblock added: “The aim of this unique collaboration with our colleagues at BACP and BPC has been to provide an evidence-based framework of knowledge, skills and attitudes, that will ultimately provide clarity for clients, patients and the public on what all our respective members offer. We hope it will make it easier to promote the benefits of counselling and psychotherapy to commissioners and employers.”

The collaboration today launched a consultation with its memberships and other stakeholders in the field.

Find out more about the framework.