The Government currently has no plans to introduce the statutory regulation of counsellors and psychotherapists, a Parliamentary debate heard. 

The update was given by Conservative peer Lord Bethel who spoke in the House of Lords on Monday evening. 

We joined with BPC and UKCP to brief members of the House of Lords ahead of the debate, and were pleased to see Parliamentarians using information from our briefing in their speeches. 

Our briefing focused on how our members are highly-skilled and qualified and are bound by professional and ethical standards, as well as explained our public protection work, including our conduct procedure. 

We commented on the benefits and challenges of the current PSA-accredited register system and how that differs from statutory regulation. 

Our Chief Executive Officer Hadyn Williams said: “We were delighted to see the recognition of registered counsellors and psychotherapists’ skills and extensive training in this debate. Our members’ expertise changes lives and we’re proud to represent that and work hard to ensure it’s recognised by policy-makers, commissioners and the public. 

“This was an interesting and wide-ranging debate covering vital subjects relating to our professions. We were pleased to have the opportunity to contribute to the debate. 

“We’re committed to working within a regulatory framework that will deliver high professional standards and level of public protection.” 

The debate was called by Baroness Jolly, who used information from our briefing in her opening remarks.  

She said: “While the number of unregistered therapists is low, the expectation is that clients or patients working with unregistered counsellors and psychotherapists are more ​vulnerable to the possibility of harm. This is because they have no assurance of the level of training or competence of the practitioner nor a redress system to access should something go wrong.” 

The Peers who spoke in the debate supported greater regulation of counsellors and psychotherapists to protect people from harm. 

Responding on behalf of the Government Lord Bethel, said: “More rules are not always the answer to every problem.  

“While statutory regulation is sometimes necessary where significant risks to users of services cannot be mitigated in other ways, it is not always the most proportionate or effective means of assuring the safe and effective care of service users. 

“We do not take this position without careful thought. We have previously considered the introduction of statutory regulation of counsellors and psychotherapists.  

“We have considered various Private Members’ Bills, including from the noble Lord, Lord Alderdice 

“None the less—in reply to the noble Lord, Lord Macpherson, and others who have asked the question straight—I will give a straight answer: we currently have no plans to do this.

“This may come as disappointing news but, as I am sure the noble Baroness will appreciate, there is a wide range of mental and physical therapies on offer in modern Britain and an important focus on ​personalised approaches to mental health care and treatment.” 

Read the full House of Lords debate on Hansard