Our former Chair Professor Lynne Gabriel has spoken of her shock at being appointed an OBE in the Queen’s Jubilee Birthday Honours.

Lynne said she’s still coming to terms with her award for services to higher education and mental health.

“It hasn’t fully sunk in yet,” she said. “It was a shock and, for a moment, had me thinking that they’ve made a mistake.

“My partner and I will go to a royal residence to get a medal, I believe, and that will bring it home to me.”

Former Chair

Lynne, who is professor of counselling and mental health at York St John University, was Chair of BACP between 2008 and 2011.

She’d returned home from a holiday in Scotland for one night to attend a function in the city when she found out about her award.

“As I went through the door to get ready to go out I noticed on the mat a standout envelope,” she said.

“There was a lot of mail but this one stood out, and had Cabinet Office on the side.

“The default place that I went to was ‘oh my goodness, what have I done? What are they chasing me for?’.”

Our former Chair Lynne Gabriel has been appointed an OBE in the Queen's Jubilee Birthday Honours

Our former Chair Lynne Gabriel has been appointed an OBE in the Queen's Jubilee Birthday Honours


Lynne thanked the university, her colleagues, students, and people who have supported her and paid tribute to the people who nominated her for the OBE.

She said: “I don’t think I’d be where I am without the support of my university, colleagues, and students.

“I may have an OBE but I also have a lot of lovely folks and lovely colleagues supporting me.”

She added: “I’ve had some absolutely lovely reactions, loads of emails, and lots of people saying well done.

“A former student from 15 years ago contacted me. I taught her but actually I became ill, so I wasn’t with her in a group for long. She was kind enough to write to me to say it was lovely to see me getting this and she wanted me to know that 15 years later my impact has lasted. That was precious.”

As well as a past Chair, Lynne is a Fellow of BACP, Chair of our Ethics and Good Practice Guidance Committee, a member of our Research Committee, and has made invaluable contributions to our Ethical framework and ethical resources for members.

She also led on the Professional Education Development Forum, which presented a paper to the Board and became a precursor to SCoPEd, and has been part of the project’s Expert Reference Group.

Leading figure

“All of the different things I’ve done for our professional body, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed,” she said.

“Colleagues and the university generally have supported my involvement in things in the field, for which I’m very grateful.”

Our Chair Natalie Bailey paid tribute to Lynne as she congratulated her on her award.

“The honour is hugely deserved and stands as a tribute to your hard work, commitment, and dedication to education and to the counselling professions,” said Natalie.

“You’ve been a leading figure in counselling and psychotherapy, chaired our Association with distinction, and have inspired generations of therapists as a university teacher and supervisor.

“We’ve been grateful for your expertise as Chair of our Ethics and Good Practice Guidance Committee, and for your work on our Ethical Framework, our ethical resources for members, and on the SCoPEd ERG. You have been and continue to be a true friend to BACP.

“On behalf of our Association, our members, and the Board, we congratulate you on your OBE. We’re thrilled to see you and your inspirational and tireless work being recognised.”