Our Board of Governors are elected, appointed or co-opted to oversee our strategic direction and the management of the Association. They represent, and are accountable to, our members, so their role is to provide strong leadership, enhance decision making and make sure we achieve our objectives.  

In these new updates, we’re introducing some of the current members of our Board through a Q&A, so you can find out more about them, their work and their own experience as a BACP Trustee.

How long have you been a BACP Governor?

As of autumn, I will be two years into my term.

Why did you want to become a Governor?

For a couple of reasons. One, the world around us, and indeed that of counselling and psychotherapy is changing. The Covid-19 pandemic, ongoing national and international challenges mean that counselling and psychotherapy has to evolve and adapt to meet these challenges - I wanted to be part of that. Also, because of Natalie Bailey. She inspired me to stand, she was, and still is, present and visible. The counselling and psychotherapy universe is incredibly diverse and vibrant. Yet, it was difficult to see who looked like me and had a similar life journey. I could stand on the touchlines, or I could be part of this counselling and psychotherapy universe.

How did you find the election process?

Straight forward, but scary. I have great colleagues who supported me. BACP was great at communicating and ensuring that the process was the best it could be. Being elected, and hearing about it, ranks as being one of the most interesting experiences ever.

How have you found the experience of being a Governor?

Developmental and insightful. I can see BACP in action; the nuts and bolts. It’s a great panorama; from the membership to the board room. I’ve experienced being a counsellor beyond my own therapy room, and can see what the challenges are of being a practitioner and what BACP does to help us do our jobs. I include myself in that, as I am still a member. This is also a rewarding experience, I can be part of change, forward movement and help the evolution of our profession.

What sorts of things have you done as a Governor? / What’s your biggest achievement so far?

I’ve loved going to Making Connections. I’m always blown away by the voices of students in particular. My biggest achievement, I guess is being present, visible and hearing this as a positive facet from fellow colleagues who want to see a face of BACP that looks like them. I’ve worked with fellow Board members on the new strategy and with that will work with them as BACP develops into the best organisation it can be.

Has becoming a Governor been what you expected?

I’ll be honest - no. It’s a whole new world. No one tells you what it’s like to be a Board member; what it’s like to be a Board member for BACP. So there’s two things there that have to be married up. It’s been insightful, challenging and rewarding. I have an insight into how BACP works; who does what, and why. I’m able to see the boots on the ground, when it comes to policy, funding, research and connections. It’s empowering and engaging. I’ve grown professionally and personally, having thrown my hat in the ring two years ago.

On a weekly basis – how much time do you spend doing work relating to your role as a Governor?

This will vary. We have quarterly board meetings, Making Connections; dialogue with the great staff at BACP. There’s preparation to be done, discussions and reflections to be managed. I’d say at least a couple hours a week.

What are you looking forward to over the next six months?

Everything. There’s so much that’s scheduled to happen. So much to participate in, as BACP moves and evolves; as the counselling and psychotherapy universe continues to change. The new strategy will shape the work of BACP, which is important to consider.

What would you say to encourage members to nominate themselves to stand for election to the Board in 2023?

You have the opportunity to make a difference, to contribute to change and develop our profession. Think of everything that you wish you could get from your job, and see this as an opportunity to pursue it. With that, the chances are that others will feel the same way. Their voice, your voice; coming together is about making sure we move in a common direction.

Punam Farmah

Punam Farmah