Person Centred Blog

TPCA and the Climate Crisis

TPCA and the Climate Crisis 

At the AGM on Saturday we discussed how, as a person-centred organisation, we could become actively involved in the current response to the climate crisis. How can we address our planet-centred concerns and responsibilities? The TG will be looking to this question and to how the membership can work together on this.

We will be asking members to join a ‘Planet-Centred Working Party’ in due course; soon! ‘

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Letter to BACP, UKCP and BPC re SCoPEd


Dear Chairs and Chief Executives of BACP, UKCP and BPC,

Following correspondence, including with yourselves, the seven organisations listed below request that you meet with us. Together, we are, at present, the main stakeholders from within the fields of psychotherapy and counselling.

Our own organisations represent approximately 6,000 psychotherapists and counsellors and we feel that it is important to discuss the proposed All Party Parliamentary Group on psychotherapy and counselling before further approaches to MPs are made by yourselves.

It is clear that there are significant concerns about recent developments in the field of therapy, and a risk of conflicts and hostility between organisations and an erosion of trust in the professional bodies.

Hence, we are seeking dialogue between our organisations to avoid further damaging conflicts about the future of psychotherapy and counselling in the UK.We look forward to hearing from you – with, we hope, a proposal for the kind of meeting we describe in this letter.

Richard Bagnall-Oakeley (Chair, Psychotherapy and Counselling Union) [Use this e-mail address for correspondence[Maria Albertsen (for Counsellors Together)Bea Millar (Chair, Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility)Dr David Murphy (United Kingdom Person-Centred Experiential)Professor Ian Parker (President, College of Psychoanalysts)Professor Andrew Samuels (Alliance for Counselling and Psychotherapy) Janet Tolan (Chair, The Person-Centred Association)

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20th anniversary of PCE Europe in 2018 and a restart of the network in 2019

20th anniversary of PCE Europe in 2018 and a restart of the network in 2019

In September 2018 "PCE Europe – Network of the European Associations for Person-Centred and Experiential Psychotherapy and Counselling" should have celebrated its 20th birthday, but the date passed unnoticed, there was not a big party! Only a few months earlier, in July 2018, the General Assembly in Vienna, failed to elect a new board and it became evident that PCE Europe might not survive its 20th anniversary.

There was no reason to celebrate!

There were various reasons for the apparent apathy and 'burnout'. PCE Europe started in Luxembourg, with 15 partners, and since then has developed into a strong network of 31 organisations in 15 different countries from many parts of Europe. Membership extends from the United Kingdom to Cyprus, and from Portugal to Russia. During the past decade, the biannual meetings of the General Assembly were combined with a Symposium. During these days person-centred professionals, from many parts of Europe, gathered to learn from another and exchange their ideas, but above all everyone enjoyed being in contact and having fun with like-minded people.

PCE Europe's members were reluctant to accept this undignified end of the network, without an attempt to reverse their fortunes, and a 'task force' was formed. The 'task force' was established in September 2018, with the job of providing a basis for PCE Europe's realignment, making it more attractive to its members and hopefully leading it into a fruitful future. Eight colleagues from 7 different countries joined the task force and met regularly on Skype. A person-centred mindset and a desire for European cooperation unified these people, who were of Austrian, British, German, Greek, Romanian, Russian, Scottish and Swiss origin. Their task was to prepare the groundwork for the next General Assembly, which was in Warsaw on 10 May 2019, and create a map for the association's future.

The Warsaw General Assembly was successful and heralded the relaunch of the European Network. An international Board was elected: Leonore Langner, Austria (Chair), Allan Turner, UK (Treasurer), Tito Laneiro, Portugal (EAP contact), Mihaela Bonatiu, Romania (Certificate Coordinator), Gaby Pierre Chami, Switzerland (Social Media Manager), Dimitris Portokalis, Greece (PR Officer).

The mission statement of PCE Europe was expanded and renewed, to make the network more tangible and attractive for its members. PCE Europe is seeking to register as an NGO (as is WAPCEPC), and a working group was established to determine the best jurisdiction for registration. We agreed to update, and enhance, the network's connection to WAPCEPC and to work closely together. The next European Symposium will be in Romania in 2021, and we hope that the event guidelines, prepared by the 'task force' will assist the organisers in their work.

New ideas were explored, which means that the new Board have a lot of working on its 'to do list'. There is a new momentum from the new Board, and they will value a strong network of support people who are ready to step up and contribute to PCE Europe's development.

Summary written by Simone Anderhub, Leonore Langner, Allan Turner.Contact: Leonore Langner | Address:

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New web site address


In a process of 'becoming' The Person Centred Association is continuing to grow, develop and change and one of those changes is the new url

Do please ensure you have updated your bookmarks and any links you have created, to the new URL

Marc Gibson

Trustee The Person Centered Association.

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The Person-Centred Association's Official Response to the SCoPeD Project.


Please see below The Person-Centred Associations's official response to the SCoPEd project.


Charity number: 1044077

June 2019

The Chair
Expert Reference Group
SCoPEd Project  

Dear Madam or Sir 

The largest single group of counsellors and psychotherapists in the UK are person-centred by training and self-definition. The SCoPEd project from its inception has excluded this group in favour of a theoretical stance that privileges psychoanalytic ideas and practice.

The humanistic therapies, of which person-centred is a significant branch, are founded on principles which include support for the autonomy of the client. The SCoPEd project’s theoretical stance is predicated on the therapist as an expert, knowing more than the client and with a brief to diagnose and treat – a model tending towards the medicalisation of human distress.

There is a very great body of research that supports the efficacy of person-centred and other humanistic therapy. Moreover, leading edge developments such as the the Power Threat Meaning Frameworkdeveloped by the British Psychological Society and Open Dialogue initiated in Finland are proving to be extremely effective in working with even the most extreme forms of “mental illness”.

For SCoPEd to be developing a framework that would render such work unlawful seems perverse and flies in the face of current research and practice.

Rather than simply criticizing the composition of the ERG, the “survey” of BACP members and so on, we prefer that the voice of person-centred practitioners be represented going forward. Please let us know as soon as possible which member/s of the ERG will be bringing research expertise and knowledge about person-centred practice into this forum.

Thank you


Janet Tolan
On behalf of the Trustees, The Person-Centred Association

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Successful Enounter Day

I felt todays encounter day in Coventry was a tremendously rewarding nd successful day, for me (I wouldn't like to speak for nyone else of course), with much sharing and it's such refreshing experience to be in receipt of (what I perceived to be) what felt like the core conditions from so many people.

Thank you again to all of you that attended and thank you too to the wider PCA community as you're a rather special lot in my eyes.


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Seeking new trustees

New Trustees Sought

The Person Centred Association is seeking new applicants to replace trustees coming to the end of their appointed constitutional term.

Initially new appointees will engage as co-opted members and elections will then be held at the August AGM for those wishing to continue.  Persons are sought who are willing to engage in TPCA initiatives – this requires that you:  meet face to face once a quarter (out of pocket expenses are met by TPCA);  have short Skype meetings with other trustees once a month; learn how to take part in helping to organise TPCA events; take part in the running of TPCA. 

You should also note that as a Trustee you will be entitled to claim CPD accreditation of 10 hours per quarter, and that you will almost certainly continue to experience personal growth and learning. 

If you or someone you know would consider becoming a Trustee please send an expression of interest (to highlighting any special areas of interest you have, for example organising events, finance, publicity … 

Finally, you should note that age, fame or ‘long-standing’ are NOT requirements – young and / or new members are particularly sought. 

We look forward to hearing from you soon 

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....against the BACP, BPC & UKCP SCoPEd project 2019

We would like to draw your attention to the text of Alliance for Counselling & Psychotherapy February Newsletter, reproduced as follows:

(Blog :    Contact

Newsletter against the BACP, BPC & UKCP SCoPEd project 12th February 2019



You are asked to forward this to everyone interested in the future of Counselling & Psychotherapy


To oppose the BACP, BPC & UKCP’s SCoPEd project, as it is a move towards standardisation of practices & state regulation


What this is all about :

The three leading regulatory bodies for the counselling and psychotherapy profession have created a new competence framework as a response to the mental health crisis (Letter to the Guardian : 30/11/2018 ): A survey was announced in January 2019 which is open to comment until 22nd February 2019. In the documentation  the framework, competencies & a ‘before and after’ comparison of training is given. Prior to this announcement there has been no consultation with the membership – the practitioners. When the SCoPEd project was being presented last May at the BACP Research Conference, the panel and chair refused categorically to rule out that this was about statutory regulation.


  • this whole project has been imposed without consultation, on the basis that the big 3 must know best. 
  • it ignores difference in training, practice, supervision and development of practice.
  • it, without evidence, sets standards for practice and training and supervision & what constitutes a Senior Practitioner
  • the framework once applied means everyone’s practice has to fit within – if you do not then you will be declared ‘unsafe’ or a ‘charlatan’. From BACP web-site:‘How will the SCoPEd Framework affect my existing membership, registration or accreditation?...over time existing members may be asked to benchmark themselves against the framework (including any post registration skills and experience) as part of ongoing registration requirements and as evidence of working within their competence.’
  • it invents the need for the public to be told which practitioner they should trust.  Only the big 3 can guarantee a practice by applying their framework.- From the Q&A quotes on BACP website: “The outcome of the SCoPEd project, and the collaborative nature of SCoPEd, puts us in a strong position to respond to the challenge of statutory regulation if it does happen." So, without consulting anyone, they are moving from regulation by PSA to regulation by HCPC.
  • BACP accreditation is the only access route to ‘advanced qualified counsellor’ and its more autonomous competencies. This locks out anyone who is not a member and generates a large steady income stream for BACP.
  • there is no evidence that this accreditation process which uses competencies works.  Why change what has worked for decades?- the distinction between the various levels is driven from the top-down instead of being based in practice (bottom-up).See Footnote ii for links to information on the SCoPEd project



Read the following and tweet, twitter your comments to as many people as possible


TEXTS So far:   

David Murphy ‘The Questionable Evidence Base of SCoPEd’ 31st January 2019  David Murphy, Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham, interrogates the claim that the SCoPEd framework is ‘evidence-based’. 

Andy Rogers ‘SCoPEd Denial, Distortion & Deception’ 30th January 2019

Andrew Samuels ‘’Psychoanalytic Coup’ – Andrew Samuels on the SCoPEd competence framework’ 30th January 2019    

Denis Postle ‘Regulation, Professionalism & Cultures of Dominance’ 25th January 2018 National Counselling Society (NCS), open letter to BACP highlighting all the contradictions between BACP’s 2009 HPC response and the SCoPEd project: February 2019

Counsellors Together ‘Initial response to BACP re: SCoPEd project : 4th February 2019.

PCSR have released an excellent 10-point statement of opposition

Maria Albertsen has an inspired twitter thread (52 tweets long!) of all the things SCoPEd says ‘counsellors’ can’t do…  


From, twitter profile, of Susanna Abse  @SusannaAbse Psychotherapist/Org consultant/Chair, British Psychoanalytic Council/Past CEO of Tavistock Rels. Tweeting on #relationships/#mentalhealth/#psychoanalysis

TWEET 1, 6th February 2019, “It’s v. good that many #counsellors and #psychotherapists engaged with #SCoPEd. But wonder if we C &P’s find it difficult to trust our colleagues? #SCoPEd is a building block to bringing us closer together not, I repeat, not designed to divide us. Splitting...again? Hope not.”COMMENTSo, because the Alliance challenges what the big 3 have done, in secret and without consultation, the Chair of the BPC takes a stand from within her certainties and sticks the blame on us. The Alliance (C & P’s), not the BPC, cannot trust colleagues (who exclude them and work in secret).  The Alliance is stupid to see ScoPEd as divisive rather than a building block to closeness. She asserts that bringing us closer together, that is standardising our practices to her design, is a good thing with no evidence that this is so. Then she throws ‘splitting’ at us, in the mistaken belief that the BPC’s use of this term is valid throughout the practice of counselling and psychotherapy and psychoanalysis. What a breathtaking insular view of our practices, which covers us with the cloth of standardisation for our own good, from a pedestal somewhere in the clouds.

TWEET 2, 7th February 2019, “Is outlining potential differences in competency divisive? These are minimum competencies - they don’t define me - it’s a framework, not meant to be a personal slur. Take a step back. #ScoPEd” COMMENT“Take a step back”..??!   We are arguing from the outside, the position which has been given to us by this SCoPEd project.  “they don’t define me”, says the person at top of the proposed hierarchy to people at the bottom.





Note:The current consultation does not ask for your views on the content of the draft framework, rather it seeks to garner empirical justification for the standardisation of practice. Perhaps, if you are registered with the BACP, BPC or UKCP, you could respond to the consultation and tell them how you disagree with their ambitions.

If you are registered with one of the big 3 and have not received the invitation to take part in the consultation, please contact them and insist.In the comments section, you can use the above texts to critique the whole project.

If you are not registered with the big 3, you should anyway take note of this latest attempt to define practice standards, one that will play a role in a future push to state regulation.

This project can be used to lock out all who are not registered with the big 3.

In 2009, the Maresfield Report, a response to an attempt to regulate the field by the Health & Care Professions Council endorsed by ten psychoanalytic training organisations, successfully argued that the diversity and the range of practice in the field of counselling and psychotherapy in the UK served to benefit the public, offering choice as to the aims, techniques and the theories and ethics that underpin practice. Standardisation would reduce choice and diversity. You can find the Maresfield Report on the Alliance front page at 

The Expert Reference Group (ERG) proposing standardisation have chosen to interpret some concepts in ways that ignore the history, development and inherent tensions that exist in the psy-field. For example, it is claimed that ‘unconscious could refer to non-conscious, and transference or counter-transference could be described as the client or patient’s internal experience of the therapist, and one’s own experience in response.’ Not all psychotherapists would agree with such definitions.


It is regrettable that the following surely brings up conflicts of interest in relation to the Expert Reference Group who were assembled for this collaboration between BACP, UKCP and BPC. It is already known that the chair co-wrote a paper with Anthony Roth and Stephen Pilling whose methodology is said to be important to the scoping exercise. Hence, her designation as an ‘independent chair’ is questionable. Moreover, she is of course a registrant of BPC. 

We have noted from the names on the ERG that several have held senior administrative/political posts in the registering bodies. 

Now this: 

Item 2.1 of the competencies document proposes that ‘qualified counsellors’, when assessing clients, must have the ‘Ability to collaborate with supervisor and (or) other professionals to decide if a client or patient is suitable for therapy’ -  but not the ‘Ability to undertake a competent clinical assessment that is consistent with own therapeutic approach.’ This competency manifestly belongs to ‘advanced counsellors’ and ‘psychotherapists’ only. 

Our informant takes this to mean – and we are inclined to agree - that unless you are an ‘advanced counsellor’ you could not therefore function autonomously in private practice or generally regard yourself as competent to make a choice as to whether or not you could see a client. 

Research has now shown that there is one particular counselling training system that prefigures this approach. This organisation requires its qualified graduates to do further training before being allowed/permitted to see private clients. 

It seems that a member of the ERG used to run this organisation, and this is where the conflict of interest may arise. The more so if this approach is likely to penetrate into the two organisations that register counsellors: BACP and UKCP. 

The issue, as it strikes the Alliance, is less about what one might think of the restriction on private practice on the part of ‘qualified counsellors’ per se, and more on how this scoping edifice has been constituted and managed. 

Hence, many future ‘qualified counsellors’ the Alliance doubts, could buy into the lists of competencies in relation to their practices. Therefore, anyone who imagines that, were this hierarchical system to become concretely established, they would only be a ‘qualified counsellor’ must do everything possible, when replying to the survey, to indicate that they strongly oppose what is being put forward.

  • BACP – British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy - 
  • BPC – British Psychoanalytic Council -
  • UKCP – United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy -
  • PSA – (to which all the big 3 belong) Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care -     - Until 30 November 2012 it was known as the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE). It is an independent body, which is accountable to the Parliament of the United Kingdom.[2] It assesses the performance of each regulator, conducts audits, scrutinises their decisions and reports to Parliament. It seeks to achieve balance in the oversight of regulation through the application of the concept of right-touch regulation
  • HCPC - The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) | - ,
  • From the UKCP’s website:- How we protect the publicWe set the standards for the professionals on our RegisterWe approve programmes which professionals must complete to register with usWe take action when professionals on our Register do not meet our standards
  • NCS - National Counselling Society  -
  • PCSR - Psychotherapists & Counsellors for Social Responsibility : 

Compiled by Julia Evans. With contributions from David Murphy, Arthur Musgrave, Ian Parker, Denis Postle, Andy Rogers, Andrew Samuels and many others(Blog :

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The Person-Centred Association (TPCA) trustees meeting update, October 2018

The Association name change has been registered with the Charity Commission, and the process of becoming a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO) is moving forward.

Membership numbers are rising, since the changes implemented in September – welcome to new members, and thank you to all who have stayed with BAPCA/PTCA through difficult times – we look forward to hearing from, and seeing more of you in the coming months

.There have been a few submissions after the PCQ editors’ appeal, but more would be very welcome! It would be great to be able to put together an issue before Christmas.

There will be a redesign of the logo, and related materials… the trustees are in dialogue with Lynne Blundell, who did the design currently on the website.

Trustees have agreed that strengthening links with other PCA organisations and groups benefits all – so we will be actively pursuing this, starting with sharing the news of the new TPCA! We are also offering to pay the delegate fees for a member to represent TPCA (and report back) at PCE Europe’s Conference in Poland in 2019.

Dates for your diaries: 

30th Anniversary celebration - Saturday 8th June 2019 – 10.30am-7pm with barbeque, at the Quaker Meeting House, Coventry.

AGM – Saturday 16th July 2019 – 10.30am-4.30pm at the Quaker Meeting House, Norwich 

The trustees want to keep Local Groups (LGs) in the loop, and are checking that TPCA have the correct contact details – you can let us know too, of any changes – send an email to

Maybe your LG might be willing to share the organisation of an Encounter day – or other PCA event with TPCA – under the TPCA umbrella – TPCA can underpin the venue hire and refreshment costs, and administer delegate payments, with lower rates for TPCA members. If this appeals, please get in touch ( )

Remember too, that TPCA can offer £100 seed money to help in the setting up of a new PCA group.  

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BAPCA to become The Person-Centred Association

At the 2018 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of BAPCA, held Saturday 18th August 2018, the organisation voted to accept and set about the process to implement a resolution to change its name.

The change was from The British Association for the Person-Centred Approach to The Person-Centred Association.

The AGM expressed its will to move the organisation forwards, with the view that the new name would be more closely aligned to the current context the organisation finds itself in, and will help to facilitate its growth and development.

To this end, we have started a process to incrementally implement the change in name of the organisation to ‘The Person-Centred Association’ step by step, firstly updating the Charity Commission (as they regulate charities such as BAPCA), which has been done, and, of course, you - as soon as we were able. The next steps will involve changes to the website, for example, and of course changes to other materials thereafter.

The Person-Centred Association (TPCA), will also become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). We hope you will bear with the Trustees whilstthis exciting new development is put in place.

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