Person Centred Blog

....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:

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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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