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History of The Person Centred Association

The Person Centred Association —known as BAPCA until September 2018— sparked by the idea to create a movement for people who were interested in or committed to, the Person-Centred Approach, was formed in 1989.

Irene Fairhurst, a co-founder and now Honorary member, explained that, 'A few of us, in light of the possible regulation of counselling and psychotherapy, were talking one day about the need to create a national organisation. We decided to call a meeting and invited around 200 people we knew in the country at that time who were interested in the person-centred approach. Around 50 people attended. That was the start of BAPCA.  We were different from other organisations and wanted the way we organised BAPCA, as well as the philosophy, to be person-centred.'  

One aim in creating a person-centred organisation was to ensure that the national policy makers would not overlook the approach. Irene clarified that 'we wanted to create a person-centred organisation that could give input to regulators from a person-centred viewpoint.'  

The Person Centred Association/BAPCA has been instrumental in developing the person-centred approach both in the UK and abroad. The vibrancy of the organisation has turned it from a small stand-alone organisation, to one with international links and standing.

The Person Centred Association is a member of the World Association for Person-Centred and Experiential Psychotherapy and Counselling (WAPCAPC), and the Network of the European Associations for Person-Centred and Experiential Psychotherapy and Counselling (NEAPCEPC).  Additionally, Association members can join Division 52, the Humanistic Section of American Psychological Association (APA) and benefit from a reduced membership fee for the first year. 

Co-founder Bernard Mooney is currently an active member of the The Person Centred Association and a life-long Honorary member. While co-founder Tony Merry, until his death in 2004, was editor of the BAPCA publication 'Person-Centred Practice' which upon Tony's death amalgamated into the 'Person-Centred Quarterly'.

Although The Person Centred Association has grown beyond its modest beginnings, with a vibrant and mixed membership, the  radical ideology and philosophy of respect and trust still remains its core.

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