British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

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British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
TypeProfessional Body, Charity
Registered office15 St John's Business Park, Lutterworth, Leicestershire, LE17 4HB
Membership50,000 (approx.)
ChairNatalie Bailey
CEOAnna Daroy

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) is a professional body for counsellors and psychotherapists practising in the United Kingdom.


Originally founded in 1977 as the British Association for Counselling, aided by a grant from the Home Office Voluntary Service Unit, it had emerged from the Standing Conference for the Advancement of Counselling. This body was inaugurated in 1970 at the instigation of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.

In 1978, the headquarters were relocated from London to Rugby courtesy of the National Marriage Guidance Council which provided free accommodation to help the association establish itself. The Association is now located in Lutterworth.

In September 2000, the Association recognised that it no longer represented only those involved in counselling, but also psychotherapy, and changed its name to the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

In September 2017, the branding was refreshed introducing a new logo, colour scheme, typeface and the slogan "counselling changes lives", based on a belief in the impact and benefits of the profession. This was Highly Commended in the 2018 memcom membership excellence awards stating that it "found success over various mediums" and "had a clear rationale for the brand relaunch and a strong proposition that counselling changes lives".[1]

In November 2019, the membership was reported to have surpassed 50,000,[2] prompting the Association to share celebratory and rewarding comments from its members as a way to mark the achievement.


BACP is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity, monitored by the Charity Commission to ensure that aims are charitable and funds used for the benefit of its members and communities in which they are active. BACP follows the Charity Commission's Charity Governance Code as a tool for continuous improvement.

The governing instrument is the Memorandum and Articles of the Association.[3]

The Trustees, known collectively as the Board of Governors, govern the Association.[4]


BACP operates six committees, with volunteer input, to oversee the activities of the association:

  • Audit, Risk and Performance Committee
  • Finance and Policy Committee
  • Membership and Professional Standards Committee
  • Public Protection Committee
  • Remuneration and Governance Committee
  • Research Committee


BACP works with commissioners and government[5] to promote the counselling professions, seeking to advise and inform national and international policy and procedures concerned with counselling and psychotherapy, offering information and guidance to involved parties. BACP is consulted by government bodies, professional bodies, funding organisations, teaching institutions and many others on important issues concerning counselling and psychotherapy.

The Association sets and maintains standards for the profession. The Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy along with the Professional Conduct Procedure is intended to ensure that members of BACP abide by an accepted code of conduct and accountability.[6] The Association accredits counsellors with the appropriate training and experience via a rigorous accreditation process that requires continued education to maintain accreditation.

In October 2015, the Collaboration of the Counselling and Psychotherapy Professions (CCPP) was announced between BACP, BPC and UKCP. Whilst promising to maintain their unique differences, each organisation expressed their recognition of shared goals and a commitment to improving the nation's mental health and wellbeing.[7][8]

In June 2017, BACP presented their Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) research[9] as a paper at the Society for Psychotherapy Research conference in Canada. Key research papers, including the FGM paper and a paper analysing data from the National Audit of Psychological Therapies, were published gold open access.

In March 2018, BACP and the SQA announced a unique partnership which promises to improve access to the counselling profession for students in Scotland through a new BACP Approved Qualification scheme.[10]

Strategic priorities[edit]

Following consultation with their members and stakeholders, BACP identified three key areas for particular focus where the value of counselling has the greatest potential to improve lives.

  • Older people
  • Four nations
  • Children, young people and families

Specialist interest divisions[edit]

BACP represent and promote specialist areas of interest within the profession by operating seven divisions, each managed by an executive committee of volunteers which run their own meetings and formulate strategies in line with BACP objectives, overseen by the BACP Board of Governors.

  • Children, young people and families
  • Healthcare
  • Workplace
  • Coaching
  • Higher and further education
  • Spiritual and pastoral
  • Private Practice


Although counselling and psychotherapy are not statutorily regulated professions,[11] BACP works alongside other associations to advise and appeal to government[12] in attempts to ensure members of the public who access the counselling professions are safeguarded.

The BACP is registered for accreditation under the scheme set up by the Department of Health and regulated by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care.[13] The Accredited status of the BACP Register is reviewed annually by the Professional Standards Authority to ensure that the highest standards are being met and good practices are being followed.[14]


Therapy Today[edit]

The organisation's Therapy Today magazine, with a circulation of 44,386 (ABC Jan – Dec 2016), is the most widely read specialist magazine for counsellors and psychotherapists in the UK, and has a strong international presence, publishing articles on topics crossing the breadth of counselling and psychotherapy practice, modalities and theoretical approaches.


The BACP publishes eight member-only journals:

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Memcom Awards Post Event Brochure 2018". Retrieved 23 December 2019.
  2. ^ "News from BACP | Celebrating 50,000 members". Retrieved 23 December 2019.
  3. ^ "BACP's Articles of Association". Retrieved 23 December 2019.
  4. ^ "BACP's officers and governors". Retrieved 23 December 2019.
  5. ^ "Counselling in schools: a blueprint for the future" (PDF). Government of the United Kingdom. 1 February 2016. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 December 2018.
  6. ^ "Professional conduct". BACP. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
  7. ^ "New era of collaborative working". Retrieved 23 December 2019.
  8. ^ "New era of collaborative working with BACP and UKCP | British Psychoanalytic Council". Retrieved 23 December 2019.
  9. ^ Jackson, Charlie (2017). "Counselling professionals' awareness and understanding of female genital mutilation/cutting: Training needs for working therapeutically with survivors". Counselling and Psychotherapy Research. 17 (4): 309–319. doi:10.1002/capr.12136. ISSN 1746-1405. PMC 5678232. PMID 29151816.
  10. ^ Scottish Qualifications Authority, Resource Management. "SQA partnership with BACP set to improve counselling training in Scotland". Retrieved 23 December 2019.
  11. ^ "The Next Episode – Anyone Can Call Themselves A Therapist". BBC Sounds. Retrieved 24 December 2019.
  12. ^ "UKCP | Joint manifesto submission from the Collaboration for Counselling and Psychotherapy Professions (CCPP)". UK Council for Psychotherapy. Retrieved 24 December 2019.
  13. ^ "BACP Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists". BACP. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  14. ^ "PSA – Annual review of accreditation 2018/19" (PDF). Professional Standards Authority. 10 March 2019. Archived (PDF) from the original on 23 December 2019. Retrieved 23 December 2019.

External links[edit]