UK Counsellors working together to end the culture and prevalence of unpaid work within our profession
** The UK’s largest counsellors’ campaign group **
UK Counsellors, also know as Counsellors Together UK (CTUK) started in July 2017 as a Facebook group discussing the expectation that counsellors are often asked to work for free. We quickly began to talk about what we could do to bring an end to unpaid work within our profession. Today, our group comprises over 9,000 members and the discussions which take place every day have influenced the direction of our group, resulting in a focus on the following 3 goals:
1. To challenge the culture and prevalence of unpaid work within the counselling profession. This includes: ending the routine use of qualified counsellors volunteering to deliver counselling services in organisations and agencies across the country. Ensuring counsellors are valued and seen worthy of fair remuneration for their work, and to end the financial hardship and emotional duress suffered by many counsellors who feel they have no choice but to continue to volunteer or work for free, once qualified.
2. To ensure counselling training and ongoing personal and professional development is accessible for all.
3. To encourage organisations to embed the authentic application of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in everyday practice. This includes publicising the challenges that counsellors face, in order to raise awareness; and influence social, political and economic change within the counselling professional, as well as advocating for counselling as a route to emotional and mental well-being in children, young people and adults.
These are the three pillars of our campaign work on which we work with and on behalf of our 9,000+ members.
The actions we intend to take in order to deliver our goals include:
– Conducting research
– Lobbying membership bodies
– Lobbying local and national governmental departments
– Raising public awareness
– Collaborating with other counsellors and counselling organisations
This website is used as a platform to publish our News and a space where counsellors, other professionals and the general public join in relevant and important discussions.
Introducing the Therapists Talk Money Podcast – Coming May 2023. In the meantime, please listen to our Welcome message.
To get started we recommend that you read two pages of our website first. This will bring you up to speed with our current campaign work and give you a very clear picture of what we are about.
1. Campaign with us. Are you passionate about the future of the counselling profession? Do you believe that all counsellors should be paid for the work that they do? Do you recognise that part of the problem is that we don’t, as a profession, embed EDI in our every day practice? Do you want to have your voice heard? On this page you’ll find out all about our current campaign work and how you can get involved. Click here to join in.
2. Therapists Talk Money. This is a place for therapists and key figures in our profession to talk openly about money, the lack of it, and what this means for our profession and the 70,000+ therapists working in it. Here you can access our financial surveys, YouTube show/podcast and other resources. Click here to find out more.
- If you are a UK counsellor or therapist you can join in a more confidential discussion over on our Facebook page here.
We want to influence change
We know that by working together we can influence change. We can work towards ensuring that counsellors are paid for the work they do; and are valued and respected as a profession. Counsellors undertake professional training for many years, which is demanding both academically and personally. Counsellors and psychotherapists are not people who sit and have friendly chats over a cup of tea, as some would suggest. We are highly qualified, educated and skilled people. We often work with the most vulnerable people in society. We help individuals and communities to change, improve mental health and well-being; and often save lives as we do so. At the very least we ask to be paid for the work that we do, like all other highly qualified professionals.
What we can achieve together
Our first major achievement was in November 2017 when one of our members proposed a resolution to the British Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (BACP). The BACP is the largest membership organisation for counsellors in Europe. Some members were angry that the BACP continued to advertise for organisations looking to ‘employ’ qualified counsellors to work for free.
Our resolution asked that the BACP would stop this practice. The resolution had overwhelming support and the BACP had no option but to uphold it at their AGM. They confirmed that from April 2017, they would no longer allow organisations to advertise to ’employ’ qualified counsellors to work for free. You can read more about this in our News section here.
Since the resolution was passed, we are delighted that other professional membership bodies, such as the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), have followed suit.
More recently (November 2022) our founder Maria Albertsen seconded a BACP resolution submitted by CTUK member Marvis Stewart. The resolution is as follows:
RESOLUTION: ‘Unpaid volunteering jobs aimed at BACP registered and qualified counsellors remain an issue within our profession. We ask BACP to take a firm stance against counsellor exploitation and communicate with organisations advertising such jobs to make them aware of the importance of paying qualified therapists a decent, proportionate wage.‘
We were delighted when BACP members voted to uphold this resolution, especially because it is the first time a member resolution has been passed since 2017 and after BACP changed the rules making the motions and resolutions process significantly more difficult. You can keep up to date with the progression of this resolution, including it’s implementation by BACP and impact via our campaign page here.
National Counsellors’ Day – In 2019 we launched National Counsellors’ Day. The day has 3 main aims:
- To host an annual conference focusing on Social and Political Issues in Counselling and Psychotherapy (this helps us to achieve Goal 3 as stated above).
- To raise public awareness about our profession, who we are and what we do.
- To celebate the work we do via the UKs only National Counselling Awards.
We estimate that each year we reach around 10,000+ people, including approximately 2500 therapists accessing each annual conference, with consistent outstanding feedback across the board. You can find out all about National Counsellors’ Day and get involved here.
These accomplishments just go to show what we can achieve when we organise and work together. We all have a voice and we can use our voices collectively to make real changes for us all, and the future of the profession.
We also have several more ongoing projects as well as future campaigns in the pipeline which we will keep you updated about here on our website, and via our mailing list.
If you are a counsellor, psychotherapist or other related professional and are living in the UK; and you would like to become involved then please do join us. You can register to keep up to date with our work by signing up to our monthly Newsletter – simply enter your email address in the box to your right (desktop) or below (mobile). You can also join our private Facebook group with over 9,000 therapists here and you can find us on Twitter here.
We are also interested in hearing experiences and opinions from the general public and invite you to also share your views.
If you would like to make a monetary donation to help fund the campaign work we do, then you can click on the ‘Donate’ button on this page. All money raised go towards running costs, campaign work and admin duties, with all profits being used to benefit our members and the wider community.
We look forward to hearing from you.
The CTUK Team
Counsellors Together UK was set up by Maria Albertsen in July 2017. She realised that many of her counsellor colleagues were living in poverty. Many were being expected to provide a much needed and often lifesaving counselling service to others while working as volunteers in organisations across the country. Many counsellors and psychotherapists were struggling financially due to the exploitation they faced when expected to work for free.This issue was highlighted further when Maria posted her concerns on social media. She received over 300 responses from counsellors agreeing that this was a major and complex problem.
It is apparent to many counsellors that our training, expertise and profession are being widely exploited. What we know is that many counsellors are struggling to survive, to support their families. Some are needing to access local food banks, whilst working for free and hoping that their voluntary work will one day turn into paid work.
On the back of this discussion, Maria set up the Facebook group Counsellors Together UK to give therapists a space to discuss these issues. Today we have over 9,000 members all dedicated to working together to end the prevalent expectation that they will continue to work for free.
We hope to welcome you very soon!
Join the CTUK Members Club today!
In August 2019 we launched the CTUK Members Club. This is a paid for subscription costing just £6 a month. In return, members receive access to all kinds of benefits. For example, you will gain access to the entire Onlinevents Library with over 800 hours of CPD at no extra charge, 20% off PCCS Books, training, workshops, courses and much much more. As well as being amazing value for money and of huge benefit to our members, the profits are directed back into CTUK to help fund our ongoing campaign work. This is a win win for all.
So far, over 600 therapists have joined us, and we’d love to welcome you to the group too! You can find out more here.