CTUK Members send their SCoPEd questions to BACP

On 17th November 2020 CTUK sent a list of questions regarding SCoPEd to The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). In total over 100 therapists asked a question and CTUK Admin grouped them as shown below. We hope to receive a response by the New Year and will keep you updated.


1. The basic premise for the SCoPEd framework was to present an answer to some “issues” within the profession.

a) Can you please present the research you conducted which highlighted which issues the profession needed to address? If no such research exists, please present how you came to these conclusions.

b) Can you please demonstrate how you came to the conclusion that this project was the best response to the research or the issues?

2. How to you intend to address the hierarchy that the proposed framework creates within the profession?

3. In creating this hierarchy, you are clearly stating that counselling, advanced counselling and psychotherapy are three different things. Can you provide a clear definition of each one please?

4. If the framework is about addressing training standards in the profession:

a) Why do BACP simultaneously ‘Gold Stamp’ training from CPCAB that fails to meet the basic requirements of BACP’s individual accreditation as a stand-alone course? It is also one of the only courses that does not qualify a counsellor for private work at the point of qualification.

b) Why is there no minimum training standard for Therapist A even though all membership bodies currently have a bare minimum for qualification?

c) How do you plan to address the issue of training placements when your framework makes trainees unsafe to work?

d) In addition to the above, you say that this framework is being used to inform training requirements, competencies and practice standards. Can you tell us exactly how these are measurable and how you have measured them to fit the Framework?

5. Can you tell us exactly how you are assessing competency?

6. The recruitment to the ERG resulted in no change in the weighting of how the different modalities were represented. Can you please justify that decision?

7. You have stated that you intend to implement the framework before you have presented the framework progression pathways to members.

a) At what point do you intend to make members aware of how they can actually progress up the framework without completely retraining?

b) Will you be creating a grandparenting route?

c) When will you be addressing the issue of specialisms?

8. How do you intend to support members who will not be able to progress up the framework due to financial barriers?

9. You are aware that many members do not feel they have been given a voice. Your own survey found 26% of respondents felt unheard.

a) What are you doing to resolve this issue?

b) Will members be given a clear and democratic vote so they can vote yes or no to this project?

10. You’ve announced the inclusion of NCS, ACC and the Human Givens Institute to your ERG. Will this be a token consultation or will these organisations hold some real power in steering the direction of the project?

11. There are financial costs to this project.

a) How much money has been spent on researching, developing and implementing the SCoPEd framework?

b) What the total percentage of BACP membership fees for this project are being used in comparison to what is being contributed by both UKCP and BPC?

c) What is the projected total cost of this project; from formation to completion?

12. We have been told numerous times that the opinions of Stakeholders are being taken into account in the development of the framework. We have yet to be told who these stakeholders are. In the interests of transparency, can you tell us who the stakeholders are please?

13. Are these stakeholders aware that this framework threatens to remove their workforce by labelling them incompetent to work?

14. Given the potential for widespread discrimination across all the protected characteristics listed in the Equality Act 2010 will the SCoPEd team appoint an independent and dedicated diversity expert to make sure these issues are addressed and the associated barriers are removed?

15. Initially the framework was being sold to members as a description of competencies at the point of entry into the profession. Now, FBD has made a statement to say that those who work in private practice should be able to map themselves onto the framework. This suggests a much wider impact than the project initially wanted us to consider.

a) How do you see the framework impacting counsellors in private practice?

b) What steps are you taking, as a project, to create a projection of this impact?

c) Do you plan to address that impact to avoid further detriment to counsellors?

16. Is this a stepping stone to BACP trying to protect the titles or regulation?

17. The framework places a psychiatric placement at the top of the hierarchy.

a) Why have BACP members been blocked from ‘Therapist C’ unless they start their training all over again with UKCP or BPC because of this?

b) Why have BACP not negotiated with the ERG for recognition of their membership’s post-qualifying training and for access to Psychiatric placements independent of Membership Bodies?

c) Why is the medical model enshrined at the top of the hierarchy when leading edge thinking (open dialogue; power, threat, meaning framework etc.) is moving away from it?

18. So far, there is clearly one column for each membership body, where would other membership bodies fit in?

19. What is the reason that BACP has changed their opinion on the difference between counselling and psychotherapy since 2010 when you clearly stated there was no difference?

20. Currently, supervisors are not mapped onto this framework.

a) How do the SCoPEd team intend to map supervisors onto this framework?

b) Will supervisors be able to supervise those in a column above their own (Supervisor in ‘A’ but supervisee has moved into ‘B’)?

c) Do you intend to have all supervisors now meet the requirements of a particular column?

d) What impact do you foresee this to have on your members and stakeholders?

Questions addressing how the SCoPEd project is impacting counsellors now

1. Do the BACP value diploma trained Counsellors within their membership body and can they explain how they value them?

2. What words do you offer those members who sit in Column A feel that BACP is now telling them they are no longer good enough?

3. How can we trust BACP is acting in our best interests when they have stated multiple times they will implement this project without knowing the impact it will have on all of us?

4. “I can’t afford to work for free for years before I meet this next hoop ‘into’ the profession.” What is BACP doing to stop people like this from leaving a profession which is becoming untenable to maintain?

5. What response do you offer to the following statement? “We know that many charities are being propped up by unpaid therapists, who are then replaced in favour of trainees”.

How do you plan to address the fact that this project does not meet its aims as demonstrated below?

Aim 1: The framework will improve a client’s or patient’s ability to find a therapist best suited to their needs.

There are no focus groups asking what clients want to be demystified and none following up to see if the framework achieves its goal in this area. It seems the independent market research company didn’t feel that conducting actual market research was necessary for this project. Or, maybe, they didn’t have any remit to “conduct” the research beyond being the survey host? Regardless, there is no way to measure the success of this framework in this aim.

Aim 2: The framework will enable employers to establish which counsellors and psychotherapists to employ in their services.

Specifically, what were employers misunderstanding and where is your evidence for this? It is only BACP claiming to not be able to quantify the role of the counsellor. Individual counsellors are explaining their role to clients and their non-counselling colleagues every day; in those multidisciplinary teams the frameworks say the majority of counsellors have no competence to work in.

This hierarchal framework does nothing to address this. Particularly when the leading assumption can be that counsellors are not fit for employment; despite BACP taking their membership money and telling counsellors they are so.

Aim 3: The framework will provide clarity for trainees wanting to understanding training pathways for core training.

This is perhaps the only aim the framework gets close to achieving and even then, it is flawed. There is a clearer path available to those who engage with higher education than those looking at further education colleges and training centres. It is not the graduates of higher education institutes that are having to justify their qualifications to employers against a backdrop of, “anyone can be a counsellor, you can get a diploma online for £30.”

At the point when the majority of trainees are looking towards a course that allows them to qualify, the damage has sometimes already been done. We keep fearmongering with the idea of a person just signing up to a short-course on a whim and then behaving completely unethically. The rates of this occurring are unknown. The real risk is trainees being exploited as they meander through an unclear and largely inaccessible field – accessibility being measured in the context of localised courses, reasonable fees and available placements. This contributes to people starting their training journey online. Sometimes the financial loss is small. A £30 course through an online coupon website is little outlay for most. However, for some, the realisation that their course is not fit for purpose succeeded after building a substantial debt reaching into quadruple figures.

Aim 4: The framework will improve the ability of the professional bodies to promote the skills and services of their members.

What is specifically so difficult about this that counselling cannot be described in a way that shows competence to “stakeholders” without this arbitrary segregation of competencies based on the biases held within the SCoPEd development groups? Which professionals are we being compared to in order to require a competence that can be overlaid over theirs?

If there hasn’t been an ability to promote the profession and counselling developed and fine-tuned over the course of 40 years of operation (in BACP’s case), it seems unlikely that there has been a stumbling upon the magic solution. When we drill this down, what this is, is a failure to quantify counselling to service commissioners who cannot see beyond the medical model and have no interest of providing alternatives. This framework therefore fails on the aim of promoting the profession. It’s not a promotion of the profession, it is an act of seeing how the profession can be bent around an inflexible view of providing mental health “treatments”.

Are you on Twitter? We shared our members questions over there too. Come join in the convo….