BACP / UKCP / BPC Collaboration
Firstly, I would just like to say that I am 100% pro collaboration. I think collaboration, when done in the right way, provides a real opportunity to push ahead and tackle current issues, with the possibility to make a real difference in the world.
However, I am against the BACP/UKCP/BPC collaboration, and the reason I am against this particular collaboration is because it has not been established in the first instance in the right way. In my opinion it has failed at the very first hurdle, and this is because it is not inclusive of all organisations who represent counsellors/psychotherapists and therefore impact service users.
In their latest press release these three organisations (BACP/UKCP/BPC) state that they established this collaboration, ‘to create a world where counselling and psychotherapy is available to all who need it…..” That, “difficulties in presenting a unified voice has hampered our capacity to have the influence which could mutually benefit service users….” and “Our wish is to work together to ensure a future of counselling and psychotherapy. This is because the challenges confronting those in need of counselling and psychotherapy are more urgent and far, far greater than our organisational or theoretical differences.”
Let’s take a look at this in greater detail;
- “…to create a world where counselling and psychotherapy is available to all who need it.”
Firstly it is my belief that if we are to claim to want to make any difference to service users then we need to ensure that any influence we have reaches all potential service users, not just the ones who are reached via one or few organisations. There will be many service users who are not reached via these three organisations, and so the collaboration not only excludes other therapists and organisations but by default it excludes service users also.
- “difficulties in presenting a unified voice has hampered our capacity to have the influence which could mutually benefit service users….”
Here they state how they are aware of the difficulties caused in the past by not having a unified voice. Is it not then strange that with this awareness they would exclude all of the other organisations on the Professional Standards Authority register? With this knowledge, if we are acting in members and service users best interests, would we not open up the collaboration to all organisations representing therapists to ensure we had a ‘real’ unified voice across the profession?
- “Our wish is to work together to ensure a future of counselling and psychotherapy. This is because the challenges confronting those in need of counselling and psychotherapy are more urgent and far, far greater than our organisational or theoretical differences.”
To make this statement, and to then claim you have established this collaboration because the needs of service users are greater than differences between those organisations, whilst you are actually excluding many organisations quite simply doesn’t make any sense. It is naïve, immature and lacks awareness to claim to agree that the differences between the different organisations aren’t actually that important and then proceed to exclude most of the organisations on the PSA.
Based on what the BACP/UKCP and BPC have stated above, they should be aware that if we really want to ensure that the counselling and psychotherapy profession progresses in the best way for everyone, including their members and especially service users, that all relevant organisations would need to be and indeed should be involved in any collaboration.
In my opinion, the only people who benefit from such an exclusive collaboration are the organisations and their stake/shareholders.
You simply cannot claim to wish to work together whilst excluding others, and you can certainly not claim that this is in the public or service users best interests.
The very first rule when trying to change things for the better for service users should be to bring as many representatives, from every organisation to the table to begin with. You cannot work to make the therapeutic world of counselling and psychotherapy more inclusive for service users whilst operating from an exclusive position.
This collaboration should be opened up to all organisations on the PSA as well as those who have a vested interest in the progression of the profession, e.g. CTUK, ALLIANCE, PCU, etc.
N.B. I am not anti any of these three organisations. I don’t belong to any professional membership body. My views are based on my knowledge of and belief in best and ethical practice.