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UKCP/BACP Mapping research Psychotherapy and Counselling - Initial Mapping Project for the Department of Health
Brief review and selected quotes.

Published in mid November, but note the date on the file '30-06-5', five months after it was delivered to the Department of Health, the interim mapping project weighs in at an onerous 82 pages. Read the report in its full beauty, here, or in a more manageable 470k .pdf here.

Though it could be taken as a Department of Health [DoH] initiative, the report appears to be the outcome of concerted effort by the UKCP and BACP to progress statutory regulation of psychotherapy and Counselling in the UK, and if Ipnosis guesses correctly, to defend these organisations against the prospect of regulation via the Health Professions Council [HPC]. Since it was delivered to the DoH there is evidence that HPC regulation of counselling and psychotherapy is off the agenda and that 'state regulation' by an independent body is being promoted as an alternative.

Here are some ipnosis selections from the report, keep in mind they are no substitute for reading at the least the first 14 pages of it.

The intention to create this project was announced at a meeting of accrediting and registering organizations in September 2004.
BACP and UKCP agreed to create a Liaison Group to oversee the project.
Consideration was given to the possibility of extending this group. A number of organisations expressed interest in this. However it was not clear that there was a justification for any one particular addition.
Although a small number of groups were not, in practice, co-operative these were a small minority and most participated willingly and with great good will. The impact of whatever short-fall in co-operation has occurred has not been great.

A BACP/UKCP Liaison Group met to construct the project and arrange a funding bid.
In a letter of 4 February 2005 the DH offered £60,000 to carry out a project with the aim of delivering four objectives:

– A map of existing training and qualifications in the fields of psychotherapy and counselling

– A map of the standards on which these programmes of training and qualifications are based

– A sample code of conduct and ethics based on existing codes and with regard to the HPC code of conduct, performance and ethics, for use by psychotherapy and counselling organisations currently without one

A toolkit covering competences and processes
A proposal was put to the reference group aimed at seeking to carry out research at the level of fundamental processes in counselling and psychotherapy. This was rejected as too ambitious for the timescale and funding of this project.

1. Training
1.1. Training is the major entry route into psychotherapy and counselling. 95% of counsellors and psychotherapists are trained and the majority practise within the scope of their training.

1.2. This would support the use of training standards and training requirements as the basis for regulating the professions.

1.3. There is no one route of entry to either psychotherapy or counselling in the UK through training. We have identified 570 different practitioner training courses. However, 63% do not have professional body recognition although many of these are validated through the Further or Higher Education system.

1.4. There are a large number of titles for both training courses and individual counsellors and psychotherapists. This can only cause confusion to the public.

2. Standards of Education and Training and Standards of Proficiency
2.1. The HPC?s focus on the Health Service and Universit y education does not closely match current patterns of practice or of training provision.

2.2. There are a variety of approving bodies for training ? academic, vocational and professional. There are a significant number of training providers linked to no external quality assurance systems.

2.3. There is a spread of training between the sectors and recognised educational levels, both academic and vocational.

2.4. The development of psychotherapy and counselling training in Higher Education is significant but there rema ins a substantial group of trainings not validated within Higher Education.

2.5. 30% of counselling training is in the Further Education sector.

2.6. Consideration would need to be given to the place of a core curriculum and tothe nature of that curriculum.

3. Conduct and Ethics
3.1. All organisations responding to the research have complaints and conduct processes, however levels of lay representation and public accountability are low.

3.2. Codes of conduct and ethics fulfil or exceed HPC requirements.

3.5. There is need for a separate regulatory body for psychotherapy and counselling.

4. The size of the occupational field
4.1. For this research 20% of a potential 37,500 members were sent a questionnaire and 44% replied.

4.2. The level of training activity suggests that the number of counsellors and psychotherapists in the UK is growing rapidly.

4.3. There is a large number of small psychotherapy and counselling organisations.

4.4. 90% of counsellors and psychotherapists are in paid work.

4.5. Over 25% of all psychotherapists and counsellors work with children and may not necessarily have received appropriate training.
The professions of psychotherapy and counselling have been developing as separate but closely associated professions over many years.

In recent years some have argued that their similarities outweigh their differences to the extent that they should be regulated together. Others are opposed to this proposal. It has not been part of the brief for this report to arrange a consultation exercise on this issue. It is hoped that this report will inform the debate. The commonalities are sufficient for there to be concern that if one profession were to be regulated and the other not, a significant number of counsellors or psychotherapists might transfer to the non-regulated profession. It is recognised that there will be those who work in a similar way to psychotherapists and counsellors who will not register and will use alternative titles. The judgement to be made concerns the public interest in regulating particular titles. The basis of this project is the proposal that there is a public interest in regulating the titles 'counsellor' and 'psychotherapist' either used alone or in combination with other terms.
Indicative registration rests on the protection of titles and the benefit to the public of this system rests on public understanding of the meaning and value of the protected titles. Simplicity is important to the clear communication that this requires. This report is therefore set within the frame of the two titles psychotherapy and counselling. The diversity of the field is recognised. The question of whether a more complex range of titles would serve the public interest is a matter for further debate.
[1.4] The individual questionnaire
An individual questionnaire was developed by a small group of experienced members of UKCP and BACP with input from representatives of the wider group of accrediting and registering bodies. The individual survey questionnaire was sent to 20% of the membership of 34 professional associations, that is 20% of circa 38,000 counsellors and psychotherapists, and had a 44% response rate. This high response rate means that the findings are robust and have a high level of validity in relation to psychotherapists and counsellors organised within professional associations.

The research identified 154 organisations in addition to the 94 referred to in the questionnaire itself. At 4,126 the number of respondents to the questionnaire is, in itself, larger than all but the largest of counselling and psychotherapy organisations
1.5 Observations on the participation of organisations
The consistent aim of the project has been to be inclusive. The project was managed on a very tight timetable set by the funding constraints faced by DH. A consultation meeting on the questionnaire was held in March and the approach to the questionnaire was substantially changed as a result. Not all the organisations invited were represented at that meeting. Due to the timetable further consultations were not possible.

Ipnosis is edited, maintained and © Denis Postle 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006
November 25 2005

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