British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP)

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) is recognised by policy makers as well as national and international organisations, as a leading professional body for counselling and psychotherapy in the United Kingdom. We have over 47,000 members who work to the highest professional standards, practise across a range of settings, including schools, the NHS, third sector and workplaces and with clients of all ages. As an organisation we are committed to social justice and public protection. As such all of our members are bound by the Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions and our Professional Conduct Procedure to ensure accountability and transparency to the public.

In addition to this we maintain a Register which is accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA); with all of our practitioner members required to be or be working towards registration. Ours was the first such register for psychological therapists to be accredited by the PSA and allows the public to find practitioners they can trust. As well as high standards for our members, we also undertake and commission research to encourage evidence-based practice and to demonstrate the effectiveness of counselling and psychotherapy as well as promoting counselling and psychotherapy among key stakeholders and policy makers.

How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?

BACP contributes to reducing the number of suicides and improving support for those affected by suicide by campaigning for a greater choice of psychological therapies, increasing access to services and reducing waiting times.

Psychological therapies are an effective intervention for those at risk of suicide and through our research work we aim to improve the understanding of which psychological therapies can be the most effective, including for those who are experiencing suicidal thoughts or are bereaved due to suicide.

We recommend that psychological therapy services, which may be accessed by those who are suicidal or are bereaved due to suicide, are delivered by BACP members who are trained, qualified and deliver services to the highest professional standards.

We also act as a vehicle to signpost those contemplating suicide and bereaved families of suicide to services through our website.

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What are your current priorities?

We believe that counselling changes lives and our desire for social justice determines everything we do and guides our relationship with our members, the public, commissioners and the government. Currently our key areas of work include:

– Older people’s mental health – exploring the role counselling and psychotherapy can play in improving the lives of older people, and promoting the value of psychological therapies to this group.

– Children, young people and families mental health – continuing to take forward our campaigning work, promoting the importance of early intervention and joined-up mental health services.

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What challenges are you currently facing?

The current challenges for BACP to deliver these outcomes include the limited provision of psychological therapy in the NHS for those with anxiety and depression and the ad hoc provision of counselling in schools, for children and young people.

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