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PETITION LETTER TO BACP 28th November 2014

To whom it may concern,

We draw your urgent attention to the petition at;

opposing BACP’s proposed new Ethical Framework.

The petition arose from discussion within Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility (PCSR) on the implications of the proposed changes. As you may know, PCSR ( has been active in the fields of counselling and psychotherapy since the mid-90s and many PCSR members are also members of BACP.

The petition has gone viral on many psychotherapy and counselling networks, and has generated an impressive 595 signatures in 4 days. While a small proportion of the signatories have opted to withhold their names from view online, we have a confidential and verifiable list of all signatories.

The concerns expressed go beyond the scope of the questions in the available consultation document. They centre on the perceived radical shift implicit in the proposed Framework – from Principles to Code, from Ethics to Compliance. Such a shift, by encouraging defensive practice and undermining the therapeutic relationship, is widely seen as antithetical to the practice of counselling and psychotherapy, and ultimately detrimental to clients. Hence it would undermine an enormous amount of work being carried out in good faith and to good effect by a high proportion of BACP members.

In the light of these concerns, the petition raises a serious objection to BACP’s mission statement to represent counselling and psychotherapy in the UK and demands that any claim to represent the profession in the UK be withdrawn. One reason for creating a petition is that the questions asked in the official consultation being run by BACP do not appear to us to be neutral. Indeed, as many have said, they more or less force a response of assent, which is surely undesirable.

We request that an opportunity be created for an open and public debate on these matters involving representatives of different positions.

Please find attached a short list of resources that enable a deeper understanding of these matters to be achieved:

2 letters previously sent to Professor Bond from Dr Els Van Ooijen (MBACP accred)

The text of a talk given by Arthur Musgrave (MBACP snr accred) at the University Psychotherapy and Counselling Association’s conference at Roehampton on 22nd November 2014.

We await a response from BACP.

Yours sincerely


Matthew Bowes MBACP

Kate O’Halloran

Petition Authors

REPLY FROM BACP 8th December 2014

Dear Matthew

Thank your for your email, which raises a number of interesting perspectives and concerns.

I have asked the consultation team to take into account fully the comments expressed on the petition site. As you may be aware, the consultation itself has generated a rich perspective on views. Our next step will be to analyse these and give consideration to the next steps. Our aim, as always, is to build on the existing and well-regarded ethical framework and ensure it remains robust and fit for purpose in to the future.

You also mention BACP’s mission statement. The Board and I, together with the incoming CEO, will be reviewing BACP’s strategy, setting out the goals and objectives of the Association. This will see us seek to rearticulate a new mission and vision for the Association that we hope will be representative of the field and our members’ aspirations.


Yours sincerely


Dr Andrew Reeves

Chair of the Association

REPLY TO BACP  11th December 2014

Dear Andrew,

Thankyou for your response to the petition. We appreciate that BACP is
taking the comments expressed in the petition into account and look forward to seeing evidence that signatories views have been understood. We will be keeping signatories informed of developments, and it remains our aim as stated in our previous email, to open up the issues raised to a wider debate. 

Yours sincerely

Matthew Bowes


REPLY FROM BACP 11th December 2014

Dear Matthew

Thanks for keeping in touch. Yes, the petition is being fully accommodated into the consultation process and every single comment considered. I hope this will be a useful contribution to the development of the Framework. I also hope this will be fully and openly explored in the next available issue of Therapy Today.

Best wishes

Dr Andrew Reeves
Chair, British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy