Have you come across Counsellors Together UK (CTUK)? They are a large community of therapists that have been created to challenge and put an end to the culture and prevelance of unpaid work within our profession.
- Website: www.ukcounsellors.co.uk
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook Page: Counsellors Together UK
- Twitter: @UK_Counsellors
I’ve been very lucky to get to know several of the leaders within CTUK and the community as a whole. They are incredibly well organised and are keen to challenge unfair treatment of therapists by their membership bodies. They support over 7000 therapists in the UK.
BACP – SCoPEd questions:
The CTUK community sent a series of questions to the BACP (and I believe also the UKCP, BPC etc) to get some clarity on the issues that will impact on us. On 15th December they published the answers that they received from the BACP. I’m very surprised that they heard something back before Christmas! Their published answers have not been analysed by CTUK, so I thought I’d look at the issues and highlight some of the key parts that I picked up.
Question 4: If the framework is about addressing training standards in the profession:
4a) 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.
Once again, the BACP ignores a key part of the question – why does the CPCAB Level 4 Diploma (which is deemed as the ‘Gold Stamp’) only qualify a practitioner to work in an agency? It’s very telling that they just brush past that question completely. But why? Call me cynical, but I feel very uncomfortable that Fiona Ballantine-Dykes (Chief Professional Standards Officer and Deputy, BACP) was the Head of Qualifications for many years at the CPCAB. During that time she co-authored their book which is pushed at all students from level 2 to level 4. I was a student on a Level 2, 3 and started a level 4 CPCAB qualification. I hated the book, so I’m probably very biased on this, but honestly, the conflict of interest is huge.
When challenged on this conflict of interest, Ballantine-Dykes has repeatedly stated that this is not a conflict. I disagree heavily. Add to that, the fact that the BACP and CPCAB have co-developed a new ‘Gold Stamp’ Level 4 course which incorporates the Certificate of Proficiency, I wonder why CPCAB was chosen when there are other awarding bodies who offer similar diploma’s (e.g. ABC Awards).
The screenshot here comes from the BACP Members’ Community Facebook Group live Q&A that took place in May last year. The fact that Ballantine-Dykes is ‘puzzled’ by the question is… surprising. The CPCAB do not need to be on the ERG to create a Conflict of Interest. Ballantine-Dykes is set to personally profit from the increased sale in her book if more students are encouraged to take the CPCAB course so as to be ‘correctly’ mapped in the SCoPEd framework.
4b) Why is there no minimum training standard for Therapist A even though all membership bodies currently have a bare minimum for qualification?
The BACP explain that the framework maps the “content of entry level trainings”, which they state would allow them to “campaign for paid roles for Column A therapists”, as it “distinguishes our members members from those who do not meet minimum standards” (presumably, those who do groupon courses etc). I actually agree with this, and if this is what SCoPEd was doing, I’d fully support it. The problem is, there’s more focus on pitting the three columns against each other instead of dealing with the real issues within the profession.
4c) How do you plan to address the issue of training placements when your framework makes trainees unsafe to work?
Whilst the BACP reply that they don’t think the framework suggests that trainees are ‘unsafe’, there are many examples which would suggest otherwise. The framework, for example, suggests that those within Column A are not have the “ability to be emotionally prepared for intense and complex work”. This suggests that any student on a placement would be emotionally unable to handle this work. This makes no sense to me, as students on placement should be resilient enough to work with clients, no matter what they bring. That is why they have more regular supervision and close support from the agency and tutor/s, to ensure that they are safe. But with so many agencies relying on placement students to offer low cost therapy to the public, agencies would surely be heavily impacted.
4d) 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?
Once again, this fails to answer the question. First off, they deny creating training requirements, as they have captured the ‘existing requirements’. This again contradicts their common language, which discusses “implementing” the framework. If it is already existing, then there would be nothing to be implemented as it’s already been implemented.
Second, they refer to their new “accredited courses Q&A’s” (which aren’t published yet). They argue that this “might inform training requirements” and that courses that don’t “meet the minimum requirements” may wish to “increase their standards”. I feel this is another contradiction, as it is suggesting that they have created a framework and training providers must meet what they state. It puts them in charge of the profession, and honestly, I don’t trust the BACP, UKCP and BPC to have the overall profession’s best interests at heart.