This Document is a courtesy of the Commission of the European Communities, DGXV.
Its reference number is XV/E/58459/95-EN – Orig.: EN

A. Structure of the Profession

Question n°1.
The simple answer is to say yes, it does exist and that over the last twenty five years or so there have been developments towards defining the profession of psychotherapy and calling the practitioners psychotherapists. However, in reality the situation is highly complex.
There are many different forms of psychotherapy with different theories and different techniques arid therefore different entry and training requirements. There are a number of health professions, such as psychology, psychiatry, social work and nursing which include some training in the main forms of psychotherapy or which consider the main forms as a speciality of their profession. Also, there are therapies which have developed outside the main professions and the older psychotherapy organisations. In addition, there has been a different history in the development of child psychotherapists and adult psychotherapists. The Association of Child Psychotherapists is recognised by the Department of Health as the professional organisation for child psychotherapists in the United Kingdom and the body which accredits trainings in child and adolescent psychotherapy in the United Kingdom. There is no equivalent development for psychotherapists working with adults.
The complexity of the history are well described in the enclosed document entitled “The British Confederation of Psychotherapists, the background to its establishment and character” (Document 1). See also Document 5, Questions and Answers.

Question n°2.
Although there is no statutory regulation the profession is regulated by the registers and rules of a number of significant bodies. The two bodies which are mostly directly concerned with psychotherapy are the British Confederation of Psychotherapists and the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy which operate voluntary registers. The Association Child Psychotherapists has already been mentioned as the accrediting body for all child psychotherapists. In addition, the Royal College of Psychiatrists publishes a medical register and contains a Psychotherapy Section concerned with training standards for psychiatrists in training whilst the British Psychological Society has a Standing Committee on the Psychotherapies and publishes a voluntary register of psychologists. The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, the largest trainer and employer of psychotherapists in the public sector, is about to publish its own register.
Because the field is pluralistic there is not yet a consensus across the whole spectrum of psychotherapy about appropriate training standards, routes to entry into the profession and standards of practice. This current government supports and encourages voluntary registration (see the speech of John Bowis, parliamentary under secretary of state for health, at the Launch of the BCPs Register for the current governments attitude towards registration (Document 3)1.

Question n°3.
See answer to question 2.

Question n°4.
Clinical psychologists and other mental health professions* can practice psychotherapy. However, it is becoming more and more recognised by psychotherapists and the mental health professions that people trained in the latter should undertake a further specialist training in one of the specific forms of psychotherapy in order to hold themselves out to the public as a psychotherapist and that people training in psychotherapy without a background in one of the mental health professions need to have an equivalent experience in mental health before or during their psychotherapy training.
* The mental health professions that the BCP consider have relevant interest in psychotherapy are clinical psychologists, psychiatrists social workers and nurses.

Question n°5.
Prior to the 1970’s psychotherapy tended to be a medical speciality. Gradually clinical psychologists and social workers also began to practise psychotherapy followed by other non medicals whose original training came from outside these core disciplines. Increasingly it has become recognised that psychiatrists and members of other core disciplines have to have some further professional training in psychotherapy if they wish to practise psychotherapy independently. They have to have had further training to be on the registers of the BCP & the UKCP.

Question n°6.
Thee are two main bodies: the British Confederation of Psychotherapists which is an umbrella body solely for psychoanalytic psychotherapy organisations, most of which have a long-standing experience of training, and practice in this field and the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy which covers organisations representing a wide range of therapies.
There aree other national bodies with an interest in and a commitment to psychotherapy. These have already been mentioned under questions 1 & 2 and in summary are as follows: The Association of Child Psychotherapists, The British Psychological Society, The Royal College of Psychiatrists and The Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust.

Question n°7.
There is no single competent authority for adult psychotherapists. See answers to questions 2 & 6 for description of relevant bodies.
The Association of Child Psychotherapists is the competent authority for the recognition of the qualifications of child & adolescent psychotherapists from European Union countries who wish to work in the United Kingdom.

B. Structure of Education and Training

Please note that answers to these questions are solely from the point of view of the BCP. We cannot speak for organisations other than our own. However, the reason for establishing the BCP was to ensure that practitioners on a Register for the four related disciplines of psychoanalysis, analytical psychology, psychoanalytic psychotherapy and child psychotherapy had achieved entry requirements and trainings acceptable to the senior organisations in this field.
Please note also that the BCP does not provide the training of psychoanalytic psychotherapists but lays down the minimum requirements for member organisations and associations for their individual members to qualify for inclusion on the BCP Register. The BCP’s requirements and standards are laid down in the document entitled “Guidelines for Membership and Administrative Procedures” (Document 2). Section 2 of this document entitled, “Standards for Training and Professional Association”, contain most of the answers to the questions below and the relevant subsections are designated where appropriate.

Question n°1.
See subsection 2.1 Selection of Candidates in the document entitled “Guidelines for Membership and Administrative Procedures”.

Question n°2.
Minimum of four years, part-time.

Question n°3.
See subsections 2.3 to 2.12 of the above document.
The organisations in the BCP who provide training are as follows:

  • 1.The British Association of Psychotherapists, 37 Mapesbury Road, London NW2 4HJ;
  • 2. The British PsvchoAnalytical Society, Mansfield House, 63 New Cavendish Street, London W1M 7RD;
  • 3. The Lincoln Centre and Institute for Psychotherapy, 19 Abbeville Mews, 88 Clapham Park Road, London SW4 7BX;
  • 4. The Society of Analytical Psychology, 1 Daleham Gardens, London NW3 lBY;
  • 5. The Scottish Institute of Human Relations 56 Albany Street, Edinburgh Eh3 3QR;
  • 6. The Tavistock Clinic, 120 Belsize Lane London NW3 5BA.
    The Association of Child Psychotherapists, Burgh House, New End Square, London NW3, is not training body but accredits UK trainings in child adolescent psychotherapy.