About us

Former name: British Confederation of Psychotherapists (BCP)

The BPC is working towards a future where psychoanalysis is acknowledged as a theory of mind that can support policy development to tackle society’s ills; and psychoanalytically informed work is routinely made available as a treatment to anyone in emotional distress, whatever their gender, ethnicity, sexuality, disability or income.

The BPC exists to promote excellence in psychoanalytic thinking; safeguard the public; promote training and research; and make psychoanalysis accessible to all in society. Our key objectives are:

  • Protecting the public
  • Leading and supporting the psychoanalytic community
  • Promoting the profession
  • Facilitating informed debate and leading edge thinking
  • Building a sustainable and professional organisation

We are a professional association

The British Psychoanalytic Council  is a professional association, representing the profession of psychoanalytic and psychodynamic psychotherapy. The organisation is itself made up of fourteen member institutions which are training institutions, professional associations in their own right and accrediting bodies. Individual psychoanalytic and psychodynamic psychotherapists are members of these organisations and are ‘registrants’ of the BPC.

There are around 1450 registrants of the BPC, working across the public, voluntary and private practice sectors. Many of our members are senior consultant psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and leading figures in the field of mental health.

We are a voluntary regulator

One of our functions is to act as a voluntary regulator of the profession. We publish an annual register of those practitioners who meet our fitness to practise standards. This is in line with the recommendations made by the Government’s report The regulation of the non-medical healthcare professions. The report states that the function of a regulator is to:

  • Set and promote the standards that all in the profession should meet
  • Publish a register of all those who meet these standards
  • Ensure that everyone on the register continues to meet the standards (through periodic checks and procedures for resolving concerns/complaints).

The BPC accredits the trainings of its member organisations, ensuring that they meet our minimum training standards (pdf). An individual who qualifies from one of these trainings is then eligible for entry into the BPC’s register.

BPC registration is governed by a range of fitness to practice requirements. These are:

Failure to meet these requirements will mean that the practitioner’s registration will be suspended or terminated. Our over-riding priority is to protect the public and maintain public confidence in the profession we regulate.

The BPC is currently preparing its application to have its register accredited by the Professional Standards Authority.

We are a leading voice of the profession

The BPC acts as a leading voice for the psychodynamic and psychoanalytic sector of psychotherapy. Whilst not the only representatives of this sector, we are seen as an authoritative and influential ambassador for this therapeutic approach, at the same time as working in close partnership with other representative organisations.

We have made significant responses to, for example, the Department of Health’s review The regulation of the non-medical healthcare professions and the Skills for Health consultation on National Occupational Standards. We worked closely with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy, British Psychological Society and others around a profession-wide response to the Government’s White Paper Trust, Assurance and Safety – the Regulation of Health Professionals in the 21st Century.

We aim to build strong links between research, clinical practice and public policy. The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust’s Psychotherapy Evaluation Research Unit provides an important bridge between research evidence and clinical practice for us, though we have a range of links with other research institutions. BPC works with these and other institutions to advance a scientific, evidence-based practice for psychodynamic psychotherapy.

We were one of the co-organisers of the annual conference, Psychological Therapies in the NHS. We organised the Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy NOW conferences, which have been acclaimed as marking a 'turning point' for the profession. The next 'PP NOW' is being held in October.

We are a service to the public and our profession

Finally, our role is to provide a service both to members of the public and to our profession.

One of the key services we provide is information. Our Register is part of that, and our website provides a key service with the Finding a Therapist section.

But we are keen to develop our website as a crucial forum for information and debate in the world of psychotherapy, contemporary psychology and mental health. We are keen to hear from you if you have any thoughts about how we can improve our service to the public and our profession.

How we are run

The BPC is a Company Limited by Guarantee governed by a Council of Institutions, made up of representatives from the member institutions. The Council provides the broad strategic direction and monitors how successfully the strategic aims are being achieved. It meets three times a year.

The detailed strategy and overall management of the business is the responsibility of the Executive which meets every month.

The day to day running of the organisation is the responsibility of the Chief Executive.

The BPC is a Member Society of the European Federation for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in the Public Sector (EFPP).