Relate and BACP pledge to improve industry standards and access to counselling and therapy

Leading relationships charity Relate and the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP), which supports counsellors to better serve their clients, have announced a new strategic partnership. The organisations will work together to improve quality standards in practice and to reinforce the organisations’ shared passion for social justice.

The partnership will align training standards and ensure ongoing fitness to practise for all Relate and BACP practitioners. Campaigning for all aspects of social justice will also be key, with the ultimate aim of making counselling and therapy available to everyone irrespective of their circumstances and ability to pay.

Chris Sherwood, Chief Executive of Relate, said: “With more than 120 years’ combined experience in counselling and therapy, both Relate and BACP are deeply committed to delivering high quality services for all. We’ll be working closely to raise standards across the sector for the benefit of both practitioners and, crucially, clients. In particular, we want to reach more people in low income and vulnerable groups. We’ll be announcing more details of our partnership activity in 2017.”

Hadyn Williams, Chief Executive Officer at BACP, said: “BACP was founded on the value of counselling and its potential to improve the lives of individuals and the communities in which we live. The new strategic partnership with Relate is key, as it will enable us to expand and strengthen our work across the counselling professions. We will work closely on: promoting the importance of professional development; setting standards and developing a route of career progression for counsellors and therapists. We firmly believe that counselling changes lives and together with Relate we can collaboratively campaign for continuous improvements so that anyone who is in need of counselling is able to find accessible and quality therapists.”

Relate is the UK’s leading relationships charity. Its work is varied – helping people to find love, cope with separation and divorce, improve their sex lives, break up in the least painful way possible, overcome infidelity, rebuild trust, regain intimacy and much more besides. The charity believes that no problem is too small and encourages people to seek support for their relationships at the earliest possible stage. Relate’s couple counselling saves the state an estimated £11 for every £1 spent.

BACP is the leading and largest professional body for counselling and psychotherapy in the United Kingdom. With a membership of over 44,000, practitioners work across a range of settings within the field. BACP advocates the role and relevance of counselling and psychotherapy in improving psychological wellbeing and mental health and promoting social justice, in our contemporary and diverse communities.