Division of Counselling Psychology


The Division and BPS has summarised some of the employment support available to members in a concise leaflet updated in 2018.

Please download the leaflet here.

Addressing concerns in the area of employment and employability of Counselling Psychologists

Advertising of Psychology Posts

The Standing Committee for Psychologists in Health and Social Care produced a letter in September 2010 giving guidance on the advertising of Applied Psychologist posts, signed by representatives from the Division of Counselling Psychology and Division of Clinical Psychology, and the Chair of the Occupation Advisory Committee of Unite, the trade union. This letter is titled ‘2010 BPS letter joint advertising of posts’. Dr Maureen McIntosh (Chair Elect) and Dr Helen Nicholas (Chair) have written an article summarising current initiatives to address member concerns in the area of employment and employability. The tile of the article is ‘Dispelling the myths about counselling psychologists whilst challenging discrimination’. Please click on the link below to access the letter.

2010 BPS letter joint advertising of posts

Dispelling the myths about Counselling Psychologists and challenging discrimination

The Standing Committee for Psychologists in Health and Social Care produced a letter in September 2011 giving guidance on the advertising of Applied Psychologist posts, signed by representatives from the Division of Counselling Psychology, Division of Clinical Psychology and the Chair of Occupation Advisory Committee of Unite, the trade union. 

Much of the hard work occurs at the policy level but has a direct effect on the employment opportunities of members (eg listing NHS jobs by competency so that all applied psychologists can apply for roles). More details can be found in their article entitled "Dispelling the myths about Counselling Psychologists and challenging discrimination".

Clinical Coding

The BPS has put together a helpful leaflet summarising the way that changes to clinical coding may affect members.


Support with Continuous Professional Development

CPD is a HCPC registration requirement. DCoP Members cab access journals (with free online access to EBSCO), conferences and events and CPD through the BPS Learning Centre. This can be found on the BPS website under Professional Development



A trade union is there to support you, provide information and advice. More importantly, represent you in any employment difficulties, be it to do with organisational change (redundancy, down-banding), patient/client/colleague complaint, disciplinary matter; or an employee-led complaint/grievance. A union can also access free legal advice for you if necessary, and provides collective representation on employment matters for psychologists. 

Most psychologists in clinical practice belong to Unite (Download details on joining, a summary of their services or go to Unite website). Uniquely, Unite has a dedicated Occupational Professional Committee (OPC) for Applied Psychologists as part of its organisational structure. Unite’s Health National Industrial Sector Committee has a psychology representative, Antony Vassalos, who chairs the OPC for applied psychologists. (Download details or go to Unite website) to represent the employment interests of psychologists with regards to pay, terms and conditions of employment. 

It is important that the extent of counselling psychology membership is evident in Unite as unions act for the members they have. It is important that you complete the Unite union membership form as follows so that you are recorded as a counselling psychologist for workforce planning purposes: 
Sector: choose the option ‘Health’ 
Type of work: choose the option ‘COUNSELLING PSYCHOLOGIST (HS)’ 
Under Category choose the option that reflects your employment pattern. Trainees should select ‘Student in full time education’ which will give you the preferential student membership rate. Trainees should use this coding route and not ‘Trainee Psychologist’ to ensure trainees for counselling psychology are identified

The other main union in the NHS is: http://www.unison.org.uk/at-work/health-care/

Most psychologists in academic work belong to the University and College Union (UCU; www.ucu.org.uk/join).'


Professional networking and opportunities:

■ Networks and interest groups on professional areas of interest (see our leaflet on DCoP groups- currently being updated, 2018) – For example, Special Group for Independent Practice, NHS, Black and Asian, Cancer and Palliative Care, Learning Disabilities, Leadership and national/regional communities which can address local employment issues.

■ Informal networking opportunities on social media. For details of our Facebook group, e-mail [email protected] with your membership number and the e-mail address you use for your account.

■ BPS Psychologist Appointments: Search for ‘jobs in psychology’ for the BPS jobs website.

■ NHS Psychologist Appointments: Search for ‘NHS jobs’ for jobs in the NHS.

■ Civil Service Psychologist Appointments: Search for ‘civil service jobs’ for posts in the Defense Medical Services and elsewhere in the Civil Service.


Additional Support from your Division

If you have a concern that you think is relevant to counselling psychology as a whole and you want the support of your Division, please complete the brief questionnaire which can be found at https://response.questback.com/britishpsychologicalsociety/emp. Your response will be passed on to a relevant committee member.

Please complete the surveys the Division undertakes from time to time. We need accurate employment data so that we can influence employment issues and workforce planning, and inform key policy and decision makers about the number of counselling psychologists in the workplace.