Updated: Mar 17
The letter below was sent to the Chairs and CEOs of BACP, UKCP, BPC and NCS this morning.
Dear Chairs and Chief Executives
The Psychotherapy and Counselling Union note that current guidance from your organisations on the Covid 19 virus makes no reference to the serious financial challenges the pandemic seems likely to present to your members. In particular, we are concerned about the situation of the many counsellors and psychotherapists working for therapy providers on 'self-employed', zero-hours or similar contracts/work agreements which make no provision for sick pay or payment for absence when self-isolating.
This situation puts many therapists, like other self-employed workers, in the invidious position where following best practice on self-isolation (for example if they suspect they have been exposed to the virus but have no symptoms) may mean that they are unable to financially support themselves. In situations where organisations decide to suspend face-to-face counselling sessions, there is a risk of their counsellors going unpaid if they do not have full employment rights. For counsellors and psychotherapists in private practice, there are also likely to be severe financial repercussions, which are unlikely to be addressed simply by offering online sessions.
As our professional bodies, your organisations have a responsibility to make strong representations to government about the need for self-employed workers to receive financial support during the current crisis, and for counselling providers in the voluntary and private sectors to receive support if necessary to ensure that their therapists are paid.
We look forward to seeing public statements and action from you to address these urgent matters and will be glad to discuss further with you.
Richard Bagnall-Oakeley Integrative Child Psychotherapist (UKCP Reg.,MBACP) General Secretary, Psychotherapy and Counselling Union https://www.psychotherapyandcounsellingunion.co.uk/