President’s column; Lifetime Achievement; coaching psychology; specialist registers; and more

President’s column
Richard Mallows
Contact Richard Mallows via the Society’s Leicester office,
or e-mail: [email protected]

In the fantasy world of cinema, dialogue is ‘a necessary evil’ according to the Director Fred Zinnemann. Alfred Hitchcock thought similarly. This may well be true for a conversation between characters in a film, but dialogue in real life, in order to solve a problem, explore a subject or to understand a different point of view, is necessary and valuable. The role of President gives an excellent opportunity to consider the Society from different perspectives. At the turn of the year I attended three Division conferences each with its unique qualities. The Division of Clinical Psychology had Professor Tanya Byron as the final keynote speaker; this presentation was open to the public. The Division of Sport & Exercise Psychology provided a Premier League football referee as a gripping after dinner speaker, following a workshop led by Mark Nesti exposing the realities for a psychologist working in this world. I have certainly looked at Match of the Day in a very different light. The Division of Occupational Psychology (DOP) offered seaside games at their Brighton venue. There may be a video clip of the President successfully wielding a sledgehammer in the strong man attraction! The Chair of the DOP, Ian Bushnell, had organised a meeting of Chairs of Divisions, which I attended. This was an excellent example of establishing a dialogue.

We know that as psychologists we are a disparate group but the more I understand the differences the more I see how much we have to offer each other, and the BPS can offer a forum for interactive dialogue. Unlike discussion where we compete to have our voice heard, dialogue involves listening and identifying with an alternative view, separating assumptions from facts. After the DOP conference I went to a jazz concert in Brighton. The concert provided an interesting metaphor for dialogue. Each member of the group had their turn to initiate, improvise and create but always in relation to the others in the band. Most impressive was the integration, with the band incorporating a number of different styles into the same piece as they worked towards a satisfying harmonious conclusion. The Division Chairs have already followed up their initial meeting so it would appear that this dialogue is to be fruitful.

I was very pleased to be part of a Society delegation to meet with the Rt Hon Oliver Letwin MP, Minister of State for Government Policy. The meeting was called following a letter I had written to the Secretary of State for Health outlining concerns over the programme for Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT). I was accompanied by Nigel Atter, BPS Director of Policy, Richard Pemberton, Chair of the Clinical Division, and Alex Stirzaker, IAPT National Advisor. The Minister and his Cabinet Office colleagues were very interested in our views on how to augment psychological therapies and increase their effectiveness. We were able to outline areas of good practice and also some shortfalls arising from the new commissioning environment. Alex Stirzaker gave an excellent example of a pilot IAPT programme for people with personality disorder. Mr Letwin was very keen to hear the outcome for further consideration.

We also considered the role of Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners (PWP), their retention and career route. The Minister was interested
to hear of the planned reduction by Health Education England of the high-intensity and PWP workforce for 2014/2015. We were assured that matters relating to IAPT data accuracy and reporting were being attended to. The delivery of psychological therapies is a priority for the government, and the Minister outlined a new pilot study, which it is hoped will demonstrate more clearly the value of IAPT. I was very pleased that colleagues were able to provide examples of good practice with the potential to return troubled people to a fuller life. I left with the belief that this was the start of a worthwhile dialogue with the government, and indeed the government have since returned with requests for supportive materials.

Lifetime Achievement Awards
Professor David M. Clark CBE and Professor Elizabeth Kuipers

Each year our Professional Practice Board makes its Lifetime Achievement Award to recognise and celebrate unusually significant and sustained contributions over a career as a practitioner of applied psychology. For 2013 there were two outstanding candidates, and so the Board decided to make two awards – to Professor David M. Clark CBE and Professor Elizabeth Kuipers.

David M. Clark is Professor of Experimental Psychology at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Magdalen College. Among his many academic honours, he is a Fellow of the British Academy and an Honorary Fellow of the British Psychological Society.

He has made exceptional contributions to clinical and abnormal psychology, and his work has been influential in bringing about the current ascendancy of cognitive behavioural therapy. Over the past 36 years he has used experimental science to develop new and highly effective psychological treatments for four different anxiety disorders: panic disorder, hypochondriasis, social phobia and post-traumatic stress disorder. The treatments are each recommended as first-line interventions in the relevant NICE guidelines and have a prominent place in psychological therapy training curricula.

In each of the four disorders, David and his colleagues have achieved the difficult feat of developing a new psychological treatment that has specific effects – that is, it has been shown to be superior to other psychological treatments that are equally credible and are delivered by similarly experienced, warm and empathic therapists.

Nominating him, Professor Glyn Humphreys said he knew of few people who have achieved this with one disorder – ‘I know of nobody who has achieved it with four.’

In recent years David has also focused on the difficult problem
of how to make effective psychological therapies more widely available to the public. With Richard Layard, he laid out the economic case for the government’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) initiative. Subsequently, with other BPS colleagues, he helped create the highly effective outcome monitoring system and the training and service quality standards that underpin the IAPT initiative (see ‘Talking therapies’, June 2010).

Speaking about the award, David said he was delighted to receive such generous recognition from his professional colleagues but emphasised that the achievements would not have been possible without his good fortune in having outstanding early career mentors (Alan Cowey, Jack Rachman, John Teasdale and Aaron T. Beck) and the privilege of working with ‘outrageously’ talented clinical innovators such as Anke Ehlers, Paul Salkovskis, Ann Hackmann, Melanie Fennell, Jennifer Wild, Nick Grey, Richard Stott, Adrian Wells and Emma Warnock-Parkes .

Elizabeth Kuipers is Professor of Clinical Psychology at King’s College London, a Fellow of the British Psychological Society and an Academician of the Social Sciences. Most notable among her many contributions to the profession of clinical psychology has been her work to transform the way that care is provided for people with severe mental illness. As a trainee clinical psychologist in the 1970s she was struck by the limitations of the psychological care given to people with psychosis: it was largely limited to social skills training and token economies.

Throughout her career Professor Kuipers has taken psychological research, including service users’ and carers’ perceptions, and translated these into new ways of helping service users and their families. Her PhD, for instance, represented the first British trial
of family interventions for psychosis.

With her team she has completed five randomised trials of psychological therapies for psychosis in the UK and been involved
in international trials in Germany and Italy. This work has led to a change from therapeutic pessimism about psychosis to a growing confidence that significant and cost-effective outcomes can be achieved.

In parallel with this academic work, she has demonstrated the effectiveness of new treatments in clinical settings. She was
the founding director of the award-winning outpatient service for psychosis run by the South London & Maudsley NHS Foundations Trust, now a demonstration site for psychosis under the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies for Severe Mental Illness programme.

As a result of her expertise she chaired two guideline updates for NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence): the 2009 Schizophrenia update and the 2014 Psychosis and Schizophrenia for Adults update. She continues to be interested in understanding the mechanisms of change in psychological interventions for both those with psychosis and their carers, in order to develop more effective ways of working in this area.

Professor Kuipers is a passionate advocate for women in psychology, particularly women who wish to develop their research careers. Last year she received a lifetime achievement award from WISE – Women in Science and Engineering. She is delighted to receive this award and recognition from the Professional Practice Board.

Accreditation of first cross-divisional doctorate

A new form of practitioner doctorate has been developed at the University of Birmingham that has been accredited by the British Psychological Society for dual recognition in forensic and clinical psychology. The doctorate was developed by the university in collaboration with St Andrews, an independent National Teaching Hospital that provides specialist care in the fields of mental health, learning disabilities, autism, brain injury and dementia. The doctorate is designed to meet the needs of services and service users where training in both clinical and forensic psychology would provide a distinct advantage, a need most keenly felt in the area of secure mental health provision.

The Doctorate in Forensic Clinical Psychology, which took its first cohort of trainees in September 2013, includes the core elements of both clinical and forensic psychology training (both of which were already well established at the University of Birmingham). The aim of the programme is to provide professional, doctorate level training, commensurate with the requirements of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and BPS to qualify individuals to work as both forensic and clinical psychologists in forensic mental health, clinical, prison and other forensic settings. Those graduating will be able to apply and develop evidence-based practice to reduce psychological distress, enhance psychological well-being and protect the public through effective assessment and management of risk. They will be well placed to work in settings such as St Andrews.

Graduates of the new programme will be eligible to become Chartered Psychologists within the BPS in both the Clinical and Forensic Divisions.

The programme has also been approved by the Health and Care Professions Council, enabling graduates to apply for registration with the HCPC as Forensic and Clinical Psychologists. The programme is a four-year degree that enables trainees to complete all of the competencies required for clinical and forensic training in an integrated, full-time training. 

The development of a combined degree that takes a year longer than either a clinical or a forensic doctorate is at first sight surprising given the current context of training in psychology. Most recent new developments have tended to concentrate on shorter programmes with the view that these can support the provision of services to large numbers of people with commonly occurring difficulties, such
as through the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies programme in England.

This is the first time that the accreditation through partnership approach has been used to demonstrate the achievement of standards across two Divisions and domains of practice rather than just the one as is normally the case. It is also the first time the Society has convened a fully cross-divisional visiting team to accredit a programme to meet the needs identified by a university working in partnership with an employer. This new partnership approach between the BPS, university and employer sets a precedent for the profession that could see the development of a number of other innovations involving other branches of applied psychology.

Dr Fiona Mason, Chief Medical Officer at St Andrews Healthcare, commented: ‘As the UK’s leading charity providing specialist NHS care we are committed to investing in both research and teaching, as it is only through doing so that we can continue to innovate in service delivery. The graduates of this unique course will enhance our comprehensive professional teams and assist the recovery of those we care for. The course offers an exciting opportunity to enhance standards and further develop psychology training in the UK.’

Dr Mark Forshaw, Chair of the Society’s Membership Standards Board, also welcomed the development of this new programme: ’The Society is committed to supporting training and educational provision designed to meet the needs of the modern workforce. Our devotion to a partnership model, working in close alignment with our colleagues in higher education institutions, and other stakeholders such as the NHS,
is demonstrated through our enthusiasm for new ideas in training, such as this Doctorate in Forensic Clinical Psychology. In addition, it shows how different domains in psychology can interface successfully. We welcome this kind of innovative thinking that could, in the future, open up possibilities such as joint training in clinical and health psychology, or occupational and health Psychology, for example, where there are still some unexplored synergies.’
Professor John Rose, Academic Director ForenClinPsyD, University of Birmingham
Professor Anthony Beech, Director of the Centre for Forensic and Criminological Psychology, University of Birmingham
Professor Clive Long, Associate Director of Psychology and Psychological
Therapies, St Andrews
Monica Lloyd, Lecturer, ForenPsyD Programme, University of Birmingham
Dr Malcolm Wheatley, Lead Psychologist Adolescent Service, St Andrews
Lucy Horder, Education and Professional Development Manager, the British Psychological Society

The final paragraph in last month’s report of Peter Martin’s Practitioner of the Year Award (p.104) should have read: ‘Along with his Society activities Dr Martin continues to work as an external examiner at Surrey and Wolverhampton Universities and Regents University London and as research supervisor at the New School for Psychotherapy and Counselling. He also maintains his private practice working both clients and supervisees.’

Ten years of coaching psychology

This year marks the 10th Anniversary of the Special Group in Coaching Psychology – a landmark event which we hope our colleagues in the Society will wish to celebrate with us. Establishing a new subdiscipline is a major achievement and this anniversary provides an opportunity to celebrate what has been achieved so far and plan strategically for the future.

One of our main objectives is to broaden appreciation of how coaching psychology can contribute to the well-being of individuals, communities and organisations, and to help members of the Society learn more about the relevance that this subdiscipline might have to their professional practice and development – including those who would not necessarily immediately recognise the applicability of coaching psychology to their day-to-day activities and roles.

The concept of coaching will be familiar to many. In recent years, it has become widely recognised as a powerful intervention for enhancing well-being and performance. At the heart of the coach’s mission lies the intention to facilitate a process of change, development or transformation in order to optimise effectiveness and potential – at the personal, professional, organisational or community level. As an offering in the market place with now widespread appeal, the field of coaching has witnessed an exponential increase in both supply and demand. This has created challenges as well as opportunities: As an emerging profession, enthusiastic claims of effectiveness need to be substantiated by a robust evidence-base, with practice underpinned by a sound knowledge-base.

Coaching psychology is uniquely placed to contribute to the field through providing an established knowledge-base, robust models of practice, and investigative methods that can aid the systematic development of an evidence-base that can support the many contexts in which coaching interventions are delivered. Of course, psychologists have undertaken coaching-related activities for many years. However, it is only more recently that coaching psychology has emerged as a distinct academic and applied field. Drawing on multiple domains to inform its contribution, the foundations of coaching psychology take inspiration from the behavioural and social sciences, leadership and management sciences, education, counselling and psychotherapy, and positive psychology (amongst others!) to create novel solutions to novel areas of application.

Coaching psychology has many features in common with the other subdisciplines in applied psychology. Perhaps, however, one of its hallmark features is its diversity. For many of our members, coaching psychology has been a natural extension of their development as their roles have expanded to encompass activities for which they may not have been formally trained. Practitioners join the SGCP community from a variety of psychological backgrounds, which include, amongst their core professions and identities, occupational, organisational, clinical, counselling and health psychology. The diversity of the field is part of its strength – whilst those who join us work in areas and occupy roles where the knowledge-base of coaching psychology meets a definite need, this same diverse group brings new perspectives and practices from their ‘professions of origin’ helping build a discipline that is trans-disciplinary in outlook and approach.

And our community is thriving. In the past 10 years we have established one of the fastest-growing member networks, which offers peer practice groups to support ongoing professional development and provides two journals, The Coaching Psychologist, and International Coaching Psychology Review. We have also established a post-qualification register through which members with specialist expertise in the field of coaching psychology can achieve recognition of their expertise and differentiate their services. As members of an international community, we have hosted four European conferences and developed links with other bodies – at the national and international levels – who share a similar commitment to further the future of the subdiscipline.

Coaching psychology has a great deal to offer members of the Society, particularly at a time when applied psychology is reconsidering how it presents itself to, and positions itself within, the wider market place. We plan to use this year as a means to enhance collective understanding of what this emerging field has to contribute and to forge new partnerships in addressing some of the major challenges of our era. This will culminate in our 10th Anniversary Conference, the 4th International Congress in Coaching Psychology, to be held in London on 11–12 December 2014. We hope you will join us.
For more information about the 10th Anniversary Conference in December, please visit
Sarah Corrie, Chair of the Special Group in Coaching Psychology
Dasha Grajfoner, Chair Elect
Mary Watts, Past Chair


HCPC council appointment

Professor Graham Towl from Durham University has been appointed as a registrant member of the Council of the HCPC (Health and Care Professions Council).

Graham Towl is a Fellow of the Society and Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Warden of Durham University. Previously he was the Chief Psychologist at the Ministry of Justice and Home Office. He is widely published in the forensic field and a recipient of the Society's Award for Distinguished Contributions to Professional Practice. Expressing his delight at the appointment, he added: ‘One strength of this multidisciplinary regulatory body is that as professionals we are able to learn from each other, confident in the knowledge that our standards are tested on a broader professional canvas than any one profession would be likely to achieve on its own. This is achieved whilst maintaining and respecting the distinctiveness of each of the 16 professions regulated by the HCPC.’

The HCPC Council has six lay members and six registrant members. Its role is to protect the health and well-being of those using or needing the services of registrants. It does this by developing and monitoring strategy and policy for the HCPC, and ensuring that the organisation fulfils its functions under the Health and Social Work Professions Order 2001

WHAT Members say
‘Since the launch of the BPS Special Group in Coaching Psychology in 2004, there has been a steady demand for coaching at work and personal coaching. Understandably, it is important for both individual and organisational clients that their service provider is qualified to deliver coaching and coaching psychology within a professional and ethical framework. By being on the Register of Coaching Psychologists my clients know that I have agreed to have regular supervision from a Chartered Psychologist and/or HCPC Registered Psychologist and to undertake CPD relating to this field. I am also on the Register of Applied Psychology Practice Supervisors (RAPPS). This has made it easier for students to contact me directly regarding my availability for supervision.’ – Professor Stephen Palmer CPsychol, CSci, AFBPsS, Registered EuroPsy Psychologist (Register of Coaching Psychologists, Directory of Chartered Psychologists and RAPPS)

‘Being seen as a psychologist specialising in psychotherapy emphasises to clients and commissioners my post-qualification training and experience. I believe it has been a particular advantage in independent practice.’ – Susan van Scoyoc CPsychol, AFBPsS, Registered EuroPsy Psychologist (RoPSiP and Directory of Chartered Psychologists)

‘Whenever I am asked how someone can find a good therapist, I always suggest that he or she looks on the BPS Directory of Chartered Psychologists, as opposed to any other, whatever particular concerns that person is seeking to understand and alleviate. In my experience, the BPS Directory is the most reliable source of well-trained therapists, and it offers the clearest descriptions of what each therapist can offer, of any such website on the internet. I am myself truly proud to be included in the BPS Directory of Chartered Psychologists and RAPPS.’ – Linda Blair CPsychol, CSci, AFBPsS
(Directory of Chartered Psychologists and RAPPS)


Sign up to our specialist registers

Completing doctoral-equivalent training and becoming eligible for Chartered Membership of the Society means achieving the Society gold standard of knowledge, skills and autonomous practice. In addition, the titles of Associate Fellow and Fellow provide a means of recognising members’ further experience and contribution to our discipline and profession.

However, in recent years the Society has also developed several registers that members can join in order to demonstrate their specialist expertise in specific areas.

These registers are for Chartered Members who have gained experience in one or more of the areas of clinical neuropsychology, coaching psychology, psychotherapy and supervision of applied psychology practice. Each register is fully searchable via the Society’s website by potential clients, service users and supervisees.

In some cases, admission to the register requires completion of accredited or approved routes of training and for others, the requirement is to be a member of a specific member network or to be registered with the HCPC. Across all of the registers, it is necessary to demonstrate work within a designated framework of skills and experience. There is an application process specific to each register that enables candidates to evidence their relevant specialist knowledge and skills.

The Society’s specialist registers provide members with a means of confirming expertise beyond initial professional registration with the HCPC. As such, they can be a valuable resource for potential clients or other professionals. Details of the registers together with relevant web links are provided below.

Register of Applied Psychology Practice Supervisors RAPPS is the online search facility where trainees look for a supervisor. Gain recognition as a Chartered Psychologist with special expertise in supervision. Registrants receive a certificate confirming their status as a psychology supervisor and become available to trainees as supervisors.

Register of Coaching Psychologists

This register has been developed to provide recognition for coaching psychologists and the profession of coaching psychology. Chartered members of the Society who are also full members of the Special Group in Coaching Psychology (SGCP) and practising coaching psychology can join the register, allowing differentiation of services as a coaching psychologist and acknowledgement of coaching psychology expertise.

Register of Psychologists Specialising in Psychotherapy
RoPSiP is a post-qualifying register designed to recognise the specialist expertise in psychotherapy of Chartered Psychologists irrespective of Divisional membership or route to Chartered Membership.

Specialist Register of Clinical Neuropsychologists
The SRCN is a means of recognising those psychologists working in the field of neuropsychology who have gone on to complete the Society’s Qualification in Clinical Neuropsychology (QiCN). Gaining entry to this register provides Society recognition that an individual has reached the standard for practice in the specialist area of clinical neuropsychology.

All Chartered Members are also reminded that they are entitled to request an entry in the Directory of Chartered Psychologists.
The Directory is the longest-standing online search facility that the Society offers. Chartered Members can advertise their services and contact details to the public via this resource and can manage their individual entry in the Directory via the members’ area of the website. 

Sharing information to prevent suicide

A consensus statement on information sharing and suicide prevention has been published by the Department of Health in England and eight professional organisations including the British Psychological Society (pdf at The statement addresses the difficult balance health professionals can face between respecting client confidentiality, whilst at the same time doing everything possible to reduce the risk of suicide and supporting family members.

The introduction to the statement says: ‘We have heard from a number of families bereaved by suicide about their experiences, and issues of confidentiality have been a recurring theme. They have repeatedly raised concerns that practitioners can seem reluctant to take information from families and friends or give them information about a person’s suicide risk.’

The guidance emphasises that a person must be assumed to have capacity unless it is established that they do not. However, it says that ‘if a person is at imminent risk of suicide there may well be sufficient doubts about their mental capacity at that time’. It also says that, while a professional judgement has to be made each time, it will sometimes be right to share critical information: ‘If the purpose of the disclosure is to prevent a person who lacks capacity from serious harm, there is an expectation that practitioners will disclose relevant confidential information if it is considered to be in the person’s best interest to do so.’

David Murphy, Chair of the Society’s Professional Practice Board, said: ‘The Society has collaborated with the Department of Health and our colleagues in other professional bodies over many months to arrive at this important guidance, which we hope will help practitioner psychologists and other health professionals to both respect client confidentiality appropriately and also do their utmost to prevent suicide and support family members.

‘This guidance is so important because if we get this right, relatives can potentially play a crucial role in helping reduce suicide risk but, if not, their suffering in the aftermath of a suicide of a loved one can be exacerbated by feeling that they might have been able to do more if only there had been better communication with health professionals.’
The Department of Health also recently published the first annual report on England’s cross-government suicide prevention strategy (available via

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