BACP ethical principles

As a BACP accredited counsellor, I practice according to the BACP's ethical framework.
This means following six ethical principles. 

Being trustworthy

Being trustworthy is regarded as fundamental to understanding and resolving ethical issues. This principle requires that I:
  1. act in accordance with the trust placed in me;
  2. strive to ensure that my clients' expectations are ones that have a reasonable prospect of being met;
  3. honour my agreements and promises;
  4. regard confidentiality as an obligation;
  5. restrict any disclosure of confidential information about clients to furthering the purposes for which it was disclosed.


Autonomy means developing a client's ability to be self-directing within therapy and their life. This principle requires that I:
  1. ensure accuracy in any advertising or information about my services;
  2. seek freely given and adequately informed consent;
  3. emphasise the value of voluntary participation in the services being offered;
  4. engage in explicit contracting in advance of any commitment by a client;
  5. protect privacy;
  6. protect confidentiality;
  7. inform a client in advance of foreseeable conflicts of interest.
The principle of autonomy opposes the manipulation of clients against their will, even for beneficial social ends. 


Beneficence means acting in the best interests of the client based on professional assessment. This principle requires that I:
  1. Work within my limits of competence and on the basis of adequate training and experience;
  2. Monitor my practice and outcomes;
  3. Continue research and reflection on a systematic basis;
  4. Submit to on-going supervision by a suitably qualified peer;
  5. Undertake continuing professional development;
Acting in the best interests of the client is paramount in cases where a client's autonomy is diminished. 


Non-maleficence means avoiding emotional or other forms of client exploitation. This principle requires that I:
  1. Avoid incompetence or malpractice;
  2. Not providing services when unfit to do so due to illness, personal circumstances or intoxication;
  3. Strive to mitigate any harm caused to a client;
  4. Challenge the incompetence or malpractice of others;
  5. Contribute to any investigation concerning professional practice which falls below that of a reasonably competent practitioner.


Theprinciple of justice requires being just and fair to all client and respecting their human rights and dignity. This principle requires that I:
  1. Consider conscientiously any legal requirements and obligations;
  2. Determine impartially the provision of services for clients and the allocation of services between clients;
  3. Appreciate the differences between people and be committed to equality of opportunity;
  4. Avoid discrimination between people or groups;
  5. Strive to ensure a fair provision of counselling and psychotherapy services, accessible and appropriate to the needs of potential clients.


Self-respect means that the practitioner applies all the above principles as entitlements for self. This principle requires that I:
  1. Seek counselling or psychotherapy for personall development;
  2. Use supervision for personal and professional support and development;
  3. Obtain appropriate insurance;
  4. Engage in life-enhancing activities and relationships outside of counselling and psychotherapy.
Download a full text of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy ethical principles by clicking here.