Practice and Theory Requirements for Registrants

Registrants must meet all the Requirements to register with us and meet the standards relevant to their scope of practice to stay registered with us.

If a Registrant’s practice is called into question we will consider these Requirements (and our Code of Ethics) in deciding what action, if any, we need to take.

These Requirements complement information and guidance issued by other organisations, such a Registrant’s Member Institution or employer.

We recognise the valuable role played by Member Institutions in providing guidance and advice about good practice which can help Registrants to meet these Requirements.

Practice Requirements

  1. Psychoanalytic and psychodynamic psychotherapy Registrants, and psychodynamic counselling Registrants must:

1.1. Have a working understanding of unconscious processes

1.2. Be able to make appropriate psychoanalytic interpretations

1.3. Be able to grasp and understand transference and countertransference and interpret them when appropriate

1.4. Know when they have reached the limits of their level of competence and not try to exceed them. Normally this would mean that the Registrant would not work with patients at a greater frequency than was included in their own training, and certainly not more frequently than they themselves received.

2. Registrants must be able to:

2.1. Make and maintain therapeutic relationships

2.2. Hold appropriate boundaries and provide secure settings

2.3. Have a good understanding of relevant theory and practice

2.4. Apply theory appropriately to the particular clinical situation.

3. Registrants must be able to understand:

3.1. Analytic Neutrality – This ‘way of being’ in the clinical situation requires that Registrants operate from a position of self-restraint and do not use personal disclosure, or give advice and/or opinions, as part of the therapeutic process. In the individual context this is a professional judgement made by the Registrant in the here-and-now of the work; however this concept is a basic requirement of psychoanalytic and psychodynamic practice

3.2. Reliability of External Frame – This requires that patients know what to expect in terms of the boundaries of the clinical encounter. This means that usually sessions should be held at the same times, the same place, and for the same length of time (50 minutes). If the setting (e.g. working in schools or other institutions) makes this impossible, Registrants must make every other endeavour to secure the reliability of the frame

3.3. Transference and Countertransference – Registrants in different categories will have different requirements as to how much consideration and direct interpretation of transference and countertransference is appropriate for their work. All Registrants make a professional judgement as to the degree of attention to these matters which is clinically appropriate in individual situations. However, all Registrants must be trained to think about the clinical work from this perspective

3.4. Free Association – This basic technique requires that patients be free to say uncensored whatever comes to mind and to follow their own train of thought

3.5. Unconscious Meaning and the Analytic Attitude – Registrants are required to understand unconscious processes and maintain a position of curiosity about the unconscious meaning of what the patient brings. This includes listening to what is said rather than listening for something which fits the Registrant’s theories or preconceptions

3.6. Self-Awareness – All Registrants have had substantial personal therapy as part of their training. This gives Registrants the tools to constantly examine their own experiences and preconceptions; this is a central requirement of psychoanalytic and psychodynamic work. Registrants should continue to maintain and develop their self-awareness through supervision, consultation, and other developmental activities.

Theory Requirements

4. The mode of clinical practice and theory taught to Registrants is that of the British clinical tradition, and must be based upon the theories of:

  • Freud and the contemporary Freudians
  • Klein and the post-Kleinians
  • Winnicott and the British Independents, or
  • Jung and the post Jungians.

While differences in emphasis exist between these four orientations, they are sufficiently closely linked in their theory base, and especially in their clinical practice, to form a coherent and consistent mode of practice.

The BPC does not recognise other models of treatment or clinical practices such as  Lacanian analysis, attachment-based therapy and relational psychotherapy, as they are techniques which are too far removed from the BPC’s definition of psychoanalytic and psychodynamic psychotherapy, and psychodynamic counselling.



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