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The National Council of Psychotherapists

Est. 1971




All Members of the National Council of Psychotherapists agree to:-


  1. provide service to clients solely in those areas in which they are competent to do so and for which they carry relevant professional indemnity insurance.

  2. remain aware of their own limitations and wherever appropriate, be prepared to refer a client to another practitioner (regardless of discipline) who might be expected to offer suitable treatment.

  3. ensure that wherever a client is seeking assistance for the relief of physical symptoms, unless having already done so, that the client be advised to contact a registered Medical Practitioner.

  4. confirm that they will never knowingly offer advice to a client which either conflicts with, or is contrary to that given, by the client’s registered Medical Advisor/s. (If they have doubts or concerns with regard to a client’s prescribed medication, they should, always with their client’s permission, contact the medical advisor personally).

  5. accept that any client referred to them by a registered Medical Practitioner (or other relevant agency) remains the clinical responsibility of the Medical Practitioner (or agency) and thereby agree to keep that Medical Practitioner (or agency) suitably informed of the client’s progress.

  6. maintain strict confidentiality within the client/therapist relationship, always provided that such confidentiality is neither inconsistent with the safety of the client’s family members nor other members of the public or in contravention of the laws of the land.

  7. ensure that client notes and records be kept secure and confidential and that the uses of computer records remain within the terms of the Data Protection Act.

  8. obtain written permission from the client (or if appropriate, the client’s parent/s or legal guardian/s) before either recording client sessions or discussing undisguised cases with any person whatsoever. ("Recording" in this context means any method other than the usual taking of written case notes. "Undisguised" in this context means cases in which material has not been sufficiently altered in order to offer reasonable anonymity to all relevant parties).

  9. take all reasonable steps to ensure the safety of the client and any person who may be accompanying them.

  10. ensure that their workplace and all facilities offered to both clients and their companions will be in every respect suitable and appropriate for the service provided.

  11. refrain from using their position of trust and confidence to:

a) exploit the client emotionally, sexually, financially or in any other way whatsoever. Should either a sexual or financial relationship (i.e. other than the payment of session fees or the purchase of books, tapes or other relevant products) develop between either therapist and client or members of their respective immediate families, the therapist must immediately cease to accept fees, terminate treatment consistent with Clause 12 below and refer the client to another suitable therapist at the very earliest opportunity. (Clarification on dilemmas experienced by members in respect of the foregoing may be offered by the NCP on request).


b) touch the client in any way that may be open to misinterpretation. (Before employing tactile hypnotic induction or deepening techniques, both an explanation should be given and permission received from the client or parent/guardian).

  1. terminate treatment at the earliest moment consistent with the good care of the client.

  2. not permit considerations of religion, nationality, gender, marital status, age, disability, politics or social standing to adversely influence client treatment.

  3. disclose full details of all relevant memberships, training, experience, qualifications and appropriate avenues of complaint to clients, upon request.

  4. Use no claim or title connected with the National Council or its associated Register of Critical Incident Debriefers other than that they are members of the National Council of Psychotherapists or National Council Registered Debriefers with appropriate designated letters. (N.B. Officers of the Council shall be further entitled to state the position held by them.)

  5. make no claim that they hold specific qualifications unless such claim can be fully substantiated. (In the absence of appropriate medical qualifications, no Registered Member may utilise the title "Doctor" in a manner that may mislead any member of the public to believe that they are medically qualified and any use of this title must be clearly defined by a suitable qualifying statement.)

  6. explain fully to clients in advance of any treatment, the fee levels, precise terms of payment and any charges that might be imposed for non-attendance or cancelled appointments. (Whilst not obligatory, written material is preferable to verbal statements as this is less likely to give grounds for misunderstanding should any dispute between client and therapist subsequently develop).

  7. present all services and products in an unambiguous manner (to include any limitations and realistic outcomes of treatment and ensure that the client retains complete control over the decision to purchase such services or products.

  8. conduct themselves at all times in accordance with their professional status and in such a way as neither undermines public confidence in the process or profession of psychotherapy/hypnotherapy nor brings the NCP into disrepute.

  9. a) inform the NCP, in writing, of any complaint (of which they are aware) made against them;

b) inform the NCP, in writing, of any disciplinary action taken against them by any professional body;


    c) inform the NCP, in writing, of any criminal offence of which they have been convicted.


  1. inform the NCP, in writing, of any alteration in circumstance, which would affect either their position or ability as practitioners.

  2. notify the NCP, in writing, of any change in practice name, contact address, telephone number or e-mail address, at the earliest convenient moment.

  3. ensure that all advertising shall comply with the British Code of Advertising Practice, accord with the British Advertising Standards Authority and make available all such literature, to the NCP, on request.

  4. where applicable, make available all relevant information requested as a result of investigation by any appointed Complaints and Disciplinary Officer without hindrance (whether implied or actual) or unreasonable delay and comply fully with all requirements inherent within any Complaints and Disciplinary Procedure to which they subscribe.

  5. obtain the consent of an appropriate adult (i.e. parent or legal guardian) before conducting treatment with clients who are either under the age of majority or are classified as Special Needs. (Wherever possible, an appropriate adult should be present during such sessions).

  6. Accept that this is not a static document and that it may be altered, from time to time, in accordance with the need to ensure ongoing professionalism within the fields of Psychotherapy, Hypnotherapy, Counselling and Critical Incident Debriefing.



For all practical purposes, a "research subject" should be considered synonymous with a "client" and consequently, all relevant Clauses within the NCP "Code of Ethics" remain applicable.


Of extra importance is the need on the part of the "researcher" to:

  1. accept that all participation by "subjects" must be on a completely voluntary basis and that no "pressure" of any type should be exerted in order to secure participation.

  2. ensure that proper consent has been obtained prior to the commencement of any research project. This is especially so in the case of "minors" or Persons with Special Needs. (N.B. This does not apply where general research of a purely statistical nature is carried out).

  3. maintain complete openness and honesty with regard to both the purpose and nature of the research being conducted.

  4. consider any potential adverse consequences to the "subject" as a result of any intended research project.

  5. provide, where relevant, for the ongoing care of participants with regard to any adverse effects that might arise as a consequence of and within a reasonable time period after, their involvement within any research project.


REMEMBER -— The psychological well being of the individual subject is always more important than the research itself.


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