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Working Privately as a CBT Practitioner

Therapists can work entirely privately or alongside an employed practice.

The BABCP Independent Practitioner SIG (Special Interest Group) can offer specialised support with starting your own practice

General Guidance

  • Psychotherapy, including CBT is not a state-registered profession, so there are no legal requirements for working privately
  • Accreditation and specific qualifications are not legally essential however the public are likely to look for accredited practitioners as this provides reassurance that you have met our standards of training and practice
  • You must work ethically and abide by our Standards of Conduct, Peformance and Ethics [PDF], including appropriate supervision
  • Ensure you are GDPR compliant
  • Work from suitable premises
  • Take out professional indemnity and public liability insurance. A number of companies offer this - Balens offers discounts to our members. Details can be accessed from the members area.
  • Check with your employer if you intending to practice privately alongside other work - there may be restrictions

If you're Accredited (Provisional or Full)

  • You can use "BABCP Accredited" and our logo in your advertising
  • You can pay to upgrade your CBT Register UK listing so that members of the public can find your details 
  • There are other online therapy directories you can sign up to. Your presence on the CBT Register UK will show that you are BABCP accredited
  • Accredited members can register with Private Health Insurers and Medico-Legal agencies to receive referrals

If you're not Accredited

  • You can practice but you must not refer to BABCP membership within your marketing

PWPs working privately

There are no BABCP or legal requirements to prevent PWPs having an independent practice, however if you are still employment you should check with your trust that it doesn't breach your terms of contract.  NHS England doesn't support PWPs working privately as they are only qualified to work within an integrated system of stepped care.

You should ensure that you always work within our Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics [PDF].

Considerations for Private Practice

These pointers have been provided by our Independent Practitioner Special Interest Group.

You might find it helpful to join the SIG, attend their workshops and consult them for further guidance on any of these questions at  IPSIG@babcp.com

Clinical considerations

  • How will you monitor clinical effectiveness in practice – what stats will you keep?
  • Ensure you keep clinically updated with regular CPD
  • How will you manage risk in independent practice?

Business considerations

  • Will you encourage clients to sign a contract expressly mentioning Did Not Attend charges / late cancellations etc?
  • What will inform your charging strategy? Don’t forget to consider start-up costs – and you will need a financial buffer because it is highly unlikely you will immediately fill your diary
  • Will you need a social media presence? 
  • How will you ensure any advertising is in line with ethical practice?
  • Will you need a professional website?

Self-care considerations

  • How will you implement breaks/lunch break into your day? 
  • Consider a lone worker policy and personal safety while in practice
  • Can you provide disabled access in premises and be inclusive within your practice?
  • How will you prevent burnout?
  • How will you manage clinical isolation?
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