SIP is a member of The British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC), and follows the BPC Code of Ethics, reproduced below. SIP psychotherapists are registered with the BPC.

If you think the Code of Ethics has been broken:

If you believe that your psychotherapist has not treated you in accordance with the following Code of Ethics, first of all raise this with your therapist to try and resolve matters.

If this fails, or if it is not appropriate, you can contact the administrator of SIP and ask for a copy of SIP’s Grievance Procedure. If you decide to go ahead with this grievance procedure, this will be dealt with by the SIP Ethics Committee.

If you are dissatisfied with the grievance procedure, or if you wish to make a formal complaint straight away, you can do so through the British Psychoanalytical Council (BPC). You can find details about making a complaint on the BPC website.

If you would like to make a comment, but not launch a formal complaint or grievance, you can contact SIP directly. Please feel free to use our contact form.

You are also entitled to contact the BPC to make a general comment.

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Code of Ethics of the BPC

Registrants are expected to act with honesty and integrity in all their professional work and have a responsibility to be familiar with, and abide by this Code of Ethics.

This code sets out the essential ethical imperative and a breach of any of this code may constitute grave misconduct which will be treated with the utmost seriousness and dealt with accordingly.

  1. Registrants must at all times act in a way that they reasonably believe to be in the best interests of their patients. At all times the welfare of the patient must be paramount and every care taken to ensure that the patient is not exploited in any way.
  2. Registrants must take all reasonable steps to preserve the confidentiality of information acquired through their practice and protect the privacy of individuals and organisations about whom information is held.
  3. Registrants must conduct themselves and their professional activities in such a way that does not damage the interests of their patients or participants in their training.
  4. If a member is convicted of a criminal offence in any court in the UK, or elsewhere, or has any proceedings commenced against him, civil or criminal, or has proceedings commenced against him by any professional body, he must inform the Chair of the Ethics Committee of the BPC. Similarly, registrants have a duty to inform the Chair of the BPC Ethics Committee of such information pertaining to a fellow registrant.
  5. Registrants may not resign from the BPC (or from their constituent institution) while they are under investigation for an ethical complaint. Any such resignation will not be accepted by the BPC and the constituent institution. A registrant under investigation must undertake not to impede the process of investigation.
  6. Registrants have a duty to maintain a satisfactory standard of professional competence by meeting the appropriate requirements for CPD and undertaking any necessary further education or training.
  7. Registrants must restrict their practice within the limits of their own competence and seek professional consultation or supervision in any situation which may reach this limit. As a matter of good practice, registrants should exercise clinical judgement in considering whether to seek a medical opinion about a patient.
  8. Registrants must, at the beginning of treatment, make clear to the patient, or whoever holds legal parental responsibility for a child in treatment, the principles and practicalities of the treatment offered and assure that as far as possibly they are maintained.
  9. Registrants shall take all reasonable steps to ensure that those working under their direct supervision adhere to this code and do not attempt to practise beyond their competence.
  10. Registrants must convey the Terms and Conditions of practice at the outset of therapy, so that the patient or whoever has legal parental responsibility for a child can understand the nature of the treatment and agree to it.
  11. Registrants should be familiar with the Access to Health Records Act of 1991 and the Data Protection Act and their implications for practising psychotherapists. Registrants must refer to the BPC guidelines on Notes and Records if requests for access to notes or records occur.
  12. Registrants must limit their work, or refrain from practice when their physical or psychological health is seriously impaired or if in doubt about their ability to perform competently must seek appropriate advice.
  13. Registrants must carry out their duties in a professional and ethical way and maintain appropriate and professional boundaries with patients at all times, so that they are not exploited in any way.
  14. Registrants shall, in all their professional work value integrity, impartiality and respect for patients and seek to establish the highest ethical and clinical standards in their work.
  15. If advertising, registrants shall confine such advertising to a statement of name, relevant qualifications, address, telephone number and a brief statement of the service offered. Such statements must be descriptive and not evaluative.
  16. Registrants must conduct themselves in such a manner as not to bring the profession, colleagues or themselves into disrepute, and must maintain fitting levels of respect and courtesy with colleagues and members of their own and other professions and with their employer if employed and also with the public.
  17. If publishing or presenting clinical or supervisory material either orally, written or film/video form, registrants must make every effort to ensure the anonymity of patients and where clinically appropriate seek the patient’s permission. If doing research, the nature, purpose and conditions of any research involving clinical material must be fully explained to the patient and informed consent must be obtained.
  18. Registrants who take part in any media or other public event must exercise caution, particularly with regard to confidentiality.
  19. All registrants must be covered by professional indemnity insurance.
  20. Registrants must nominate two colleagues to hold a list of their patients and supervisees in confidence, in the event of death or an inability to work. The names of these nominees must be lodged with the constituent societies.

Date of Code of Ethics: February 2011