BPA Code of Ethics
Setting our Sail...
We are finding ourselves journeying to a possible new place. Potentiality of new mental (& physical) health treatments, expanded states of mind and elevated creativity, could lead to a paradigm shift in human consciousness and connection. .
But, where is the map that will take us there?
An agreed set of principles and ethics must be detailed and robust, able to protect and to stand strong under the most intensive scrutiny.
The BPA have created such a map, a Code of Ethics (CoE).
"If we achieve our aims with this document, then we will have provided a transparent basis to build a community of professional practitioners, whose common interest is working with non-ordinary or expanded states of consciousness."
A section of the document is available below. To read the full document, please link to the PDF here: BPA Code of Ethics
To read an interview with two of BPA's board members about the CoE, please link to the PDF here: Code of Ethics Interview.
Fundamental Principles & Code of Practice
Working with ordinary and expanded states of consciousness
“Our normal waking consciousness, rational consciousness as we call it, is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the flimsiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness that are entirely different.”
William James, Varieties of Religious Experience 1902
Draft version: June 2021
This document outlines a proposed code of ethics for the British Psychedelic Association (BPA), which seeks to embed practices such as Psychedelic Assisted Therapy into a general ethical framework for Counselling and Psychotherapy. While a substantial body of work and responsibility, our hope is that this document will work towards securing professional status for practitioners in the UK who are working with non-ordinary or expanded states of consciousness, including when legal, those occasioned with consciousness expanding compounds [where access is presently restricted under national and international legal frameworks].
The BPA code of ethics is based on the ethical framework developed by the National Counselling Society (NCS), although there are many important divergences. The most significant of these relates to the philosophy of Transformative Justice, which is used to underpin the integrity of our ethical framework. To the best of our knowledge, no other Counselling and Psychotherapy code of ethics has attempted to place Guide work and Sitting work within the domain of Counselling and Psychotherapy whilst wrapping these domains within a community based accountability process based on the philosophy of Transformative Justice.
Our approach to accountability represents a significant departure to the current model of how Counselling and Psychotherapy organisations in the UK position themselves to oversee members. Whilst neither Counselling or Psychotherapy are subject to a statutory regulator in the UK, organisations such as NCS and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) retain the power and control when a practitioner voluntarily adopts their principles via an official membership process. By contrast, the approach taken by the BPA, whilst also offering practitioners the possibility of professional membership gives this power and control back to a practitioner's professional community. We feel this best safeguards clients and practitioners whilst embodying humanistic values. However, we also recognise that with greater freedom comes great responsibility. Thus, how we define practitioners' professional community and what we expect of them are important details that require careful consideration (see section on Community Accountability, and Appendix C).
Whilst the current code is a work in progress, and will likely continue to be refined and updated over time, currently it only covers professional contexts. This is due to the complexity of holding professional counselling and non-professional Sitter or Guide contexts in one framework. The BPA will therefore issue separate guidance for non-professionals in Sitter or Guide roles in due course.
BPA Team, June 2021