The purpose of this Ellesmere Centre Ethical Principles and Code of Professional Conduct is to define generic ethical principles, which the Ellesmere centre members commit to and maintain.

The ethics committee may take this document into account, when dealing with any matters brought to their attention including matters of safeguarding and equality and diversity. This Ethical Principles and Code of Professional Conduct applies equally to all Ellesmere Centre staff and students, the term psychotherapist should be read to include registrant psychotherapeutic counsellors.

This Ethical Principles and Code of Professional Conduct cannot cover every potential ethical, conduct or competence related concern. Ellesmere Centre staff and students must therefore depend on their own thoughtful evaluation of specific principles and the spirit expressed in these statements.

The staff, counsellors and psychotherapists commit to engage with the challenge of striving for ethical practice and conduct, even when doing so involves making difficult decisions or acting courageously.

The term therapist will be used throughout to represent all included in this policy

General Ethical Principles

Best interests of clients

2. The therapist undertakes to treat their clients with respect.

3. The therapist undertakes not to abuse or exploit the relationship they have with their clients, current or past, for any purpose, including the psychotherapist’s sexual, emotional or financial gain.

4. The therapist undertakes not to enter into a sexual relationship with a client.

5.  The therapists are required to carefully consider possible implications of entering into dual or multiple relationships and make every effort to avoid entering into relationships that risks confusing an existing relationship and may impact adversely on a client. For example, a dual or multiple relationships could be social or commercial relationship between the psychotherapist and client, or a supervisory relationship, which runs alongside the therapeutic one. When dual or multiple relationships are unavoidable, for example in small communities, psychotherapists take responsibility to clarify and manage boundaries and confidentiality of the therapeutic relationship. 

6. The therapist undertakes to take into account the length of therapy and time lapsed since therapy and pay great attention to exercise reasonable care before entering into any personal or business relationships with former clients. Should the relationship prove to be detrimental to the former client, the psychotherapist may be called to account to the charge of a misuse of their former position as the former client’s psychotherapist.

7. The therapist undertakes to respect their client’s autonomy.

8. The therapist undertakes not to harm or collude in the harming of their client or a client of others.

9. The therapist undertakes to know and understand their legal responsibilities concerning the rights of children and vulnerable adults and to take appropriate action should the psychotherapist consider a child or vulnerable adult is at risk of harm.

10.  The therapist recognises that their behaviour outside their professional life may have an effect on the relationship with their clients and takes responsibility for working with these potential negative or positive effects to the benefit of the client.

Diversity and Equality

The equality and diversity policy should be read together with this policy to address standards of conduct and practice.

The therapist undertakes to actively consider issues of diversity and equalities as these affect all aspects of their work. The psychotherapist accepts no one is immune from the experience of prejudice and acknowledges the need for a continuing process of self-enquiry and professional development.


  • The therapist commits to respect, protect and preserve the confidentiality of their clients. The therapist undertakes to notify their clients, when appropriate or on request that there are legal and ethical limits of that confidentiality and circumstances under which the psychotherapist might disclose confidential information to a third party.
  • The therapist commits to protect sensitive and personally identifiable information obtained from the course of their work as a psychotherapist.
  • Should the therapist be required by law to serve in judicial or administrative proceedings, they commit to getting clarification at the outset of the potential impacts this could have on their commitment of confidentiality to any client. In such a situation the therapist commits to maintaining this clarification as the situation proceeds and to seek legal and ethical advice as appropriate.
  • The therapist commits to safeguard the welfare and anonymity of clients when any form of publication of clinical material is being considered and to always obtain their client’s verifiable consent in any case where the welfare or anonymity of a client may be compromised. This includes situations where a client or former client might recognise themselves in case material despite the changing of names or actual circumstances.


The therapist acknowledges that their professional and personal conduct may have both positive and negative effects on the way they are experienced by a client. The therapist undertakes, in a continuing process, to critically examine the impact these effects may have on the psychotherapeutic relationship with any client, placing a priority on preserving the client’s

Subject to the rules of confidentiality and other code of ethics adhered to by the therapist, the therapist commits to co-operating with any lawful investigation or inquiry relating to their capacity to appropriately carry out their psychotherapy practice. Good practice would indicate that the psychotherapist should consult with a colleague/member of their Ethics Committee, or seek legal advice with request to any request for information by anyone involved in a legal case even where the client has given their consent.

If a therapist is convicted of a criminal offence, receives a conditional discharge for an offence, or accepts a police caution UKCP will consider any implications their conviction, conditional discharge, or in exceptional cases police caution, may have for their professional practice. UKCP will consider and assess potential risk posed to clients or for public confidence in the register and may reject their application for registration or removal of name from its register on such grounds.

Professional knowledge, skills and experience

           The therapist agrees to disclose their qualifications to clients and the Ellesmere Centre and the UKCP when requested and commits to not claiming or implying qualifications that they do not have.

The therapists commits to ensure that the use of title such as “Doctor/Dr” and post nominal initials after a name in all published materials are accurate; indicate whether it is a medical or academic qualification; and reasonably informs the public of their relevance to the practice of psychotherapy.

The therapist commits to recognise the boundaries and limitations of their expertise and techniques and to take the necessary steps to maintain their ability to practice competently.

If it becomes clear that a case is beyond a therapist’s scope of practice, the psychotherapist commits to inform the client and where appropriate offer an alternative psychotherapist or other professional where requested.

          The therapist commits to adhering to the Ellesmere Centre and UKCP policies on standards of education, training and practice.

The therapist commits to an on-going process of professional and personal enquiry and challenge, commonly referred to as “Continuing Professional Development”

The therapist commits adhering to the Continuing Professional Development policies held by the Ellesmere Centre and UKCP

The therapist accepts responsibility to ensure that they are competent, and have sufficient supervisory arrangements and other necessary support to enable them to meet their psychotherapeutic obligations to any client. This includes the responsibility of ensuring the very careful consideration of how best to refer a client to another psychotherapist or professional should it become clear that this would be in the client’s best interest.


The therapist agrees to at the outset explain to a client, or prospective client, their terms, fees and conditions and, on request, clarify other related questions such as likely length of therapy, methods of practice to be utilised, referral or termination processes.

The therapist agrees to notify clients of any other codes of ethics & practice to which they subscribe, including the availability of the complaints procedure. 

Obtaining consent

          The therapist undertakes to explain to the client, to the extent applicable to their modality and the client’s capacity: the therapist’s clinical method(s) of working; and the client’s choice to participate in any therapeutic interventions suggested by the therapist including any commitments the therapist makes to the client and any commitments the therapist requires of the client.

The therapist undertakes not to intentionally mislead a client concerning the type or nature of the psychotherapy practiced.

  • The therapist commits to clarify with clients the nature, purpose and conditions of any research in which the clients are to be involved and to ensure that informed and verifiable consent is given before commencement of the therapy and research.


The therapist agrees to keep such records as are necessary to properly carry out the type of counseling and psychotherapy offered.

  • The therapist commits to store and dispose any personally identifiable records or data securely in order to protect the client’s confidentiality.

Physical or Mental Health

The therapist accepts an ongoing responsibility to ensure that they do not work with clients if they are not able to do so for physical or mental health reasons, or when

           The therapist accepts a responsibility to take appropriate action should their ability to meet their obligations to their clients be compromised by their physical or mental health.

           The therapist commits to carefully consider how, in the event of their sudden unavailability this can be most appropriately communicated to their clients. This will also include careful consideration of how a client might be informed of a psychotherapist’s death or illness and, where appropriate, supported to deal with such a situation.

Professional Integrity

The therapist commits to report potential breaches of this Ethical Principles and Code of Professional Conduct by themselves or by other therapists to the relevant member organisation or UKCP.


The therapist commits to ensuring that any advertising or promoting they undertake will not be misleading, false, unfair or exaggerated.

The therapist commits to ensure that if they are involved in advertising or promoting any particular therapy, product or service, this is done in an accurate and responsible way.

The therapist undertakes not to make or support unjustifiable statements relating to particular therapies or therapists or include testimonials from clients in any advertising material.

Indemnity Insurance

The therapist commits to ensuring that their professional work is adequately covered by appropriate indemnity insurance or by their employer’s indemnity arrangements.


The therapist accepts the responsibility for maintaining reasonable awareness and a level of understanding regarding complaints procedures, relevant laws and statutory responsibilities that are applicable to their practice.

The therapist accepts a responsibility to act against colluding with practice harmful to clients including that carried out by other professionals and colleagues. This should include, where appropriate, activating procedures for addressing ethical concerns including formal complaints if necessary.

The Ellesmere Centre Philosophy

At the Ellesmere Centre for psychotherapy and training we aim to create a community spirit of engagement and participation. On this basis we encourage you as trainees to self-generate your interests and passions as you develop your knowledge and understanding of Transactional Analysis psychotherapy and it’s integration with other psychotherapy models. We consider the ethos of our training organisation to be developmental, relational and co-creative. 

We believe that the developmental process is significant as you progress from a place of basic theoretical understanding and skills practice in your foundation year to a competent level of theoretical integration, awareness and attunement within the therapeutic relationship.  We believe in the critical evaluation of this development through on-going assessment, analysis and critique.

From this developmental perspective we believe that it is essential to provide a comfortable environment which attends to your physiological, safety and learning needs appropriate to your level of development.  We believe that these needs will change as you move through the training programme from a supportive and directive teaching environment, to a more eliciting and radical environment, as you develop and gain a deeper understanding and awareness within the therapeutic relationship.

The co-creative perspective is very much about the mutuality of commitment between you the trainee and this training organisation. We believe the educational relationship between you and your trainer provides the holding, containment and challenge necessary for your development and growth. This reflects our professional philosophy of psychotherapy in which we see the therapeutic relationship as the most significant medium for change.  We are mindful of the need for a critical awareness of the multiple layers of human experience and the multi-dimensional nature of the therapeutic relationship.

Our relationship with you will be open and negotiable throughout training and a space for self-reflection and challenge. We are committed to the inter-subjective experience of trainees, trainers, therapists in professional practice and supervisors and the significance of this in developing your personal identity in any of these roles as you get to know yourself and your preferred style of practice.

Our philosophy is based on you the individual being your own best resource and learning through your experience.  We recognise that the safety and structure of the training environment provides a space for the disruption and disturbance that comes with the transformational impact of new learning.  We attend to this through acknowledging the different aspects of the learning experience in our training model (TA Training Pentagon – © Debbie Barker-2017)

The philosophy of our training is concurrent with the TA philosophy of people are ok, everyone has the capacity to think and people make their own decisions and can change these decisions.  Whilst we see you as your greatest resource for learning and expect you to take responsibility for this, it is our responsibility to ensure you are provided with a safe, appropriate and ethical environment for your learning to take place. It is also our intention to offer a frequently revised, rich and robust training curriculum. We believe in the connectedness between mind and body and this belief underpins our approach to the theoretical content; this means we are mindful of your physical, psychological, educational and spiritual needs in your training experience.

Our learning philosophy attends to the process of recognising, understanding and appreciating our own culture as well as the culture of others.  It stresses learning to appreciate the impact of differences in social location based on such variables as race, gender, class, age, sexual/affectional orientation, religion, physical ability and language.  This learning process is dynamic; as we begin to see the impact of learning our sense of self, others, and the world, shifts.

Whilst we see our priority as your development and growth within your training at the Ellesmere Centre, we have a strong belief in the need for political awareness and understanding of the wider community including UKATA, EATA and ITAA and UKCP as well as other related organisations. 

Throughout your learning journey we encourage open discussion and negotiation, your experiences and feedback are necessary for our continued development and change as a training establishment. Reviewed May  2018