BACP Conference 2008 - Helping BACP members manage their risks

20 October 2008

This article includes coverage of the BACP Conference 2008, which advised BACP members how to manage their risks. Many counsellors and therapists think that compensation claims are only made against inexperienced therapists, or those that behave irresponsibly. However, Towergate’s seminar at the 2008 BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) Annual Conference in Telford, demonstrated that this is not the case.

Some delegates even found that they were doing things already that increased their risk of a claim, without even realising it. Many were not aware of what causes most claims and were surprised to find out the main causes.

The main points raised by the seminar were:

  • Claims are rare, but they are on the increase and claims costs are rising
  • Many of them could have been mitigated or maybe even avoided completely.
  • Claims don’t necessarily come from blatant, one-off acts, but can come from a series of small, inadvertent acts which are misconstrued by the client.
  • There are simple, practical steps that therapists can take to reduce their risk of being claimed against for compensation

The seminar discussed the main causes of claims and gave anonymous examples of each of the different types. Some of the more surprising examples included the following:

  • A claim for breach of boundaries can be aggravated by an innocent act like having a family photo on your desk, or mentioning a forthcoming holiday to your client.
  • A claimant’s solicitor will often look for a series of small errors in the way a counsellor or therapist works. In the past they have even cited the fact that the therapist’s washing machine could be heard in the background!
  • A good client contract form can help to defend, or maybe even avoid a claim altogether. Many therapists are using contract forms which could leave them open to a claim.
  • Working from home can present many potential risks, and it is important to try and keep work and home matters separate.

If you’d like to know more about the main causes of claims, complete an enquiry form for more information.

Need cover? Read about our insurance for counsellors or psychotherapists offered by Towergate Professional Risks. Alternatively, get a quote.

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