Information about coronavirus Covid-19
March 24, 2020
Last updated 27 March 2020
In light of the Prime Minister’s announcement to stay at home unless absolutely necessary, we strongly advise that wherever possible clients and therapists do not risk theirs’ and others’ health by delivering/receiving therapy face-to-face where other options are available. Therapists must apply their professional judgement and refer to their insurers and, where applicable, their employers.
We are advising people who are looking for information about the virus to visit the NHS website, where you will find the most up-to-date information, including what to do if you are worried you might have symptoms, advice for travellers and common questions. The GOV.UK website also has up-to-date information about the situation in the UK. More useful links are included below.
Continuing therapy over the coming weeks
If you are a client currently working with a therapist, please don’t stop your therapy abruptly. It is important to continue if at all possible.
Over the coming weeks when therapists and clients are unable to meet for therapy in person we suggest you discuss together what psychotherapeutic support is likely to be needed and how it can be delivered safely.
Things to consider are:
• Whether you both have the means and ability to conduct therapy remotely such as by telephone or online. Would this way of communicating be appropriate?
• How you will keep in touch about any changes to your normal arrangements.
• What you will share with the NHS should you test positive for Covid-19 and be asked for contact tracing information.
• How and when fee arrangements would be affected.
We have created guidelines for our members about psychotherapeutic practice and working in isolation.
Regardless of how the therapy is delivered, UKCP members are committed to adhering to the UKCP Code of Ethics and Professional Practice.
We will keep our members updated through our email news updates and bulletins. If you are a UKCP member and are not receiving our emails, please contact us.
Adapting how we work
We are taking steps to adapt our regulations to accommodate the current situation:
• For the foreseeable future, where our regulations state that UKCP members should work, meet, supervise, teach or re-accredit face-to-face, this includes online or by phone.
• In a re-accreditation, everyone in that meeting should be online.
• Trainees will be able to deliver therapy as part of their training online, provided their training provider (and any relevant placement) backs them.
We have created:
Guidelines for working with adult clients in isolation (PDF) [updated 26 March 2020]
An online course for UKCP members on working in the context of Covid-19.
Guidelines for family, couples and group therapists.
Our letter to the government
• Work with us to ensure there is a workforce ready to deliver a comprehensive mental health response to the crisis.
• Tackle labour market barriers, because our psychotherapists and counsellors can only work to support others if they themselves are supported.
• Signpost the public to the very best mental health support in this time of need.
We’ve invited organisations from across the sector to support our letter, which you can read in full here.
You can help to strengthen our voice by adding your name to this online petition in support of our key asks.
Please share the petition widely and encourage your friends and colleagues to sign. The need for psychotherapy and counselling will only grow more urgent as we collectively face the devastating impact of this pandemic.
Government support for the self-employed
Throughout the crisis we have called on the government to provide income protection for self-employed workers, supporting IPSE’s call for a Temporary Income Protection Fund for the self-employed. Thankfully, the government have now responded to the pressure and announced a range of measures.
These will provide for 80% of income up to £2,500 a month, based on average annual income over your three most recent tax returns, or most recent one or two if you haven’t been self-employed for three years. The payments will be made as a one-off, starting from early June. Those who need urgent financial support between now and then should apply for Universal Credit payments, which have also been expanded in wake of Covid-19. Find out more at Gov.uk.
While these measures don’t cover everyone, they offer some welcome respite for many people facing financial uncertainty in the months ahead, including therapists providing vital mental health support during these uncertain times.
Support for NHS frontline workers
Many of our members have been in touch in recent days to offer therapeutic support to frontline NHS staff as they battle against the virus.
We are speaking with national NHS leads for staff wellbeing, who have expressed warm gratitude for the offer of support. We’re discussing with them how to make psychotherapy and counselling easily accessible to frontline workers, and will update you as this progresses.
Information about Covid-19
Information from the NHS – includes information about symptoms, staying at home and a link to the 111 coronavirus service
Information for the public from the UK government – includes information about the number of cases, what to do if you have symptoms and what the government is doing about the virus.
Information for businesses, employees, freelancers and self-employed people
UK government advice for health professionals and other organisations. This includes links to more information including cleaning non-healthcare settings and guidance for educational settings.