World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

British Psychological Society

The British Psychological Society (BPS) is a Registered Charity and, along with advantages, this also imposes certain constraints on what the Society can and cannot do. For example, it cannot campaign on issues which are seen as party political. The BPS is not the statutory regulation body for Practitioner Psychologists in the UK which is the Health and Care Professions Council

Founded on 24 October 1901 at Charles Myers, membership was opened up to members of the medical profession in 1919. In 1941 the society was incorporated,

In 2012 the BPS had 49,678 members and subscribers, in all fields of psychology, 18,342 of whom were Chartered Members. Its current President, for 2015-16, is Professor Jamie Hacker Hughes who is visiting professor of military psychological therapies at Anglia Ruskin University, visiting professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire and director of the Veterans and Families Institute at Anglia Ruskin University.[1] The Society holds its Annual Conference, usually in May, in a different town or city each year. In recent years it has been held in Dublin (2008), Brighton (2009), Stratford-upon-Avon (2010), Glasgow (2011), London (2012) and Harrogate (2013). In 2014 the conference was held in Birmingham.


  • Chartership 1
  • Mission 2
  • Journals 3
  • Founders 4
  • Presidents 5
  • Honorary Members and Fellows 6
    • Honorary members 6.1
    • Honorary Fellows 6.2
  • The Research Digest 7
  • Member networks: Sections, Divisions and Branches 8
    • Consciousness and Experiential Psychology 8.1
  • Statutory regulation 9
  • Society offices 10
  • Logo 11
  • A note about psychotherapy 12
  • See also 13
  • References 14
  • External links 15


Following the receipt of a royal charter in 1965, the society became the keeper of the Register of Chartered Psychologists. The register was the means by which the Society could regulate the professional practice of psychology. Regulation included the awarding of practising certificates and the conduct of disciplinary proceedings. The register ceased to be when statutory regulation of psychologists began on 1 July 2009. The profession is now regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council.

A member of the British Psychological Society (MBPS) who has achieved chartered status has the right to the letters "C.Psychol." after his or her name. The BPS is also licensed by the Science Council[2] to award Chartered Scientist[3] status. The highest designation the Society can bestow is a Fellow of the British Psychological Society (FBPsS), showing a significant contribution to and understanding of the discipline.


The Society aims to raise standards of training and practice in psychology, raise public awareness of psychology, and increase the influence of psychology practice in society. Specifically it has a number of key aims, as described below.

  • Setting standards of training for psychologists at graduate and undergraduate levels.
  • Providing information about psychology to the public.
  • Providing support to its members via its membership networks and mandatory continuing professional development.
  • Hosting conferences and events.
  • Preparing policy statements.
  • Publishing books, journals, The Psychologist monthly magazine, the Research Digest blog, including a free fortnightly research update, and various other publications (see below).
  • Setting standards for psychological testing.
  • Maintaining a History of Psychology Centre.


"" redirects here; it has been suggested that it be split into its own page.

The BPS publishes 11 journals:


The following were the ten founder members who first met on 24 October 1901 at University College London:[4]


The following have been Presidents of the Society[5]

Honorary Members and Fellows

Honorary members

The following were Honorary Members of the Society:[6]

In 1946 all surviving Honorary Members were made Honorary Fellows.

Honorary Fellows

The following have been or are still Honorary Fellows of the Society:[7]

The Research Digest

Since 2003 the BPS has published reports on new psychology research in the form of a free fortnightly email, and since 2005, also in the form of an online blog - both are referred to as the BPS Research Digest. As of 2014, the BPS states that the email has over 32,000 subscribers and the Digest blog attracts hundreds of thousands of page views a month. In 2010 the Research Digest blog won "best psychology blog" in the inaugural Research Blogging Awards. The Research Digest has been written and edited by psychologist Christian Jarrett since its inception [1]

Member networks: Sections, Divisions and Branches

The British Psychological Society currently has ten Divisions and thirteen sections. Divisions and Sections differ in that the former are open to practitioners in a certain field of psychology, so professional and qualified psychologists only will be entitled to full membership of a Division, whereas the latter are interest groups comprising members of the BPS who are interested in a particular academic aspect of psychology.

The Divisions include the Division of Teachers and Researchers in Psychology, the Division of Health Psychology, the Division of Forensic Psychology, the Division of Child and Educational Psychology, the Scottish Division of Educational Psychology, the Division of Occupational Psychology, the Division of Counselling Psychology, the Division of Clinical Psychology and the Division of Neuropsychology. The Division of Clinical Psychology is the largest Division within the BPS - it is subdivided into Faculties - the largest of these is the Faculty for Children, Young People and Their Families.

The Sections include the Consciousness and Experiential Psychology Section, the Cognitive Psychology Section, the Developmental Psychology Section, the Psychology of Education Section, the History and Philosophy Section, the Psychology of Sexualities Section, the Psychobiology Section, the Psychotherapy Section, the Qualitative Methods Section, the Psychology of Women Section, the Social Psychology Section and the Transpersonal Psychology Section.

The term "Division" in the American Psychological Association does not have the same meaning as it does in the British Psychological Society, coming closer to what the British Psychological Society refers to as "Sections". Branches are for members in the same geographical region.

Consciousness and Experiential Psychology

The Consciousness and Experiential Psychology Section (CEP) is a Section of the British Psychological Society for those interested in the psychology of consciousness and experience. Initiated in 1994 by Jane Henry, Max Velmans, John Pickering, Elizabeth Valentine and Richard Stevens, the Section promoted and supported the reincorporation of consciousness studies into mainstream psychology.[8] Official approval for CEP was announced in 1997 during the BPS Annual Conference. The Section’s mission is ‘to advance our understanding of consciousness,[9] to bring scientific research on consciousness closer to other traditions of inquiry into the nature of mind, and to explore how this research can be used to improve the quality of life’.[10] As of 2010 Susan Stuart is the Section Chair. Every year in September the Consciousness and Experiential Psychology Section holds its annual conference,[11] usually in Oxford.

The Consciousness and Experiential Psychology Section is one of thirteen Sections of the BPS.[12] This Section is for anyone interested in broad-based, rigorous academic exploration of consciousness and experience. The Section is an interest group comprising members of the BPS and also unaffiliated members. In the modern era the Consciousness and Experiential Psychology Section was the first, and remains the only, Section of a nationally representative body of professional psychologists devoted to the study of consciousness.[13]

Statutory regulation

Following a number of scandals arising in the 1990s in the psychotherapy field, the UK government announced its intention to widen statutory regulation, to include inter alia psychologists. The BPS was in favour of statutory regulation, but opposed the proposed regulator, the Health Professions Council (HPC), preferring the idea of a new Psychological Professions Council which would map quite closely onto its own responsibilities. The government resisted this, however, and in June 2009, under the Health Care and Associated Professions (Miscellaneous Amendments) Order, regulation of most of the psychology professions passed to the HCPC, the renamed Health and Care Professions Council.

Society offices

The Society's main office is currently in Leicester in the United Kingdom. Before the transfer of registration and associated functions to the HPC, there were over 100 staff members at the Leicester office. There are also smaller regional offices in Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow and London.

The British Psychological Society's logo is an image of the Greek mythical figure Psyche, personification of the soul, holding a Victorian oil lamp. The use of her image is a reference to the origins of the word psychology. The lamp symbolises learning and is also a reference to the story of Psyche. Eros was in love with Psyche and would visit her at night, but had forbidden her from finding out his identity. She was persuaded by her jealous sisters to discover his identity by holding a lamp to his face as he slept. Psyche accidentally burnt him with oil from the lamp, and he awoke and flew away.[14]

A note about psychotherapy

The BPS does not supervise the separate profession of psychotherapy (including hypnotherapy and other techniques), which is covered by the overarching body, the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP). As a special member of the UKCP,[15] the BPS believes that "psychotherapy is best regarded as a further qualification for someone already working as a psychologist, psychiatrist or in another mental health profession.". The UKCP maintains a register of psychotherapeutic counsellors who are not necessarily BPS members.[16] The BPS maintains a register of BPS member psychologists working as psychotherapists.[17]

See also


  1. ^ [2]
  2. ^ Science Council
  3. ^ Chartered Scientist
  4. ^ "Founder Members of the BPS". Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  5. ^ "Presidents of the BPS". Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  6. ^ "Honorary Members of the BPS". Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  7. ^ "Honorary Fellows of the BPS 1946-1969". Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  8. ^ "The British Psychological Society Annual Review 2009". 2010-05-04. Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  9. ^ Velmans, M. (2009) Understanding Consciousness (2nd Ed). London: Routledge/Psychology Press
  10. ^ "Consciousness and Experiential Section". BPS. Retrieved 2014-01-11. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ "BPS". BPS. Retrieved 2014-01-11. 
  13. ^ "Consciousness and Experiential Psychology Section" at
  14. ^ Steinberg, H. (2001). A brief history of the Society logo. The Psychologist, 14, 236–237. Download article via [3]
  15. ^ "Related professions". Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  16. ^ Powered by Intergage "The United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy". Retrieved 2012-02-20. 
  17. ^ "Register of Psychologists Specialising in Psychotherapy". 

External links

  • Official website
  • History of the British Psychological Society
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.