Dr Jim’s accreditation and ethics codes

Professional Accreditation, Ethical Codes, and Complaints Procedure

Updated: July 2016

Jims-counselling-div2Dr Jim Byrne is a Licensed Fellow of the International Society of Professional Counsellors (FISPC); and a Registered member of Counselling (CCC Reg).

He is subject to the ethics codes and complaints procedures of the ISPC and Counselling (CCC Reg).

He has integrated three codes of counselling and therapy ethics into one, and personalized it. You can view that code of counselling ethics below.

The complaints procedure is also outlined below.

Dr Byrne has also spent a long time studying ethical theory and moral philosophy, and specialized in this subject for his Doctoral research; alongside a study of models of the human mind.


Dr Jim's photoE-CENT Counselling begins from the position that our counselling clients – like all counsellors and all human beings – have a good side and a bad side to their hearts, and we want to encourage the development of the good: “…Following Melanie Klein, Donald Winnicott put before us … the view that there is in human beings the germ of an innate morality which, if given the opportunity to grow, provides in the child’s personality the emotional foundations of moral behaviour.  It is a notion which puts beside the concept of original sin, of which psychoanalysts discover much evidence in the human heart, the concept of original concern for others or original goodness, which, if given favourable circumstances, will gain the upper hand.  It is a cautiously optimistic view of human nature, and one that I believe to be justified”.  But we must never forget that we each continue to have a Bad Wolf state (which may be fed or starved!) for the whole of our human lives!

John Bowlby, (1989/2005) The Making and Breaking of Affectional Bonds.  London: Routledge Classics. Pages 22-23. (39).



ISPC-logoI am governed in my practice by the codes of conduct, or ethical codes, laid down by the International Society of Professional Counsellors; and Counselling CCC; as well as the guidelines laid down by the International Society for Mental Health Online; and my own, unique moral code.

To consult these codes, please go to the following webpages:

In addition, I am also subject to the Independent Complaints Procedures laid down by the International Society of Professional Counsellors, and Counselling CCC.

At least three Codes of Conduct and Ethics Codes have been amalgamated by me, into my own personal moral code for counselling/coaching and therapy, and are appended below in that amalgamated form.

CCC-LogoFurthermore, my general moral code is this: “I will not condone or engage in discrimination based on age, colour, disability, ethnic group, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, marital status or socio-economic status. I will not label any client on the basis of their problems of daily living. (A person in counselling is a *person* with ‘problems of daily living’, and not a ‘mental health problem’). I will work on my own personal development and professional development continually, so that the quality of my work is ever increasing, or at least well maintained. I will manage my health, through diet, exercise and sleep so as to be maximally available to my clients during sessions. I will not attempt to work outside of my own area of expertise, which is the very broad field of how to cope with emotional suffering and relationship communication as a fallible, error-prone human in an imperfect world! I will review my ethical codes from time to time to remind myself of my obligations. I will operate a sliding scale of fees to avoid excluding the less well off; and I will donate a small number of hours of pro bono work (for free) each week”. Jim Byrne, February 2005 (Updated, March 2006).

Caution: Before you enter into a relationship with a counsellor/therapist, it is important to fully recognise that your personal safety and well-being in that encounter will depend ultimately upon the dynamic interaction of your therapist’s moral integrity and your own ability to defend yourself in interpersonal encounters in general. Not to do so would be to expose yourself to a potential risk from the tiny minority of therapists who are known to act unethically and immorally from time to time, especially in exploiting their clients financially or sexually. (For a useful and interesting article on this subject, see Stephen Palmer’s and Kasia Szymanska’s Checklist. )”. Jim Byrne, January 2005. (Updated March 2006, and June 2016).


1. I will ensure that all potential clients are fully informed of what would be involved in entering into a counselling/therapy relationship with me, by providing an information pack and background information on E-CENT, and on my own professional training and accreditations, etc.

2. I will ensure that clients know in advance how much my services will cost them, and that there will not be any attempt to renegotiate fees once counselling/therapy has begun.

3. The counselling relationship is for the benefit of the client. The emotional well being of the client will be the paramount concern of the Counsellor.


“If you have consciously worked at becoming a moral person, a person of character and integrity, then your intuitions will be largely trustworthy. But if you have not consciously striven to develop and refine your moral sensibilities, or if you have been raised in an environment saturated with destructive values like prejudice and violence, then you should be very suspicious of your moral intuitions”. John Chaffee, *The Thinkers Way*, Boston, Little Brown and Company, 1998. Pages 336-337.

4. The Counsellor must ensure that they do not abuse the client’s vulnerable situation. The term abuse includes the following: sexual, emotional, psychological, intellectual, financial and physical.


5(a). I will (normally) restrict my physical contact with clients to formal handshakes; and that not routinely. I will not (normally) embrace my clients, so that I can ensure the maintenance of strong barriers against romantic or sexual involvements.

5(b). I do not, however, rule out an occasional spontaneous urge to hug a client who is in obvious emotional need of such comfort; or to hold the hand of a client in emotional pain.  But we must then discuss what that physical contact means to each of us; and I must report it in supervision.

5(c). I also do not rule out an occasional spontaneous urge by a client to embrace me – normally expressing their gratitude for my help.  However, again, we must then discuss what this physical contact means to each of us; and I must report it in supervision.

5(d). And finally, I do not rule out the possibility that, very occasionally, a client may express “the need for a hug” from me.  My acceding to such a request would constitute a Nurturing Parent response to a Needy Child request.  And, once more, the client and I would have to discuss our understandings of the meaning of this hug; and I would report it in supervision.

5(e) The forms of physical contact described in clauses 5(b)-5(d) could only occur in accordance with the guidelines created by Hunter and Struve (1998: 38)[1], and reproduced in section 5 of Byrne (2015)[2].

[1] Hunter, M. and Struve, J. (1998) The Ethical Use of Touch in Psychotherapy.  London: Sage.

[2] Byrne, J. (2015) On the subject of physical contact between counsellors and their clients. A position paper, published by ABC Coaching and Counselling Services.  Available online: http://www.abc-counselling.com/id542.html


6. I will work in ways that will promote client autonomy and well-being, and maintain respect for and dignity of the client.


“In most moral situations, the facts are known – it’s the interpretation of the facts and what to do about the situation that poses the moral problem. … … …no amount of information will add up to making the moral decision. It’s an entirely different category of reasoning, a deliberative process that often involves uncertainty and a profound sense of responsibility”. John Chaffee, 1998, page 337.

7. When contracting for psychotherapy, counselling or coaching I will include clear boundaries and conditions for the therapeutic/coaching relationship.

8. All information given to the client will accurately reflect the nature of my work and of my qualifications and training.

9. Clients will be informed if records of psychotherapy, counselling or coaching sessions are kept and what degree of access those clients and others have to them.


“Morally mature, psychologically healthy people think, decide, and act in accordance with thoughtfully developed moral standards; are open-minded about their moral beliefs; defend them with reasoned argument when they are challenged; and change or modify them when they are shown to be false or unjustified. Their conclusions are based on their own reflective analysis, rather than being unquestioning ‘children of their culture’.” John Chaffee, 1998, page 340.

10. I will monitor and recognise my own limits of competence through such activities as consultative support, psychotherapy, counselling and coaching supervision and client feedback.

11. I will maintain high personal and professional standards, and monitor my own effectiveness in the psychotherapy and counselling arena.

12. I will not practise without regular consultative support and supervision.


“In order to live a life that achieves your moral potential, you (had better) work to become aware of the moral issues that you face, and strive to make choices that are grounded in thoughtful reflection and supported by persuasive reasons. By living a morally enlightened life you are defining yourself as a person of substance, with a vision that embraces the quality of your relationships with others”. John Chaffee, 1998, page 342.

13. I will work within the law and be aware of current legislation affecting the work of psychotherapists, counsellors and coaches.

14. I will explain the terms of client confidentiality to the client in pre-session information or during initial contracting.

15. Client confidentiality is normally maintained and only breached without the client’s consent in exceptional circumstances, involving serious legal matters. Any breach will be minimised by releasing only essential information pertinent to the immediate situation.


“The Ethic of Justice is built on the concept of *impartiality*, which is our moral obligation to treat everyone equally, with the same degree of consideration and respect we accord ourselves, unless there is some persuasive reason not to. It is both illogical and immoral to discriminate against other people”. John Chaffee, 1998, page 343.

16. With regard to research, I accept the following rules: Practitioners using client information for case studies, research, publications, or other purposes, should seek client’s informed consent. In addition, it is important to disguise the clients’ identities to the extent that they cannot be recognised by others. Furthermore, I am guided by the BACP’s guidelines for counselling research (Bond, 2004).

17. Two complaints procedures are available to clients, by going to (1) the Counselling Ltd CCC website; or (2) the International Society of Professional Counsellors website – if they are dissatisfied with my competence, my behaviour or any other aspect of the helping relationship being undertaken.



Counsellors agreeing to abide by the Counselling Code of Conduct, and who are subsequently entered onto our database, (which Jim Byrne is), are also subject to the following complaints procedure.

1. The only person who is entitled to make an official complaint about the standard of work of a particular counsellor is a client, or someone acting in the best interests of a counsellor’s clients.

2. All complaints must be made in writing to The Secretary, Counselling, http://www.counselling.ltd.uk, Registered Office: Counselling, 5 Pear Tree Walk, Wakefield, West Yorkshire, WF2 0HW. Email: info@counselling.ltd.uk

3. The client will be sent an acknowledgement, and further information obtained if necessary. The counsellor will be sent a copy of the complaint and information, and asked to respond directly to ‘Counselling’.

4. Independent and impartial persons (who are not members of ‘Counselling’) will be asked to examine the details of the original complaint together with the counsellor’s response, and will seek clarification where required.

5. The independent and impartial persons may:

a) Find the complaint proved

b) Find the complaint unproved

6. In the event that the complaint is found proved, the counsellor will be informed that they will:

a) Have their name deleted from the Database of Trained Counsellors

b) Not be entitled to use ‘CCC Registered Counsellor’

7. In the event that the complaint is found proved, the counsellor will be informed the length of time that the sanctions mentioned in para 6 will apply, and any conditions required for their lifting.

8. The client, or person making the complaint, will be notified of the decision.

“The Ethics of Care expresses a moral responsibility to others, which is based on your ability to *empathise* – to imaginatively put yourself in other people’s situations and view the world from their perspectives. This ability to empathise enables you to feel compassion and sympathy toward others, and serves as the foundation of all your healthy relationships”. John Chaffee, 1998, page 343.