07 April 2017
‘Consultant’ is a prestigious title, particularly in the medical field.
The British Psychological Society has issued new guidance on the use of the title ‘consultant psychologist’.
‘Consultant’ is a prestigious title, particularly in the medical field. It is used by doctors who have considerable experience and proven expertise, as demonstrated through examination by their Royal Colleges.
Within the NHS, ‘consultant psychologist’ is used for applied psychologists who are employed in Band 9, 8C and 8D.
The guidance says psychologists considering using the title 'consultant' outside the NHS should ask themselves whether their training, experience, skills and competencies reflect those of an NHS consultant in order to ensure they do not mislead the public.
Advice on the use of professional titles is available from the Society’s National Assessors, who are recognised by the Department of Health.
If the Health Professions Council (HCPC) receives a complaint about someone using the title ‘consultant psychologist’ inappropriately, it will take the Society’s guidance into account when investigating.
The Society advises all psychologists who are eligible to do so to use their HCPC-protected title. The term ‘consultant’ should be used only ahead of a full protected title, for example ‘consultant counselling psychologist’.