Special Group for Independent Practitioners
Whether you are an existing member, thinking about joining our group or interested in one of our events, we hope you find what you are looking for.
The term Psychologist in Independent Practice encompasses all Chartered and, where appropriate, HCPC registered members of the British Psychological Society (BPS) who:
- Provide psychological services across the full range of applied psychology
- Work in any context of practice (individual, couple, family, small group, service/team or organisational)
- Operate under one of the following legal business entities:
ii) employed as a Director of their own limited company
iii) a Business Partner
iv) a member of a Cooperative through which they provide their psychological services as their main form of employment or part of a portfolio career
- Follow the BPS Code of Conduct and Practice Guidelines, and the HCPC Code of Conduct when required
The demands of working in and managing an independent psychology practice are essentially different from those of being employed by an organisation, posing specific challenges with respect to organisational aspects of practice (including financial and legal aspects); the maintenance of professional standards of competence and particular ethical dilemmas; there can also be a sense of isolation from professional colleagues and practice can at times be especially challenging as well as lonely.
N.B. The term ‘independent practice’ (rather than ‘private practice) is used by the SGIP to reflect the broad and diverse contexts in which our members practice.
New resources available
Our newly published resources provide recommendations for essentials you should have set up before seeing a client.
SGIP has commissioned four webinars on core areas identified on previous member surveys, as being of particular value to members
SGIP purpose, values and aims
to be a truly cross-divisional/ domain body to support, represent, advocate for and promote the advancement of the particular interests of the growing body of Independent Practitioners within the BPS
to determine and deliver CPD events relevant to IPs’ practice and development, in close collaboration with our members
to provide opportunities for networking and sharing of our experiences of Independent Practice
Respect: particularly in relation to issues of confidentiality, power and consent
Competence: including possession of appropriate skills and care needed, limits of competence, need to maintain technical and practical skills
Responsibility: in terms of the use of knowledge and skills, professional accountability, competing duties
Integrity: in maintaining personal and professional boundaries, avoidance of exploitation, conflicts of interest and self-interest.
Diversity and inclusivity: in all that we do
Be a collective voice for Independent Practitioners from all of the Divisions, to raise the profile of IP’s, and to represent our particular needs to various bodies, especially the BPS.
Support members by providing, and signposting to, the practical knowledge required to establish and run an Independent Practice and comply with statutory and ethical regulations.
Provide opportunities to enhance our practice through forums; networks; easy access to information; updates and advice from each other, and from experts in various aspects of Independent Practice, such as the legal and financial fields; access peer support; to gain help and opinions from others and to a source mentoring.
Integrate the various areas of applied psychology and diverse mix of business models. The main goal is to draw together all areas of psychological practice and expertise in the independent field as a resource for members.
Provide a forum for networking, discussion, and research. Ensuring that all of our provision is tailored to the needs of the membership and to appropriate experience levels (from absolute beginner – or even just interested – to long-term expert).
- Provide monthly Peer Practice Hubs.
- Host 4 x 2-hour interactive webinars on Independent Practice a year free or at a very low cost to our members. Webinars are live and recorded, accessible to all members alongside complementary materials and slides.
- Run a one-day long masterclass led by an expert, streamed with a recording available to participants.
- Keep you updated with information on the purpose and plans for each year.
- Survey members and non-members in all of the BPS Divisions about their CPD, support needs, and ways of working relating to Independent Practice.
- Represent the interests of IP’s at the Professional Practice Board
- Provide updates on key changes which may impact Independent Practitioners or be of prime interest on the website and the members’ Newsletter.
We are very pleased to say that our SGIP Committee has been able to deliver all of these priorities.
Our Ambitions for 2021/2022
To repeat the above and:
- Develop Independent Practice toolkits for members to use including templates; how to guides; sources of information and FAQ’s.
- Develop an online resource with succinct clear, practical suggestions; signposting to expert advice; to peer groups and support; SGIP events and other events of potential interest.
- Negotiate free and low-cost access to key Independent Practice resources and journals.
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Plan
Last year saw an enormous expansion of the Special Group of Independent Practitioners (SGIP) CPD offer to our members, which included webinars, peer hubs, special topic peer hubs and a whole day workshop.
This download can only be accessed by SGIP members
The Special Group of Independent Practitioners (SGIP) provides support to members to develop their practices in a variety of ways that would not breach Competition Law, such as “how to manage and price your time and market your services”.
This included a special Peer Hub meeting in November 2022 and there will be another one in the Spring 2023.
Please make sure you are aware of competition law and how this could potentially be an issue when discussing charging practices.
Below is the text provided by Hannah Farndon, Policy Advisor for Professional Practice (who advises the Practice Board), followed by extracts from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
Could you please make sure you are aware of competition law and how this could potentially be an issue when discussing charging practices.
- Hannah Farndon
The government website also provides some competition law guidance.
The website of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has some specific guidance and a case study describing the action taken against a group of medical consultants and a private health provider who undertook to fix prices for the price of an initial consultation.
The CMA has provided a lessons learned section;
- never agree to fix prices or share future pricing information with competitors; it can be illegal to agree on pricing even if you don’t have to change your prices as a consequence
- never suggest or try to facilitate an arrangement where competitors fix or coordinate prices or share future pricing information
- you can find out what prices are charged by your competitors where this information is publicly available, but you must not discuss with rivals their future prices or pricing intentions
- if 2 or more competitors participate in an anti-competitive arrangement, whether written or verbal, it is illegal - it doesn’t matter if not all competitors in the market participate
- if you are approached to join an illegal pricing arrangement – reject the approach immediately and unequivocally, and report the incident to the CMA
- regardless of whether you are a medical practitioner in private practice, a small business or a sole trader - competition law equally applies to you
There are a million ways to market an independent practice.
Your strategy will depend on your specific goals, skills and the time you can allocate to marketing.
In this webinar we will discuss how to create an effective and efficient marketing strategy for your practice so you can fill up your books with ideal clients without wasting precious time on "busy work."
One of the key benefits of being a member of the Special Group for Independent Practitioners (SGIP) is our dedicated email list. It gives members the ability to be in contact with, ask questions of, seek advice from and just chew the fat with a wide range of independent psychologists from all of the BPS divisions and across the UK.
It is easy to join the list and it enables you to post an enquiry and receive views, feedback and facts from those who have previous experience or are undergoing similar difficulties or opportunities.
To join the discussion list you will need to be a member of SGIP, opt into receiving email communication from the Society and provide a working email address. You can change your settings by logging into the member portal and then 'Preferences'.
To be added to the discussion group you need to email Member Networks at the BPS to request the address. Please include your membership number and you will need to use the email address linked to your membership record to participate in the discussion.
Most psychologists have experience of offering telephone consultations, and there are many similar considerations in having a video session.
There is good evidence that therapy can be delivered competently via different media, is usually acceptable to the client, and that it is possible to build up therapeutic relationships that are as strong as those formed in face-to-face therapy.
The information presented here is a resource for those planning video consultations and is not intended to replace local guidance.
It is recommended that you also consult any policy and/or guidance documents relevant to your NHS Trust/organisation.
SGIP has commissioned four webinars on core areas identified on previous member surveys, as being of particular value to members; along with two Question and Answer Sessions and succinct summaries. All of the webinar recordings and supporting summaries are available to SGIP members.
Our four core areas for webinars are (two webinars are available now and the remaining two will be posted after the running of the webinars in September and October respectively):
- Selecting your particular specialism and market
- Different models of Independent Practice
- Financial aspects of independent practice* with a guest speaker - an accountant with IP Psychology expertise.
- Getting your independent practice known
Make sure you have logged in to the website to access the recordings.
These online spaces are an opportunity for SGIP members to connect, share and reflect on their experience as independent practitioners.
Hubs will run for one hour once a month and be facilitated by two members of the committee.
- Monday 16 January 2023 4pm - 5pm
- Monday 20 February 2023 1pm - 2pm
- Monday 20 March 2023 4pm - 5pm
- Monday 24 April 2023 1pm - 2pm
- Monday 15 May 2023 4pm - 5pm
- Monday 19 June 2023 1pm - 2pm
- Monday 17 July 2023 4pm - 5pm
- Monday 18 September 2023 1pm - 2pm
- Monday 16 October 2023 4pm - 5pm
- Monday 20 November 2023 1pm - 2pm
- Monday 18 December 2023 4pm - 5pm
Please note that these spaces are not therapy groups.
How to attend
These events are free to attend but are only accessible to SGIP Members.
If you cannot see the button please sign-in and refresh the page.
Please note: on the day of the event places will be given on a first come first serve basis.
To improve your experience we are capping our numbers at 15 participants. When the numbers reach this amount, the meeting will be locked, so please dial in a few minutes early.
Christine Hamilton is an Occupational & Coaching Psychologist with an Honours Degree in Psychology from Cardiff University.
An experienced leadership & management development consultant, she has experience working in public, private, and not for profit sectors, she is She is a senior consultant with Affina OD (AOD) and EdoMidas, as well as having an independent practice.
She is a registered Coach with NHS Education for Scotland and as such undertakes GP and director level coaching within the NHS and other parts of the public sector.
Christine is qualified and experienced in a wide range of development techniques and psychometrics.
She has held Head of OD roles in a number of public sector organisations and also been a Leadership Development Consultant with a national remit.
She is Past Chair of the Division of Occupational Psychology (Scotland-DOPS) and enjoys working with people who want to improve or regain their performance, motivations and well being.
Christine uses a pragmatic combination of evidence based team interventions, psycho dynamic approaches and coaching psychology in her coaching work.
Her current projects include:
- "Team Based Working" using evidence based diagnostics and development tool kits and materials
- In Depth Development Assessments to enable focus upon individual's signature strengths in the private sector
- Leadership Development Programmes (including for aspiring Heads of Clinical Psychology departments within the NHS Scotland)
- Transitions Programmes, for individuals undergoing large personal change in work and/ or having to lead others through major transitions
Wendy Kendall is a Chartered Occupational Psychologist and registered coaching psychologist.
She spent the first 7 years of her career working as a military psychologist specialising in training, performance, and organisational development. In 2003, she moved to France and set up her first private practice, specialising in talent and organisational development in global companies.
In 2008, she became an associate partner of a Hamburg-based consultancy, running multinational teams delivering programmes such as assessment and development centres, strategic corporate mentoring programmes and executive coaching for international companies.
She has since moved across borders twice more, taking her private practice with her each time. In 2013, she started to focus on building her own brand specialising in supporting international companies to move executives around the world. This shift in focus led to colleagues asking her to mentor them to build their own brands and companies.
Wendy was struck by the comparative lack of talent development opportunities for psychologists in private practice. So in late 2017, she launched the first iteration of the talent and organisational development programme for psychologists in private practice called The Psychology Practice Accelerator. This programme grew rapidly and in 2020, Wendy co-founded Inspiring Psychology Practices, where she is now the principal coach.
In 2020 Wendy trained with Donald Miller as a Storybrand marketing guide and became Level 3 qualified in Internal Family Systems therapy, which she has adapted to her coaching practice.
Wendy now lives in southwest France with her husband and an assorted menagerie of animals and, alongside coaching for Inspiring Psychology Practices, she maintains an international talent development and executive coaching practice.
You can connect with Wendy and find out more about her career on LinkedIn.
Elaine Iljon-Foreman is a highly regarded independent psychologist, owner of Freedom to Fly, a company that specialises in the treatment of fear of flying and other anxiety related problems.
She holds an Honours Degree from Durham University, a Master’s Degree from Aberdeen University.
She is Chartered, and an Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society, an HCPC Registered Practitioner (Clinical) and BABCP and UKCP accredited.
Her highly specialised treatment programme is based on over 30 years of clinical experience, and her ongoing research and development of cognitive behaviour therapy.
Research into the treatment of anxiety has been undertaken at Middlesex Hospital Medical School and invitations to present her findings have taken her to Europe, the Americas, Australia and the Far East.
Lectures and workshops are given both nationally and internationally on an ongoing basis to professional and self help audiences.
Elaine’s many interviews on radio and T.V. programmes, along with her research results have been presented on an international platform.
Her professional views are regularly sought by TV and Radio in recognition of her clinical research into anxieties and phobias.
Elaine has published extensively in her specialist field.
Dr Clare Mulligan-Foster is a BPS Chartered and HCPC Registered Occupational Psychologist and an accredited coach.
Clare has a portfolio career mixing academic and practice. She has had her own practice for over 10 years providing coaching, training and consultancy. She specialises in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
Her practice has focused on this area for over a decade and she has led several diversity audits, training teams and boards on inclusive practice. Her recent doctorate studies were on the topic of older workers career management and she provides specialised consultancy on how to recruit and retain older workers.
Clare is co-Programme Director for part 1 of the Professional Doctorate in Occupational Psychology at Birkbeck University of London. She is also a senior lecturer and uses both her research and practitioner experience to provide a strong evidence-based approach to her work.
Clare works with leaders and executives as a coach, she believes in the strength of reflective practice for leaders and enjoys supporting leaders in developing their self-awareness and building strategies for their ongoing reflexive work through coaching.
Her doctoral research was in the area of mid-life and later-life career management, and she has a unique theory to support how mid-life and older workers can think about their career management and planning career transition, personal development and development needs. She helps people to manage their career and work-life balance with a focus on identity and value alignment.
Dr Rosie Gilderthorp, Clinical Psychologist, Podcaster and Writer, holds an English degree from York University, a postgraduate diploma from the Open University, a doctorate in clinical psychology from Canterbury Christ Church University; and is currently studying for an MBA with the University of Warwick.
Through her social enterprise, the Innovation in Mental Health Project (CIC) she provides psychological therapy to leaders and entrepreneurs struggling with their mental health.
She also teaches other psychologists and therapists about creating values-based, fulfilling private practices through her podcast The Business of Psychology, online course, and membership community.
During the pandemic, Rosie has also begun applying her experience to working with teams to protect mental health during periods of change and uncertainty.
Profits from these activities are currently used to provide services to organisations where staff has suffered due to the impact of the pandemic.
Dr Carole Allan, C Psychol, FBPsS, HonMBPsS is a Clinical Psychologist, chartered by the British Psychological Society an SGIP Committee Carole Allan Biod registered with the Health and Care Professions Council.
Her career has spanned a variety of clinical leadership, organizational, and academic roles within the NHS in Scotland.
She has held a variety of roles within the BPS. This has included Chair of the Special Group of Independent Practitioners, Chair of the Committee for Training in Clinical Psychology, Chair of the Professional Practice Board, and BPS President and Honorary General Secretary for the Society.
She is a Trustee with a national mental health charity and a Scottish arts organization.
She now practices as an independent clinical psychologist. Her clinical interests are in the fields of mental health, addictions, trauma, occupational health. and the governance aspects of clinical practice.
In 2021 was awarded Honorary Life Membership for outstanding service to psychology through the British Psychological Society.
Dr Hayley Lewis is an award-winning psychologist with 25 years’ experience in the field of organisational and business psychology.
She has been an independent practitioner, with her own consultancy, since 2016. Her specific areas of expertise are leadership and management behaviour and how this can impact team and organisational performance and culture, and she works with organisations and leaders across all sectors with these issues.
In addition to this, Hayley’s academic research is focused on female entrepreneurs in the start-up phase of business, in particular the psychological factors that help them succeed. As well as working with leaders, as an executive coach, she also works as a business coach and mentor for female founders of one-person and micro-businesses in HR, Training, and across different domains of psychology.
Prior to starting her own coaching and consultancy business, Hayley’s experience included 11 years leading various local government services. Before this, Hayley spent eight years at the BBC where she was an organisational psychologist, supporting leadership development and executive assessment activity.
As well as running her own consultancy, Hayley is also joint programme director for the two-year MRes in Professional Practice in Occupational Psychology, which is the first stage of the Professional Doctorate in Occupational Psychology, at Birkbeck, University of London.
Hayley regularly shares practical evidence-based tools, tips and her very popular one-page sketchnotes via social media. And she is often sought as an expert commentator by the media. She is a Chartered Coaching Psychologist, Registered Occupational Psychologist, Certified Principal Business Psychologist, Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society and Fellow of the RSA.
In recent years, Hayley has twice been identified as one of the most influential thinkers in HR, by HR Magazine.
Dr Esther Cole worked in the NHS for 12 years and joined the independent sector in 2017. She is a Visiting Lecturer, Founder and Clinical Director of her Prestige Award-Winning team: Lifespan Psychology - The Diverse Practice®.
As a third-generation British Jamaican Psychologist managing long-term conditions, as a Mum of three, Dr Cole warmly welcomes clients from all walks of life and has a passion for supporting people living alongside mental, physical or neurological difficulties and trauma.
Dr. Cole is co-editor of Psychological Therapy for Paediatric Acquired Brain Injury: Innovations for Children, Young People & Families (Jim, J. & Cole, E. 2019. London: Routledge), and is honoured to be the first Black Psychologist to receive the Early Career Award 2020 from the BPS. She also holds a position on the committee of the BPS Special Interest Group of Independent Practitioners.
Membership of the Special Group is open to all members of the BPS and fees start from as little as £5.
Scroll down to find out more about the benefits of joining the SGIP.
There are two grades of Special groups membership:
Full membership (£10)
For Graduate or Chartered Members.
Affiliate membership (£5)
For society members with a general or professional interest in independent Practice not eligible for the above membership grade(s).
If you are not yet part of the society you can apply for membership of the group at the same time as you apply to become a BPS member.
- The SGIP Discussion List - where IP’s share knowledge, tips, ideas, concerns, requests for specialist services with each other (monitored by the Committee to enable topics of concern are quickly addressed and if helpful-escalated to BPS staff, Board of Trustees etc). To join the Member Discussion List please login to your member portal and click on the Preferences tile, where you’ll be able to join the discussion list.
- A series of tailored webinars on IP specific topics such as Marketing, Social Media, Setting Up, Growing and Closing their IP business.
- AND coming soon a one-hour Lunchtime webinar Series
- Day long CPD workshops-heavily subsidised for SGIP members
- Peer Practice Hubs-where IP’s can meet virtually- share experiences, personal observations about trends in IP and questions they’d like to share with others “in the same boat”.
- Representation of IP interests at Practice Board
- Brief Updates on matter of specific interest to IP’s
- E-Learning Packages for IP’s
- Develop Independent Practice toolkits for members to use including templates; how to guides; case-studies and sources of information and FAQ’s extracted from our webinars.
- Provide updates on key changes which may impact Independent Practitioners or be of prime interest on the website and the members’ Newsletter.
- Mentoring for members at key points in their careers
- Attracting IP’s from more Divisions and Branches to ensure IP needs are visible and more likely to be met.
The Special Group for Independent Practitioners uses its e-newsletter to inform its members of activities and initiatives that are relevant to their interests and to make requests for engagement on topical issues.
To receive this you will need to:
- become a member of the Special Group for Independent Practitioners
- check your email preferences that you have opted into receiving emails
- ensure that your email address is correct
You can check your preferences by logging into your member portal.