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Can I call myself a coaching psychologist?

Updated: Sep 7, 2022






Following my colleague Gary Buxton's post on LinkedIn describing the squirminess he feels about calling himself a coaching psychologist, I thought I'd share my thoughts on this topic.


Spoiler alert - I don't have the answer!!


Although I'm the Chief Assessor for the Professional Recognition Route in Coaching Psychology for the British Psychological Society (BPS), these are my own views and do not necessarily represent the views of the BPS - although they are informed by my work with the BPS over the past 5 years.


The question of whether we can use the term 'Coaching Psychologist' to describe our professional practice is one that many of us have grappled with. This is a nuanced debate, perhaps made more complex by the recent establishment of the BPS' Division of Coaching Psychology, and their associated routes to Chartered Membership as a Coaching Psychologist.


There are some important legal, ethical and moral elements that need to be considered.


Firstly, 'coaching psychologist' is not a legally protected title, and this is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. The Health & Care Professions Council regulate Practitioner Psychologists, and there are 9 psychology titles that are protected by law which means that professionals must be registered with the HCPC in order to use them. But coaching psychologist isn't one of them.


Indeed, the term 'psychologist' isn't legally protected either!