British Psychological Society
This article needs to be updated.February 2019)(
The British Psychological Society (BPS) is a representative body for psychologists and psychology in the United Kingdom. Founded on 24 October 1901 at University College London (UCL) as The Psychological Society, the organisation initially admitted only recognised teachers in the field of psychology. Its current name of The British Psychological Society was taken in 1906 to avoid confusion with another group named The Psychological Society. Under the guidance of Charles Myers, membership was opened up to members of the medical profession in 1919. In 1941 the society was incorporated.
Its current President for 2019-2020 is David Murphy, a Clinical Psychologist, Educator & Researcher. 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), Harrogate (2013), Birmingham (2014), Liverpool (2015) and Nottingham (2016), Brighton, (2017), Nottingham (2018), and for 2019, will be in Harrogate.
The BPS is also 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.
In 2012 the BPS had 49,678 members and subscribers, in all fields of psychology, 18,342 of whom were Chartered Members. The Society publishes details of its membership size through its Annual Reports and Annual Review. According to the Annual Review of 2017, total membership stands at over 70,000, and according to the Annual Report, 'Membership and subscribership has continued to grow in 2017, with an overall increase of 8,407 (13.6 per cent). Growth in Graduate and Chartered membership is less at 1,689 (3.9 per cent).'
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 to award Chartered Scientist 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 monthly magazine The Psychologist, 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.
- 1920–1923 Charles Samuel Myers
- 1923–1926 Charles Edward Spearman
- 1926–1929 Francis Aveling
- 1929–1932 Beatrice Edgell
- 1932–1935 John Carl Flügel
- 1935–1938 James Drever Sr.
- 1938–1941 Albert William Wolters
- 1941–1943 Cyril Burt
- 1943–1944 Tom Hatherley Pear
- 1944–1945 Millais Culpin
- 1945–1946 Godfrey Thomson
- 1946–1947 Robert John Bartlett
- 1947–1948 Charles Wilfred Valentine
- 1948–1949 Stanley J.F. Philpott
- 1949–1950 Robert Henry Thouless
- 1950–1951 Frederic Charles Bartlett
- 1951–1952 William Brown
- 1952–1953 Cecil Alec Mace
- 1953–1954 Arthur Rex Knight
- 1954–1955 Philip E. Vernon
- 1955–1956 Leslie S. Hearnshaw
- 1956–1957 Eric Benjamin Strauss
- 1957–1958 Alec Rodger
- 1958–1959 Magdalen D. Vernon
- 1959–1960 Frederick Viggers Smith
- 1960–1961 James Drever Jr.
- 1961–1962 Edwin A. Peel
- 1962–1963 George C. Drew
- 1963–1964 Arthur Summerfield
- 1964–1965 Donald Eric Broadbent
- 1965–1966 George Westby
- 1966–1967 Grace Rawlings
- 1967–1968 George Seth
- 1968–1969 Boris Semeonoff
- 1969–1970 Robert John Audley
- 1970–1971 Harry Gwynne Jones
- 1971–1972 Harry Kay
- 1972–1973 Max Hamilton
- 1973–1974 Brian Malzard Foss
- 1974–1975 Oliver Louis Zangwill
- 1975–1976 Jack Tizard
- 1976–1977 May Alison Davidson
- 1977–1978 Alan Douglas Benson Clarke
- 1978–1979 Philip Marcus Levy
- 1979–1980 Peter H. Venables
- 1980–1981 Kevin J. Connolly
- 1981–1982 Derek Ernest Blackman
- 1982–1983 Ralph R. Hetherington
- 1983–1984 Halla Beloff
- 1984–1985 Charles Ian Howarth
- 1985–1986 Robert Maclaughlin Farr
- 1986–1987 David Legge
- 1987–1988 Lea S. Pearson
- 1988–1989 Anthony John Chapman
- 1989–1990 Maurice Anthony Gale
- 1990–1991 Peter Edwin Morris
- 1991–1992 Fraser Norman Watts
- 1992–1993 Edgar Miller
- 1993–1994 Ann Mary Colley
- 1994–1995 Geoffrey Anthony Lindsay
- 1995–1996 Stephen Edward Newstead
- 1996–1997 Margaret Valerie McAllister
- 1997–1998 Christopher Noel Cullen
- 1998–1999 Ingrid Cecilia Lunt
- 1999–2000 Patricia Frankish
- 2000–2001 Tommy MacKay
- 2001–2002 Vicki Bruce
- 2002–2003 Graham Davey
- 2003–2004 Alexander (Zander) Wedderburn
- 2004–2005 Ken Brown
- 2005–2006 Graham Powell
- 2006–2007 Ray Miller
- 2007–2008 Pam Maras
- 2008–2009 Elizabeth Campbell
- 2009–2010 Sue Gardner
- 2010–2011 Gerry Mulhern
- 2011–2012 Carole Allan
- 2012–2013 Peter Banister
- 2013–2014 Richard Mallows
- 2014–2015 Dorothy Miell
- 2015–2016 Jamie Hacker Hughes
- 2016–2017 Peter Kinderman
- 2017–2018 Nicola Gale
- 2018–2019 Kate Bullen
Honorary Members and FellowsEdit
The following were Honorary Members of the Society:
- 1904 John Hughlings Jackson
- 1905 Harald Høffding, Sir Francis Galton, William James, Georg Elias Müller, Théodule Armand Ribot, Carl Stumpf
- 1910 James Sully
- 1911 Oswald Külpe
- 1912 Franz Brentano, James Ward
- 1926 Edward Claparède, Sigmund Freud, Gerardus Heymans, Pierre Janet, Henri Piéron, Edward Lee Thorndike, Edward Bradford Titchener, Hendrik Zwaardemaker
- 1927 Baron Albert Eduard Michotte van den Berck
- 1928 Mary Whiton Calkins
- 1932 James Rowland Angell, James McKeen Cattell, Sante de Sanctis, William Stern
- 1934 Havelock Ellis, Ernest Jones, Felix Krueger, William McDougall, Conwy Lloyd Morgan, Charles Samuel Myers, Alexander Faulkner Shand, Charles Edward Spearman, George Frederick William Stout
- 1937 Samuel Alexander, Henry Head, Charles Scott Sherrington
- 1940 Georges Dumas, Beatrice Edgell, Kurt Koffka, Carl Emil Seashore
In 1946 all surviving Honorary Members were made Honorary Fellows.
The following have been or are still Honorary Fellows of the Society:
- 1946 Carl Gustav Jung, Sir William Mitchell
- 1950 Gordon Willard Allport, Clark Leonard Hull, David Katz, Wolfgang Köhler, Karl Spencer Lashley, Gardner Murphy, Lewis Madison Terman, Louis Leon Thurstone
- 1952 Thomas Hunter
- 1954 Edgar Douglas Adrian, Edward Chace Tolman, Robert Sessions Woodworth, Jean Piaget, Edwin Garrigues Boring, Cyril Burt, Frederic Bartlett, Donald Olding Hebb, Ernst Kretschmer
- 1955 Albert William Phillip Wolters
- 1958 May Smith, Melanie Klein, Agostino Gemelli, Alexander Luria, Tom Hatherley Pear, Charles Wilfred Valentine, Henry Tasman Lovell
- 1959 Henry Cohen, 1st Baron Cohen of Birkenhead
- 1960 Ernest Hilgard, Roger Russell
- 1961 Russell Brain, 1st Baron Brain
- 1962 George Humphrey, B. F. Skinner, Robert H Thouless
- 1963 Otto Klineberg, Robert John Bartlett
- 1965 Anna Freud, Cecil Alec Mace
- 1966 Aubrey Lewis, Robert Robertson Rusk, Fred Schonell
- 1967 Lionel Penrose
- 1968 Neal E. Miller, Erwin Stengel
- 1970 Edward George Glover, Tony Giffard, 3rd Earl of Halsbury, Margaret Dorothea Vernon
- 1972 Raymond Bernard Cattell, Harry Harlow, Henry Murray
- 1974 Michael Fordham
- 1977 James J. Gibson, Eleanor J Gibson
- 1978 Michael Rutter, Philip E. Vernon
- 1979 Desmond Pond
- 1981 Robert Hinde
- 1982 Oliver Zangwill
- 1984 Jerome Bruner
- 1985 Noam Chomsky
- 1986 Donald Broadbent
- 1988 Herbert A. Simon
- 1989 George Armitage Miller
- 1990 Jack Davies
- 1991 Elizabeth Loftus
- 1992 Michael Argyle
- 1993 Margaret Donaldson, Klaus Werner Wedell
- 1994 Ulric Neisser, Freda Gladys Newcombe
- 1995 Alan D. Baddeley, Patrick Rabbitt
- 1997 Victoria Bruce, John Morton, Peter B Warr
- 1998 Heinz Rudolph Schaffer
- 1999 Antony John Chapman
- 2000 Richard L. Gregory
- 2001 Maurice Anthony Gale
- 2003 Miles R.C. Hewstone
- 2005 Andrew William Young
- 2006 Uta Frith, William Yule, Glynis M. Breakwell
- 2007 Alan D.B. Clarke, Anne M. Clarke, Hannah Steinberg
- 2008 David Victor Canter
- 2009 David M. Clark
- 2010 Raymond Henry Charles Bull, Cary Lynn Cooper
- 2011 James Orford, John Weinman, Marie Johnston
- 2012 Dianne Berry, David P. Farrington, Glyn W. Humphreys, Annette Karmiloff-Smith, Peter Saville
- 2013 Saths Cooper
- 2014 Dorothy Bishop
- 2016 Erica Burman, Wendy Hollway
- 2017 Carolyn Kagan, Michael Murray, John Oates
The BPS publishes 11 journals:
- British Journal of Clinical Psychology
- British Journal of Developmental Psychology
- British Journal of Educational Psychology
- British Journal of Health Psychology
- British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology
- British Journal of Psychology
- British Journal of Social Psychology
- Journal of Neuropsychology
- Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology
- Legal and Criminological Psychology
- Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice
Special Group in Coaching Psychology publications:
The Psychologist is a members monthly magazine that has been going since 1988, superseding the BPS Bulletin.
The Research DigestEdit
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 
Member networks: Sections, divisions, branches and groupsEdit
The British Psychological Society currently has ten divisions and nineteen 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:
- Division of Academics, Researchers and Teachers in Psychology
- Division of Clinical Psychology
- Division of Counselling Psychology
- Division of Educational and Child Psychology
- Division of Forensic Psychology
- Division of Health Psychology
- Division of Neuropsychology
- Division of Occupational Psychology
- Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology
- Scottish Division of Educational Psychology
The Division of Clinical Psychology is the largest division within the BPS – it is subdivided into thirteen faculties:
- Children, Young People and their Families
- Clinical Health Psychology
- Eating Disorders
- Forensic Clinical Psychology
- HIV and Sexual Health
- Holistic Psychology
- Leadership and Management
- Intellectual Disabilities
- Oncology and Palliative Care
- Perinatal Psychology
- Psychosis and Complex Mental Health
- Psychology of Older People
The Sections currently include:
|Cognitive Psychology||Community Psychology|
|Consciousness and Experiential Psychology||Crisis, Disaster and Trauma Psychology|
|Defence and Security Psychology||History and Philosophy of Psychology|
|Male Psychology||Mathematical, Statistical and Computing|
|Psychology of Education||Psychology of Sexualities|
|Psychology of Women and Equalities||Psychotherapy|
|Qualitative Methods in Psychology||Social Psychology|
Cognitive Psychology SectionEdit
The Cognitive Psychology Section of the British Psychological Society was formed in 1978 as a national forum for the discussion of research and issues of professional concern to cognitive psychologists.
The Section's activities include an Annual Conference, usually held in September started in 1984, one or more specialist events in the year and symposia at the main Society Conference in March/April. An award scheme started in 1992 with first award winner in 1993 Neil Brugess and Graham Hitch.
Consciousness and Experiential Psychology SectionEdit
The Consciousness and Experiential Psychology Section 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. Official approval for CEP was announced in 1997 during the BPS Annual Conference. The section’s mission is ‘to advance our understanding of consciousness, 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’. As of 2016 Jane Henry is the Section Chair. Every year in September the Consciousness and Experiential Psychology Section holds its annual conference, and smaller workshops and events at other times.
The Consciousness and Experiential Psychology Section is one of fifteen sections of the BPS. 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 section of a nationally representative body of professional psychologists devoted to the study of consciousness.
Developmental Psychology SectionEdit
Founded in 1972, the Developmental Section is one of the largest of the British Psychological Society’s sections. It has a mission to promote high quality research into Developmental Psychology and generally to raise the profile of British developmental research in an international arena. These aims are pursued in various ways, including through the British Journal of Developmental Psychology. The Journal has a history covering seminal work on children’s drawing, imagination, communication, attachment, reasoning, theory of mind, developmental disorders (including autism). The annual conference for the section is usually held in early September.
Psychology of Sexualities SectionEdit
The Psychology of Sexualities Section is a section of the British Psychological Society for psychologists whose work is relevant to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) issues. The section is open to all BPS members including both practitioner and academic psychologists. The section was established in 1998, as the Lesbian & Gay Psychology section, after nearly a decade of campaigning and three rejected proposals (two for a Psychology of Lesbianism Section and one for a Lesbian & Gay Psychology Section). Founding members of the section include Celia Kitzinger and Sue Wilkinson. In 2009, the section changed its name to the Psychology of Sexualities Section in recognition that the work and interests of its members also applied to bisexuality, queer identities and heterosexualities. Although trans issues could more accurately be described as belonging to a psychology of gender, trans issues are typically included under the umbrella of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) psychology and is therefore aligned with the section’s remit.
The section works with equivalent sections of other psychological organisations through the International Psychology Network for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Issues (IPsyNET). Members of the section have played an important role in drafting the BPS Guidelines and literature review for psychologists working therapeutically with sexual and gender minority clients; section members were also instrumental in drafting the Society’s Position Statement on Therapies attempting to Change Sexual Orientation; a UK Consensus Statement on Conversion Therapy; and a Memorandum on Conversion Therapy in the UK. The section publishes Psychology of Sexualities Review (previously the Lesbian & Gay Psychology Review), organises events and training and awards prizes for achievement in the field.
Note: 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.
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BPS currently has the following special groups to support members:
- Special Group in Coaching Psychology
- Special Group for Independent Practitioners
- Special Group for Psychology and Social Care
BPS has been concerned with the question of statutory registration of psychologists since the 1930s. It received its charter in 1965 and an amendment in 1987 which allowed it to maintain a register of psychologists. The UK government announced its intention to widen statutory regulation, to include inter alia psychologists, following a number of scandals arising in the 1990s in the psychotherapy field. 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.
The Society's main office is currently in Leicester in the United Kingdom. According to BPS HR department, as of April 2019 there are 113 staff members at the Leicester office, 9 in London. There are also smaller regional offices in Belfast, Cardiff, Glasgow. The archives are deposited at the Wellcome Library in the Euston Road, 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.
- Geoff Bunn, 'A Short History of British Psychological Society'
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