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British Association of Play Therapists

How to complain

In this section:

Complaining about a Play Therapist

Complaining about BAPT

Complaining about a Play Therapist: Advice to Parents/ Carers:
We try to make sure that all BAPT Play Therapists offer the highest standards of care and service. However, you may be unhappy with the treatment or service you are given, or worried about the behaviour or health of a BAPT member. Please do talk to your Play Therapist first about your concerns to try and sort things out informally. However if this is not possible, or does not solve the issue, then you can always raise your concerns with us by making a complaint using the BAPT Complaints Procedure.

In order to register a complaint where possible please put your concerns in writing in a letter or e mail to:

Chair BAPT Professional Conduct Committee
1 Beacon Mews
South Road
Surrey KT13 9DZ

If you require support to make a complaint in writing, you could ask to communicate with the Professional Conduct Committee Chair directly via e mail on or through another method if needed – please contact the BAPT office on 01932 828638 to discuss your needs.

Once your complaint is received, the Professional Conduct Panel will need to decide whether the complaint falls within the terms by which a complaint can be accepted, outlined in the BAPT Ethical Basis for Good Play Therapy Practice (2008)

The following are the criteria that  will use to decide whether to accept a complaint:
• The Respondent (the person about whom you are complaining) is a student or full member of BAPT;
• You must have either used the services of the Respondent or be complaining on behalf of a child or young person with whom the Respondent has worked;
• The complaint concerns a breach of a clause or clauses of the relevant BAPT Code of Ethics;
• The timescale is adhered to (within three years of the alleged breach or of the alleged breach coming to light);
• The complaint is within the jurisdiction of BAPT;
• When the complaint is under investigation by the police or within the jurisdiction of any court or tribunal BAPT will not usually accept and investigate the complaint.

You should provide the Chair of Complaints with the following:
1. Your name and address (please print this clearly)
2. The name and address of the client (if not you as the Complainant)
3. The name and work address of the Respondent
4. Details of the services used (i.e dates of contact with the Respondent and any other relevant details about the services used)
5. A summary of the complaint (tell us what has happened, including as much information as you can, such as names, dates and places);
6. Any other relevant information
7.The Chair will see if the complaint can be resolved by mediation and the issue resolved at this early stage. Some of the options at the first stage are:
• providing an explanation;
• issuing a formal apology;
• remedial action where appropriate;
• recommendations regarding future practice.

The Chair of Professional Conduct Panel will acknowledge receipt of your initial written complaint in writing to both you and the Respondent within fourteen working days, and will notify you and the Respondent in writing within 30 days of the receipt of the written complaint if there is a case to answer.

If the complaint is not resolved, and if you wish to take it further, the matter can then be put before a Professional Conduct Review Board. If the Professional Conduct Panel as part of the Professional Conduct Hearing conclude there is sufficient evidence for a finding of one or more breaches to the BAPT Code of Ethics, there are various sanctions they may impose including:
– Enhanced Supervision of practice by a designated experienced BAPT supervisor for a 3 / 6 month period
– Removal of Play therapist from the Approved Clinical supervisor list for a specified period – i.e. the Play Therapist must not supervise students or Play Therapists whilst his/her own practice is being monitored.
– Suspension or termination of BAPT membership -Very serious action where Play Therapist is deemed unable to practice for a period of time and has to undertake further training

Time scales for your complaint:
There are various timescales for dealing with your complaint but the Investigation stage should be completed within 30 working days of the receipt of your letter. If the matter has to proceed to a Professional Conduct Hearing, the complaint should be resolved within three months.

Click here to check a person’s registration status

Complaining about BAPT

How to make a complaint about BAPT as an organisation:

Anyone can contact BAPT and raise a complaint or concern about BAPT as an organisation. This can include complaints against the BAPT Board of Directors and Officers. Complaints can be made by BAPT members as well as users of the Register, Website and members of the public. Please address all complaints about BAPT as an organisation for the attention of the Chair Of BAPT. Complaints about individual BAPT members should be made using the BAPT Professional Conduct proceedures outlined on this website.
Please note that it may not be possible to accept anonymous complaints (where the person making the complaint does not give their name). If the information given anonymously relates to professional misconduct, bringing BAPT into disrepute or serious allegations about BAPT, the complaint will be considered. However it will not be possible to update anonymous complainants of any outcome. We recommend that all complaints are made as near to the event as possible in order to ensure that evidence and details are current as possible.

How do you make a complaint?
In order to make a complaint you must:
1) make the complaint in writing to BAPT marked for the attention of the Chair of BAPT. (If you need support to make a written complaint please contact the BAPT Professional Conduct Chair who will seek to identify an appropriate source of support to help you to make your complaint. It may be possible to register your complaint in other ways if appropriate.)
2) identify which area of BAPT it is you are complaining about:
a) The BAPT Website
b) The BAPT Register
c) A member of Staff at BAPT
d) A member of the BAPT Board of Directors
e) The BAPT Ethical Basis for Good Practice in Play Therapy

3) include sufficient information on what you are complaining about
4) provide any information requested by BAPT pertaining to the complaint

How long will it take?
BAPT understands that making a complaint can be stressful. BAPT will endeavour to consider your concerns in a timely manner and update the complainant. This may include:
1) confirmation of receipt of the complaint by the BAPT
2) regular updates on information received by the BAPT during the investigation
3) details of the outcome of the complaint
Each case is individual; however delays may be inevitable due to gathering information from the individuals concerned. If at any time of the complaint process you would like an update, please contact the BAPTChair by email at

Support Available during a Complaints process:
Making a complaint to an organization can be daunting and you may need to seek some support:
– If you need help completing a written complaint, you could ask a friend or someone you know in a professional role to support you.
– Alternatively you could ask to communicate with the Chair of professional Conduct directly via e mail on or through another method if needed – please contact the BAPT office to discuss your needs.
– If you are a child or young person, you should ask the help of an adult who has responsibility for you to support you – this could be a parent, carer, social worker or other professional who can help you to complete your complaint.
– If you need Advocacy support, you may be able to identify a community resource in your local community to support you to make a complaint.
– During the Complaints Process itself, the Chair of Professional Conduct will be available to respond to any questions or concerns that you may have and will keep you informed of events as they occur at each stage of the process.
– BAPT will consider any special requirements you may have (e.g. accessibility arrangements) if you are a complainant or witness participating in a professional conduct hearing.
– However, any expenses and costs incurred by the Respondent and the Complainant during the Process shall be met by themselves and shall not be met by BAPT.

Important Notes

Please note that if you wish to complain about a BAPT member you do not have to pay for us to pursue your complaint. However, you may wish to engage professional advisers – the cost for any such advice will not be met by the BAPT.

For a copy of the full BAPT Professional Conduct Policy and complaints procedure click here

Profesional Conduct Policy June 2018

Indicative Sanctions Policy