The Independent Practitioners Network (IPN) is an association of practitioners founded in 1994 working in the broad field of human development, especially counselling and the psychological therapies. It is based on a system of peer support and monitoring.
Membership of IPN is open to groups of practitioners. Individuals who have not yet joined a group are ‘participants’. They can be involved in the activities of IPN, but may not describe themselves as ‘members of IPN’.
Groups become members of the IPN by:
- (a) having at least four IPN participants
- (b) publishing a group code of ethics and
- (c) linking to at least two other groups of IPN participants.
Practitioners may include counsellors, psychotherapists, teachers/educators, bodyworkers and others who work in a relational way with the clientele. IPN supports and encourages diversity, and so a group will typically encompass a number of different practices. Members of a group support, monitor and constructively challenge each other’s practice. They may do this in a variety of ways, providing sufficient challenge to enable them to “stand by” each practitioner in their group. The process by which this is accomplished is monitored in turn by each of the link groups.
Each member group and its two link groups may not form a closed triangle.
IPN offers a form of accreditation which differs from other institutional accrediting bodies, in that it does not monitor training organisations, but rather examines current practice and is founded in ongoing and regular face-to-face engagement with peers in a non-hierarchical framework. Individuals can describe themselves as being ‘accredited through the IPN process’.
Some practitioners may be members of other accrediting bodies, using the IPN process to ensure and maintain best practice.