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Counselling membership

What is accreditation?

One way to understand the professional development of a counsellor/psychotherapist is that of an organic process of growth through the experience of professional practice and further training. Over time a therapist may develop specialist areas of practice and/or deepen their general skills and competence. In this they will be supported by professional colleagues, especially trainers and supervisors, who play an important part in the ongoing formation of a therapist.

A counsellor/psychotherapist may choose to evidence their professional progression and have this formally recognised through the process of accreditation. To become an accredited counsellor/psychotherapist an applicant needs to be already on ACC’s accredited register.

The application for accreditation is described in more detail below. In essence it allows the applicant to demonstrate the breadth and depth of their clinical work and how this has progressed since their original training.

Accreditation is widely recognised within the profession and by employers as a confirmation that a therapist has attained a particular standard.

SCoPEd Framework

With the publication of the SCoPEd Framework (January 2022), standards for training and accreditation have for the first time in the UK, been mapped onto an agreed, shared competency framework. The SCoPEd Partnership includes the majority of counselling and psychotherapy membership bodies who hold a Professional Standards Authority accredited register, of which ACC is one.

The columns within the framework can be understood as a path for progression in the profession. One of the benefits of SCoPEd is having these competencies clearly set out so that clients and employers have a clear description of what counsellors and psychotherapists in each column are able to do as a minimum in the different aspects of therapy practice.

ACC members currently align to column A for registered counsellors, and column B for accredited counsellors. Accreditation at column C will be introduced at some point in the near future.

ACC members can practise in any area of counselling and psychotherapy if it is within their competence, and the framework is not intended to be restrictive in this way. However, members can also evidence their competence in column B, by applying for accreditation. Current ACC accredited counsellors, who are eligible, will be able to apply for column C accreditation as soon as this process has been agreed.

How to become an accredited counsellor?

If you would like to apply for accreditation (SCoPEd column B), you must be a registered counsellor/psychotherapist with ACC and have sufficient experience as a practising counsellor/psychotherapist and have discerned that you are ready to take this step in your professional journey. We recommend that you discuss this with your supervisor and if appropriate other colleagues before beginning the process.

Please log into your member’s account and you will then find the relevant documents for your application. There is a fee payable when you submit your application.

In summary, to become accredited with ACC, you will need to:

  • Have the support of your supervisor to make the application.
  • Evidence 450 hours or more of core counselling/psychotherapy training and 450 hours or more of supervised counselling practice.
  • Reflect on aspects of contemporary practice, for example the application of ethics, or equality, diversity and inclusion, and provide examples where required of specific skills and competencies associated with SCoPEd column B.
  • Write a coherent account of your current counselling modality and critically reflect on this referencing recent client work.
  • Evaluate the Churchill Framework.
  • Follow good practice guidelines in relation to contracting, assessment, note keeping and the use of supervision.

What if I already have accreditation with another professional body?

ACC have a process by which we recognise the accreditation of other professional counselling bodies within the SCoPEd partnership. We can consider other professional bodies or organisations accreditation processes, for example COSCA, or specialist accreditations such as BABCP, IACP, or IFS UK, as long as process is equivalent and clearly maps to SCoPEd column B.

Please use the Accreditation Recognition Application Form which can be obtained from your member’s resources area. This can be found by logging in via the top of the page, and you will find these on the left-hand side of the page by selecting ‘Resources’.