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Membership FAQs

Counselling membership

No, ACC’s counsellor membership is for professional counsellors, psychotherapists and trainees who identify as Christians. ACC counsellors practice a range of therapeutic modalities and approaches in various settings (for example the NHS, schools, counselling services and private practice), and with people of all faiths and none.

Our expectation is that where members integrate religious and spiritual interventions in their counselling practice they do so (as with any other areas of competency), having sufficient training, under appropriate supervision and take account of The Churchill Framework.


Students are trainee counsellors on qualifying training courses. As soon as you are qualified and want to work as a counsellor outside of a placement which is integrated with your training course, then you need to join the register. This is because you are working with clients not as a ‘student in training’ but as a qualified counsellor.

We accept members of other comparable accredited registers onto our register (there is a list on the website of comparable registers). We also accept into membership Art Therapists and Counselling and Clinical Psychologists on the HCPC register. We ask that members describe their qualifications on the ‘Find a Counsellor’ directory so that members of the public looking for a variety of Christian therapists are able to make informed choices.

Yes, you can be on the register if you live and practice overseas if you meet the eligibility criteria. However, you cannot use the Professional Standards Authority logo outside of the UK.

ACC accept that the training in other parts of the world does not always match established UK standards and norms, and we have an equivalence decision route for registered membership.

For counsellors we check that someone accountable, normally a church leader, tutor, supervisor, spiritual director etc, can confirm that you are someone who identifies as a Christian. This is your Christian Sponsor. We don’t ask your Sponsor to make any comment on the strength of your faith and/or your adherence to particular doctrines. Each year on renewal we ask you in good faith to confirm that you are someone who continues to identify as a Christian and is in support of ACC’s Statement of Faith.

We recognise that the Christian faith is a living faith, subject to change and development, to crisis and new awakenings, and whilst it always finds expression in community, there are times in peoples lives where they are between fellowships. We no longer ask for a Christian sponsors reference for professional practice related activities such as practice reviews (audit) and accreditation applications. Please contact us if this presents an issue.

Counsellors who are on ACC’s Register can work in private practice provided that they have a supervisor who supports their decision to do so and are fully prepared.

Setting up in private practice brings risks as well as opportunities and is a matter for careful discernment as to when a counsellor is ready to do so.

Yes, for two years. Breaks for longer than two years may need a more involved phased return to practice. We will work with you and your supervisor to work out the best route to return provided that you maintain membership of ACC through the interim time.

If you leave ACC’s membership, you will need to re-apply to join the register (eligibility criteria may change over time) and we will also need to agree a phased return to practice for breaks of two years or more.

Returning from any practice break needs planning and reflection and we have issued guidelines on practice breaks (available on ACC’s website) which will guide you through the process.

Many of our affiliated organisations are hybrid affiliates in that they provide pastoral care services (listening, signposting and practical help) as well as professional counselling. Affiliates offering these mixed services should join as a counselling affiliate as this will offer the more comprehensive accountable membership which is critical when offering counselling services.