3rd February 2022

What is a Professional Body?

Before you begin seeking support from a counsellor or therapist, it is a good idea to check what professional body they are an accredited member of, as this means they are working to the standards of that organisation. 
 
In the UK, accreditation is voluntary, so they do not need to be accredited to practice legally. However, most employees and agencies do ask for it. 

Accredited registration means that the counsellor or therapist has met the necessary requirements of their training, including having an in-depth knowledge of the ethical requirements and completing a certain number of in practice hours to gain professional recognition. 
 
All professional bodies have different requirements to become a member. Take a look below to see what their requirements are. 
 
BACP (British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists)
 
The BACP is one of the UK’s largest professional bodies for counselling and psychotherapy. To become a member, the counsellor or psychotherapist must have:
·         Completed 450 hours of formal training on a BACP Accredited Diploma, including a supervised placement and passed a formal assessment of competence at the end of training. 
·         Completed 450 hours of supervised practice accumulated over three to six years
·         Been in practice for three years 
·         Been supervised for at least 1.5 hours a month during this time
·         Members will be awarded an MBACP, and accredited members will receive an MBACP Accred
 
Members must abide by the BACP Ethical Framework for the Counselling Profession and their Professional Conduct Procedure.  
 
BABCP (British Association for Behavioural & Cognitive Psychotherapies)

There are two levels of accreditation for BABCP members, Provisional Accreditation which is the first level of accreditation regardless of experience, and Full Accreditation. 
 
It is worth noting that the BABCP don’t differentiate between Provisionally and Fully Accredited therapists on their CBT register. 
 
Provisional Accreditation: 
·         They must be a BABCP member 
·         This will have a mental health Core Profession or demonstrate the equivalent 
·         They must be in current CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) practice when they apply 
·         They have to provide evidence that they meet Minimum Training Standards 
·         A Professional Reference and Supervisor’s Report must be provided, one of which must be by a BABCP member. 
 
Full Accreditation: 
·         They must have been awarded Provisional Accreditation 
·         Have completed 12 months of supervised CBT practice since being awarded Provisional Accreditation 
·         Is receiving adequate CBT supervision and can provide a supervisor’s report
·         Has completed at least an additional 6 hours of Continuing Professional Development training. 
 
Members must commit to maintaining the BABCP’s standards of clinical practice, clinical supervision and continuing professional development. Members are also audited to make sure their standards are being maintained.  
 
UKCP (UK Council for Psychotherapy) 

The UKCP is the leading professional body for the education, training, accreditation and regulation of psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors. The government’s Professional Standards Authority accredits its register of therapists. 
 
To become a member, the therapist must have: 
·         Successful completion of four years part-time Master’s degree level training including a mental health component (with attention to human development, psychopathology, ethics, research, equalities, diversity and safeguarding)
·         Completed 450 hours of supervised clinical practice
·         Undergone a significant amount of facilitated self-reflective practice. 
 
HCPC (Health and Care Professionals Council)
 
The HCPC protects the public by setting standards for professional training and practice, approving programmes that applicants must meet before registering with the HCPC, keeping a register of professionals who meet their standards, and taking action if the registered professional is no longer meeting the necessary standards. 
 
The role of the HCPCs standards of proficiency are to ensure applicants: 
·         Are meeting the standards necessary for each of the 16 registered professions they regulate
·         Have the required knowledge and abilities when they start practising 
·         Continue to meet the standards of proficiency that apply to their practice 
·         Have completed an approved HCPC programme to meet these standards
 
The HCPC standards set out how all registrants should behave and what the public should expect from their healthcare professionals. The HCPC will use these standards to raise concerns about a professional’s practice. 
 
It is a criminal offence for anyone to claim to be registered with the HCPC if they are not or to use a title protected by law if they are not permitted to. 
 
Registration with the HCPC means that the healthcare professional has met the necessary national standards for their profession in training, performance and conduct.  
 
BPS (British Psychological Society) 
 
The British Psychological Society is a registered charity that acts as the representative body for psychology and psychologists in the UK. The BPS is responsible for promoting excellence and ethical practice in the science, education and application of the discipline. 
 
To become a chartered psychologist, members must: 
 
·         Have achieved at least a 2:2 on an undergraduate honours degree or have completed a society-accredited conversion qualification
 
They must have also completed one of the following: 
·         Undertaken society-accredited postgraduate qualifications and training 
·         Have appropriate postgraduate training and experience of teaching psychology 
·         Completed psychology research to doctorate level
 
Members of the BPS follow a Code of Ethics and Conduct, which means that members uphold high standards of professionalism and follow the framework to guide their decision making. The framework also provides an ethical framework for its members when faced with ethical challenges.  
 
Membership requirements for professional bodies are subject to change, so for full details about the professional body, a counsellor or therapist is registered to please check the professional body website directly.

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