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Professional bodies

The counselling process often involves sharing intimate thoughts and feelings with an individual we know little about on a personal level. It may sound strange - daunting even – but this neutral environment will mean that you are able to explore your feelings without guilt or fear of judgement.

If you are seeking support and advice from a counsellor or psychotherapist, it is always reassuring to know that they are working to high standards of practice within the profession. 

It is therefore important that you check the qualifications and experience of your counsellor or psychotherapist, so that you can feel rest assured that they are who they say who they are, and that they are indeed qualified to the advertised level. 

Additionally, you may also find it comforting to know that your counsellor or psychotherapist is a member of a professional body.

What is a professional body?

There are various professional bodies in existence that have taken on the role of self-regulation of counselling/psychotherapy. Whilst counsellors and psychotherapists are under no legal obligation to become a member of a professional body, membership will mean a member has met certain requirements set by their professional body and must abide by a code of ethics and complaints procedure.

All professional bodies differ in their requirements for membership; some require very strict standards for all their members and others provide different categories for their members (e.g. Associate Member, Member, Accredited Member). Counsellors and psychotherapists who are a member of a professional body will make this clear on their profile.

Registration/Accreditation

Counselling Directory Policy ApprovedBeing registered/accredited with a professional body means an individual must have achieved a substantial level of training and experience approved by their member organisation. Counsellors and psychotherapists who are registered/accredited with their professional body will have our stamp on their profile. To find out more information about registration/accreditation visit the professional bodies’ websites below. Each will have information on their requirements.

Membership requirements for professional bodies and information about registration are subject to change, so for full details please visit the professional bodies' websites directly.

  • The Association of Cognitive Analytic Therapy (ACAT)

    The Association for Cognitive Analytic Therapy (ACAT) is a registered charity. They welcome members of the public, health professionals, ACAT accredited professionals, and anyone interested in finding out more about CAT. They also list CAT practitioners.
  • Association of Christian Counsellors (ACC)

    The Association of Christian Counsellors is a professional body representing and setting standards for Christian counselling and care in the UK. The organisation is made up of various different membership categories, including Counsellor and Accredited, and requires all members working as counsellors to undertake Continuous Professional Development on a regular basis.

    Accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).
  • Association of Child Psychotherapists (ACP)

    The ACP is the registering body for NHS-trained child and adolescent psychotherapists. ACP members undergo a minimum of six years training, comprising two years at Masters level then four years full-time clinical training in the NHS, qualifying in a Doctorate Level course. 

    Full members are able to work with neonates; mothers and babies; parents and toddlers; primary school age children and adolescents. 

    Accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).

  • Association for Dance Movement Psychotherapy (ADMP)

    ADMP UK is the professional organisation for the profession for Dance Movement Psychotherapy in the United Kingdom. They aim to support the development of DMP in the UK and internationally; foster communication among Dance Movement Psychotherapists (DMPs); and promote the use of DMP throughout the United Kingdom and abroad.

    ADMP UK members uphold professional standards and adhere to the professional codes of conduct for the profession.

  • British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies (BABCP)

    The BABCP is the lead organisation for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy in the UK. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in the practice, theory or development of CBT. BABCP also provides accreditation for CBT therapists.

    BABCP accredited members adhere to the Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics in the Practice of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies, and are willing to be scrutinised in this adherence as required.

  • British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)

    BACP is one of the UK’s largest professional bodies for counselling and psychotherapy. The Association is made up of a number of different membership categories, e.g. Associate Member, Member (MBACP), Accredited Member (MBACP Accred), with the different categories standing for different levels of training and experience. Accredited Members have achieved a substantial level of training and experience approved by the Association.

    In 2013 the BACP Register was the first register to achieve Accredited Voluntary Register status with the Professional Standards Authority.

    All members are bound by a Code of Ethics & Practice and a Complaints Procedure.

    Accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).

  • British Association of Play Therapists (BAPT)

    The Association of Play Therapists was founded in 1992 by a group of now respected practitioners who introduced and pioneered Play Therapy within Britain. They seek to promote high standards for Play Therapy practice and maintain a Voluntary Register of members who demonstrate that they have met their standards.

    Accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).
  • British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC)

    The British Psychoanalytic Council (BPC) is a professional association, representing the profession of psychoanalytic and psychodynamic psychotherapy. The organisation is itself made up of 14 member institutions which are training institutions, professional associations in their own right and accrediting bodies. Individual psychoanalytic and psychodynamic psychotherapists are members of these organisations and are 'registrants' of the BPC, eligible for entry into the BPC's register.

    BPC registrants are governed by a Code of Ethics, a policy of Continuing Professional Development, a statement on confidentiality and a complaints procedure. The BPC is a Member Society of the European Federation for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy in the Public Sector (EFPP).

    Accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).

  • British Psychodrama Association (BPA)

    The British Psychodrama Association (BPA) is the professional association for psychodramatists and sociodramatists in the UK and Ireland. The BPA is an Organisational Member of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), which upholds professional standards in psychotherapy.

    Membership of the BPA is open to anyone who is interested in Psychodrama, Sociodrama and Action methods - however, only Practitioner Psychodrama Psychotherapists and Trainer Members may be displayed on Counselling Directory. Their members must adhere to BPA's Code of Ethics and Practice when working with clients.
  • College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists (COSRT)

    COSRT is the UK's professional body for psychotherapists and counsellors specialising in psychosexual and relationship issues.

    The organisation is made up of a number of different membership categories including Affiliate Member, Registered Member and Accredited/Senior Accredited Member, with the different categories standing for different levels of training and experience. Accredited Members have achieved a substantial level of training and experience approved by COSRT. COSRT accredits third party therapist training courses, delivers CPD, and oversees an international academic journal.

    All members are bound by a Code of Ethics and Practice, and a comprehensive Conduct Procedure.
  • Counselling & Psychotherapy in Scotland (COSCA)

    COSCA is the professional body for counselling and psychotherapy in Scotland, and seeks to advance all forms of counselling and psychotherapy and the use of counselling skills by promoting best practice and through the delivery of a range of sustainable services.

    It is a requirement of all individual and organisational members of COSCA to abide by its Statement of Ethics and Code of Practice and be accountable to the Complaints Procedure.

    Accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).

  • European Association for Gestalt Therapy (EAGT)

    The European Association for Gestalt Therapy (EAGT) was founded in 1985, with the aim of fostering a high professional standard for Gestalt therapy and encouraging research. Today over 1000 members (institutional and individual) from more than 20 European Nations are already part of the association.

    Ordinary Members must have either trained at an EAGT Accredited Training school or completed a training programme comprising at least 1450 hours. Members of this body must adhere to their Code of Ethics, and there is a complaints process to allow members of the public to bring concerns to the body's attention.

  • Federation of Drug & Alcohol Professionals (FDAP)

    FDAP is the professional body for the substance use field and works to help improve standards of practice across the sector. Membership of FDAP is open to individual practitioners and managers, service providers, academic institutions and commissioning bodies and there are different categories of membership.

    FDAP members are bound by a Code of Practice and subject to a Complaints & Disciplinary Procedures.

  • Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

    The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) are a UK-wide health regulator, responsible for the statutory regulation of 16 different professions. Within those regulated professions, the HCPC are in control of setting standards in professional training, performance and conduct, as well as ensuring that protected titles are only used by those who are entitled to use them.

    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.

    The HCPC keeps an up to date register of health professionals who have met their standards, and they will take action if any of the registrants fall below the required standard.

    Registration with the HCPC means that a health professional has met national standards for their professional training, performance and conduct.

  • The Human Givens Institute (HGI)

    The Human Givens Institute is open to those wishing to support and promote the human givens approach and the professional body representing the interests of those in the caring, welfare and teaching professions who work in alignment with the best scientific knowledge available about the givens of human nature.

    The HGI is associated with The Human Givens College, the principal teaching establishment for this approach, and all successful graduates of the College are invited to join as professional members. 

    Members are required to agree to the HGI ethics policy and professional conduct policy, and are subject to the Institute's Complaints Procedure.

    Accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).
  • Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP)

    The Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP) was established in 1981 in order to develop and maintain professional standards of excellence in the counselling and psychotherapy profession.

    The organisation is made up of a number of membership levels, including Student, Pre-Accredited and Accredited – each representing a different level of training and experience.

    All members of the IACP are required to abide by the associations Code of Ethics & Practice and a Complaints Procedure.

  • The National Counselling Society (NCS)

    The National Counselling Society is a Not For Profit professional association for counsellors and psychotherapists. Established in 1999, the Society plays a significant role in developing and supporting the counselling profession, members and training organisations.

    In 2013 the NCS register was accredited by the Professional Standards Authority under the Accredited Voluntary Register Scheme. This scheme was set up by the Department of Health (DoH) to provide assurance on the standards of voluntary registers.

    Accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).

  • Play Therapy UK (PTUK)

    Play Therapy UK is a not for profit company whose full name is The United Kingdom Society for Play and Creative Arts Therapies Limited. They exist to further the good practice of therapeutic work with children. This includes improving children's emotional literacy as well as alleviating behaviour and mental health problems.

    Accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).

  • United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)

    The UKCP is the leading professional body for the education, training, accreditation and regulation of psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors. Its register of individual therapists is accredited by the government's Professional Standards Authority.

    As part of its commitment to work for public benefit, UKCP strives to improve access to psychological therapies, to support and distribute research, to improve standards and to respond effectively to complaints against its members.

    UKCP holds a national register of psychotherapists and psychotherapeutic counsellors, listing those practitioner members who meet exacting standards and training requirements. It also holds a specialist register for psychotherapists working with children and young people.

    Accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA).
  • UK Association of Humanistic Psychology Practitioners (UKAHPP)

    UKAHPP is a national accrediting organisation for all those who apply the theories of Humanistic Psychology in their work. The UKAHPP is an independent member organisation of the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and the UK Register of Counsellors.

    The Association is made up of a number of different membership classes e.g. Associate Members, Affiliate Members, Full Members, each with different requirements for entry. Full Members may use the initials 'MAHPP' after their names, and have undergone a rigorous accreditation procedure relevant to their discipline.

    All members of the Association of Humanistic Psychology Practitioners must commit to acceptance of the UKAHPP Code of Ethical Principles, the UKAHPP Code of Practice, the UKAHPP Ethical Review Procedure and the UKAHPP Complaints Procedure.

  • UK Association for Transactional Analysis (UKATA)

    UKATA (formally the Institute of Transactional Analysis) is the largest UK association and professional body for people interested in and practising Transactional Analysis (TA). Formerly the Institute of Transactional Analysis, it was founded in 1974 and aims to represent all fields of TA theory and practice.

    UKATA members fall into one of several categories depending on their level of training or qualification. Typically, members will have completed at least a UKATA Diploma in TA Practice at Level 4/5 (or have equivalent training/experience). Members must adhere to UKATA's Code of Ethics, which outlines how its practitioners are expected to work with clients.
  • Universities Psychotherapy and Counselling Association (UPCA)

    UPCA operates the only independent national register for psychotherapists and/or psychotherapeutic counsellors who have specifically trained within universities.

    It was founded in 1993 as the Universities Psychotherapy Association (UPA) with the object of furthering the development of psychotherapy training. Since then the objectives and organisation of the association have evolved to encompass a greater focus on protecting the public in addition to its original aims.

    Clinical members of the UPCA must have completed training at one of their affiliated organisations, and adhere to their Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics.

This list of professional organisations is not exhaustive, and more can be found on our Useful resources page.

Here at Counselling Directory we recognise the value of being a member of a professional body - that’s why all of our professionals have provided us with evidence of registration with a relevant body at suitably qualified level. While our professionals have agreed to keep us informed of any changes to their professional memberships, it’s important that you check that their registration is still valid prior to starting therapy as we do not actively monitor changes.

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