Accreditation: Psychotherapeutic Counsellor

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"UKAHPP places emphasis not only on formal training but also on the creative use of knowledge gained in training, and the personal qualities of creativity, openness, warmth and maturity."


UKAHPP accreditation as a Psychotherapeutic Counsellor entitles you to (optional) registration by the Psychotherapeutic Counselling and Inter-subjective Psychotherapy College (PCIPC) of the UK Council for Psychotherapy, when all training criteria are met. UKCP defines psychotherapeutic counselling as distinguished from other forms of counselling by its emphasis on the creation of an in-depth therapeutic relationship, wherein the client is viewed holistically - body, mind and soul - and the main focus is on the client's personal development in the context of his/her life situation. A Psychotherapeutic Counsellor appropriate for accreditation and registration is a professional capable of working with people over varying periods of time and knowing when and where to refer cases that go beyond their training, capabilities or facilities.


UKAHPP does not provide accreditation for psychotherapeutic counsellors working with children and young adults. For more information please see College of Child and Adolescent Psychotherapies (C-CAP) on the UKCP website.


Before applying for accreditation/Full membership as either a Psychotherapeutic Counsellor or Psychotherapist you must first be (or become) an Associate member working-towards-accreditation, via a quick and straightforward application process –please see the website or contact admin@ahpp.org


There are two routes to UKAHPP accreditation as a Psychotherapeutic Counsellor, and further requirements, which apply to both routes.

Summary of Criteria

A. Full Training Route

450 hours of formal and/or accredited training; substantial written work completed during training; several training courses may be combined - (see para A1). Supervision: at least 450 supervised client hours which includes 100 client hours at a ratio of 1 hour to 6 client hours; minimum of 1.5 hours supervision per month at all times (see para A2.)

B. Experience/Training Route:

Practice: training+experience with a minimum of 10 years post-qualifying practice

CPD: continuing professional development activities in the previous 5 years with 30 hours CPD per year 

A or B. Both Routes

Personal qualities and humanistic practice - (see para 6 below).

A Route:  Personal therapy: minimum 50 hours with same practitioner, and commitment to continue to 105 hours of personal therapy.

B Route:  Personal therapy - minimum 105 hours with same practitioner. 

The applicant's therapist should not also be his/her supervisor - (see para 8).

A Route:  Practice: minimum 2 years with practice size of at least 3 clients per week, and 3 clients at time of applying;  special provisions for short term work; a case study forms part of the application - see para 11 and should demonstrate the depth of the work, reflective practice and use of supervision.

B Route:  Practice: minimum 10 years with practice size of at least 3 clients per week, and 3 clients at time of applying;  special provisions for short-term work; a case study forms part of the application - see para 11.

For both routes: Insurance and ethics: - (see para 14)

For both routes: CPD: A record of continuing professional development (workshops etc) since training, and commitment to meet future requirements - (see paras 6, 15).

Client population


Applicants must demonstrate a capacity to work with clients from a variety of different communities and have the capacity to work with issues of difference, including
1. Cultural differences as a result of belonging to minority ethnic groups
2. Sexuality and gender differences
3. Work with people who have mental health difficulties and/or are differently abled
4. Faith and spiritual beliefs and practice
5. Class and socio-cultural background.
They need to demonstrate how they address these and give examples from their practice of how they might work with someone who is different from them.
If their original training was inadequate in these areas they need to demonstrate how they have remedied this deficit since qualifying.


Please now read the full criteria following: If - after reading the criteria - you have any query, please email admin@ahpp.org or phone 08457 660326.


Criteria for Full membership/accreditation as a Psychotherapeutic Counsellor by both Training and Experience Routes

  1. Knowledge of theoretical models of psychotherapeutic counselling including core assumptions, views of the person, human development, theories of change, mental health issues and risk assessment.
  2. Knowledge of how the therapeutic relationship and process underpin practice.
  3. Knowledge of the implications of various theoretical concepts within a wide range of practice settings and client groups including longer term and short term work. This includes an ability to develop and sustain working relationships with other professional individuals, teams, departments or agencies involved with and engaged in the welfare of clients, while maintaining professional boundaries according to the UKAHPP Code of Ethics.
  4. Demonstrate an understanding and awareness of the origins of an individual's disturbance i.e. through psychological approaches such as Attachment Theory.
  5. Recognition of the limits of the psychotherapeutic counsellor and the psychotherapeutic counselling relationship, the potential impact on boundaries and individual client needs, including when referral may be necessary.
  6. An understanding of severe psychopathology and ability to demonstrate knowledge of how to recognise this in an initial interview, and how to access appropriate referral pathways and sources in both the public and private sectors.
  7. An appreciation of the impact of disability, social and cultural issues and difference on therapeutic practice.
  8. An ability to demonstrate an understanding and familiarity in working with gender, sexual, ethnic, and faith diversity as well as with people from different socio-economic backgrounds.
  9. Wherever possible to show an understanding of working with physical disability and people with learning difficulties or other cognitive impairments.
  10. Knowledge of relevant legal issues pertaining to professional practice.
  11. Exploration of the place of ethical approaches to practice
  12. A general knowledge of research methods relevant to psychotherapeutic counselling.

A. Training Route

To be accredited as a psychotherapeutic counsellor by the training route, an applicant is required to have:-

1. Undertaken a recognised counselling training course(s) of at least 2 years (full-time) or at least 3 years (part-time), comprising a minimum of 450 tutor-contact hours (which does not include any prerequisites to entry requirements, individual therapy, personal study time or peer group work) and a substantial piece of written work. These are the minimum durations considered necessary for the consolidation of theoretical knowledge, personal development through own-therapy/psychotherapeutic counselling and supervised counselling practice during training. This training should include:

Course Information

  1. Knowledge of theoretical models of psychotherapeutic counselling including core assumptions, views of the person, human development, theories of change, mental health issues and risk assessment
  2. Knowledge of how the therapeutic relationship and process underpin practice.
  3. Knowledge of the implications of various theoretical concepts within a wide range of practice settings and client groups including longer term and short term work.
  4. An appreciation of the impact of social and cultural issues and difference on therapeutic practice.
  5. Knowledge of relevant legal issues pertaining to professional practice.
  6. Exploration of the place of ethical approaches to practice.
  7. Recognition of the limits of the psychotherapeutic counsellor and the counselling relationship and the potential impact on boundaries and individual client needs, including when referral may be necessary.
  8. A general knowledge of research methods relevant to psychotherapeutic counselling.

The applicant should submit course-information with examples which evidences the above. Applicants are expected to be able to communicate the knowledge gained in training and supervised practice in verbal and written form; training and supervised practice should have led to the development of abilities for critical reflection on the client's process, the therapeutic relationship, psychotherapeutic counselling approaches used and the psychotherapeutic counsellor's own psychological processes. These abilities should be reflected in all parts of the application, including the case study and interview. UKAHPP places emphasis not only on formal training but also on the critical and creative use of knowledge gained in training, and qualities of creativity, openness, warmth and maturity. During training, applicants are expected to have completed one piece of written work (not a case study) on a psychotherapeutic counselling-related subject of at least 5,000 words, or two pieces totaling 5,000 words (or, to agree to write such a piece at a later date if requested).

2. The applicant must have regular supervision of client casework at all times whilst in practice. For any client-work conducted during training and for at least the first 5 years post-training UKAHPP requires the supervision to be provided by a more experienced practitioner, preferably on a one-to-one basis. Applicants for psychotherapeutic counsellor accreditation should have completed 450 hours of client contact under supervision, and for 100 of the 450 client hours supervision must have been at a ratio of at least 1 hour supervision to 6 hours' client contact; preferably these 100 client hours at the 1:6 supervision ratio will have been completed during training as 'training supervision'. However UKAHPP will consider applications where this period of intensive supervision is undertaken post-training. For the remainder of the 450 client hours the supervision ratio is not specified, but the minimum of 1.5 hours supervision per month applies. Note that peer supervision on its own is not acceptable for trainees and inexperienced counsellors. Evidence of psychotherapeutic counselling supervision through statements by past and present supervisors must be provided.  Psychotherapeutic counselling supervision is not line management and should be clearly distinguished from such. The supervisor will not be the same person as the applicant's therapist/psychotherapeutic counsellor or trainer whose role is to assess. Where this has occurred, please contact UKAHPP to discuss the matter.

Group supervision: up to one-third of the 450 client hours may have been supervised on a group basis (but not a peer-group). To calculate the amount of group time that can be counted, divide the group time by the number of supervisees and then double the result; this is intended to recognise the additional learning gained from group supervision. For example, in a 2-hour group of 4 supervisees, there is 30 minutes' supervision per person, doubled to count as 1 hour of supervision. The UKAHPP Membership and Accreditation Committee may vary this formula for larger supervision groups. For short-term work, please see number 7 below.

B. Experience Route

1.  Where sufficient and acceptable training has not been undertaken, applicants are required to have worked for at least 10 years and achieved at least 900 hours of supervised practice immediately prior to application, via a mixed training/experience basis (where an applicant has undertaken some, but insufficient, training in counselling). Details of the original training are required, plus a scanned copy or photocopy of their certificate of qualification. Any further training (with appopriate evidence of certificates of qualification as above) will of course be taken into consideration and can be counted towards the 450 hours required by the Training Route.

2. Written Statement  -  Applicants must produce a statement of approximately 500 words, which
demonstrates their own understanding of humanistic principles and how these are integrated into their practice. Applicants may refer to theorists or traditions they make use of and explain how these ideas have influenced their work and development over time.

3. Experience of practice must be demonstrated by a log of practice hours submitted as part of the application (in addition to the standard application forms); supervised practice hours must be given for each year.

4.  Supervision must be with a more experienced practitioner. The supervisor will not be the same person as the applicant's therapist/psychotherapeutic counsellor. Where this has occurred, please contact UKAHPP to discuss. Psychotherapeutic counselling supervision is NOT line management and should be clearly distinguished from such.

5. Applicants by the Experience Route should demonstrate in all aspects of the application that they possess levels of knowledge, personal reflection and skills equivalent to those of a psychotherapeutic counsellor trained to the standards required for the Training Route. With applications by the Experience Route the Membership and Accreditation Committee will pay particular attention to the applicant's case study and interview, and may make additional requirements before recommending the applicant for UKCP registration.  Applicants by the Experience Route should pay particular attention to Para 9 below.

6. Applicants by the Experience Route should demonstrate that they have engaged in Continuing Professional Development in the previous five years to the minimum extent of 30 hours per year.

A and B. Requirements applicable to both Training and Experience Routes to Accreditation

7. Applicants are expected to be able to communicate their knowledge gained in verbal and written form. Supervised practice and any training undertaken should have led to the development of abilities for critical reflection on the client's process, the therapeutic relationship, psychotherapeutic counselling approaches used and the psychotherapeutic counsellor's own psychological processes; these abilities should be reflected in all parts of the application, including the case study and interview. UKAHPP places emphasis not only on formal training but also on the creative use of knowledge gained in training, and the personal qualities of creativity, openness, warmth and maturity.

8. Applicants need to have received personal psychotherapeutic counselling or therapy, consistent with the applicant's own theoretical model, to the same extent and frequency as the applicant provides to clients.

i) Training Route: for an absolute minimum of 50 hours, normally with the same practitioner, during training and consistent with the theoretical orientation of the training, provided that successful applicants commit to continuing in psychotherapeutic counselling/therapy to reach a minimum of 105 hours of own-therapy (after which the applicant may be recommended for UKCP-registration).

ii) Experience Route: for 105 hours

Applicants' therapists / counsellors should be different from their supervisors, to avoid dual relationships. UKAHPP recommends that own-therapy/psychotherapeutic counselling is continued or resumed with reference primarily to applicant's personal and professional development rather than to accreditation requirements.

9. Applicants need to have maintained a practice-size of at least three clients (clients being seen for varying durations as appropriate) throughout a continuous period of two years, and to have a minimum caseload of this size when applying for accreditation. If the requirement for a minimum of 450 supervised client hours has been gained mainly with short term work, then applicants must have worked for a minimum of 6 months with at least two clients in the past 3 years. Clients should be adults (aged 18 years and over); special conditions apply to younger caseloads - see 10 below.

10. Counselling Young People: UKAHPP does not provide accreditation for psychotherapeutic counsellors working with children and young adults. UKAHPP will however consider for accreditation psychotherapeutic counsellors whose case load includes working with young people of secondary school age (11 years +) provided that they are working in school and other formal settings where the employing organisation sets conditions for, and takes responsibility for, the applicant's psychotherapeutic counselling work with young people in that setting. Minimum conditions are that the applicant's employing organisation requires that the applicant has had appropriate training and experience, requires that the applicant has been subject to the appropriate level of criminal record bureau checking, and has rules for child protection which include provision of a child protection officer. For the purposes of accreditation, the applicant must also be working with adult clients in either a work setting or private practice, and the case study must be based on an adult client. UKAHPP psychotherapeutic counsellor accreditation based on a young person caseload as set out here will not qualify the successful applicant for registration with the UKCP as a psychotherapeutic counsellor with adults, whose standards refer currently only to 'child psychotherapy' and define child as up to 18 years of age. For more information please see College of Child and Adolescent Psychotherapies (C-CAP) on the UKCP website.

11. Applicants are required to submit a case study (of 3,000 to 5,000 words in length) of a client representative of the applicant's current practice. The case study should follow the guidelines provided with the application forms and demonstrate the knowledge, skills and capacity for critical reflection gained in training and supervised practice, as noted elsewhere in this document.

12. Applicants agree to increase the frequency of psychotherapeutic counselling supervision if carrying a high caseload or having a high stress level.

13. Applicants are required to confirm that they have professional liability and malpractice insurance, and be in good ethical standing with any 'equivalent' previous accrediting/training organisation.

14. Applicants must agree to adhere to UKAHPP ethical codes and practices, as published on this website.

15. If, after being accredited, you qualify for and opt for UKCP-registration, UKCP will require 50 hours of CPD per year, with a minimum of 20 hours in any one year, giving a total of 250 hours over a 5-year period. Further details of CPD requirements will be provided after accreditation.

16. Accreditation in any category (e.g. Psychotherapist, Psychotherapeutic Counsellor) is granted for five years after which renewal of accreditation must be applied for. It is also UKAHPP practice that accreditation is conditional on payment of the annual membership fee for each year of its five years' validity; accreditation will lapse if the annual membership fee is not paid when it becomes due, and renewal of accreditation is dependent on prior and ongoing payment of the annual membership fees.

17. There is an additional, general requirement applicable to all applications in any class or category of membership, that in the judgment of the Membership and Accreditation Committee there is a good fit between the applicant (as evidenced from the application material, including case study and interview) and the humanistic ethos of UKAHPP, such that UKAHPP as agreed by the Membership and Accreditation Committee is deemed to be an appropriate professional membership organisation, or "home", for the applicant.

Application for psychotheapeutic counsellor accreditation/Full membership is made via application forms including a case study and supervisor's report. After assessment at a Membership and Accreditation Committee meeting, applicants may be asked to attend an interview.

In order to apply for accreditation – by either route - you must be (or first become) an Associate-working-towards-accreditation so that detailed advice and ongoing support can be provided, and to have access to the forms and guidance in the Members' Area of this website. It is quick and straightforward to apply for Associate membership.

April 2014.


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