Accreditation Criteria – Experience Route


This combined experience and training route is for applicants with a minimum of 10 years post-qualifying practice equivalent to level 6 or above of the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA): Framework for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies (Bachelor’s Degree, Graduate Diploma; Graduate Certificate). As other frameworks exist and may vary, applicants must demonstrate how their training equates to level 6 of the QAA framework.

Psychotherapeutic Counselling is distinct from other forms of counselling, in that emphasis is placed on the creation of an in-depth therapeutic relationship, wherein the client is viewed holistically – body, mind and spirit – the main focus of the therapy is the client’s personal development in the context of his/her life situation.

An accredited  Psychotherapeutic Counsellor 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 and competence.

All applications are to be supported by a valid Referee’s Statement from an experienced professional in the field the applicant works – not necessarily a UKAHPP Member. The referee should not be related to the applicant or their supervisor, trainer or therapist. The referee is to send the completed and signed statement directly to the UKAHPP..

1. Personal Qualities

1.1 The application should satisfy the UKAHPP Accreditation Committee that the applicant has reached the levels of maturity, experience and knowledge which, in the judgement of the Committee, are necessary for accreditation as a psychotherapeutic counsellor.

1.2 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.

1.3 UKAHPP places emphasis not only on formal training but also on the creative use of knowledge gained in training and practice, and qualities of creativity, openness, warmth and maturity. More specifically, applicants should be able to demonstrate a capacity and commitment to developing and maintaining the following personal qualities:

  • A lively and enquiring mind.
  • A capacity for critical self-reflection and self-directed learning.
  • An ability to listen and respond with compassion and respect.
  • Awareness of prejudice and the ability to respond openly to issues of race, gender, age, sexual preference, class, disability, ethnicity, spiritual/religious and cultural difference, and diversity.
  • Awareness and sensitivity in relation to the political, socio-cultural and religious/spiritual contexts of people’s lives.
  • In depth self-reflection
  • Self-awareness and commitment to self-development.

1.4 Applications should demonstrate these qualities, particularly in the written work and the case study.

2.Training and Experience

2.1 In addition to the criteria for UKAHPP Registration, the Accreditation Committee will verify the ongoing training of someone over a long period of years – so will be looking for substantial pieces of training with certificates of award (not short pieces of CPD) combined to make an equivalent of the 450 hours required for a Psychotherapeutic Counsellor training e.g someone who has done five years worth of substantial training, along with the correct ration of supervision of 1.6 for clinical hours whilst on various trainings, the required number of personal therapy hours, and who can demonstrate knowledge and/or practice of research and a full understanding of Mental Health.

2.2 Someone who has done a short counselling training and then a series of short CPD activities would not be considered for accreditation.

2.3 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 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. This training should include:

  • 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.
  • Knowledge of how the therapeutic relationship and process underpin practice.
  • 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 Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct.
  • Demonstrate an understanding and awareness of the origins of an individual’s disturbance i.e. through psychological approaches such as Attachment Theory.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • An ability to undertake a risk assessment of a client with mild, moderate or severe Mental Health issues, and refer on where and when appropriate, see 6 above.
  • An appreciation of the impact of disability, social and cultural issues and difference on therapeutic practice.
  • 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.
  • Wherever possible to show an understanding of working with physical disability and people with learning difficulties or other cognitive impairments.
  • A general knowledge of research methods relevant to psychotherapeutic counselling, and the ability to demonstrate they can draw conclusions about aspects of current counselling research and relate the implications to therapeutic practice.
  • Knowledge of relevant legal issues pertaining to professional practice.
  • Exploration of the place of ethical approaches to practice.

2.4 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.

2.5 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. Client Population

3.1 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:

  • Cultural differences as a result of belonging to minority ethnic groups.
  • Sexuality and gender differences.
  • Work with people who have mental health difficulties and/or are differently abled.
  • Faith and spiritual beliefs and practice.
  • Class and socio-cultural background.

3.2 Applicants 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.

4. Practice

4.1 A 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.

4.2 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.

4.3 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.

4.4 Clients should be adults (aged 18 years and over); special conditions apply to younger caseloads.

4.5 Counselling Young People: UKAHPP does not provide accreditation for psychotherapeutic counsellors working with children and young adults.

4.6 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.

4.7 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.

4.8 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.

4.9 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.

5. Supervision

5.1 The applicant must have regular supervision of client casework at all times whilst in practice and must provide a Supervisor’s Report in support of their application. More than one report can be provided.

5.2 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.

5.3 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.

5.4 Peer supervision on its own is not acceptable for trainees and inexperienced counsellors.

5.5 Evidence of psychotherapeutic counselling supervision through statements by past and present supervisors must be provided.

5.6 Psychotherapeutic counselling supervision is not line management and should be clearly distinguished from such.

5.7 The supervisor will not be the same person as the applicant’s therapist/ psychotherapeutic counsellor or trainer whose role is to assess.

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

6. Personal Therapy

6.1 Applicants are required to undertake a minimum 50 hours of personal therapy with the same practitioner and commitment to continue to 105 hours of personal therapy

6.2 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.

6.3 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 (only after which the applicant may be recommended for PCIPC/UKCP registration).

6.4 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.

7. Insurance and Ethics

7.1 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.

7.2 Applicants must agree to adhere to the UKAHPP Code of Practice and Ethical Principles as published on the UKAHPP website.

8. Continual Professional Development

8.1 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.

8.2 Personal therapy and/or supervision are not included as counting towards CPD.

8.3 If after being accredited, you qualify for and opt for UKCP: PCIP College 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.

9. General

9.1 Accreditation in any category (e.g. Psychotherapist, Psychotherapeutic Counsellor) is granted for five years after which re-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 annual renewal of membership as well as five-yearly re-accreditation is dependent on prior and ongoing payment of the annual membership fees.

9.2 There is an additional, general requirement applicable to all applications in any class or category of membership, that in the judgment of the 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 Accreditation Committee is deemed to be an appropriate professional membership organisation, or “home”, for the applicant.

10. Application

Application for the experience and training route, is by means of an application form which is available on the Members’ Area of the website at  After meeting any further requirements, successful applicants will be asked to attend an interview.

In order to apply for accreditation – by either route – you must be an Ordinary Member (Registered) so that detailed advice and ongoing support can be provided, and to have access to the forms and guidance in the Members’ Area of the UKAHPP website.

APPPLICATION FORM (E) – Psychotherapeutic Counsellor_

11. Unsuccessful Applications

In the event of an unsuccessful application, a written request can be made to the Chair of the UKAHPP Accreditation Committee for the decision to be reviewed by the Accreditation Committee. Evidence is to be provided as to how identified omissions to the published criteria for UKAHPP Psychotherapeutic Counsellor Accreditation have been complied with. The UKAHPP Accreditation Committee’s decision will be final.

12. Data Protection

The UKAHPP will hold information provided by applicants in accordance with Data Protection requirements and will delete information relating to unsuccessful applications from its records 18 months following submission.

13. Public Protection

To enhance public protection and the promotion of confidence, the UKAHPP will share and seek information about the professional standing of applicants from other register holders and professional organisations.

September 2018