Accreditation Criteria – Training Route


This accreditation route is for applicants who have completed a formal training in Psychotherapeutic Counselling.

Training must equate 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.

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

2.1 To be accredited as a psychotherapeutic counsellor by the training route, an applicant is required to have undertaken, completed and successfully graduated from 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.

2.2 A scanned copy/ies or photocopy/ies of the certificate of qualification is also a requirement. 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:

  • 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.

2.3 The applicant should submit course-information with examples from the syllabus which evidences the above.

2.4 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.

2.5 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.

2.6 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 totalling 5,000 words.

2.7 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.

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 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.

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 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.

5.3 Applicants for psychotherapeutic counsellor accreditation should have completed 450 hours of client contact under supervision at a ratio of at least 1 hour supervision to 6 hours’ client contact.

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 Group supervision up to one-third of the 450 client hours may have been supervised on a group basis (but not a peer-group).

5.9 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.

5.10 The UKAHPP Accreditation Committee may vary this formula for larger supervision groups.

5.11 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 A record of continuing professional development (workshops etc) since training and commitment to meet future requirements.

8.2 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 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 (T) – 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