Full Training Route – Psychotherapist

Detailed Criteria


This route is for applicants who have completed a specialist Psychotherapy training.

  1. Personal Qualities

1.1 A psychotherapist is considered to be a professional capable of working with people with complex problems, usually over a long period of time, and capable of knowing when and where to refer cases that go beyond his or her own training, capabilities or facilities. For short-term psychotherapy, see also paragraph 3.

1.2 The application should reflect this ability and 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 psychotherapist. 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, ethnic, 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.

Applications should demonstrate these qualities, particularly in the written work and the case study. Written applications and other papers submitted should reflect a competence in the applicant which is of an equivalent standard to that usually acceptable for academic work at post-graduate level.

1.3 In the case of applications incorporating training with organisations which are not members of the Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy College (HIPC) of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) the applicant will be required to submit an Accreditation of Prior Learning Portfolio, which is Part 1 of the psychotherapy application process. The Portfolio will be supplemented by written work done during the training, must include an 8,000 word dissertation and documents outlining the selection criteria, training programme, and methods of assessment of the non-HIPC training organisation(s). UKAHPP also reserves the right to request any additional information, either from the applicant or from the training establishment(s) which it may deem necessary to establish the academic and clinical equivalence of the non-HIPC training. The applicant is advised to ensure that the Portfolio includes evidence which will support a contention that their training meets all the requirements.

1.4 The requirements for accreditation in the category of Psychotherapist are given below and it is recommended that the applicant ensure that all requirements are fulfilled and evidenced clearly on the application form, and supporting documents before submission.

  1. Training

2.1 Undertaken, completed and successfully graduated from a psychotherapy training of at least 4 years’ duration, at a post-graduate level of competence, comprising a minimum of 900 hours which must include at least 600 hours of core training tutor-contact hours (for example, didactic/experiential learning, tutor-led process groups, tutorials, academic supervision, live supervision in the context of training, skills training); these core training contact hours must include a sustained period on one psychotherapy training course, and may not include any prerequisites to entry requirements, individual therapy, personal study time or peer group work. The remaining hours (300) may be made up of more core training, clinical supervision, self & peer-directed training, and the mental health familiarisation placement.

2.1 The applicant will demonstrate that the 900 hours of psychotherapy training included:

2.2.1 An in-depth knowledge of the thinking of the main humanistic theorists with a thorough understanding of the clinical applications and therapeutic models of at least two of these. This will include relevant models of the self along with formulations of developmental processes, psychopathology and therapeutic possibilities. The nature and purpose of the therapeutic relationship, including transference and countertransference, will have been explored both theoretically and experientially.

2.2.2 Knowledge and an appreciation of the application of existential approaches to psychotherapy

2.2.3 Knowledge and an appreciation of the application of psychoanalytic and object relations theories, their development and relationship with humanistic theory and practice.

2.2.4 Knowledge and an appreciation of the application of theories of gendered and culturally influenced human development.

2.2.5 Knowledge and an appreciation of the cognitive behavioural theory of change, its application and methods of evaluation.

2.2.6 An understanding of the relationship between the different approaches outlined above, with the addition of the psychiatric model.

2.2.7 An understanding and appreciation of the boundary between the psychotherapeutic understanding of neurosis and that of mental illness; an ability to recognise severely disturbed clients and the limitations and appropriateness of psychotherapy should have been developed.

2.2.8 An appreciation of the main models of research methodology.

2.2.9 A substantial proportion of this knowledge being gained through experiential methods of learning. As part of the training the applicant will be expected to have had some personal experience of the impact on his or her person of the potential for therapeutic effect of their chosen core theoretical model and this should be apparent in the application.

2.2.10 During training, applicants are expected to have completed at least one substantial piece of written work (not a case study) of at least 8,000 words. This should demonstrate the candidate’s capacity for reflecting in depth on their own work and the approach in which they are training. The piece will be of an equivalent standard to that usually acceptable for academic work at post-graduate/Masters level. If such a piece is not available, or is deemed inappropriate by the UKAHPP Accreditation Committee, the applicant may be asked to write such a piece in support of the application.

2.2.11 The applicant’s training and practice of psychotherapy should be broadly-ranging, incorporating more than one Humanistic school of thought (e.g. Gestalt, Body Psychotherapy, Person Centred, Existential, Transpersonal, Psychosynthesis).

2.2.12 The applicant should be able to communicate the knowledge gained in training and supervised practice in verbal and written form. The application should show that training and supervised practice has led to the development of abilities for critical reflection on the client’s process, the therapeutic relationship, therapeutic approaches used and the therapist’s own psychological processes. This should be demonstrated in all parts of the application, the written work, the case study and the interview.

  1. Client Population

3.1 Applicants must demonstrate throughout the application a capacity to work with clients from a variety of different communities and have the ability 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 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.

3.4 If their original training was inadequate in these areas they need to demonstrate how they have remedied this deficit since qualifying.

  1. Practice

4.1 The establishment of a psychotherapy practice congruent with the mode of therapy for which the applicant is requesting accreditation. There will be evidence of substantial experience and competence in the chosen mode of psychotherapy.

4.2 Evidence of supervised psychotherapy practice and competency for a minimum of two years during which a minimum caseload of six clients weekly (or equivalent) has been maintained, and for a minimum 6 clients caseload at the time of application and in the prior 6 months. Such clients will be contracted in such a way that reflects the psychotherapeutic approach for which the application is being made. The reference here to 6 clients over a 2 year period refers to the size of your practice – these are not necessarily the same 6 clients being seen for 2 years.

4.3 It is recommended (but not an absolute requirement) that the applicant has experience of working with clients in both long-term and time-limited contracts. If the applicant’s current practice is solely long-term or is mixed (both long-term and time-limited), the application should provide caseload details showing a practice size of at least 6 clients over a 2 year period (as in 6.1 above), of which there are at least two long-term contracts; the case study should show evidence of ability to manage closure. If the applicant’s current practice is solely time-limited, the application should provide caseload details showing at least 12 cases; the case study should show evidence of efficacy and appropriate use of model and its framework.

4.4 UKAHPP considers ‘long-term’ to mean psychotherapy having no pre-determined fixed time limit and with a focus on and a duration sufficient for characterological transformation.

4.5 In the event of group work practice being used to evidence practice hours the formula of one group clinical practice hour as equal to one individual clinical contact hour will be applied for the purposes of accreditation.

4.6 These caseload requirements for accreditation refer to adult clients, and the case study must be of an adult client. UKAHPP does not offer accreditation in child psychotherapy.

  1. Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

5.1. There is a general expectation that practitioners engage in regular CPD. UKAHPP expects the applicant to be able to demonstrate, and provide evidence of, a continuing curiosity and commitment to personal and professional development in any period intervening between completion of training and the current application for accreditation.

  1. Mental Health Familiarisation Placement (MHFP).

6.1 The applicant will have completed an MHFP the detailed requirements of which are given below. If the applicant meets all other requirements but has not undertaken an MHFP, accreditation may be granted on condition that the applicant completes an MHFP within the following year and informs the Committee of this.

6.2 The taught element of the applicant’s training will support the MHFP in as much as it will have included the following elements:

  • Current approaches to the management and treatment of mental illness.
  • An understanding of the use and effects of pharmacological treatment.
  • The basics of the legislative and organisational framework of the various agencies involved.
  • An understanding of the differences between responses to trauma and other severe emotional states and major mental illness as defined by the medical model of mental illness.

6.3 The MHFP will be within a setting which enables the applicant to have experience of, and begin to recognise, major mental illness. This will require the applicant to spend time in such a setting in the role of observer or companion. Whilst the applicant should not be providing psychotherapeutic help they may become involved in providing simple skilled help, such as relaxation or basic counselling, if deemed appropriate by the placement manager.

6.4 The MHFP will be in a professionally structured setting which allows applicants to spend time with those deemed to be suffering from major mental illness. Additionally, the setting must provide opportunities for discussion with staff involved in diagnosis and treatment. This might be achieved in a variety of settings, for example: psychiatric inpatient or day-patient services, community based charities concerned with rehabilitation and support, such as MIND, or other organisations offering help where the client group involves a large proportion deemed to have mental health problems, such as homelessness charities. In the case of the latter example, there must be an identified, trained, mental health worker (e.g. Registered Mental Nurse, Psychiatric Occupational Therapist or Psychologist) who will act as mentor and supervisor and there will need to be specific evidence that mental health issues form the core of the applicant’s experience during the MHFP.

6.5 The MHFP, together with the taught element will be in such a setting and so structured as to ensure the following learning outcomes can be achieved:

  • Develop a basic understanding of psychiatry and the mental health system, the rights of patients and the psycho-social issues involved.
  • Understand the main principles of the Mental Health Act and the procedures for the compulsory admission and detention of patients.
  • Enhance their ability to liaise with other mental health practitioners.
  • Become familiar with psychiatric assessment and planning of a range of forms of intervention and evaluation procedures.
  • Understand the range of mental illness that can lead to the involvement of the mental health system.
  • Familiarise themselves with the different types of intervention used, including medication and electro-convulsive therapy, and their main side effects.
  • Spend time with people who have been diagnosed with severe mental illness.
  • Be able to empathise with patients who have been involved with the mental health system.

6.6 The duration of the MHFP will be sufficient to achieve these objectives and the UKAHPP considers this to mean a minimum placement of 48 hours, the equivalent of 1 day per week for a placement of 6 weeks. Applicants should have produced a reflective account/diary of their experience of the MHFP, which should be submitted when requested by the UKAHPP Accreditation Committee.

  1. Research & Evaluation

7.1 Applicants are required to demonstrate an understanding of basic qualitative and quantitative research and of the application of this to the investigation and evaluation of psychotherapeutic practice. In order to demonstrate this, applicants may:

7.2 Write a synopsis of research that they have undertaken, or in which they have been a participant, which shows a critical understanding of the relevance of studies and research findings in one of the following or other areas relevant to psychotherapeutic clinical practice:

  • Human development
  • Psychopathology
  • Neurophysiology
  • Sexuality
  • Diversity
  • Ethics & Legal


7.3 Produce a statement of learning from the study of, or participation in, either
a consultation on evidence-based psychotherapeutic practice or the use of outcome
measures and data collection as applied to psychotherapeutic practice

  1. Personal therapy

8.1 Experience of a sustained period of personal psychotherapy congruent with the psychotherapy they have trained in and are practicing. This will have been a minimum of 40 hours per year for four years, and applicants will normally have been in psychotherapy throughout the duration of the training.

8.2 The psychotherapist with whom the applicant works will not be the same person as the applicant’s main trainer, nor their supervisor. It is expected that the applicant will have experience of an extended period of psychotherapy with the same psychotherapist, normally a minimum of 3 years with the same psychotherapist.

8.3 Personal psychotherapy would normally be undertaken with a UKAHPP Accredited Psychotherapist, or equivalent, on a one-to-one basis. While group psychotherapy is not deemed appropriate at this stage, the Accreditation Committee will consider applications which include a mix of individual and group psychotherapy, in exceptional circumstances and where all other criteria are met.

  1. Supervision

9.1 Regular supervision of psychotherapy client casework for not less than two years with the same supervisor. The supervisor will not be the same person as the applicant’s psychotherapist.

9.2 The total number of supervised client hours accumulated should be not less than 450. 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 Accreditation Committee may vary this formula for larger supervision groups. The UKAHPP Accreditation Committee may consider applications with more than one-third of the 450 client hours supervised on a group basis, where the case study and other aspects of the application are assessed as being of a high standard.

9.3 Supervised hours should be made up of client contracts that reflect the approach to be practiced and demonstrate that the applicant has the appropriate experience of and competence in the model of psychotherapy for which they are requesting accreditation.

9.4 The supervisor will be a more experienced practitioner who uses the same approach(es) in which the applicant has trained; this applies both to individual and to group supervision. Peer supervision is not deemed appropriate at this stage.

9.5 The 450 supervised client hours will be at a ratio of at least 1:6 (1 hour of supervision for 6 client hours); supervision will normally have been face-to-face. The UKAHPP Accreditation Committee may consider applications where the 1:6 ratio has not been achieved for the full 450 client hours.

9.6 The applicant will provide, when requested by the UKAHPP Accreditation Committee, a supervisor’s report which will reflect the applicant’s competence and readiness for accreditation as psychotherapist. The supervisor providing this report should normally have supervised the applicant for the casework used in the client case study forming part of the application.

  1. Case Study

10.1 Applicants are required to submit a Case Study of 3,000-5,000 words which demonstrates their practice as a psychotherapist. It should illustrate their theoretical model and show good understanding and application of the therapeutic alliance, as well as an awareness of boundaries and an ability to handle complex presentations competently. The case study should demonstrate the applicant’s effective use of self-reflection, their relationship with the client and a Humanistic approach in their work.

10.2 Guidelines for case studies are available from the members’ area of the UKAHPP website.

  1. Therapeutic Executor

11.1 It is a requirement that accredited Full members have an ongoing Therapeutic Executor arrangement, for which guidelines are available from the Admin office and in the members’ area of the website.

  1. Professional Insurance and Ethical Standing

12.1 To have professional liability and malpractice insurance, and be in good ethical standing with any ‘equivalent’ previous or current accrediting/training organisation. To agree to adhere to UKAHPP ethical codes and practices, as published on this website.

  1. General

13.1 There is an additional, general requirement applicable to all applications that in the judgement 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 is agreed by the Accreditation Committee to be an appropriate professional membership organisation, or “home”, for the applicant.

13.2 UKAHPP accreditation as a psychotherapist is valid for 5 years, after which renewal of accreditation must be applied for via an assessment process which includes Continuing Professional Development.

  1. Application

14.1 Application for the training route, is by means of an application form which is available on the Members’ Area of the website at ahpp.org.uk.  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.

15. Unsuccessful Applications

15.1 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 reconsidered by the Accreditation Committee, with evidence as to how identified criteria omissions have been complied with. The Accreditation Committee’s decision will be final.

September 2018