south manchester centre for psychotherapy

Routes to Professional Registration and Accreditation explained

Routes to UKCP and BACP Registration and Accreditation #01

If you are new to the field of psychotherapy and counselling training you might well feel over whelmed by the amount of information available and the varying routes to registration and qualified membership status with a professional body.

This page aims to explain, simply, how you might achieve qualified and recognised status in psychotherapy and counselling.

smcp is a registered training establishment and all training is recognised by The United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) and The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) - details below.

Many smcp students who have now qualified are practising psychotherapists and counsellors on BACP and UKCP national registers.

Professional Bodies

The Psychotherapy and Counselling professions within the UK are not regulated by the government. Instead, at all stages of psychotherapy training and beyond i.e. student to qualified status, individuals can voluntarily become registered with a professional body.

It is a requirement to belong to a professional body, as a student member, from the start of joining the main psychotherapy training programme at smcp.

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and The United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) are the leading professional, national organisations that register counsellors and psychotherapists both as students and qualified members within the UK. The modality of practice i.e. Person Centered, Transactional Analysis, Cognitive Behavioural, Gestalt, Hypnotherapy etc. doesn't matter - meeting all the professional standards does. You can belong to more than one professional organisation if you wish.

Belonging to a professional body offers kite-mark status for individuals and enables the general public to be sure that you, as a practitioner, have met and continue to meet professional standards of practice. UKCP and BACP offer different levels of membership from student status to qualified practitioner status and they also have different levels of membership in between these two for those on their training journey.

Please scroll down for:

BACP requirements to become fully accredited members and levels of membership open to students.

UKCP requirements to become fully accredited members and levels of membership open to students.


To initially become a member of BACP individuals must be a student on either:

1. A BACP accredited training programme or

2. An independent psychotherapy training programme that meets certain criteria.

BACP has four levels of membership. Two of these routes are open to new applicants: Student and Individual.

BACP membership categories:

1. Student
The first level of membership is student membership. At the start of your counselling and psychotherapy training at smcp you will be able to apply for student membership with BACP. smcp meets all BACP training criteria for student membership.

2. Individual Member
Once you have successfully completed your smcp certificate award you will then be able to apply for Individual membership with BACP

Once you have achieved Individual membership status you have up to 24 months to take a short on line test with BACP. If you pass (and over 95% of people do on their first attempt) then you can progress to the Registered Member category of BACP.

3. Registered Member
Following on from Individual membership and having passed an on line BACP test, as described above, you will then have achieved Registered membership with BACP.

4. Accredited Member

To be an accredited (qualified) member you must already be a Registered BACP member, see above, and then meet the following criteria:

At least 450 hours of tutor contact professional training with supervised student placement. Covered theory, skills, professional issues and personal development.

A minimum of 450 hours of practice supervised to at least 1.5 hours per calendar month.

At least three years (you can include your placement years), of practise and are in current practice.

Covered by professional indemnity insurance

Of the 450 hours of practice at least 150 hours of supervised practice must be after you have successfully completed your practitioner training i.e. received your Certificate and Advanced Diploma award and evidenced (in writing) Reflective Practice which meet BACP criteria.

Routes to UKCP and BACP Registration and Accreditation #02


1. Student member

You are eligible for UKCP student membership if you are on a training course with a UKCP registered organisational member - smcp is a registered training establishment and all training leads to UKCP registration.

Student membership is available up to the point when you enter into any clinical practice for which the UKCP organisational member (i.e. smcp) accepts supervisory responsibility. At this point, you could consider becoming a UKCP trainee member.

2. Trainee therapist

To be eligible for UKCP trainee member status you must belong to a UKCP-registered organisation. You must also be in the process of completing a training course and undertaking the required clinical practice hours with a UKCP organisational member that takes supervisory responsibility for any clinical practice you undertake.

3. Full clinical individual member

In all TA training requires a minimum of 2,000 hours of professional preparation for the Certified Transactional Analysis (CTA) qualification. This includes a written examination and oral examination. Once students have achieved the CTA award they are eligible for UKCP. The following are UKCP and the CTA requirements.

UKCP and CTA requirements are:

900 hours of appropriate advanced training / supervision over a period of not less than 4 years. Supervision is received at a ratio of one hour of supervision to six hours of practise. Mental Health Familiarisation placement is included in training hours.

Completed not less than 450 hours (UKCP requirement) but the CTA qualification requires 750 hours of supervised clinical practice for not less than 2 years.

Ratio of 1:6 for supervision on the first 450 hours. Group supervision reflects this ratio (minimum 10 minutes supervision per client hour).

Supervised hours reflect the approach to be practised by trainees. Minimum of 2 years supervised practice.

Regular case load – at least two long term clients and has demonstrated successful closure.

Experienced psychotherapy congruent with the therapy they have trained in - 40 hours therapy per year for at least 4 years.

Successfully completed written dissertation (for the CTA award this is 24,000 words).

Experience of short and long term contracts.

Final oral examination (CTA requirement).

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