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How do I become a student member of BACP?
Student Membership is open to anyone who is currently studying on a BACP Accredited course or a counselling or psychotherapy course that is a minimum of one year full time or two years part time with a supervised placement that is a minimum of 100 hours as an integral part of the course.
Student Application Pack
Are distance learning courses accepted for student membership?
Unfortunately, BACP does not currently accept distance learning courses for student membership as we require the course to have regular face to face tuition.
What is the benefit of becoming a student member of BACP?
Membership of BACP is a great way to keep up to date with current counselling and psychotherapy news. Membership also means you agree to abide by the Ethical Framework which provides you with information on best practice as well as showing the public you are an ethical counsellor.
Read the full list of membership benefits
How much is student membership?
BACP realises that students can often be on a tight budget when studying and so subsidised the student membership fee. The fee is currently £70.00 for a full year. This can be paid in a one off instalment or a direct debit can be set up at £7.00 per month for 10 months.
Do student members qualify for reduced fee membership?
Student members can apply for a 50% reduction on membership fees bringing the price down to £35.00. You are eligible for this reduction if you are in receipt of a state benefit such as income support, council tax benefit or state pension.
I have now successfully completed my course - how do I change membership category?
If you have successfully completed a minimum of a one year full time or two year part time counselling or psychotherapy course, including 100 placement hours, you can change to the Individual Member category of membership.
You can do this by sending in a copy of your certificate to the Membership Department. Alternatively, you can send an original letter from your place of study confirming you have successfully completed the course.
Is my course BACP Accredited and does this matter?
You can check the list of BACP Accredited courses to see if your course is listed. If your course does not appear on the list then it is not accredited by BACP.
Accredited courses have been assessed by BACP against the criteria for course accreditation as detailed in the BACP publication Accreditation of Training Courses (BACP 2002) and awarded accreditation, which means that they can offer quality training to a high standard, which is recognised by employers, colleagues and prospective clients.
An accredited course provider must be an Organisational Member of BACP, which means that the organisation is bound by BACP's Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy and subject to the Professional Conduct Procedure within.
If your course is not accredited by BACP it does not mean it is not a valid course. However, BACP would be unable to comment on the quality of the course as we will not have assessed the content.
Why are there variations in training standards throughout the country?
The variation in training standards is partially because of the different sectors in which training exists. There is no specific reason why training is this way but is just the way in which it has evolved - sometimes because of decisions in relation to funding.
Training and Personal Development
Supervision and Personal Therapy
How much supervised practice should I do whilst training?
Whilst the number of hours specified for a supervised placement may differ from course to course, BACP accredited courses must require students to complete a minimum of 100 hours supervised practice as part of the course. The setting for the client work must be congruent with the learning aims and outcomes for the course. The orientation of the client work and its supervision should also be congruent with that of the course.
How much supervision should I be having?
The Ethical Framework specifies:
"There is a general obligation for all counsellors, psychotherapists, supervisors and trainers to receive supervision/consultative support independently of any managerial relationships".
The following requirements apply to BACP accredited course placements and are regarded by BACP as best practice for all student counsellors/psychotherapists in training:
· 1 hour of supervision for every 8 hours of client work
· not less than an overall minimum of 1.5 hours per month
· delivered not less than fortnightly
A mix of individual and group supervision is recommended.
You can search for a supervisor via our 'Find A Therapist' website.
Do I need personal therapy whilst I train?
Some courses will require trainees to have a minimum number of hours personal therapy. This requirement often depends on the course modality.
It is not a requirement for BACP membership or Accreditation to be in personal therapy unless it is a course requirement.
How do I find a placement?
Your place of study may be able to provide you with a list of organisations that have offered placements in the past. It may also be a good idea to contact local agencies who offer a counselling service to see if they will accept you on placement.
BACP has compiled a list of charities and specialist organisations with contact details who may be able to offer placement information.
Student members of BACP can also access the placement database
I am a student on a diploma course and would like an NHS placement, is there anything I should know?
For many students, healthcare settings will provide a conducive learning environment if the appropriate support, mentorship and supervision is offered.
A 'student counsellor' is an individual undertaking an initial, generic training course in counselling/psychotherapy. A 'trainee' is a counsellor who has already gained their diploma but if they are not employed as a counsellor may need a placement to keep up their skills.
Placement co-ordinators should ensure that the students and trainees who are accepted for a counselling placement have professional membership and private indemnity cover prior to the commencement of their placement. This ensures they work with a professional ethical framework for good practice.
More information about working within the NHS can be found on the Faculty of Healthcare Counsellors and Psychotherapists website
Will the qualification I am working towards be accepted by HPC and if not, what can I do?
The HPC will approve all those education and training programmes, historic and current, that led or lead to registration with one of the voluntary registers that transfer.
We hope that anyone that has graduated from a BACP accredited course will be accepted by the HPC and it is possible that this will extend further than accredited courses.
If your training is not accepted by HPC as an approved qualification then the Grandparenting route should be available to you. In the Grandparenting process you demonstrate how you meet the HPC Standards by submitting written documentation (further information on the exact process should become available closer to the date of regulation).
What qualifications will I need in the future to become a registered counsellor or psychotherapist?
HPC will approve courses that meet their Standards of Education and Training and Standards of Proficiency (both generic and profession specific). In the long term people who want to work in the profession will need to complete one of these courses.
Existing members of the profession (i.e. those currently working or training) will be able to apply to HPC via one of the transitional routes.
Is there a possibility of a national qualifications framework and how will this work?
There are qualifications frameworks already in existence that cover training but they represent different sectors.
The National Qualifications Framework (soon to be replaced by the Qualifications and Credit Framework) relates to Awarding Body qualifications and these relate to courses that are often delivered in Further Education.
There are also QAA level descriptors which are more widely used as a reference point in Higher Education Institutions. Both of these frameworks are about the level of qualifications and don't stipulate on the content.
What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?
BACP, as an Association, has not distinguished between counselling and psychotherapy. However the HPC are currently consulting on having some different standards for counselling and some specifically for psychotherapy. The proposed differentiating standards are:
Standards for Counsellors
• Understand theories and research on mental health and well-being and obstacles to wellbeing and be able to use these to facilitate client development
• Understand theory and research concerning specific life problems, issues and transitions that commonly lead individuals to seek counselling and be able to use these to inform practice
Standards for Psychotherapists
• Understand typical presentations of severe mental disorder
• Understand methods of diagnosis of severe mental disorder appropriate to the theoretical approach and be able to conduct appropriate diagnostic procedures
• Understand and implement treatment methods to address symptoms and causes of severe mental disorder
The consultation runs from July to October 2009 so we hope to know more about how the register may be structured after this time. The consultation can be accessed from http://www.hpc-uk.org/aboutus/consultations/index.asp?id=93
I would like to work as a counsellor/psychotherapist within the NHS, how do I go about it?
Speak to counsellors in your area who are already employed within the NHS. They will know the likelihood of there being vacancies for counselling posts in your locality. You could also look in the local and national press for advertisements. Advertised posts for NHS counsellors usually request that the applicant is BACP Accredited or equivalent.
If you would like to work in a healthcare setting it would also be beneficial to seek additional, and more specialised, counselling training and a placement in an NHS setting (see BACP information sheet "Guidance on Trainee Placements").
A trainee counsellor has already gained a recognised qualification in counselling at diploma level. They may be seeking a placement in healthcare, either to enhance and develop their professional counselling role, or to accumulate more clinical hours to achieve their BACP individual counsellor accreditation (minimum 450 hours of supervised practice required). The trainee receives no payment for their work, although some assistance towards funding professional membership fees, indemnity cover and supervision fees may be offered.