1. What type of framework is SCoPEd and what does it represent?

SCoPEd is a shared competence framework that maps existing evidence-based minimum training standards, knowledge and experience required for counsellors and psychotherapists working with adults.

The framework provides clarity about the wide range of skills, knowledge, training and experience that our members have, and will help counselling and psychotherapy be better understood, valued and trusted by all.

It’s a generic framework, so doesn’t make any distinctions between the different modalities and approaches that exist across counselling and psychotherapy.

It also does not include specialisms, some of which have their own competence frameworks (for example, CYP, Workplace).

2. Is the January 2022 SCoPEd framework the final version?

The January 2022 SCoPEd framework is the latest version that was adopted in February 2023 by six PSA accredited register bodies across the counselling and psychotherapy profession.

3. What themes does the SCoPEd framework include?

The minimum training standards, knowledge and experience required by counsellors and psychotherapists has been mapped across five themes:

  • professional framework
  • assessment
  • therapeutic relationship
  • knowledge and skills
  • self-awareness and reflection

4. Why are there no titles in this version of the framework? 

The January 2022 framework continues to use the established terms of Therapist A, B and C.

5. Will I have to complete additional, expensive training to move between columns in the SCoPEd framework?

No, membership categories for each partner membership body will be aligned to the SCoPEd columns, rather than members being mapped to the SCoPEd columns.

Members who wish to, will be able to move between our membership categories, aligned to the standards of the SCoPEd framework columns, where they have the relevant skills, training, knowledge and experience to do so. See our SCoPEd transition mechanisms web page

From 2026 there will be new accreditation routes to move between membership categories. These routes will consider CPD and experience alongside other existing skills and experience.

Visit Where will I be represented in the SCoPEd framework for more information.

6. Is personal therapy included in the SCoPEd framework?

Personal therapy isn’t straightforward because some trainings put more emphasis on personal therapy than others. This is more to do with the theoretical approach than competences and practice standards. It therefore hasn’t been possible to map a common standard for personal therapy as a requirement. It’s possible that this will continue to be an area of difference.

7. Are specialisms included in the SCoPEd framework?

No. The SCoPEd framework only maps the generic core competences arranged in five themes, training and practice standards necessary for working with adults.

All of our members are valued and are trusted to use their professional judgement to practise any specialisms in line with our current Ethical Framework and with support from their supervisor, as they do now. This won’t change.

8. What does mental health familiarisation mean in the SCoPEd framework?

We understand that it’s hard to define what mental health familiarisation means, in relation to the framework.

The intention is to offer people the opportunity to gain the knowledge, understanding and insight that equips them to work within or alongside other mental health services, with clients who have extraordinary needs and with family members of mental health service users.

This includes a knowledge and understanding of:

  • a working awareness of presentation, diagnosis and treatment in the context of UK mental health care services
  • a range of appropriate models of assessment which include (but are not limited to) learning about how the medical model understands mental wellbeing and mental illness
  • the influence of socio-economics, class, gender, disability, age, culture, religion, race and sexuality on the incidence, definition, diagnosis and treatment of mental illness and mental health
  • the impact of intersectionality (where a person belongs to more than one marginalised group)
  • the wider contexts of mental health provision to develop sensitive practice appropriate to the needs of people who experience greater mental and emotional distress

In relation to the wider mental health system, it’d also include an understanding and appreciation of:

  • the impact on clients and their families of mental health presentations, diagnosis, stigma and social attitudes
  • the different professional and personal roles in mental health care
  • how the role of the therapist sits within the wider system
  • recognising the therapist’s role in provision of non-discriminatory services for people with exceptional needs; preventing additional mental health distress caused by normative social expectations and exclusion
  • relevant ethical and legal considerations, including appropriate familiarity with the Mental Health Act 2007 and the Equality Act 2010

There’s no one way of meeting these standards. Training organisations may choose how to fulfil these standards which may be via lectures, videos, a formal placement. Some practitioners may gain this knowledge through first-hand experience in an appropriate setting.

9. Does the SCoPEd framework include vocational training routes? 

Yes. The SCoPEd framework recognises the diverse and varied entry points into the counselling and psychotherapy profession including vocational diplomas. This is one of the defining features of the framework and is unlike other professions where a degree is the only entry point.

The SCoPEd framework will enable us to better represent the skills of our members, as well as offering clearer progression routes or gateways for those who want to do further training.