The main purpose of the BACP Register is to protect the public and help them find therapists they can trust. It aims to reassure clients, employers and the general public that a BACP registered practitioner adheres to high standards of proficiency, professionalism and good practice.

The BACP Register was the first psychological therapists' register to be accredited by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care.

It is governed by a lay Register Advisory Board and supported by a team of specialist staff. 

Maintaining standards

All practising members of BACP must join the Register or be working towards registration. To become registered, therapists must either have passed a BACP-accredited course or our own Certificate of Proficiency. They also have to agree to the Terms and Conditions of the Register, which include our Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions. These require members to have appropriate supervision and undertake continuing professional development.

More experienced members may choose to go on to our accreditation scheme, which requires them to demonstrate even higher levels of knowledge, experience and development. These are indicated as accredited members on the Register.

We carry out an audit of a random sample of registered members every month to ensure standards are maintained. We also investigate complaints through our professional conduct process.

How the Register protects the public

The Register supports public protection by:

  • setting and monitoring standards
  • ensuring all registered members are signed up to a professional conduct process and ethical framework
  • following best practice and having a 'lay' governance – none of our Register Advisory Board members are counsellors or psychotherapists
  • producing guidance to help you understand the professional conduct procedure and when it is appropriate to make a complaint
  • employing dedicated staff to help you come to a decision about the best place to take your concerns

Finding a therapist

If you want to check whether a specific therapist is registered, you can check the BACP Register.

If you want counselling and are looking for qualified counselling professionals in your area, you can search our therapist directory. This is an online directory where registered members and accredited services can advertise their services to potential clients.

You can also find further information about counselling and psychotherapy, or about choosing a therapy or therapist in About therapy.

The accredited registers programme

The Professional Standards Authority (the Authority) is an independent body accountable to Government. It was set up following the Health and Social Care Act 2012, to oversee health regulators such as the General Medical Council. It developed the accredited register programme to quality assure practitioners working across a range of health and social care settings who are not regulated by law.

BACP was one of the first organisations to be assessed and accredited under the accredited registers programme. This means that our Register meets the Authority’s high standards of governance, standard-setting, education and training, management, complaints and information.

Accredited registers are promoted by the Department of Health and the Authority as the first place to look for practitioners. They intend that registration on an accredited register will become a requirement for some employment opportunities.

Accredited registers help people get better care by ensuring that registered health practitioners are competent and trustworthy. They set standards for people working in unregulated health and care occupations and take action to protect the public when necessary. They ensure that the information provided is clear and helps people make informed choices about the practitioner they want to see and about the treatments, therapies, care and products they offer.

Information sharing protocol

Together with 17 other organisations running accredited registers, we've signed up to an information sharing protocol. We've all agreed to inform each other about, and to take into account, decisions made through the other organisations' professional conduct proceedings which have resulted in an individual being removed from a register.

You can read the full protocol below.

Accredited registers information sharing protocol (pdf 0.5MB)