Our competence frameworks set out the skills, knowledge and abilities required to deliver specific therapeutic modalities, or to work effectively with specific types of client or therapeutic contexts. They are developed using the Roth and Pilling (2008) methodology, which includes a comprehensive review of the research literature and identification of relevant practice manuals, overseen by an expert reference group. The accompanying counsellors' guides describe the applications and uses of the competence framework, and its advantages for practitioners, trainers and commissioners.


Our curricula offer training providers a framework for delivering comprehensive training courses to give practitioners the required competences for working within a particular context. Each curriculum includes a set of subject areas which outline the content required for the training programme.

The curricula are designed to be flexible to meet the varying needs of training providers and practitioners. The subject areas are not intended to be delivered as separate units or modules within a sequential format as many interlink and some may underpin all elements of the course, for example ethical and professional practice. Trainers may teach the content of the subject areas in the order that best suits them and their students.

Children and young people

The competences framework identifies the competences required for delivering effective humanistic counselling with young people aged 11-18 years.

The humanistic approach emphasises a relational way of working, placing less emphasis on technique than other therapeutic orientations. The key counsellor competences are sustained empathic relating, openness, receptiveness and maintaining a fundamentally accepting stance.

Humanistic therapists also tend towards interventions which support and validate immediate client experience, facilitating the integrity of the self and a sense of personal authenticity. Humanistic approaches encourage self-awareness, including awareness of experience itself, of emotional reactions, and the experience of interactions with others. The counsellor's role is to help young people extend their awareness of their subjective world and support their natural striving toward self-awareness, self-acceptance and personally-determined solutions.

Competences framework for working with young people (11-18 years) (pdf 0.5MB)

The counsellors' guide describes the competence framework and explains its uses, how practitioners should apply it and its advantages for clinicians, trainers and commissioners, 

Counsellors' guide: the competences required to deliver effective humanistic counselling for young people (pdf 1.3MB)

The evidence-based curriculum is underpinned by these competences. It can be used by training providers delivering courses in a variety of contexts, to a diverse student audience.

Counselling young people (11-18 years) training curriculum (pdf 0.7MB) 

If you have any questions or feedback about the curriculum, or want these documents in a Word format, please email Caroline Jesper, Professional Standards Development Facilitator.

We're currently developing the Competences for working with children (4-10 years), building on the existing competence framework and curriculum for work with young people (11-18 years). We aim to publish this in spring 2019.

Other resources

Counselling MindEd e-learning programme

Counselling MindEd scoping reports

School-based counselling operating toolkit

Counselling for Depression (CfD)

CfD is one of the psychological therapies recommended by National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for the treatment of depression. It is a manualised model of practice devised for counsellors working in the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme.

The competence framework describes the knowledge and skills therapists need to use when working with this model. The competences are based on person-centred or experiential therapy.

Counselling for depression competence framework (UCL website)

It is supported by the following resources:

CfD training and trainers

Training in CfD practice and supervision is offered by the following providers:

  • Colchester Institute
  • Metanoia Institute
  • University of Central Lancashire
  • University of Chichester
  • University of Keele
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of York St John

Please contact the training providers directly if you want further information about their CfD training programmes.

Counselling skills

We are committed to acknowledging and valuing the role counselling skills play in many roles and settings and are currently working with experts in the field to develop a counselling skills competency framework. 

This is in line with our strategic intent. Drawing on evidence and experience, we will define the scope and standards of training and practice for the counselling professions, reflected in differentiated membership categories.

Further and higher education

The competence framework describes the knowledge, attitudes and skills required to deliver effective counselling in further and higher education (FE and HE). It is applicable for practitioners working in universities and colleges, with students of all backgrounds and age groups and in any modality.

Competences for work in further or higher education (pdf 0.3MB)

The counsellors' guide provides a description of the model of competences and the areas of activity which combine to represent good clinical practice.

Counsellors' guide: the competences required to deliver effective counselling in further and higher education (pdf 4MB)


The supervision curriculum is underpinned by the UCL Supervision of Psychological Therapies competence framework, supplemented by recommendations from the University of Leicester's evaluation of the framework (commissioned by BACP in 2011).

The curriculum offers training providers a framework for training counselling supervisors, reflecting the supervision competences. It details the topics required for supervision training, with a session-by-session guide for the programme.

Supervision curriculum (pdf 1.1MB)

Telephone and e-counselling

The competence framework identifies the knowledge, skills and abilities required by practitioners who wish to work with clients via telephone and e-counselling.

Competences for telephone and e-counselling (pdf 0.1MB)

The training curriculum content has been drawn from the competences, offering training providers a framework for delivering a comprehensive course. It details what is required for telephone and e-counselling, with a module-by-module guide for the programme.

Telephone and e-counselling training curriculum (pdf 1.5MB)

The training the trainers curriculum has been developed to prepare trainers who wish to deliver the telephone and e-counselling training curriculum.

Telephone and e-counselling training the trainers curriculum (pdf 1.5MB)