As the Support and Inclusion Officer for the accreditation team, I spend a lot of my time working with members who are applying for accreditation to support them with the application process. My focus is on working with members with disabilities, long term health conditions or learning differences to reduce some of the barriers they may face with their applications.
I spoke to two BACP members about their experiences of applying for accreditation, about some of the support they’ve received, and any tips they have for applicants who are thinking of applying.
Emma Jones-Holding has ADHD and works as a therapist in the North of England. Heather Niven is dyslexic and is a therapist working in the South of England.
What sort of support have you accessed from BACP and what has been helpful?
EJH: For me, my verbal and audio processing are way better than my processing via just visual means. So, I know that anything that helps me use my strength, which is auditory, is going to be beneficial to me.
Knowing that I have the opportunity to say: “so when this thing says this, and this is what I’m taking from it, is that correct?”, takes all the pain away. Then you're not having to sift through loads of text trying to figure out what it means.
HN: I would like to praise BACP for having individuals like Liz who are there at the end of the phone who can talk through a query that comes up or explain an element of a criteria. I would like to also add that I think BACP has done an absolutely brilliant job with the videos that are on their website.
Both members also mentioned that they had accessed support from learning mentors outside BACP, which they found really useful.
EJH: One of the things I did do was ask my work for somebody to coach me. Not coach as in tell me what to write, but somebody to help me break the task down into manageable chunks and then set me deadlines. What I require is an external structure.
If you know that you function best with some kind of accountability buddy, then get yourself an accountability buddy.
If you know that you get stuck in your own head, it's much better to talk something through with somebody.
Do you have any tips for other members thinking of applying for accreditation?
HN: I’d say think about what it was like when you were studying and if you knew you had real challenges understanding questions, or getting to the core of what was required to support those questions whilst you were doing your qualifications, then seek some kind of support.
I would also say a clear tip is not to feel that you should know everything because you won't. Don't be afraid to reach out to other colleagues, peers, your supervisor, and most importantly to BACP who will be able to talk you through step by step. You can have a series of conversations with them and they can really help you through.
In addition, what I found working alongside my mentor, was really utilising the resources that BACP provide. For example, the short videos on each criteria are so important.
Don't make the assumption that you fully understood it if there's anything bouncing around in your mind as a query. Call them up and speak to them.
I think it’s quite a challenging process (just like it has been to acquire other qualifications) but … you realise that the graft and the work that you put into achieving it is something that’s important, necessary, and will do you the world of good in your career and in your drive to support others in the future.
EJH: Setting yourself some realistic boundaries is quite helpful.
At the end I knew this had been a valuable exercise because I was able to use my case study to map it back to question 8 and think “do I do what I say I do?” and the answer was “yes”. Yes, I do what I say I do and that’s actually quite reassuring!
Thanks for the support, I’m glad I accessed it and it’s been really helpful.
Find out more
Thanks so much to Emma and Heather for taking the time to speak to us about their accreditation journey.
From 1 June 2023 we bought in a range of additional financial support, including reimbursement of up to half the accreditation fee for support costs (including learning mentors, proof-readers or specialist software).
If any members are thinking of applying for accreditation and have any support needs, please do get in touch with me. You can also find more support information on the accreditation pages of our website.
Please do get in touch by email if you have any questions or would like additional support with your accreditation application or call me on 01455 883300.