A bit about counselling organisations

Counselling Organisations - a really quick and casually put together guide.  Sorry.


British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy


Members have MBACP after their name either as registrants, accredited members or senior accredited members.

Probably the largest in terms of members (Don't shoot me, I haven't checked but I'll be surprised if it's not) and has been around a long time.  They accredit (and senior accredit) therapists, supervisors, courses, agencies, and generally keep an eye on things, both keeping their membership up to date and regularly reviewing all things counselling including the ethical framework that we all aspire to (or at least the BACP members do).


United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy


Members have UKCP after their name as they are registered with the organisation perhaps as Psychotherapists or Psychotherapeutic Counsellors... Er....

Representing also a large body of counsellors and psychotherapists, having again a stringent route to registration (mirroring 'accreditation' in BACP terms) and supporting therapists and clients alike with their activities and ethical framework.


Universities Psychotherapy and Counselling Association


Members have MUPCA after their name and achieve different levels of proficiency (associate, student, clinical member, accredited etc.)

Again with its own ideas and ethics, clearly based in academia and perhaps interested in academic research, knowledge and the future for therapy, it is an organisational member of the UKCP which means it does the work of checking out the therapist's propriety to become a registrant of the UKCP.  There are several organisations like this so I shall not mention them all.  None of them in fact.  They're listed on the UKCP website though.


British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy


Members have MBABCP membership or accreditation.  They achieve accreditation by virtue of attending an accredited course and/or by proving they have worked enough hours with different patient presentations - enough to be experienced in treatment of various presentation types.  These are the bods you'll probably be referred to by your GP if you have anxiety or depression.  CBT can be really helpful for a certain degree of severity presenting in these clients.

All these organisations perhaps have a similar ethic, but the BABCP support therapists who choose to work with a different model of therapy, Cognitive and Behavioural Therapy or CBT.  See below where I may manage to confuse you even more.


National Counselling Society


Definitely the 'newer kids on the block', they perhaps feel that many therapists are doing a great job based on their job roles and years of experience and do not necessarily need to jump through so many hoops to gain letters after their name or to become accredited, and frankly they may have something there.  Who knows?  

They check out training etc., and have begun to accredit some training courses and agencies.  In the last year or two they have come on leaps and bounds, and now have their own 'accredited register' adding clout to their position as a professional registration.  Good for them!


Association for Family Therapy


The AFT is the UK’s leading organisation for family and systemic psychotherapists and practitioners. Their members work with children, young people and adults, couples, families and individuals and once again members can be student through to Accredited members depending upon training and experience.

There are many more but we have chosen what might be considered to be the main ones (Whoops - how many people did that offend?!) so if you're interested, get googling.

All of these professional organisations have the clients' best interests at heart and have ethical codes and disciplinary processes for when things go wrong.  Have a look at their websites for loads of counselling information and access to lists of therapists accredited to them in your area.

Now if you want a bit more about types of therapy, and what you might expect, you could check out the British Psychological Society's website (www.bps.org) or the NICE website, or while you're here, check out the next page, 'so what kinds of therapy are there... what happens?'