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  • Writer's pictureLisa Jones

What is BACP Accreditation?

Looking for a counsellor is a tricky business and finding a good one is even trickier.


Lots of letters after a name and years of experience may be a good start but it doesn’t mean that person will be the right fit. Most people look for a counsellor near them, after all they will need to commit to go every week for a, usually, unknown time period. Life commitments must accommodate a new routine and travel time is an important consideration.


So, starting with the counsellors near you, which one do you choose?


A lot of counsellors offer an initial phone call or consultation as an opportunity to chat and meet each other to see if you are going to get along. This takes time, but its worth it. You need to feel comfortable with the person and the setting in order to open up and talk about yourself freely.


But there are other factors to check before starting. Is the counsellor qualified? Do they specialise in the area you want to explore? And a less familiar one – are they BACP accredited?



BACP is the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, it’s not the only professional body for counsellors, there are several. But BACP is possibly the best well known and the largest. If the counsellor you are considering is a registered member of the BACP, this is a good start. It means they are qualified to a professional standard and that this has been verified, so you don’t have to do the hard work.


In addition, if the counsellor is accredited, i.e. they have Accred. after their name, they have also passed a rigorous process to show how they work. It requires that they show how they abide by the BACP code of ethics, undertake regular training to keep up to date and attend regular supervision. The process of accreditation is not easy, there are several criteria to meet and the counsellor must have worked for a minimum number of hours over at least 3 years. It’s not compulsory for counsellors to become accredited but if they do, it shows their potential clients that they are trained and have a cohesive approach to their work.


So from your perspective what would you rather do, check the counsellor's credentials when you might not fully understand what you are looking for, or let the BACP do the work for you. More information is available on the BACP website




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