A unique and flexible approach to membership and accreditation
The National Counselling Society is a not for profit organisation whose primary purpose is the advancement of counselling and psychotherapy, and of course the support and encouragement of all our members.
We believe that membership of a professional association is essential as it gives confirmation of your professional standing to both your peers and clients - and gives you a voice in the future of our profession.
In recognition of the different ‘life stages' of a counsellor/psychotherapist we offer the following levels of membership
A member of the Society may be a Registrant or a non-registrant member.
A Society Registrant is listed publically on our website and is recorded as a Registrant in our Accredited Register. The Society allows Registrants to progress through different levels of membership depending upon qualifications and experience, but all Registrants have met the Society’s standards for practice
The different kind of Registrants are:
Accredited Registrant (MNCS Accred) A counsellor who has met the standards for registration.
Accredited Professional Registrant (MNCS Prof Accred) A counsellor who has met the standards for registration, and demonstrated substantial post-training professional development.
Senior Accredited Registrant (MNCS Snr Accred) A counsellor who has met the standards for Accredited Professional Registrant membership, and has also gained an advanced qualification and further professional development.
Fellow Registrant (FNCS) A counsellor who has met the standards for Senior Accredited Registrant membership and has significant further experience and qualifications.
All registrant members must agree to abide by the Society Code of Ethics, terms and conditions of membership, as well as maintaining annual insurance, at least 30 hours of varied CPD in a 12 month period, and 1 hour 30 minutes supervision per month if in full time practice. These are the current requirements in force as set by the Society.
Non-Registrants are not listed on our website and can be:
A non-registrant member with initial counselling qualifications which are not yet sufficient for registration and who is working towards registration.
The criteria for Associate Membership are:
- To have gained initial counselling qualifications below the level needed for registration, for example, an online course or short skills course.
- To demonstrate that they are enrolled in and actively studying on a course which is a route to registration.
Associate Members cannot advertise their membership and insofar as they are seeing clients may only do so as part of their on-going studies under the supervisory arrangements specified by their trainer. They must agree to be bound by the Society’s Code of Ethics.
A non-registrant member who is on a training course to become a counsellor. The criterion for student membership is to demonstrate enrollment on any counselling training course which is compatible with the Society’s Code of Ethics. This does not have to be a course recognised by the Society.
Student Members cannot advertise their membership and insofar as they are seeing clients may only do so as part of their on-going studies under the supervisory arrangements specified by their trainer. They must agree to be bound by the Society’s Code of Ethics.
A non-registrant person who wishes to maintain an association with the Society unconnected with professional practice. Members who no longer meet the conditions for registration may become Companions to retain an association with the Society and receive Society publications.
Companions cannot advertise their membership as companionship is unconnected with professional practice. They must agree to be bound by the Society’s Code of Ethics.
Honorary Fellow (HonFHS)
This Special Award may be given to individuals who have made a significant contribution to the Society or the profession of counselling, at the discretion of the Chair or Society Council. It is not connected with the Society’s assessment of the individual’s professional practice. Honorary Fellows are not on the Society’s Accredited Register unless they also hold a Registrant grade of membership.
Routes to registrant membership
Accredited Registrant (MNCS Accred)
There are 2 routes to Accredited Registrant membership:
(1) Training and Qualification
Under this route Accredited Membership is awarded to a member who has successfully completed one of the following:
- A National Counselling Society Accredited Course at Ofqual RQF Level 4 or equivalent
- A full qualification in counselling or psychotherapy practice at Ofqual RQF Level 4 or equivalent which complies with the Society's currently published standards of training
(2) Equivalent Register
Under this route, Accredited Membership is awarded to a counsellor who holds an equivalent membership grade already attained via another Accredited Register.
Accredited Professional Registrant (MNCS Prof Accred)
There are 2 routes to Accredited Professional Registrant status:
(1) Post Qualification Experience
Under this route Accredited Professional Registrant status is awarded to a counsellor who :
Gained Accredited Registrant status via either the Training/Qualification (minimum Ofqual Level 4 or equivalent) or Equivalent Register route, and therefore completed at least 100 hours of supervised practice in a placement.
Has maintained Accredited Registrant status for at least 1 year in good standing.
Has successfully qualified from a course or courses of counselling practitioner training which :
- Included at least 450 tutor contact hours
- Was carried out over at least two years (part-time) or one year (full-time)
- Included a supervised placement as an integral part of the training
- Covered theory, skills, professional, legal and ethical issues and personal development
Has been in practice for 3 years when applying.
Has completed at least 450 hours of supervised practice, at least 150 of which must have been accrued post training.
Has been supervised for at least 1.5 hours per month, and continues to have an ongoing contract for supervision in place for at least 1.5 hours per month.
Produces a satisfactory written statement of 5000-7500 words describing :
- their client work,
- their use of counselling supervision
- their ethical awareness relevant to counselling practice
- their self-awareness relevant to counselling practice
- their awareness of issues of difference and diversity relevant to counselling practice.
and including :
a satisfactory report from a clinical supervisor
a satisfactory reference from a suitable referee.
evidence of appropriate insurance throughout practice.
(2) Equivalent Register
Under this route, Accredited Professional Registrant status is awarded to a counsellor who holds an equivalent membership grade as determined by the Society already attained via another Accredited Register.
Senior Accredited Registrant (MNCS Snr Accred)
There are 2 routes to Senior Accredited Registrant:
(1) Training and Qualification
Under this route, Senior Accredited Registrant status is awarded to a counsellor who, having met the requirements for Accredited Professional Registrant status has completed an advanced qualification at minimum Ofqual RQF Level 5 or equivalent
has completed a minimum of 200 further hours of supervised clinical experience since meeting the requirements for Accredited Professional Registrant status (ie 350 post Level 4 qualification)
(2) Equivalent Register
Under this route, Senior Accredited Registrant is awarded to a counsellor who holds an equivalent membership grade already attained via another Accredited Register.
Counsellors who have met the requirements for Senior Accredited Registrant and have significant further experience and qualifications may apply for Fellowship. As an example of significant further experience, we expect counsellors to have completed at least 10 years in practice with specialised further qualifications, and have made substantial contributions to the vocation of counselling e.g. publications, teaching/training and ongoing support and promotion of The Society.
Applications which contain complex information; for example, from long standing counsellors where historical training routes show a marked difference from current training routes, may be referred to the Professional Standards Committee for a complex case review. The committee will ensure that the application meets the Society's published standards and decide at what level to place the successful applicant on the register; unsuccessful applicants will be assisted with clear guidance about suitable routes for registration.