The National Counselling Society (NCS) was first set up in 1999 by a group of counsellors, psychotherapists, hypnotherapists and psychologists.
We play an important role within the profession of counselling in the UK and in May 2013 the Society was one of the first organisations to gain Accredited Register status with the Professional Standards Authority Accredited Register programme.
Our belief is that counselling (and related therapies) should be seen as a vocation (not just a job but a worthy occupation) and that the relationship between counsellor and client is important for the outcome of therapy.
We support and promote counselling and counsellors, offering a wide variety of benefits to our members and training providers. We have also created and published online CPD courses to support healthcare providers and those in public-facing roles.
As an Accredited Register holder we meet the robust and exacting standards set by the Professional Standards Authority with particular emphasis on public safety and assuring that the best interests of the clients are protected.
The National Counselling Society believes that all Accredited Registers should be seen as equal. To this end, we were instrumental in gaining recognition within the NHS for all Accredited Registers. NHS Choices information list Accredited Registers to reflect what should be equality of choice for all clients and patients.
In addition, NHS Employers has added content encouraging the use and detailing the benefits of Accredited Registers, and the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme recognises the NCS alongside other Registers.
We’re also very pleased that, again as a result of our efforts, Health Education England has amended the information on the NHS Health Careers website also to be in line with the aforementioned changes on NHS Choices and NHS employers sites, and promote inclusive hiring practices
We are a not for profit organisation and the high standards of our Accredited Register are externally verified by the Professional Standards Authority. The organisation is bound by appropriate rules of governance including a constitution, codes of ethics, and a complaints procedure.
Our ethos is that counselling is a unique vocation and that this should be reflected in all our policies. We act to protect counselling from inappropriate regulation if we feel it could harm our work and the diversity, creativity and range of training options that currently exist in our profession. We were a central part of making sure that the previous Government's inappropriate plans were dropped (2010) and have welcomed the ‘Right Touch Regulation’ offered by the Accredited Register programme.
We make sure that all our members have a say and respect a wide variety of views, modalities (different types of counselling) and training routes. We acknowledge and support counsellors who work in the voluntary sector and those who work part-time as well as in full-time employment or in private practice. We also acknowledge and support the many different approaches in counselling. Unique among counselling associations in the UK we also recognise hypnotherapy as a method of counselling.
More than holding a register, the NCS is member led on key areas of policy and are always open to suggestions and advice from our members – our members, in short, are the source of our expertise. Instead of following a 'top down' approach with our members we aim to involve, encourage and work with them at all levels. We believe this is the only appropriate way of running a counselling organisation.
We continue to play a significant role in all aspects of counselling and related therapies and to welcome members, trainers and members of the public who are looking for services of an appropriate professional.