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 a number of levels of membership.
A member of the Society may be a Registrant or a Non-Registrant member.
A Society Registrant is listed publicly on our website and is recorded as a Registrant on 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 kinds of Registrants are:
Accredited Registrant (MNCPS Acc.) A counsellor who has met the standards for registration.
Accredited Professional Registrant (PNCPS Acc.) A counsellor who has met the standards for registration, and demonstrated substantial post-training professional development.
(Currently closed until 22nd January 2024)Senior Accredited Registrant (SNCPS Acc.) A counsellor who has met the standards for Accredited Professional Registrant membership, and has also gained significant further professional development. Please note: new applications for this Registrant Grade will be accepted from January 2024 when the standards and criteria have been updated.
Children and Young People's Therapist (CYPT)
A qualified practitioner who has met the standards for our NCS Accredited Register AND who has demonstrated the Training Standards and competencies to work with Children and Young People. For information on how to apply for this Register click here.
Relationship Therapist (RT)
A qualified practitioner who has met the standards for our NCS Accredited Register AND who has demonstrated the Training Standards and competencies to offer this type of therapy to adult clients. For information on how to apply for this Register click here.
Registrant Members are listed on our website and can be the following:
- Accredited Registrant (MNCPS Acc.)
There are two 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 (linked below).
(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.
To apply for Accredited Registrant Membership click here
Please note: Students who had to undertake training and/or placement hours purely online during the 2020/2021 academic year due to the Covid pandemic, can still apply for the Accredited Register as their applications will be assessed in line with accepted criteria during that time.
- Accredited Professional Registrant (PNCPS Acc.)
There are two 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 led contact hours accumulated as part of core counselling training*. (evidence will be required)
(*Core counselling training must have clear progression from course to course, be tutor led [ie training delivered 'in the room' or synchronously online] and include some form of assessment)
- 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 from the date of the first supervised client session 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 (This can be a mix of one to one, group and peer supervision. Peer supervision alone is not acceptable towards supervision hours).
Produces a satisfactory written statement of approximately 6000 words describing :
- their knowledge and understanding of client work
- their use of supervision, use of NCS Code of Ethics and their understanding of issues of difference and diversity
- their ethical and self-awareness relevant to counselling practice
- their use of continuing professional development
and also including:
a satisfactory report from a clinical supervisor
a satisfactory reference from a suitable professional referee.
evidence of appropriate insurance throughout practice.
Guidelines for the Written Statement
(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.
To apply for Accredited Professional Registrant Membership click here
- (Currently closed until 22nd January 2024) Senior Accredited Registrant (SNCPS Acc.)
There are two 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 also been in practice for no fewer than 7 years in total, and can provide a reference from a suitable person (such as a Fellow of the Society, other Senior Accredited Registrant, or equivalent senior professional).
(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.
To apply for Senior Accredited Membership click here
Please note: new applications for this Registrant Grade will be postponed from the 1st May 2023 whilst we update standards.
Non-Registrants are not listed on our website and can be:
Non-Registrant membership is for those with an interest in Counselling and Psychotherapy who wish to be part of the NCS community. Non-Registrant Membership is only available for two years; it is expected that you work towards Registrant membership during this time.
Non-Registrant members must adhere to the NCS Code of Ethics. They do not appear on the Accredited Register. They must not advertise, promote or mention their membership to clients, employers or agencies.
- Student Member
A non-registrant member who is on a training course to become a counsellor. The criterion for student membership is to demonstrate enrolment 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.
To apply for Student membership click here
- 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. Honorary Fellows are not on the Society’s Accredited Register unless they also hold a Registrant grade of membership. Fellow Registrants who cease practice and leave the Society's register become Honorary Fellows.
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,
Not sure which grade to apply for? Click here to take our short quiz to help you decide.
Page last reviewed: 11 October 2021
Next review due: 11 October 2022