What is a Registered Therapist, and Does it Matter?

by Harley Therapy
Reviewed by Dr Sheri Jacobson

In the UK, a registered therapist is a counsellor, psychotherapist, or counselling psychologist who has taken a membership with one (or several) of the recognised regulatory boards.

There are serveral institutions that talk therapists can register with, but the main ones include:

  • UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)
  • British Psychological Society (BPS).

These registries exist to monitor and uphold an acceptable standard of practice for talk therapists, and to protect you as a client. They ensure your therapist:

  1. Has the right qualifications
  2. Went to an acceptable training institution
  3. Has enough experience to work with clients
  4. Has insurance
  5. Is upholding a good, ethical practice.

Registries often have regular and then senior memberships. This means you can tell how much experience a therapist has by what registration acronym they are using.

But don’t forget that to attain any level of registry membership, a therapist must be reasonably qualified. So it’s not always necessary to work with a senior therapist, unless you have a very specific issue or disorder.

The regulation boards also keep your therapist up to date with changes in the talk therapy industry, such as any new laws or research. And they provide therapists with opportunities to keep up to date in their trainings, providing resources and advice around continuing professional development.

Should you only work with a therapist who is registered? It’s up to you. But if you do choose a registered thereapist, then you can be certain they are who they say they are. Also, if they ever overstep any ethical boundary, you can call the registry and complain and will be assisted with dealing with the situation.

If you’d like to know more about registered therapists and the different regulatory boards, read our article, “Quality Standards in the UK – Do You Need a Registered Therapist?”.

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