Counsellor, Therapist or Psychotherapist?

8 February 2024by crbwebsite0

What is an accredited counsellor?

If you’ve been considering counselling you may have come across all kinds of terms and abbreviations. We don’t make it all that easy to understand, to be honest counselling can sound confusing. Between the qualifications and ‘modes’ (styles of counselling) even down to whether we call ourselves a counsellor, therapist or psychotherapist (I don’t think there is that much in it, but someone else might). It’s not that straightforward. You may see the term ‘accredited counsellor’ a lot – but what is an accredited counsellor?


To become a qualified counsellor takes considerable training over some years. It involves

  • 450+ hours of tutor led counselling training (it was all face to face when I trained in 2008) with assessments and assignments
  • 100 hours of Client placement (as a trainee counsellor)
  • Monthly supervision
  • Personal therapy

This isn’t just about the skills and theory of counselling which you learn. It’s also about growing deep self awareness and working ethically. I trained over 3 maybe 4 years and can genuinely say I wasn’t the same person at the end of my course. I was told that ‘could’ happen when I started but I had no idea actually how it would happen.

Personal Development

I used to find feedback at work uncomfortable, so the group personal development of counsellor training was initially excruciating. Personal development in counselling training is looking at yourself in depth, in a group, with feedback to gain self awareness. This is a significant part of the training each week. To sit with each other, share personal experiences, notice how we feel, reflect on what feelings come up for us, and also hear peer feedback regularly. This process made me examine how I felt about being in a group, listening to others, talking about myself, being heard and seen, being understood – or not. An opportunity for deep reflection.

Self Awareness

This development was crucial to gain self awareness. Therapists need self awareness to help you. As a counsellor, being able to accept myself more fully allows me to offer the same acceptance to you. I need to know my own personal triggers, and my own process. I need to know this so I can stay present and with you, and really hear you. By knowing this I can be honest with you, offering empathy & unconditional positive regard in the counselling room. This was practiced in the classroom, on placement as a trainee counsellor, in supervision and in personal therapy. It was significant learning and self discovery.


The final part of the course was a 100 hour counselling placement, putting everything learnt into practice. A portfolio of work including a placement study, log sheet of hours, two case studies and two supervisor’s reports were externally assessed.

The result – a qualified counsellor

You may notice that many counselling profiles or websites will tell you they are a qualified counsellor and what professional body they are a member of. Which kinda seems like a given! So why do we make sure you know this?

Because counselling isn’t regulated in the UK, and anyone can call themselves a counsellor or therapist.

So its important you can see who is qualified and a member of the main counselling bodies – British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP) or a member of The National Counselling and Psychotherapy Society (NCPS)


So after qualifying, counsellors can then work towards accreditation. It’s an entirely voluntary assessment and not a requirement to practice. It demonstrates substantial post-training professional development including:

  • 3 years in practice
  • Completed at least 450 hours of supervised clinical practice
  • Undertaken at least 30 hours of varied CPD in the 12 months preceding application for this grade
  • A written Reflective Practice piece and Case Study
  • A Supervisors report

Ultimately this wasn’t a ‘difficult’ piece of work, but took a lot of contemplation. The consideration required to reflect on how I work, and why – took time and energy.  Having my work reviewed and approved was a satisfying achievement, of which I am proud.

I am now an accredited professional.

And this is the logo I get to use.

Accredited Counsellor Logo

Does it change how I work? – No

But it sure feels good to have the affirmation and rubber stamping of all those years worked and a job well done.

To date its been a 14 year journey of change, self awareness, learning and reflection … which I am certain will continue to be continued.

About the author: Chris Boobier is the owner of CRB Counselling and an accredited counsellor.

Get in touch here if you’d like to explore how counselling could help you.

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