I’m delighted to share with you that I have been awarded my Senior Accreditation with BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherap)y. As I started sharing my good news with some peers and my supervisees, a few raised some questions and I thought I would share these along with my answers.
Why bother going through the BACP accreditation process?
I wrote my original accreditation 7 years ago and have been practicing for 17 years (gosh….. where does time fly?). Like any other counsellor, I attend CPD, read books, engage in conversations with colleagues and often challenge myself in supervision. The result of these activities is I find my counselling practice continually changes, grows and develops.
A few years ago, a trainee asked me why did I do what I do? I said ‘ because I like to see change in people and want to help the client have a better life.’ I kept pondering on my statement and started reflecting that this thinking often meant I need reassurance from my supervisor and even from my clients. In the latter years, I have become more curious about the counselling process and more focused on the client’s transformation using that process. I started reflecting on how I have changed, how my reason for doing what I do has changed, and that how different my counselling model looks now. I looked at the questions for senior accreditation, and thought they were a good starting point to further reflect on my counselling practice. I saw the senior accreditation as a prompt to delve deeper into my thinking and reflective practice. Six months of critical thinking and reflection with my supervisor, peers and myself, lead me to write my senior accreditation.
You are accredited, why go for senior accreditation? – will it get you more work?
Perhaps it will. Who knows? That was not the reason I wrote it. I saw it as part of my professional development.
Accreditation needs to be a personal choice. Some counsellors wish to go for accreditation, some do not. I am sure all counsellors will agree that part of our role is educating the public on how to choose a counsellor and choosing a qualified counsellor from the PSA accredited register is important (as well as encouraging clients to ask questions from their counsellor). Maybe to the public, knowing a counsellor has been through self-reflection exercise will help their choice. For others it may not be important. I see accreditation as a helpful tool for my development.
I am aware there is only the client and myself in the room. There is no formal way of accessing my work. My work is experiential. I see value in critical reflection and analysis. I see value in professional development. I do not want to get complacent. Having that critical thinking professionally recognised is an added bonus.
How long did the process take?
The thinking process took a few months. This was through discussions with my supervisor my peers from group supervision, as well as reflective writing and reading different journals and books. The writing process took about a month. I submitted my application late January. I received an email saying it had gone to the accessor the beginning of May and I received an email congratulating me that I has passed the last week of May.
Do you feel superior as you have been awarded it?
No. As I say to all my supervisees, I am a no better counsellor than them or those of you reading this. Yes, my experience and learnings are different and I may have more client hours behind me. I may also use a different model but this in itself does not make me a better counsellor. What helps improve my work as a counsellor is using reflective practice as part of my development. Do I feel I have developed from writing my senior accreditation. Yes. My counselling life is a continuous journey.
As a counsellor, I continually have successes, challenges, and make mistakes. Accreditation is one way to present how this learning has helped me develop and my further understand who I am in the room and how I use the counselling process to help my clients. I need to admit to my mistakes and learn from them. My counselling model is continually growing and developing. I am definitely a different counsellor than I was when I first graduated and I have grown and developed from when I wrote my original accreditation five years ago. Writing my senior accreditation has helped with this.