A membership of a professional organisation or institute will tell you a lot about your therapist. When a counsellor or other therapist qualifies for their profession, joining a suitable body is their next step. Which organisation they apply to will depend on their field of expertise and qualifications. Being a member of a particular organisation or association indicates that the therapist adheres to certain professional and ethical standards.

Particularly in the case of mental health, professional and ethical standards must be high, and must be seen to be high. For some associations, the initial qualifications guarantees their membership. For others, such as regulatory bodies, continuing evidence of competency is required. This would apply to regulatory associations for therapists, such as counsellors, psychologists and other mental health professionals.

To join, the therapist applies for membership. Then the organisation or institute will advise the applicant of their membership criteria. Accordingly, the applicant will submit certified copies of their qualifications, insurance cover, police checks and working with vulnerable people checks. If the applicant ticks all the right boxes and receive membership, evidence of continuing competency will be required.

More often than not, continued membership includes undertaking a minimum amount of professional development and supervision per year. To show that this has occurred, the member will submit evidence of the relevant activities when renewing their yearly membership. In the rare cases where a breach of professional or ethical standards occurs, cancellation of a therapist’s membership could occur.

Pauline is a member of the following professional bodies:

Australian Counselling Association (ACA), Qld.

ACA College of Supervisors, QLD.

Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors (AIPC), Qld.

International Coaching Council (ICC), NSW.

International Enneagram Association (IEA), New York.

MiCBT Institute, Tasmania.

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