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UKCP Standards of Education and Training Policy

UKCP Standards of Education and Training Policy The National College of Hypnosis & Psychotherapy

The Minimum Core Criteria Psychotherapy with Adults


UKCP has agreed principles on which to base its Training Standards and policies to regulate them across all psychotherapy modalities. These principles and policies are the concern of UKCP’s Education, Training and Practice Committee, the colleges’ Training Standards Committees, Accreditation Committees and the individual training organisations which devise and run psychotherapy training courses leading to UKCP registration.

Each college has its own modality-specific Standards of Education and Training which must adhere to this document.

This document sets out:

  • The General Principles on which all psychotherapy training should be based.
  • The Regulatory Framework which will ensure that standards and outcomes of training are enforced.
  • The responsibilities of the various bodies involved.
  • The basic training requirements.


General Principles

The following General Principles have been agreed:

Trainings should:

  • Recognise the existence of different psychotherapies, known as ’modalities’.
  • Be based on various theories.
  • Promote respectful understanding of differences and similarities between theories.

Trainings should be informed by theory and research and be practice-based.

Trainings should be related to clinical work in occupational settings.

Trainings should provide transparency and accountability in their assessment processes.

Trainings should operate within the UKCP Code of Ethics and Practice and an equalities and diversity framework.

A. The Regulatory Framework

  1. The UKCP Education, Training and Practice Committee (ETPC) has an appointed chair and elected representatives from all the colleges and faculties. It is responsible for setting UKCP’s generic education, training and practice standards and ensuring that the standards established by each college conform to these standards.
  2. The Terms of Reference of ETPC can be found in a separate document, approved by the Board of Trustees.
  3. The colleges’ Education and Training Committees or Accreditation Committees monitor and review all approved courses leading to an individuals’ registration as a UKCP psychotherapist. They are responsible for the approval of all new courses set up by UKCP organisational members (OMs) and any that are provided by organisations applying to join.
  4. OMs that assess individual candidates as suitable to be placed on the register must have relevant, evidenced criteria, procedures and practices. These must ensure that the applicant has met the level of standards of education and training (SET) set out in this document and the relevant college SET documents.
  5. OMs must be able to evidence that they have mechanisms in place to ensure they fulfil the relevant criteria for the type of organisation they are (accrediting, training or accrediting and training) as set out in this document.
  6. OMs must review their courses during and after their UKCP quinquennial review.
  7. OMs formal documentation should state clearly that they are a UKCP organisational member and should carry the UKCP logo on the front cover of their handbooks and/or prospectuses.
  8. All UKCP colleges should use the UKCP logo on their formal education and training standards documentation and should carry the UKCP logo on the front cover of all such documents.

In approving and reviewing courses, colleges’ Education and Training Committees or Accreditation Committees must ensure that they adhere to both the generic and the college-specific training standards.


B. Basic Requirements:

1. General

1.1.  The training for psychotherapists shall be at postgraduate masters or masters’ equivalent level and is understood to be a specialist level of training.

1.2.  The length of training shall be appropriate to permit the consolidation and integration of theoretical knowledge and clinical experience. It shall not normally be shorter than four years or longer than ten. Length of training (years/hours) must be explicit.

1.3. UKCP training organisations shall clearly indicate where attendance is mandatory and shall be able to evidence attendance on all aspects of the training.

1.4. Where possible, UKCP training organisations should seek to provide appropriate mechanisms for students and trainees to complete course elements deferred through agreement or missed through acceptable extenuating circumstances. Where such mechanisms are used the criteria for accessing them and the process for recording and assessing their completion should be provided by the organisation.

1.5. UKCP training organisations shall publish the code(s) of ethics and practice to which they adhere. This must include the UKCP ethical code. It may also include others such as the code(s) of the relevant UKCP college, the training organisation itself and/or another body such as the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

1.6. UKCP training organisations must be able to demonstrate that their UKCP- accredited training courses and course components are clearly addressed in their business plan. Organisations must consider the effects of business planning and activities (such as relocation, expansion, ability to remain in UKCP membership, sale or closure) on their accredited trainings and students/trainees. Where necessary they must take appropriate mitigating action.

1.7. UKCP training organisations must operate appropriate governance and management structures to ensure they implement accredited trainings effectively. All documentation on these structures must be available to view by any interested party.

1.8. UKCP training organisations must have available, appropriate and up-to-date policies as specified in Appendix A.


2. EntryRequirements

UKCP training organisations must:

2.1. publish their criteria and procedures for selecting students

2.2. ensure that entry is at a postgraduate level of competence. Each psychotherapy applicant must have achieved one of the following as a minimum entry requirement prior to training:

a) relevant professional qualification or equivalent

b) first degree or equivalent

c) accreditation of prior learning.

2.3.  have systems for candidates to demonstrate that they have personal qualities that make them suitable for the psychotherapy profession.

2.4.  have systems for candidates to demonstrate that they have relevant experience of working with people in a responsible role.

2.5.  have systems for candidates to demonstrate that they have an adequate command of written and spoken English (disability and equalities exceptions/adaptations to this requirement will always apply).

2.6. ensure that Disclosure and Barring checks are sought and confirmed where relevant. This will be in line with UKCP’s current registration practice.

2.7. have a face-to-face selection process, normally in person.

2.8. have methods and regulations for the processing of Assessment of Prior/Experiential Learning (APL and APEL) and Credit Accumulation Transfer System (CATS) claims where relevant. These should describe the process and relevant criteria, and provide scope for an appeals process. Normally no more than 50 per cent of any training should be achieved through any of the above.


3. Diversity and Equality Requirements

3.1. UKCP training organisations should have, publish and apply clear criteria relating to relevant health conditions. These criteria must be consistent with the current UKCP Diversity and Equalities policy and relevant diversity and equality legislation.

3.2. UKCP training organisations should have an appropriate and up-to-date published policy covering diversity and equalities.

3.3. Organisations must also have published procedures to ensure that applicants, students, trainees and staff are not discriminated against for any reason. Procedures should specify what someone can do if they experience discrimination. For example, how and where they can report the discrimination, and what action they can expect the organisation to take.

3.4. Training organisations must ensure that they have appropriate processes for gathering relevant diversity and equalities data in relation to applicants, students, trainees and staff. Organisations should be able to evidence how this data is used.


4. The Minimum Curriculum

4.1. Theory and Practice

4.1.1. The study of the theory and practice of psychotherapy from assessment to ending should include:

a) a model of the person and mind

b) a model of gendered and culturally influenced human development

c) a model of human change and ways in which change can be facilitated

d) a model of therapeutic relationship

e) a set of clinical concepts to relate theory to practice

f) extensive literature which includes a critique of the above models

g) an introduction to a range of psychotherapies and counselling so that students and trainees can develop an awareness of alternative approaches.

4.1.2.  UKCP training organisations should ensure that students and trainees are introduced to appropriate models of clinical assessment. This must include learning how to recognise more significant mental health symptoms and difficulties, and when and how to refer on.

4.1.3.  UKCP training organisations should ensure that students develop in their ongoing work the ability to recognise when the practitioner should seek other professional advice or refer on.

4.2. Research

All trainings must encompass principles of psychotherapy research in order to enhance the student/trainee’s own practice. This must include:

4.2.1. knowledge and understanding of basic research approaches and techniques, and their application to the investigation and evaluation of psychotherapeutic process and outcomes.

4.2.2. learning to read, understand and critically evaluate research in relation to psychotherapy and have a working knowledge of research relevant to their modality and their own practice.

4.3. Diversity and equality

All trainings must ensure that students and trainees develop:

4.3.1. a working understanding of equality and diversity theory including, but not limited to, models of cultural competence and cultural humility, and of the principles and provisions of the Equality Act 2010 as a minimum benchmark for understanding these issues.

4.3.2. critical understanding of cultural, racial, socio-economic, gendered, heteronormative and dis/ability bias in the theory and culture of psychotherapy and when it is necessary to challenge these biases

4.3.3. a research-informed understanding of the processes and effects of Unconscious Bias – the unavoidable thinking patterns to which no one is immune. Trainees should be empowered to recognise and increase insight into their Unconscious Bias and how that impacts on working with sameness and difference. They should be open to reflection on explicit and implicit challenge to these thinking patterns, from peers and clients.

4.3.4. critical understanding and self-reflexive recognition of interpersonal and intra- personal phenomena requiring attention from an equality and diversity perspective including:

a) the dynamics of privilege, oppression, marginalisation and assumption as they impact psychic and social development, and shape life experience

b) how these dynamics, and the resulting power differentials, impact the therapeutic process and relationship

4.3.5. knowledge, sensitivity and understanding of general and specific issues and challenges that impact individuals, couples, families, organisations and communities due to inequalities and discrimination.

4.3.6. awareness, effectiveness and courage to communicate, and take action to reduce, the harm and trauma caused by discriminatory practice and insensitivity to power differentials within therapeutic, service provision, training and supervisory frames.

4.3.7. Training organisations should ensure that any learning or teaching methods, including those associated with practice placements/supervised clinical practice, respect and address the rights and needs of patients or clients, students, trainees and colleagues.

4.4. Safeguarding

4.4.1. The curriculum must include developing an awareness of safeguarding issues in relation to clients and those likely to be impacted by the client’s actions/inactions.

4.4.2. Students must be equipped to understand their responsibilities in relation to relevant and up-to-date safeguarding legislation.

4.4.3. Trainings must ensure that they equip students to work in particular settings and to understand how to ensure compliance with safeguarding rules in accordance with that setting.

4.4.4. Knowledge should include:

a) UKCP’s reporting mechanisms

b) how the students safeguards themselves including risk assessment and management.

4.5. Mental Health Familiarisation: see guidelines

4.6. Ethics

4.6.1. Trainings must ensure that students are familiar with the UKCP Ethical Principles and Code of Professional Conduct.

4.6.2. The UKCP Ethical Principles and Code of Professional Conduct should be integrated throughout training.

4.6.3. Time and space should be provided for reflective consideration of ethical issues.

  1. 4.7.  Trainings must ensure that students gain an understanding of human development and sexuality. This should include the place of psychosexual issues and dysfunctions impacting on human wellbeing. It requires that the student knows when to refer on to a psychosexual therapist (if that is not the primary modality of the training).
  2. 4.8.  Trainings must ensure that students gain an understanding of social science to give context to the work of psychotherapy.

4.9. Trainings must ensure that students gain an understanding of self-reflective process in recognition of the necessity for psychological maturity.

4.10. Security and confidentiality

4.10.1. Trainings should equip students with the ability to assess risk. Students need to be taught how to develop their own policy and practice that is compliant with legislation and the UKCP Code of Ethics and Practice. This should take into account:

(a)  social media

(b)  phone and messaging technology

(c)  data protection regulations and principles, including data management and retention, and protocols for sharing of data

(d)  email protocols

(e)  innovative technology including apps and web-based tools in clinical practice

(f)  paymentprocesses

(g)  practice management

(h)  the implications of local jurisdiction and working internationally.


5. Supervised Practice of Psychotherapy:

5.1. The supervised practice of psychotherapy is central to all UKCP accredited training programmes. This may be achieved through appropriately supported and supervised independent practice or in a practice placement or through a combination of these approved by the relevant college organisational members.

5.2. Where students and trainees achieve supervised practice through working in an organisational setting, training organisations are responsible for establishing an appropriate number of qualified and experienced staff within that setting.

5.3. All supervision should meet the requirements of the college’s supervision policies.

5.4. Supervision using digital media (e.g. telephone, internet) is only acceptable after a direct, face-to-face supervisory relationship has been established.

5.5. Training organisations must provide and operate an effective system for approving and monitoring all placements and supervisors for individual clinical practice.

5.6. Training organisations should be aware of diversity issues when selecting or recommending supervisors to their trainees

5.7. Supervision must address safeguarding and risk assessment issues.

5.8. Students and trainees, supervisors and practice placement providers must be fully prepared for placements. This will include having relevant information about, and demonstrating an understanding of:

a) the learning outcomes to be achieved

b)  the timings and duration of any placement/supervised clinical practice and what records of placement/practice are to be maintained

c)  what is expected in terms of professional conduct, and the processes for addressing concerns or complaints about the students’ and trainees’ fitness to practice.

d) assessment procedures, what the implications are for failure and any action to be taken in the case of failure

e) agreed methods of communication and lines of reporting.


6. Maintaining a Safe Learning Environment

6.1.  Training courses shall have mechanisms for safeguarding the rights of students and trainees. This should include readily-available consultation procedures, complaints and grievance procedures.

6.2.  Training organisations should be able to evidence that they have obtained informed consent from students and trainees who participate as patients or clients in practical and clinical teaching. This also applies to relevant experiential or group work incorporated into the training.


7. Trainee Handbook

7.1. Training courses shall publish a Trainee’s Handbook (which could be electronic) that has clear information on all aspects of the course. This should include what is expected of students, the length and timeframes of courses, a definition of supervised practice with clients, details of course requirements, curriculum and modes of assessment.


8. Staffing and resources

8.1. Training organisations should identify a named individual responsible for leading the programme. UKCP accredited courses should be led by appropriately qualified and experienced individuals, as defined by the relevant college/organisational member.

8.2. Training courses should have an acceptable number of appropriately qualified and experienced staff in place to deliver the program effectively:

a) This will mean that normally the majority of training staff are UKCP registered.

b) This includes having a contingency plan for the sudden loss of a member of staff, and maintaining viable staff complements for an acceptable staff to student ratio.

8.3. Training organisations must ensure that staff have an appropriate combination of relevant knowledge, experience, qualifications and technological methods, to deliver the elements of the training for which they are responsible.

8.4.  Training organisations must have and operate relevant criteria and procedures for selecting staff and maintaining records of how selection criteria were met at appointment.

8.5.  Organisations must be able to evidence how they monitor diversity and equalities in relation to applicants and appointed staff. In addition, organisations should have appropriate strategies in place to respond in a way that is reasonable and proportionate to the information provided by that monitoring.

8.6. Training organisations should make appropriate provision for continuing staff development.

8.7. Appropriate support and documentation should be provided to all staff and appropriate records kept of staff contracts, appraisals and performance issues.

8.8. Training organisations should ensure that relevant, current and sufficient resources are provided to support student and trainee development throughout their training.

8.9. Training organisations should have policies in place which govern the extent and the type of technologies that are to be used in the delivery of training, for example the internet. Normally, distance teaching and learning using these technologies should not exceed 50 per cent of the total contact time. Distance teaching and learning technologies should not be used prior to face-to-face contact and a learning relationship has been established.

8.10. Training organisations should demonstrate that they have appropriate facilities to ensure the well-being and welfare of students, trainees and staff and that these are relevant, adequate and accessible.

8.11. Training provision must be congruent with current best practice and all relevant legislation.

8.12. Training organisations should provide appropriate and proportionate academic and pastoral support for students, trainees and staff.

8.13. Training organisations must ensure that the resources provided to students, trainees and staff are adequate to effectively support the learning, development and teaching activities for the program. These would normally include: the stock of periodicals and subject books, and IT facilities including internet access. They must be appropriate to the curriculum and must be readily available to students, trainees and staff.

8.14. Training organisations must be able to demonstrate how the resources provided under points 8.13 are effectively utilised in all aspects of the training.


9. Assessment

9.1. Each training course shall have a properly constituted body for assessing students and trainees.

9.2. The modes of assessment (practical and academic) and the assessment criteria, must be clearly set out and made available to students and trainees.

9.3. There must be a range of modes of assessment and scope for reasonable adjustments to address different learning styles and take into account personalised learning needs. Assessment modes must include a significant research-based project which may be a dissertation, an extended case study or a literature review.

9.4. Assessment must be linked to clearly set out generic and college-specific learning outcomes relating to the knowledge base, clinical skills and context of practice.

9.5. The assessment objectives are to ensure clinical and professional competency within the context of a chosen theoretical model and sound ethical practice. The modes of assessment and the criteria for assessment must relate to these objectives.

9.6.  Assessment design must be fair to candidates and consistent across different orientations and training routes.

9.7.  Training organisations must make provision for assessments (both theory and practice) to be independently verified. This should be carried out by practitioners qualified and experienced in the theoretical model being taught. They may be an external examiner.

9.8.  Training organisations must make provision for preparing and training assessment staff, and provide opportunities for regular organisational development of assessment skills.

9.9.  Students and trainees must be provided with sufficient regular feedback to allow them to assess their own strengths and developmental needs.

9.10.Training courses must have published appeal procedures in the event of disagreement over assessment.

9.11.Assessment procedures should be designed to ensure that students and trainees can demonstrate fitness to practise as a psychotherapist.

9.12.  Assessment methods should measure that students/trainees achieve learning outcomes relevant to safe, effective practice as a psychotherapist.

9.13.  All assessment measures should be consistent with an effective and rigorous process through which it is possible to demonstrate compliance with external reference frameworks at masters level or equivalent.

9.14.  Assessments measuring student and trainee performance should be an integral element of the wider process of evaluation, monitoring and development. It should employ objective criteria in addition to any relevant qualitative measures. Records of progress and achievement must be kept.

9.15.  In order to enter the UKCP register, students on UKCP-accredited trainings need normally to meet a minimum 50% pass threshold in all components of all modules. Aggregate or aegrotat award cannot provide eligibility for admission to the UKCP register.

9.16.  UKCP training organisations must be able to demonstrate how their systems and practices assure that relevant standards for assessment are in place, can be measured and are achieved.

9.17. The expectations relating to a psychotherapist’s role as a professional in relation to their practice must be embedded in the assessment processes for both theoretical and practice elements of training.

9.18. Training Organisations should ensure that their handbooks or guidance documents clearly cover:

a) the assessment requirements for progress within and between each stage of the programme

b) the assessment requirements for measuring achievement within the training

c) the assessment requirements for determining fitness to enter the UKCP Register

d) clear procedures for students and trainees to appeal in relation to assessment procedures or outcomes, and through which students and trainees may raise concerns or complaints about the assessment procedures or criteria or their operation;

e) the appointment of at least one suitably qualified and experienced external examiner (including relevant guidance to support appropriate contact by students and trainees with the examiner, where relevant).


10.Qualifications and Registration

10.1.Training organisations shall specify whether qualification coincides with recognition of candidates as eligible for registration by UKCP.

10.2.Where qualification and registration do not coincide, organisations must specify what further professional development is required for registration.

10.3.The definition of such further professional development might include considerations relating to the nature of supervision and the range, quantity and intensity of practice and/or study.

10.4.Where qualification and registration do not coincide, the process of assessment of readiness for registration shall correspond in general to the requirements of Section 9 above.

10.5.Training organisations must demonstrate how the learning outcomes associated with their accredited training(s) support graduates in meeting the UKCP’s and relevant UKCP college/organisational member standards of proficiency for registration.


11.Continued Professional Development

11.1.Training organisations shall demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning.

11.2. Training organisations shall demonstrate an understanding of the need for monitoring practice for the best protection of the public.

11.3.Each training organisation should make provision for an ongoing graduate body either as an integral part of the organisation or clearly linked to it.

11.4.Training organisations should encourage their graduates actively to consider their continuing professional development needs.


12.Specific Training

12.1.If a training intends to qualify students to work with a particular client group/issue for which specific SETs have been created by UKCP then these SETs must be met.

12.2.The onus is on training organisations to be explicit regarding limits of ethical practice and the ensuing responsibility of the practitioner to recognise the additional needs of specific client groups in order to identify additional specialist training requirements.

12.3.The onus is on training organisations to be explicit as to the emphases of their base training in order to ensure that students will understand their limits of practice in such areas as theoretical approach and method of delivery.


Appendix A

Training organisations must have an available, appropriate and up-to-date:

  • Social media policy
  • Data management and retention policy
  • Safeguarding policy that fits with generic and college specific requirements andthose of the setting(s) that their graduates work in
  • Appeals policy
  • Complaints procedure (for complaints against trainees, tutors and supervisors)
  • Complaints procedure (for complaints against the organisation)
  • Grievance procedure
  • Health and safety policy
  • Diversity and equality policy
  • APL/APEL policy
  • Code of Ethics and Practice
  • CPD policy.

Taken from the original document laid out by UKCP available at