Federation of Drug & Alcohol Practitioners
Substance Misuse Management in General Practice (SMMGP)

Accreditation of Counselling/Psychotherapy Courses applicable to Addiction Therapy

 

Note: the agreement between BACP and FDAP for registration on the UKRCP has come to an end.

The Register has now been renamed the BACP Register of Counsellors & Psychotherapists and new terms and conditions have been introduced in order to meet the standards of a new quality assurance scheme of the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care (the Authority).  The Register will be promoted, by both BACP and the Authority.

For more information please see the BACP Register website www.bacpregister.org.uk or get in touch with BACP Customer Services on 01455 883300 or enquiries@bacp.co.uk, who will take you through the routes to registration. The changes to the Register have no effect on your FDAP accreditation.

One route to fulfilling the formal training requirement for individual counsellor accreditation by FDAP is via the satisfactory completion of an FDAP accredited training course (See National Counsellor Accreditation Certificate (NCAC) Accreditation Scheme Application Pack).

Currently, a system of “assured voluntary registration” has been introduced, by which accreditation by recognised independent bodies will be formally encouraged. This falls short of statutory registration but is designed to become the industry standard.

As the principal professional body responsible for individual accreditation in the addictions field, FDAP wishes to ensure that the addictions counselling profession is fully prepared to meet the requirements and consequences of assured statutory registration, whilst recognising that universities and colleges have full responsibility for the teaching and supervision of their students during their training. However, it must be made clear that completion of a course accredited by FDAP means only that the formal training requirement for individual accreditation has been fulfilled. Additional requirements for individual accreditation and inclusion on the UKRC register are specified in the NCAC Accreditation Scheme (see above).

Those counselling courses currently training counsellors who may wish to work with clients who have problems with addiction are invited to apply for accreditation by the Federation. This document briefly sets out the characteristics expected of such courses, and the procedures to be followed by those who seek accreditation of those courses.

It should be emphasised that the Federation does not wish to standardise the precise content, counselling philosophy or examination formalities of courses that seek accreditation. We wish rather to ensure that accredited courses will: (i) fulfil generally accepted aims for counsellor training (as specified, by way of guidance, by Bor R. & Watts M., (2006)); and will (ii) meet the particular needs of counsellors who wish to work with clients who have addiction problems (e.g., for guidance, see McCrady B.S. & Epstein E.E., (1999) and Petersen T. & McBride A., (2002)).

In consequence, it is not expected that accredited courses will be generally uniform in their theoretical emphasis (for example: specialisation in one counselling or psychotherapeutic approach or orientation, as in ‘cognitive behavioural methods’, ‘psychodynamic theory’, or ‘12-step philosophy’). Nor is it expected that the full range of addiction-related information and issues as represented in the above specified texts should be covered in detail. No training course could hope to accomplish such a feat satisfactorily. Nor can we expect that the balance between generic counselling issues and specifically addiction counselling issues will be the same in all applications that meet the requirements of accreditation.

In summary: We envisage that the characteristics of courses achieving accreditation will be diverse and idiosyncratic. However, it remains the case that there are core issues, areas of knowledge and practice, and theories, that must be addressed in any course that seeks to train counsellors working with clients who have problems of addiction.

With the above caveats in mind, we have specified the core characteristics of courses to be accredited, in relation to four areas:

  1. Formal structure
  2. Student selection
  3. Academic and Professional content
  4. Examination and Assessment.

Criteria for Courses seeking accreditation by FDAP

1. Formal structure

1.1 At least 450 hours face-to-face tuition directly relevant to generic and/or addiction counselling, 200 hours of which should be directly relevant to knowledge, theory and practice in addictions counselling.

1.2 Tuition over at least 1 year full-time or 2 years part-time.

1.3 Teaching and examining leading to qualifications at Level 5 (or higher) on the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications, or equivalent.

1.4 Tuition by a number of suitably qualified academic and professional full-time or part-time staff.

1.5 Teaching methods should include a range of practices i.e. group practice, lectures, seminars, workshops, etc

1.6 Validation as a Higher Education Diploma, Postgraduate Diploma, BA, FdSc, BSc, MA, MSc or Professional Doctorate level by an appropriately constituted academic body.

1.7 Incorporation of tuition and assessment of DANOS competences, satisfying the demands of the FDAP Drug and Alcohol Professional award.

2. Student Selection

2.1 Students should satisfy the demands of the validating academic body for mature applicants.

2.2 The selection process should normally include a face-face interview conducted after detailed application and references have been received.

2.3 Full consideration should be given to applicants’ readiness for training, academic potential, professional motivation and personal interests in the training.

2.4 Those selected should have working knowledge and understanding of counselling theory and skills (Level 3 on the National Qualifications framework), or be committed to acquire such skills before or at onset of training.

3. Academic and Professional Content of Courses

3.1 Critical understanding of generic counselling psychological theories and practice.

3.2 Commitment to professional guidelines and ethical practice.

3.3 Professional responsibilities in therapeutic practice, which should include, besides counselling itself: initial meeting and assessment, comprehensive assessment, treatment planning, case management (including report and record keeping), crisis intervention, client education, consultation with other professionals, referrals and supervision (e.g. the ‘core functions of the counsellor’ (Kulewicz (1996); Bor and Watts (2006) esp. chapters 4,5,6,7,9,and12);

3.4 Training in at least two evidence-based mainstream approaches to addiction therapy, for example Cognitive Behaviour therapy, Motivational Interviewing, 12-step Facilitation, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy, and Mindfulness-based cognitive therapies.

3.5 Instruction in the psychopharmacological, psychological and social psychological factors in the development of addiction, including commonly encountered mental health problems.

3.6 Instruction in the theoretical underpinnings of the principal approaches to psychological treatments, including an assessment of their efficacy.

3.7 Knowledge and understanding of mental health and addiction treatment services in the UK.

3.8 Academic oversight and supervision of students’ professional experience in placements, within the teaching programme.

3.9 Provision of independently supervised counselling placement affording opportunity for at least 100 counselling hours' professional practice during the latter stages of the course.

3.10 Clear specification of learning outcomes with respect to the above.

4. Components of Examination and Assessment

4.1 Clear specification in Course Guide of requirements for satisfactory completion of the course.

4.2 Systematic assessment of students’ fulfilment of learning objectives on the course, including by professional logs and case study.

4.3 Systematic provision of constructive feedback on student workplace performance by placement providers.

The Accreditation Process

1. There should be a Liaison Officer, appointed by the validating institution, or the organisation delivering the course in formal partnership with the validating institution, who is responsible for communicating with the Federation.

2. The Liaison Officer should write formally to the Federation applying for course accreditation and enclosing the following:

(a) The full published Programme Specifications for the course, being the outcome of the institutional validation procedures. These should cover all aspects of course content, teaching methods, list of teaching staff, their qualifications, roles and specific responsibilities, assessment and examination, and all other matters affecting the management of the course by the validating institution, including mutual responsibilities of students and the institution with respect to the progression and care of students on the Course.

(b) The Course Guide provided for the students.

(c) All module guides provided to students, detailing course content.

(d) An Explanatory Document of no more than 3000 words, which indicates where and how in the Course, the criteria specified above are met or achieved. The document should clearly state: 1. Title of the Course; 2 Name of Training Provider with address, telephone and fax, email and website address; 3. Name and contact details of Liaison Officer; 4. Date of latest institutional validation of the course; 5. Numbers of students graduating from the Course in the past 3 years.

(e) An invoice for the initial assessment fee, currently £1,000.00, will be sent on receipt of the application.

3. On receipt of an application an assessment will be made to determine that the application provides the requested information. If it does, the Federation will refer the application to its Accreditation Committee for formal appraisal. Within two months Committee representatives may arrange to visit the institution to examine the facilities available and to seek answers to any questions or problems identified by the Accreditation Committee. The visit will include a scheduled meeting with the Course Director and at least two other members of the teaching staff. At this stage, or if no visit is required then before completion of the validation process, a completion fee, currently £750.00, will be required. The decision of the Committee will normally be communicated to the Course Director within four months of receipt of the application for course accreditation. The decision will be one of the following:

(a) To accredit the course; or

(b) Not to accredit for clearly specified reasons relating to the failure of the course to reach the required standards; or

(c) To defer decision pending further discussion with the Course Director of minor difficulties identified by the Committee.

Accreditation will be for a period of 5 years, depending on receipt of satisfactory yearly reports being made by the Course Director. These brief Reports should give details, from the preceding year, of numbers of students progressing; material changes to structure and content of the course; staff changes and any other changes affecting accreditation requirements.

Accredited courses are subject to the professional and ethical framework of FDAP, and are subject to an annual affiliation fee of £500 per annum.

FDAP logo

This will be made available to accredited courses.

Appeals

An appeal against the decision to refuse accreditation may be made only on procedural grounds. Disagreement with the decision is not in itself grounds for an appeal. Appeals will be considered by an independent committee of Trustees of the Federation.

Applications should be sent to:

FDAP
Box 200
143 Kingston Road
London SW19 1LJ

Further information

Applicants who may wish to discuss any matter before making an application should contact FDAP - Course Accreditation by email: fdap@smmgp.org.uk

References

  • Bor R. & Watts M., (2006), The Trainee Handbook: a Guide for Counselling and Psychotherapy Trainees. London, Sage
  • Kulewicz S.F. (1996) The Twelve Core Functions of a Counselor, Marlborough: Counselor Publications
  • McCrady B.S. & Epstein E.E.(1999) Addictions: A Comprehensive Guidebook. London, Oxford University Press
  • Petersen T. & McBride A. (Eds.) (2002), Working with Substance Misusers: a guide to theory and practice. London, Routledge

 

 

 

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