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

FDAP Qualifications: National Counsellor Accreditation Certificate (NCAC)

Guidance Notes

Sections on this page:

These notes provide general guidance on applying for accreditation. There are more specific guidance notes in the application form. Please read all the information in the application pack before you apply. If you want more information, please contact FDAP by email to office@fdap.org.uk

Filling in your application form

In your application you may refer to your work with individual clients, couples, groups or families. We will assess your application against the criteria specified in the Scheme. We check that all parts of your application agree with each other as well as checking that you are meeting all the criteria. You must be a current FDAP member and working in the field of counselling or psychotherapy when you apply.

If you do not fill in all of your application, or we cannot read it, we will send it back to you.

Please type or write clearly in all areas of the form that apply to you, and include all extra sheets and documents you need. You, your supervisor and the person supporting your application for accreditation (your Proposer) should respond to all the questions asked, or answer ‘not applicable’. Do not leave any questions unanswered unless you are told to do so. You should explain any abbreviations and acronyms you use in your application.

You may need more than one copy of a page or more space. Please photocopy or reprint the relevant pages or continue on a separate sheet of paper and include with your application.

FDAP reserves the right to contact any person or organisation mentioned in your application.

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You can use a successfully completed FDAP accredited course to apply under Criterion 4 ROUTE 1. You can use another completed counsellor/psychotherapist training course for Criterion 4 ROUTE 2. If you have not completed a training course successfully or in time for your application, you will not be able to count it towards your training hours.

If you apply under Criterion 4 ROUTE 2, or Criterion 4 ROUTE 3, you must show that you have completed a ‘placement’ as part of the requirements of your course(s). A placement is assessed counselling/ psychotherapy work with genuine clients, carried out as part of your training course(s). Hours spent on placement do not count towards the 450 hours of formal teaching time. However, they may count towards the supervised practice hours.

Acceptable training course hours are those that relate to formal timetabled tutor contact time. Non-contact hours (for example, private study, reading, writing assignments and so on) cannot be included. Most qualifications in the field of human relations, applied social studies and human services are not counselling/psychotherapy qualifications and you cannot use them to meet Criterion 4. (Examples of these qualifications include: BA or BSc psychology, sociology, applied social sciences, medical degrees, professional certificates and diplomas such as health visiting, social work, personnel qualifications, training for religious ministry, alternative health and healing qualifications.)

You must provide evidence of all training you are using to meet Criterion 4.

Please include a ‘verified’ copy of the award (certificate) for each course. Please do not send originals.

You can get a verified copy of the certificate by:

  • Taking a photocopy of the original
  • Writing ‘This is a true copy of the original document’ on the copy and signing it
  • Asking your Proposer or Supervisor to sign the copy as a witness to your signature

We do not accept copies that have not been verified. If your name has changed from that shown on your certificate please include as proof, a letter of explanation and a copy of your marriage/civil partnership certificate or deed poll.

Practice hours

FDAP NCAC accreditation recognises that the role of a counsellor in the drug and alcohol field extends beyond counselling per se - and includes a range of broader professional responsibilities including comprehensive assessment( including initial assessment, intake and orientation) , treatment planning, case management(including report and record keeping), crisis intervention, client education, consultation with other professionals in regard to client treatment, including referrals and supervision (e.g. the ‘core functions of the counsellor’, Kulewicz 1996); All practice hours should be hours spent working within the framework of those core functions.

The hours of counselling/psychotherapy work you use in your application should not include training sessions, supervision, cancelled or missed sessions (Could or Did Not Attend or CNA/DNA).

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You must give supervision details for all the work you refer to in your application (that is, all the work you use to show you meet Criterion 4 and your current work).

You may use one-to-one supervision, team supervision, group supervision and peer supervision. Peer supervision is where all members of the group give and receive supervision. Group supervision is where group members receive supervision from a group facilitator, who is not supervised within that group, and team supervision is where the group members work as a team within an organised therapeutic context. You may add hours from different supervision arrangements to give a total of at least 1½ hours a month.

Your supervision time is calculated like this:

Individual supervision:

  • Claim all of the time you are in supervision

Team and Group supervision:

  • Groups of four or less (not including the group facilitator or the group supervisor) = Claim half of the time
  • Groups of five or more (not including the group facilitator or the group supervisor) = Claim a third of the time

Peer supervision:

  • Groups of four or less = claim half of the time
  • Groups of five or six = Claim a third of the time

If the supervision is peer supervision, when asked on the application for the supervisor’s name, nominate and name one group member only who can represent the group.

Your nominated Supervisor should see your application in order to make his or her report.

Reflective Practice Requirements

You must be sure to explain how your work meets each of these criteria.

The number of words we ask for on the application is the maximum. If you go over the maximum number of words by more than 10%, we will ask you to do the part again.

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Supervisor Report

You must provide a Practice Supervisor Report [ PDF version | Word version ] from the person(s) who currently supervises your work. If you have more than one supervision arrangement, give details of each arrangement.

You must provide an extra Supervisor Report if your current supervisor did not supervise the casework used to evidence Criteria 6.2 and 6.3. In this case, please ask the supervisor of the casework submitted, to complete a report. You should have a Supervisor Report to cover all casework submitted for Criteria 6.2 and 6.3.

If you have been with your current supervisor for less than six months, please enclose a Supervisor Report from a previous supervisor who has sufficient knowledge of your work.

Each supervisor should see your completed application and casework before making their report. Please give your supervisor the Guidance for the Supervisor from this pack. (You may need to copy this if more than one supervisor is providing a report).

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Your Proposer

Your proposer should normally be one of the following - a holder of the FDAP NCAC accreditation; a UKCP registered counsellor; a BACP / UKRC registered practitioner; a BPS Chartered or Registered Psychologist; or someone holding MRCPsych, or MRCGP status.

Your Proposer should know you well enough to confirm that you are:

  • a responsible person
  • a person of professional integrity
  • of ‘good standing’ within your profession

Your Proposer should not be a supervisor who has submitted a report for your application. Your Proposer should not be a client or an ex-client. Your Proposer should not be your husband, wife, civil partner, partner or close relative.

Please give your Proposer the Guidance for the Proposer form [ PDF version | Word version ] from this pack and ask him or her to fill in the Proposer Statement. The Proposer’s signature shows that he or she supports your application to become a FDAP Accredited Counsellor/Psychotherapist. This Statement is confidential. Please ask your Proposer to send it directly to us, separately from your application form (arrange for this to arrive at the same time as your application).

Your application cannot go ahead without the Proposer Statement and Supervisor Report.

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Sending us your application

Please read the following notes before you send us your application.

You can apply for accreditation at any time. Please send us:

  • Your original application form, including a completed Supervisor Report and verified copies of your award certificates. Ensure your name and membership number is on any additional or separate sheets.
  • One completed and collated copy of the documents listed above, in addition to your original application.
  • Your fee for accreditation* (£150 non refundable). We accept only cheques. Please write cheques to ‘FDAP’ and put your surname and membership number on the back.

*This fee is correct at 1 April 2009. From time to time we review our fees.

Please attach the cheque to the front page of this application form.

Post your application package to FDAP Accreditation, using the address below. We will let you know that we have received your application.

You must arrange for your Proposer to fill in his or her report and send it to us separately, to arrive at the same time as your application.

We will not return your application. You should make a copy of your application for your own records.

FDAP Accreditation Department
Box 200
143 Kingston Road
London SW19 1LJ

Email: fdap@smmgp.org.uk

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The Assessment Process

Once we receive your application, we will check that you have provided all the information we need and that you meet the basic eligibility Criteria. We will match it to your Proposer’s statement and check that you have made the correct payment. We will then send your application to the assessors.

We aim to take no more than four months to assess your application and tell you our decision. If we need to contact you because your application is incomplete or unclear, the process may take longer.

Any documentation you send us to support your application for accreditation must be authentic, accurate and current. If we discover that any of the information is not accurate or complete, we may turn down or withdraw your accreditation application. False information may result in a referral to Professional Conduct for investigation.

The decision will be one of the following:

  • Criteria met
    If the evidence submitted is judged to have met all criteria, accreditation as a NCAC counsellor / psychotherapist will be awarded. You will be informed in writing and a certificate of accreditation will be sent.
  • Criteria not yet met
    If any of the criteria are judged not to be satisfactorily evidenced at this stage, you will be informed in writing. The deferment letter will explain why particular criteria have not been met. You will then be allowed a further six months in which to address the points in the letter and send further evidence. All evidence to meet the outstanding criteria must be sent at the same time. A further fee of £70, non refundable, is payable to cover the additional assessment.

If you do not address the points in the letter and send further evidence by the end of the six-month period, your application will be deemed to have lapsed.

There is no facility to appeal at this stage.

Final decision

Your additional evidence will be assessed alongside your original application and a final decision made. If all criteria are judged to have been met, accreditation will be awarded. If, however, any criteria remain unmet, your application will be deemed to be unsuccessful.

Your options then will be:

  1. Re-application
  2. Appeal

1. Re-application – you need to wait a period of 12 months after the final decision before you reapply. The re-application should provide new evidence which addresses the reasons given for failure of the first application. The full accreditation fee applies to the new application.

2. Appeal – Applicants have the right to appeal against Final accreditation decisions on procedural grounds, that is:

That the application has not been fairly and properly assessed against the published criteria.

Disagreement with the assessors’ professional judgement is not in itself grounds for appeal.

  • An appeal must be lodged within 2 months of the date of the final decision letter
  • A fee of £70 is payable
  • The decision of the appeals panel is final

Issue of Certificates

Your certificate will be posted with your notification of accreditation. This open certificate is only valid when accompanied by a letter of authentication which will normally be supply on renewal of membership.

You will be required to renew your membership annually (a reminder will be sent in advance).

Accreditation is valid for three calendar years from the date accreditation was awarded.


NCAC accreditation is valid for three years, after which members must apply for re-accreditation. To be re-accredited, practising counsellors will need to meet the following criteria:

  • Professional development
    Have engaged in continuing professional development since accreditation was last awarded (at least 20 hrs per year, including at least 10 hrs in training / education).
  • Supervision
    Have received regular supervision, in line with FDAP guidance, in the period since accreditation was last awarded.
  • Membership
    Have held continuing FDAP membership since accreditation was last awarded.
  • Non-practising counsellors can also re-accredit provided they meet the criteria above for membership and professional development, and in addition the supervision criterion for any period during which they have been practising since they were last accredited.

N.B. Applications for re-accreditation may be made in the three calendar months before accreditation expires, and in the calendar year following expiry. Successful re-applications will be dated as from the date of expiry of the previous accreditation period.

The fee for re-accreditation is £100 (non refundable). Please write cheques to ‘FDAP’ and put your surname and membership number on the back, and send with your application which should include documentation regarding professional development and supervision as requested above.

We wish you good luck with your application.

Kulewicz S.F. (1996) The Twelve Core Functions of a Counselor, Marlborough: Counselor Publications.

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