Prospective members are welcome to e-mail us should you have any questions, but please check first if your question is not covered by this list of frequently asked questions.

Question pertaining to registration

May I fax or e-mail my application form?  NO.  Unfortunately we need the original application form plus original certified copies (certified and stamped by commissioner of oaths) of qualifications plus other required documents.

What documents must I submit with my application?  It is indicated on the last page of the application form.

What is the process of application?  When the ASCHP office receives your application, it is checked to ascertain whether you have submitted all the necessary documents such as qualifications and references and filled in all the requested information before it is referred to the evaluation panel that will decide your category of registration. If you do not have an accredited qualification (see below), it will be referred to the RPL panel (see below) to assist you with an RPL application.  Once the evaluation panel has determined your designation, the registrar will notify you to pay the prescribed RPL fee (where applicable) and registration fee to finalize you registration.

What will I receive once I am registered?  You will receive (1) a registration certificate for the year of registration; (2) a registration card to carry with you; (3) a copy of the ethical code to display and (4) a copy of the constitution as well as (5) the CPD programme.

How does my membership period work?  You are registered for one year from date of registration. A renewal remittance will be e-mailed to you when you need to renew your membership.

Does renewal depend on any conditions?  Yes, on your good standing as member based on the criteria of CPD compliance, professional standing and ethical integrity (no complaints from the public or disciplinary measures against you).

What is CPD?  It is compulsory professional development.  All professionals (doctors, psychologist, teachers, nurses, counsellors) working with the public are required to complete annual CPD points in order to stay up to date with professional development and retain membership status (discussed under CPD’s on this website).

Why do I need to register as counsellor?  Negatively, because it is a legal and professional risk if you are not covered by a professional body; positively because it has many advantages to be registered.

What are the advantages of membership registration?   You will enjoy  the professional status of being registered which makes it much more acceptable to the public;   you will receive professional guidelines and benefit from doing continuous professional development;  you will have a clear scope of practice so as not to overstep  professional boundaries;  the public that you serve will  be protected because you submit to a disciplinary mechanism; you may qualify to apply for personal indemnity and malpractice insurance; you will practice with integrity by following a code of ethics.

Will I receive a practice number?  No.  You will have a membership number that you can indicate on your visitation card.  Only statutory bodies can award practice numbers.

What is the status of the ASCHP?   The ASCHP is the only professional body for counsellors  that enjoys SAQA registration with designations registered on the NQF.

What may I call myself if I am a registered member?  This is determined by the designation which is your registration category. The entry level is Supportive Counsellor, and the second level is Holistic Counsellor, the third is Wellness Counsellor and the highest designation being Specialist Wellness Counsellor.

How is my designation determined?  It depends on your level of qualification as specified by the NQF levels.  Levels 4 & 5 are certificate levels; level 6 is diploma level; level 7 is degree level and 8-10 are post graduate levels.

May I register as a student?  Yes. There is a student category called the Candidate Counsellor designation which serves to help you participate in the counselling profession as intern to gain practical experience. This will acquaint you with the regulatory framework of the counselling profession and bring you into contact with the network of counsellors.  You will remain on this level until you have completed the qualification that you are enrolled for. Upon graduation you may apply to be upgraded to the status of Supportive Counsellor.

What do I need to register?  You need an accredited qualification and will be expected to gain practical counselling experience.

What is an accredited qualification?  It is a qualification that was awarded by a training and education provider that is registered with the Department of Education or the H & W SETA and offering formal qualifications registered with SAQA.

If I only have informal (unaccredited) qualifications and experience, may I also apply?  Yes certainly if you are of the opinion that it warrants registration.  This is known as recognition of prior learning (RPL) and means that your informal and non-formal learning and work experience can be evaluated against the outcomes expected of a counsellor in a certain category.  You may be required to complete some additional prescribed courses to comply.

Is there and additional cost involved?  Yes. The RPL panel will invoice you. The current RPL fee amounts to R1000 which is a separate fee from the annual membership fee.

What is the membership fee?  It is determined by your level of registration as indicated by your designation. The fee structure is accordingly set out in the application form.

Who are the people who normally register at the ASCHP?  The members comprise people who have certificates, diplomas, and applicable degree qualification. Counsellors are individuals who are fond of people, empathic and patient listeners and keen to be of service.  Many profess to have a calling to do counselling, others see it as a career choice.  They come from many ranks such as school leaver, retired professionals, nursing, people with qualifications in psychology and pastoral counselling, herbal healing, energy medicine, teaching and people keen to be of service.

What is the benefit of registration and having a specific designation?   You may use your designation on your visitation card and to advertise yourself.  A designation is linked to a scope of practice and the right to work as counsellor within that scope of practice.  Members of the public are assured that when you practice as member of a registered professional body you:

  • Comply with professional standards and guidelines
  • Work within own defined scope of practice
  • Meet the minimum training criteria to ensure competence in the field
  • Are subjected to a code of ethics and disciplinary measures to comply with good practice
  • Are up to date with the latest professional development and legal requirements
  • Enjoy the status of a recognized vocation.

Counselling practice

May I advertise my counselling services?   Yes.  As registered member of a recognized counselling association (professional body) you may legally practice counselling within own scope of practice.

What is the difference between an ASCHP counsellor and other counsellors?  ASCHP counsellors work in holistic settings on primary health level.  They are not psychotherapists, psychologist or social workers, but refer clients to these professionals should it be required.  The scope of practice of psychologist is reserved for certain interventions such as hypnotherapy, psychotherapy and psychometric and aptitude tests.

What does “supportive counsellor” mean?  It describes the function of a counsellor as one rendering support to a person in need. It may assume the form of encouragement, guidance or empathic listening in the areas of marriage and family problems, trauma incidence, relationship and work,  and personal situations such as abuse, addiction, emotional and mental conflict.

What does “holistic  counsellor” mean? It describes the spectrum of human existence with reference to the psyche, social  relationships, physical health and spiritual wellbeing.  Holism recognises that all the facets are interrelated and mutually influence one another. This requires a comprehensive approach – counselling the complete human being, “body, soul and spirit.”

What does “wellness counsellor” mean? It describes the objective of holistic counselling – to enhance wellbeing of the client with reference to personal growth and development, acquiring of coping skills, personal , social and work fulfilment, finding meaning and purpose for peaceful existence and living “the good life.”

What does “specialist wellness counsellor” mean?  The word specialist describes a specific focus in counselling/coaching of a counsellor who has completed post graduate training.

What modalities can be used by counsellors?   Modalities cover a wide spectrum such as “talk therapy”,   “body therapies” such as healing touch, herbal and nutritional support,  visualization techniques, and bio resonance stimulation.

Why would a counsellor make use of herbalism?   Mental and emotional problems are related to physiological function.  For instance, people who experience anxiety may benefit from a natural sedative such as valerian, hops or passion flower, and mild depression may be supported by using Hypericum perforatum (St, John’s wort).  There are herbs almost every common ailment. The counsellor in a wellness centre will stock these herbal remedies in a small health shop at the centre.

Where do I obtain these remedies?  From many suppliers, but the ASCHP has an MOU with NaCare to make remedies available to ASCHP members at wholesale prices.  This could generate  extra stream of revenue for the counsellor.

What is bio resonance?   It is a screening technique that quantifies the energy levels of the body to determine weaknesses and deficiencies. It is helpful to compile a comprehensive health profile of your client.

Why do counsellors use body therapies?   Emotional and mental states are also reflected in body conditions, for instance the visceral organs (intestines) contain neurons linked to the brain (“gut feelings”)   and that is why anxiety can cause IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). This is known as psychosomatic/psychogenic illnesses. Often emotional states can be relieved by using therapeutic touch.

Where can I learn more about these modalities?  The ASCHP offers CPD training in these modalities and also works with training and CPD providers in these areas.

What training is available?   The ASCHP will accept qualifications and training programmes from any registered training provider, but has preferred providers with tailor-made training programmes suitable to the skills requirements for holistic practice.  More information is available from the office.

Do I have to use these modalities?  Of course there is no obligation, just potential.  Our experience is that these modalities, in addition to talk therapy, provide and marketing edge to the counsellor. The use of these modalities is, however, optional.

 How does counselling proceed?   Counselling requires knowledge of human behaviour, relationship dynamics, emotional states, and general growth and development.  The primary aim is not to treat, but to improve, not to diagnose, but to screen (identify), and not to cure, but rather to care.  Counsellors make use of various techniques and tools to accomplish this. This requires skills with certain basic outcomes.

What outcomes are needed to be a successful counsellor?   The main outcomes include the following:

  • To apply knowledge of counselling skills and techniques within own scope of practice.
  • To apply interpersonal skills to coach a client within own scope of practice.
  • To apply knowledge of health and wellness in a counselling context.
  • To apply communication and numeracy skills in order to be able to analyse, interpret and evaluate information in a counselling context.

What are the professional (cross-critical) skills required of a counsellor?

  • Identify and solve problems to make responsible decisions using critical and creative thinking in the counselling process.
  • Work effectively with others as a member of a team, group, organization or community.
  • Organize and manage him/herself and his/her activities responsibly and ethically with reference to scope of practice and ethical code of the profession.
  • Organize and manage a practice by keeping routine records of counselling interventions according to the work context.
  • Collect, organize and critically evaluate information in screening a client to determine needs and recommend appropriate interventions.
  • Communicate effectively with clients and colleagues.
  • Make use of science and technology in maintaining records in a database.
  • Demonstrate cultural sensitivity across a range of counselling contexts in applying knowledge of interpersonal relationships to enhance the effectiveness of the counselling process.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the world as a set of related systems by recognizing that problem-solving contexts do not exist in isolation.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the integration between human behaviour and health and wellness in terms of short term interventions and potential long term effects.
  • Reflect on and explore a variety of strategies to learn more effectively in reflecting on own practice.
  • Participate as a responsible citizen in the life of local, national and global communities in counselling within a structured environment.

What may a charge for my counselling services?   Counsellors often work pro bono as voluntary workers, but can also be employed by institutions such as churches, schools, wellness and trauma centres and police stations.  Counsellors who work for themselves in wellness centres charge a fee according to services rendered which may vary between R200 – R600 per session.

Can I claim back from medical aids? No.  You need a practice number to claim from medical aids, and only clinical psychologists and medical doctors may claim from medical schemes.

How popular are holistic counsellors?   The ASCHP and affiliated associations have about two thousand members all over South Africa who work in various organizations and wellness centres. Many make a living this way and to have counselling skills thus contributes  to job creation on a basic level  where most members of the public constantly require support and assistance to cope and solve day to day problems.  In a crime infested society rife with rape, burglary and people being murdered daily, counsellors fulfil an increasingly crucial role to society.

Where do lay counsellors fit in?   Many organizations, especially religious institutions, still make use of lay counsellors but this industry is not regulated.  The ASCHP stands for regulation formal training and professionalism.  Hence, the ASCHP has implemented a strategy whereby these lay counsellors may be upgraded to registered status as students by undergoing the necessary training/recognition of prior learning to slot them into a paraprofessional category.

What is the future of the counselling profession in SA?  The vision of the ASCHP is to continue to effectively regulate the informal counselling sector in congruence with the regulations and exclusions of other professional bodies.  The mission is to see to it that counsellors follow a learning pathway to constantly increase the counselling skills of members, assist and guide them to follow professional guidelines and practice ethically within own scope of practice.