REGISTERED ASSOCIATION FOR COUNSELLORS
There is a vast need to regulate the counselling profession nationally in order to ensure that counsellors “know their scope of practice, behave ethically in a counselling context, conform to minimum standards, know when to refer clients and understand the psychological consequences for clients if counsellors are inadequately trained or overstep their scope of practice.” “Scope of Practice” refers to the boundaries within which the counsellor operates without referral as defined by own work context.
The ASCHP is home to community or workplace-based counsellors who work in structured and supervised environments including, but not limited to private Wellness/Counselling Centres or government institutions, schools, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) including Faith Based, Community Based and Not-for-Profit Organisations, the South African Police Service, Counselling Call Centres, Hospitals, Clinics and Support Agencies, Sports Centres, Education and Training facilities, Health and Emergency services and facilities.
A nationally recognized professional body ensures consistency in standards across and within provinces in South Africa, and across different counselling contexts. It provides a learning pathway for unqualified counsellors who currently work in a variety of contexts, often in environments where mental health professional such as psychologists and social workers are not necessarily accessible to the majority of the population. Registration of counsellors with a professional body will provide a consistent basis for evaluating and regulating counselling and will ensure greater access to counselling services.
Counselling enables one or more people to go through the process of finding solutions to their concerns or difficulties. Counselling may take various forms, including with individuals, couples, families or domestic units and groups. The ASCHP has identified accredited training providers to enable counsellors to gain accredited and applicable qualifications. This will allow counsellors to be recognised and will address current national health and social service priorities. Ideally, qualifying learners will operate under supervision.
The ASCHP is a SAQA recognized professional body (South African Qualifications Authority ID 984) with registered designations on the National Qualifications Framework (Act 67 of 2008). The ASCHP provides membership to counsellors who work in the non-statutory domain, i.e. who are not psychologists.
The ASCHP is affiliated to the Council for Counsellors in South Africa and the Natural Healers Association. The ASCHP fulfils the following functions in accordance with SAQA requirements:
- Is a legally constituted entity governed by a constitution to practice according to good corporate governance principles?
- Assures protection of public interest in relation to services provided by its members and the associated risks.
- Develop, award, monitor and revoke professional designations in terms of set rules, legislation and international conventions and disciplinary measures.
- Is obliged to keep a record of members and submit a list of our members to SAQA together with the required personal information.
- Can apply RPL (Recognition Prior Learning) in order to qualify an applicant for membership registration in terms of formal, informal and non-formal learning and work experience.
- Set criteria for, promote and monitor continuous professional development (CPD) for our members in order to enjoy on going professional training to stay abreast of latest research and amendments to legislation.
- Provides a code of conduct and operate a disciplinary mechanism for the reporting and investigation of members who are alleged to have contravened the code.
- Practice fair admission of membership and objective recognition of educational providers. Make career advice related information available to education and training authorities and providers such as the SETA’s.
- See to it that its members practice within their professional scope of practice.
- Members of the public have access to the ASCHP to request recommendations to a registered counsellor in specific geographical areas.
PAC – Governing board
The ASCHP is managed by PAC – the Professional Association Advisory Committee – which includes the ASCHP, the Council for Counsellors in South Africa and the Natural Healers Association.
Chairperson: Dr. H (Marius) Potgieter
President: Prof. M D Herholdt
CEO: Liezl Herholdt
Registrar: Zodwa Ngobeni
Reception: Elsie Teffo
E-mails and admin: Marike Maree
Public relations: Dr. Joyce Schoeman
Member representative: Catherine Khunou
Disciplinary matters: Rev. Johan Nel.
Membership, entrance requirements and RPL
Membership at the ASCHP provides a para-professional standing and status to counsellors who work in the informal sector on primary health care level. ASCHP members have accredited and applicable qualifications or an equivalent. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) can be applied to prospective members who want to apply for the recognition of informal and non-formal learning and work experience.
The application form is fairly comprehensive as SAQA requires the information of each member to be uploaded onto the NLRD (National Learner Record Data Base) for statistical purposes.
Membership is from year to year and an annual membership fee is payable upon renewal after 365 days every year. Renewal remittances are normally sent to members but it remains the obligation of every member to see to it that membership is duly renewed irrespective of whether a renewal notice is received or not. A registration certificate issued for each year of registration must be displayed in the consultation office of the counsellor. A membership card to carry in one’s wallet is also issued.
A constitution and ethical code will be made available to each registered member. This will provide a guideline for practice.
Membership is per category related to level of academic/professional training and members may upgrade by following a lifelong learning pathway.
Annual membership renewal depends on the following criteria of good standing:
|Membership renewal fees paid up||√|
|CPD training is up to date||√|
|Acceptable professional performance||√|
|Good business conduct||√|
Prospective members are required to complete the Quick Evaluation Form and pay the evaluation fee of R170, followed by completing the pro-forma ASCHP application form which can be obtained from the ASCHP office. Please note that the Board has the right to expect an applicant to write a prescribed board examination as entry level requirement for membership where and when deemed necessary. Candidates, who do not possess accredited and applicable qualifications, may apply for membership if they have good reason to believe that they may qualify in terms of professional competence and or counselling experience. An RPL panel will assess the evidence against an accredited and applicable qualification and make a recommendation for membership to the Board in terms of the ASCHP RPL policy. RPL application forms can be obtained from the ASCHP office.
The obligation of a professional body is to protect the public from maltreatment and harm. Hence, disciplinary action can be brought against counsellors who are suspect of malfeasance, malpractice or any other ethical or professional misdemeanour. This may lead to membership suspension or, in extreme cases, to termination of membership.
Membership and CPD training
Continuous Professional Development is required, per statutory regulation, for all professionals such as counsellors, psychologists, medical practitioners and nurses, social workers, religious workers and teachers. CPD training is compulsory and the obligation as set out in the NQF policy (Act 67 of 2008) determines that a professional body shall “set criteria for, promote and monitor continuous professional development for its members to meet relevant professional designation requirements.” Accordingly the ASCHP offers CPD training to help its members stay up to date with professional requirements, latest research and amendments to the applicable acts. The number of CPD points that a member has to complete per annum depends on the category of registration.
For more information on CPD programmes, please consult the topic CPD‘s.
Training opportunities for upgrading of designations
The ASCHP may not offer training as professional body, but identified various training providers that are capable of offering relevant training opportunities. For more information please contact the office and request a prospectus.