Introduction to Accreditation

What is accreditation?

Accreditation is the act of granting credit or recognition of competence in a specified subject or area of expertise by a respected accrediting organisation.

BABCP, the Lead organisation for CBT in the UK, accredits people and courses if they can demonstrate that they meet the standards set by the organisation.

Why should I become accredited?

Accreditation is voluntary, and people apply to become accredited for many different reasons.

  • An individual may want to be able to demonstrate to members of the public, their clients and their colleagues that they meet a particular standard in their training and practice of CBT and that they are committed to a CBT approach.

  • Some employers may stipulate that a particular role requires the individual to be BABCP accredited.

  • Some Health Insurance companies will only authorise CBT treatment from a BABCP accredited therapist.

  • Members of the public are advised to make sure that they are engaging the services of a person with appropriate training, qualifications, skills and professional standards to deliver the service that they require. This is the case in many professional areas such as Solicitors, Accountants, Architects etc, where the kitemark of professional standards is the individual’s membership of, or accreditation by, an appropriate professional or learned body.

Many health professions are regulated by the state and this is called ‘statutory regulation’. This is where an individual can only use (and work as) a particular professional title if they are registered with a particular statutory body, such as the Health and Care Professions Council.

They can only register with that body if they can demonstrate that they have met the Standards of Education and Training and Standards of Proficiency set for that profession. This usually means that they have completed a recognised course of study. Clinical Psychologists, Arts Psychotherapists, Occupational Therapists etc have to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council.

Counselling and Psychotherapy are not statutorily regulated professions, so the only course open to them in order to validate their credentials is voluntary accreditation. BACP and organisational members of UKCP are the main accrediting bodies for counselling and other modalities of psychotherapy (not CBT). BABCP is the main accrediting body for Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapists, along with AREBT (Association of Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy).

Many people with a statutorily regulated professional title also choose to become accredited with BABCP as well. This is because BABCP accreditation is specific to the CBT model of therapy, and their professional title is not.

What are the standards for practitioner accreditation and how have they been set?

All members of BABCP sign up to the Standards of Conduct, Performance and Ethics and should abide by these whether they are accredited or not. The full criteria for accreditation can be accessed through this link to the website: Accreditation

The Minimum Training Standards (MTS) provide the standards against which to decide if an individual has received the desired level of training necessary to be an Accredited Cognitive Behavioural Therapist (psychotherapist)

In addition to this, therapists need to demonstrate a continued commitment to the practice of CBT through working with clients, receiving supervision and ensuring their continuing professional development. This is why an individual is awarded ‘provisional accreditation’ on completion of sufficient training, while ‘full’ accreditation is awarded after the on-going commitment can be demonstrated.

The MTS standards have been developed and refined over the life of the organisation. They were originally drawn up by the founding members of the organisation, many of whom were those developing, researching and teaching CBT. The accreditation criteria were developed by committee, again benefiting from the work of many key people in the development of CBT itself. The British Association’s MTS have been adopted by the European Association of CBT [EABCT] and all the member organisations require or aspire to these MTS.

Other reference documents:

The Core Curriculum Reference Document - The main purpose of the Core Curriculum is to provide information about a proportion of the CONTENT that might be expected to be included in the training received by an Accredited Cognitive Behavioural Practitioner. Prior to the development of this curriculum all that had been available in the MTS was a statement about the QUANTITY of training.

Standards of Proficiency (SoP) for CBT – written by Malcolm Adams, commissioned by the Board of BABCP in 2010. The SoP for CBT are modelled on the Health Professions Council’s standards of proficiency and used the MTS, Roth and Pilling CBT competencies and the KSA criteria to create CBT specific standards.

CORE competencies in CBT as authored by Roth and Pilling

What is CBT Written by Anne Garland and Katy Grazebrook in June 2005, and approved by the Board of BABCP in July 2005.

Why is the application process so thorough?

The application process is thorough because accreditation is an important validation bestowed upon a person or course.

People have worked hard to undertake their training in CBT, gain their qualifications and demonstrate an on-going commitment to the practice of CBT. It is important that only people who can demonstrate that they have met the standards set are accredited, otherwise the practice of CBT may deteriorate and members of the public may not receive the quality of CBT that evidence has shown to be necessary to be effective.

Why do I need a core profession?

The application of CBT, which is a particular model of therapy, has in the main been delivered by mental health practitioners from a range of professional backgrounds. CBT training has therefore been very specific to the model of therapy and it is expected that people coming to such training are doing so as an adjunct to (or enhancement of) their professional training. That is, they are already trained and competent in generic mental health and therapy skills such as risk assessment and management, clinical record keeping, knowledge of psychopathology and human development, building therapeutic relationships, and basic counselling skills such as active listening, empathy, summarising and reflection.

This is why the Standards of Proficiency for CBT are broader than the minimum training standards. This is also why CBT training alone (even the Level 2 courses) is not sufficient to ensure that you are an accreditable practitioner.

The Knowledge Skills & Attitudes (KSA) requirement provides a means for people without a core profession to be able to demonstrate that they have gained these key generic mental health and therapy skills through other training and experience.

The KSA route is intended to be used in exceptional circumstances where cognitive behavioural psychotherapists who are trained, practicing and receiving supervision without first acquiring one of the listed core professions, can retrospectively evidence equivalence to such core professional training. By drawing on previous trainings and work experience, such therapists can put together a portfolio showing how their own idiosyncratic route provides them with a foundation usually aquired through a more established core professional route.

A form of KSA assessment has also since been introduced into the selection and admission process for Postgraduate CBT Courses through the BABCP Course Accreditation process. This has allowed courses to include trainees who have not previously undertaken one of the listed relevant core professional trainings prior to course entry, yet who are able to evidence equivalence through other training and experience, at that point.