The ASCHP (Association for Supportive Counsellors and Holistic Practitioners) 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 psychologist.

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.

The current registered designations, as published in Government Gazette, are:

(1) Supportive Counsellor (Reg. ID 645)

(2) Holistic Counsellor (Reg. ID 646)

(3) Wellness Counsellor (Reg. ID 895)

(4) Specialist Wellness Counsellor (Reg. ID 896)

Reference: ASCH

An HPCSA counsellor or psychologist is one that is registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa. These professionals may have a different type of training, or have studied for longer. For example: a psychologist is a mental health professional who has a minimum of a masters degree in psychology, and is registered as a clinical, counselling or educational psychologist. Each of these designations have their own scope of practice and ethical code. A clinical psychologist is better trained to working with disorders such as depression and anxiety. A counselling psychologist is experienced in working with general life difficulties such as financial crises or divorces. An educational psychologist generally works with children and adults who have learning difficulties or similar. Furthermore, there is another designation called registered counsellor. These individuals have a BPsych degree in psychology and are authorised to work with clients and provide basic counselling and assessments per their scope of practice. Registered counsellors are often the first point of counselling for individuals and families and work a lot in schools or clinics. They are able to assess and refer clients to other professionals if needed. Most HPCSA registered professionals are able to claim from medical aids, or you are able to claim back for money spent on their services.

The ASCHP, otherwise known as the Association for Supportive Counsellors and Holistic Practitioners is separate from the HPCSA. These counsellors have a different focus and speciality. They hold different degrees and qualifications, although still in the general field of psychology. The counsellors at the ASCHP are registered under different designations. This includes designations such as a Supportive Counsellor or Holistic Counsellor. These counsellors may have a BA psychology degree or a BA honours degree in psychology. Some of these counsellors also have qualifications in Pastoral Counselling or Natural Healing (similar to homeopathy). These counsellors typically charge a much lower rate than your normal HPCSA mental health professionals, as they offer very different services. An ASCHP counsellor may not work with mental disorders and dysfunctions but they are authorised to work with individuals, families and relationships in a more holistic way. This holistic form of counselling focuses on the different aspects of a person’s life such as their relationships, their finances, their physical health and mental health. This is known as general well being, so ASCHP counsellors are also known as Wellness Counsellors or Life Coaches. ASCHP counsellors are not allowed to claim from medical aids as it is only HPCSA professionals that can register with medical aids. This is also why ASCHP Counsellors generally charge lower rates.

The Council for Counsellors South Africa CCSA is also part of the ASCHP and their counsellors do the same work.

The main difference between the HPCSA and ASCHP comes down to whether you need to claim from medical aid or not. Furthermore, if you are looking for long-term therapy to help with possible past issues, it may be best to see a clinical psychologist. ASCHP counsellors are not authorised to work with individuals who have disorders such as depression or anxiety, however they can work with people in a more holistic sense. They are trained to help guide a person to better their lives  when it comes to their relationships, physical health, financial health, spiritual health and general well-being. Should you need long-term counselling in your life to help with feelings of depression or if you need help with any other diagnosed disorder it is best to consult with an HPCSA professional. If you are looking for more general counselling and help in your relationships as well as personal life, an ASCHP counsellor maybe just for you. They are aware of when to refer should the need arise and if you need more advanced professional help.

The FRCA has listed all types of Counsellors registered at these different organisations. We have included their contact details and vetted their qualifications so that you can trust the counselling that you are getting from them.

Consider the following lists, to decide which kind of counselling is right for you:

If you answer YES to the statements below, it may be best to seek an appointment from an HPCSA registered professional, such as a psychologist.

  • You are looking for longer term therapy (10 sessions +)
  • You have a diagnosed disorder, and want to receive therapy for it
  • You want to claim from your medical aid
  • You think your partner or family member has a disorder, and want them to receive counselling for it
  • You want counselling for yourself, family or relationships
  • You have feelings of suicide, or are feeling extremely depressed

If you answer YES to the statements below, then booking a session with an ASCHP or CCSA counsellor may suit you better.

  • You are looking for counselling for yourself, regarding general life stressors, and want a safe place to “vent”.
  • You need counselling for your marriage, relationship, or family and want to focus on a few factors, such as finances, children or problems with your job or in-laws.
  • You need general life coaching.
  • You need trauma debriefing or counselling.
  • You are able to spend anywhere between R100-R500 per session depending on the counsellors rates.

Reference: The Family & Relationship Counselling Association Of South Africa

WHAT IS COUNSELLING?

Counselling requires knowledge of human behaviour, relationship dynamics, emotional states, general growth and development.  The primary aim is to identify problem situations and to take steps to improve those situations.

Counselling is an effective way to facilitate and encourage positive growth and teach clients healthy coping mechanisms to address any concerns they might have.


THE ROLE OF A COUNSELLOR

A Counsellor is highly trained and assist a client to rationalize and examine their thoughts, feelings and actions so that they can gain increased personal insight, self confidence and the ability to make informed decisions to address their specific problem situations.

The role of a counsellor is:

  • NOT to judge
  • NOT to preach
  • NOT to make you feel guilty
  • NOT to make you feel inferior
  • NOT to cure, but to care and guide

It is the counsellor’s job to help facilitate change in your life, by respecting you as a person and the uniqueness of you situation.

Counselling methods consist of various therapeutic interventions and sessions are specialised according to each person or group’s needs.

Counselling sessions are an hour each and during the first session the counsellor will get all the background information needed and also allow you enough time to decide whether you are comfortable with him/her.

Thereafter sessions are booked as needed.

A Specialist Wellness Counsellor is a member with an applicable postgraduate qualification on NQF level 8 and at least 100 hours of practical experience.  They serve to enhance the total wellbeing of their clients by making use of a systems approach to counselling – working towards achieving wholeness within the integrative unity of body, mind and spirit.

The level of counselling is that of primary health care.

Specialist Counsellors specialize in one or more of the following areas of counselling/coaching:

  • Individual counselling
  • Marriage counselling
  • Life style coaching
  • Counselling for problems
  • Trauma counselling
  • Drug and alcohol abuse counselling
  • HIV/AIDS counselling
  • Counselling for gambling research in the domain of counselling
  • Addiction
  • Bereavement counselling
  • Hospice counselling
  • Support and assistance in human development

The Specialist Wellness Counsellor is competent to lend comprehensive and specialized counselling support towards the improvement of the quality of life by assisting client’s in resolving conflicts, improving relationships, sorting out general problems, coping with life’s challenges and finding inner peace.

Specialist Wellness Counsellors are required to refer clients to medical and psychological professionals if they identify needs that require specialized intervention such as mood, personality and anxiety disorders and health related problems that require medical attention.

Reference: Designations

Specialist Wellness Counsellor is a member with an applicable postgraduate qualification on NQF level 8 and at least 100 hours of practical experience.

Specialist Wellness Counsellors serve to enhance the total wellbeing of their clients by making use of a systems approach to counselling – working towards achieving wholeness within the integrative unity of body, mind and spirit. The level of counselling is that of primary health care

Specialist Counsellors specialize in one or more of the following areas of counselling/coaching: Individual counselling, marriage counselling, life style coaching, counselling for problems, trauma counselling, drug and alcohol abuse counselling, HIV/AIDS counselling, counselling for gambling research in the domain of counselling, addiction, bereavement counselling, hospice counselling and support and assistance in human development.

The Specialist Wellness Counsellor is competent to lend comprehensive and specialized counselling support towards the improvement of the quality of life by assisting client’s in resolving conflicts, improving relationships, sorting out general problems, coping with life’s challenges and finding inner peace.

Specialist Wellness Counsellors are required to refer clients to medical and psychological professionals if they identify needs that require specialized intervention such as mood, personality and anxiety disorders and health related problems that require medical attention.


SCOPE OF PRACTICE 
The counsellor is bound to a specific scope of practice which is comprehensive but excludes psychotherapy, social work, medical health work and occupational therapy.

The generic scope of a life skills practice is that of wellness which includes, but is not limited to, providing support in interpersonal social relationships, spiritual growth, marital relationships, parental relationships, health related issues such as stress management, lifestyle management in prevention of chronic diseases, victim empowerment, domestic violence, trauma debriefing, household planning, HIV/AIDS, counselling, workplace adaptation, risk taking, study methods, management of anxiety and depression, substance abuse, support of vulnerable people, meeting cultural issues and diversity in the workplace, improvement of employment prospects, support to people with disabilities, mental preparation for retirement, and any other general problem that people encounter in day to day living.

Holistic Counsellors work on primary health care level, and are as such obliged to terminate counselling and refer clients to a professional (doctor, psychologist, social worker or psychiatrist) where their counselling, with reference to possible pathology or dysfunction, falls outside the scope of their practice.

Counselling competencies within scope of practice include the ability:

  • To apply interpersonal skills by entering into a helping relationship.
  • To apply counselling tools and techniques to assist, support, guide, debrief and encourage a client in need.
  • To apply knowledge of health and wellness in a counselling context in order to screen for a health profile.
  • To manage a counselling consultation with reference to record keeping, confidentiality, ethical codes, legal requirements and professional conduct within own scope of practice.
  • To apply communication and numeracy skills in order to be able to analyse, interpret and evaluate information in a counselling context.

A counsellor is also required to demonstrate the following critical cross-field outcomes in counselling:

  • 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, religious, gender, social standing and language 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.

Reference:  Scope of practice

The counsellor shall:

  • Retain a high level of competence in the interests of the profession and the public in general
  • Be aware of the influence of personal morals, ethics, values and the norms on the quality of service
  • Ensure that public statements are directed at the provision of information in an attempt to assist individuals to make informed decisions in general.  Such statements shall be accurate, qualified and objective
  • Guarantee the confidentiality of personal information acquired during counselling or instruction and regard all disclosures as priviledged
  • Respect colleagues and individuals in the professional and counselling sphere.  Conflicts in direction, evaluation, training procedures and loyalty shall be clearly defined to encourage freedom of participation
  • Acknowledge the requirements, cometence and responsibilities of colleagues and other professional organisations
  • Undertake research while protecting and recognising the welfare, dignity and respect of the participant
  • Terminate counselling as soon as it becomes apparent that no professional contribution can be made as a consequence of a lack of special knowledge or personal limitations
  • Refer a client to a designated specialist in circumstances which reasonably require such referral
  • Decline further counselling where a client refuses to recognise a reasonable referral for specialist attention