Standards of Education and Training for Sexual and Relationship Psychotherapists and Psychosexual Counsellors

1. Welcome

This document is to be read in conjunction with the UKCP Standards of Education and Training (2017): The Minimum Core Criteria, Psychotherapy with Adults, and the College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists’ Criteria and Procedure for Approval of Training (COSRT SETS). This provides modality specific criteria, which are in addition to all the criteria within the UKCP SETS document.

CSRP acknowledges and actively facilitates a variety of flexible routes through which trainees can achieve UKCP Registration. With this in mind, no single route is prescribed. Rather a more eclectic and flexible ethos will be applied which incorporates trainees from both the UK and overseas. We wish to be inclusive of those who have formally trained within the medical/nursing professions and other public service professions such as social work, the law, theology, and so on, as long as they also hold a recognised qualification in sexual and relationship psychotherapy.

A threshold requirement for membership of CSRP is COSRT Accreditation and all routes leading to UKCP Registration as a Sexual and Relationship Psychotherapist must incorporate COSRT Accreditation as a core standard. This ensures that all CSRP members are fully aware of the COSRT Code of Ethics and Practice and have agreed to subscribe to them. Applicants will indeed need to verify that they have read, understood and subscribe to the Codes of Ethics and Practice as laid down by COSRT. The CSRP Code of Ethics and Practice is aligned with these.

Training leading to UKCP Registration as a Sexual and Relationship Psychotherapist must be congruent with the values, principles, knowledge base and underpinning philosophical approach/ approaches of the college, which are defined in the CSRP Code of Ethics and Practice document.

2. Training Staff

Normally core training staff would be expected to be UKCP Registered and/or COSRT Accredited Sexual and Relationship Psychotherapists, or equivalent, who maintain a private practice and/or employment as a Sexual and Relationship Psychotherapist. Psychotherapists from other modalities may be utilised for specialised elements of the training. Training staff would normally be expected to have additional training and/or experience in training in addition to psychotherapy qualifications and to be subject to regular monitoring, including trainee feedback. Training staff will also come from the field of psychiatry and medicine.

3. Registration Requirements

To achieve UKCP Registration as a Sexual and Relationship Psychotherapist applicants must be COSRT Accredited and have a First Degree or equivalent or relevant Accredited Prior Learning, and must also meet the requirements of Clinical Practice and Personal Development set out below. In addition, applicants must have the personal qualities that make them suitable for the profession of psychotherapy as detailed in the COSRT and UKCP SETS.

4. Training Courses

Psychotherapy training is at post-graduate level, or Masters level equivalent, in line with University definitions of 120 credits being post-graduate level and 180 credits being at Masters level, and is understood to be a specialist level of training. All applicants for UKCP registration must successfully complete training at Level 7 (120 credits) in sexual and relationship psychotherapy.

The number of academic hours will be determined by the validating organisation and will be sufficient to meet the curriculum and assessment criteria defined in the COSRT SETS.

The length of training course(s) shall be appropriate to permit the consolidation and integration of theoretical knowledge and clinical experience of no less than 4 years. This can be achieved through an appropriate 4 year Masters level or equivalent training course, or a 2 year specialist course plus supplementary courses accruing to the 4 year requirement.

Some examples of UK and overseas courses that could be accepted include;

Dedicated training in sexual health.

Substantive psychotherapy training which is inclusive of relationship and couples dynamic theory.

Specialised children/families social work training.

Psychiatric social work training with substantive dedicated modules.

Theological training with reference to couples and relationship work.

5. Accredited Prior Learning (APL) and Credit Accumulation Transfer Systems (CATS)

All courses shall have methods and regulations in place for the processing of assessment of APL and CATS claims where relevant. These methods should describe the process and relevant criteria and should provide scope for an appeal process. Normally, no more than 50% of the course content will be achieved through APL or CATS. Transcripts of former training will be required in order to assess congruence with sexual and relationship psychotherapy.

6. Clinical Practice

Applicants for Registration are required to complete a minimum of 450 hours of sexual and relationship psychotherapy practice at a supervision ratio of 1:6. These hours must be inclusive of both couples and individual work. Applicants for registration through CSRP who are already UKCP Registered are required to complete 320 hours of clinical sexual and relationship psychotherapy practice at a supervision ratio of 1:6, in line with COSRT Accreditation criteria.

Clinical practice is defined as ‘time specifically contracted in line with central UKCP policy for the professional delivery of psychotherapeutic treatment, administered within the relevant codes of confidentiality, accountability and informed consent’. Training courses are required to enable trainees to learn about the wider mental health field, including obtaining an opportunity to develop the capacity to recognise severely disturbed clients. This process does not necessitate the student practising as a psychotherapist within a mental health setting but to be familiar with diagnostic terms and treatments in mental health settings and practice.

Trainees must ensure clients are aware of their trainee status.

CSRP recognises the range of practice settings within which a trainee may complete their practice hours, from private practice, to employment and voluntary placements. Unless a trainee is experienced in the field of psychotherapy or couples, relationship and sexual therapy their first 120 hours of clinical practice should not normally be gained solely through private practice. It is the responsibility of the training course, in communication with supervisors, to ensure that the trainee is practising within a suitable practice environment, within their limits of knowledge and competence and for which their training has prepared them. Within our modality trainees are considered qualified to practice following successful completion of a specialist post graduate training course in sexual and relationship psychotherapy at Level 7, (120 credits), ordinarily a two year post graduate course. and must obtain a minimum of 450 hours of clinical practice supervised at a ratio of one hour supervision to 6 hours clinical work before they can be registered with UKCP.

7. Supervision

All supervision should meet the requirements of CSRP’s supervision policies. Supervision is required at a ratio of 1:6 throughout the period of training. CSRP requires training courses to approve the training supervisor for each trainee. All of a trainee’s supervision should be from a COSRT Accredited Sexual and Relationship Psychotherapist or equivalent. It is not acceptable for the supervision to be undertaken by the primary tutor. Supervision using digital media (e.g. internet, telephone) is only acceptable after a direct, face to face relationship has been established, Supervision must address safeguarding and risk assessment issues.

8. Personal Development

To achieve UKCP Registration, trainees must have undertaken a minimum of 80 hours of experiential work which facilitates awareness of self in relation to others, in the context of client work. This could be 50 hours individual therapy plus 30 hours group therapy or 80 hours individual therapy with a counsellor or psychotherapist who is accredited through a recognised organisation.

Post Registration, members of CSRP must abide by the CSRP Practice Policy on Continuing Professional Development.

9. Research

Any trainee working towards UKCP Registration will need to demonstrate an understanding of research techniques and their application to clinical practice. CSRP’s preferred route for this is for trainees to complete, or have completed, an original piece of research of 10,000 words utilising a case study methodology. If an applicant’s training did not include the presentation of a dissertation, then he or she will need to write one. This may be a piece of original research, or case study with literature search and research element, or dissertation on a relevant topic of normally 10,000 to 12,000 words. The remit is intended to be broad to allow for individual difference in practice. Further guidance will be given to applicants choosing this route.

Applicants will have indicated that they subscribe to the Codes of Ethics and Practice of COSRT with particular reference to using client material in written work.

10. Qualification and Registration

Training courses are required to signpost trainees appropriately to the various routes of qualification and Registration.

11. Application for UKCP Registration with CSRP

The Procedure for UKCP Registration through CSRP has been developed in collaboration with COSRT. All COSRT members have been informed that it is ready. (November 2016)