← Return to Counselling Page

What is a Registered Counsellor?


The Health Professions Council of South Africa established a professional category i.e. “Registered Counsellor” to make psychological services accessible to the diverse South African population. Psychological interventions offered by Registered Counsellors focus mainly on prevention, support and the enhancement of wellbeing. The aim of the service is to provide short-term containment and interventions aimed at emotional and mental wellbeing. Because the counselling service is of short-term nature the client could attend anything from 1 – 6 sessions that may be claimed from cients’ medical aid funds. If longer-term treatment becomes necessary or the problem falls outside the scope of practice of Registered Counsellors, the practitioner will discuss referral options with the client and upon agreement the client will refer to the appropriate professional. In the interest of both the client and practitioner Registered Counsellors are advised to incorporate supervision in their practice.

  • In order to practice as a Registered Counsellor in South Africa, applicants need to be in possession of an academic Psychology Honours qualification at an NQF 8 Level as requirement and have completed a supervised practicum training that has a duration 960 hours. Candidates are eligible to register with the HPCSA as Registered Counsellors once they have successfully passed the HPCSA Board Exam for Registered Counsellors.
  • In South Africa it is a legal requirement to register with the HPCSA (Heath Professions Council of South Africa) and to abide to the HPCSA code of ethics as well as be CPD (Continuous Professional Development) compliant in order to practice as a Registered Counsellor. A Registered Counsellor needs to be registered with the BHF (Board of Healthcare funders of South Africa) to enable clients to claim from their medical aid funds for services rendered by practitioners.
  • According to the Health Professions Act, 974 (Act No. 56 of 1974) it is a legal requirement for a private practitioner registered with the HPCSA in South Africa to obtain and maintain professional indemnity cover.