A Registered Counsellor is a highly trained mental health professional, also called a psychological practitioner. In order to obtain this qualification and register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), one needs to complete an accredited 4 year Bachelor of Psychology degree (or an equivalent Psychology Honours), as well as complete 720 hours of practical work (internship) under the supervision of a Psychologist. Following this, one needs to pass the Psychology board exam with a minimum of 70%.
We provide counselling over a short period, usually between one and eight sessions, working with clients’ current difficulties. As a psychological practitioner we work with groups and individuals to examine thoughts, emotions and behaviours in order to increase personal awareness and self-confidence to optimize psychological wellbeing and mental health. Registered counsellors screen for but do not diagnose psychopathology or prescribe any medication.
Registered Counsellors differ from other categories of psychology in that their function is to intervene at a primary health care level to provide early and appropriate levels of intervention to decrease the need for more intensive and longer term psychotherapy. We administer select psychometric tests, provide screening for mental illness and attend to clients’ psychological wellbeing by providing containment, counselling and preventative interventions. We are also trained to assist with appropriate referrals to affiliated professionals and specialists should such referral be in the best interests of the client.