RPL Process

Recognition of Prior Learning – RPL – is a nationally acceptable process for demonstrating standards that are at least equivalent to typical, formal criteria.

The normal procedure for an applicant to become a member of QCA is through meeting all the membership criteria including those for training.

However, some applicants’ training may have been received prior to the availability of training courses we would now view as adequate, and they may have been practising as counsellors for a prolonged time without meeting the formal training criteria. This is particularly the case for those trained prior to 1985, when formal training courses tended to be limited. Normally such applicants would have some formal training, both before and during practice.

RPL applicants have the onus of demonstrating their competence is equivalent to that of someone who has come through normal training channels.

Normally RPL applicants will be highly experienced professionals applying for full membership.

With this in mind, applicants through RPL should complete the application form for QCA membership with as much detail as required to demonstrate this equivalence. It may be helpful to document.

  • experience that is more than the minimum (e.g. more than 750 hours or more than 75 hours of post-training supervision) in an area of particular strength;
  • training, including short courses and workshops but not conferences;
  • client related experience as a counsellor which includes counselling, group facilitation, supervision of counsellors, and conducting counsellor education at the level of courses approved for membership;
  • publications demonstrating your counselling knowledge and competence;
  • supervision record. Include line management supervision for early practice if counselling supervision was not readily available.

Additional to completion of the QCA Application Form, applicants for RPL should submit letters of recommendation from senior colleagues, line managers, mentors, or others in a position to attest to the quality of counselling competence.

If QCA Membership Committee considers the RPL application requires more support, it will request the applicant to submit a video of current practice other than a first session, along with an analysis of the session(s) in terms of models utilised and the efficacy of interventions.