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Beat Guidelines for Accessing Treatment

When you use HelpFinder, you need to remember that Beat only endorses services that are "Beat Assured." You can search for Beat Assured services in the advanced search.

For private practitioners (counsellors or therapists), Beat currently has no endorsement system.

However, there are ways that you can check that the services you are using are properly registered and regulated (even if they lack the Beat Assured criteria).

NHS Services


NHS Services in England are inspected by the Care Quality Commission. There are simple systems for you to register complaints and concerns. Find out how to comment/complain about a service you've received through the NHS.

Northern Ireland/Scotland/Wales

NHS Services in the devolved administrations have different arrangements for inspections and systems for making a complaint or registering concerns. For information on these NHS services visit the relevant section of the Citizen's Advice Bureau:

Northern Ireland



Private or Independent Healthcare Services

Private or independent healthcare providers run services that are not directly managed by the National Health Service. These might include private hospitals or treatment centres, counsellors, therapists, psychologists and psychotherapists.

You may be referred to one of these services by a GP or Consultant. In these cases, in England, there will be a contract between the local NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) who commissions and pays for the service) and the provider. The CCG will therefore be responsible for ensuring that the healthcare provider works to agreed quality standards and is regulated by a professional body or authority. In Wales or Scotland the local Health board would commission and pay for this service. In Northern Ireland the equivalent to CCGs are known as Local Commissioning Groups.

Many private or independent services allow you to access or refer yourself to their services directly, without seeing your GP first. This can be a way of accessing help and support sooner. However, if you do self-refer to these services, you will be responsible for paying their fees or charges. You are recommended to check that they are registered with an appropriate body.

Questions to ask when referring yourself or someone in your care to a private or independent hospital or clinic:

Does this clinic take referrals from the NHS?

If the answer is yes: ask who is responsible for monitoring and how do they do this?

If the answer is no: ask who is responsible for inspecting this service and how it is quality monitored.

Even if you are self-referring to a clinic, you are still entitled to ask questions about its registration and how it monitors quality and service standards. A clinic taking referrals from the NHS will have to fulfill criteria for standards of care set by the commissioning authority and this can be reassuring. It is also worth asking what complaints procedures the clinic has in place and how it would deal with concerns.

Is this inpatient clinic registered with the appropriate authority?

There are two regulatory bodies in England. They are:

Care Quality Commission and Ofsted

Both are responsible for registering particular types of organisation or service. The Care Quality Commission is responsible for registering and inspecting care homes, some types of adult day care and placement schemes. Ofsted is responsible for registering and inspecting Children’s Residential Care homes and therapeutic communities and some types of day care. If a clinic is not registered, you are entitled to ask why not and can always approach the relevant registering authorities for further information about how registration works. Copies of inspection reports are public documents and are downloadable from the relevant website.

In Northern Ireland/Scotland/Wales

For information on the appropriate regulatory bodies for inpatient clinics in Northern Ireland/Scotland or Wales please visit the Citizen's Advice Bureau

Questions to ask a counsellor, psychotherapist, psychologist or other independent provider:

Are they a member of or registered with a professional body?

There are a number of professional bodies that register and self-regulate counsellors and therapists. It is always worth asking if your counsellor/therapist is registered and you can also check this before you make an appointment by contacting the relevant body.

A list of some of the major professional bodies is provided below.

At the moment, there is no statutory requirement for counsellors, therapists and psychologists to be registered.

Other questions

A good practitioner should be comfortable answering the following sorts of questions:

 What qualifications do you have?

 What training have you received?

 How long have you been qualified/worked in this field?

 Do you receive on-going supervision from another therapist or practitioner?

 Do you have a complaints policy?

• What is your confidentiality policy?

If they are offering services to young people under 18, you should check if:

 They have undergone a Criminal Records Bureau check.

 They have a child protection policy.

They should tell you about how they hold information and what access clients have to their personal records, the likely length of treatment or support, the therapeutic approach they take and the fee structure.

For further information about using counsellors and therapists, Mind, the mental health charity has comprehensive information, visit

Professional Bodies

This is a list of some of the professional bodies which regulate counselling, psychology and psychotherapy or register individual practitioners.

The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)

The BACP has over 20,000 registered counsellors and psychotherapists. BACP registered counsellors’ work to a comprehensive ethics framework and the BACP will investigate causes of concern and complaints about individual practitioners.

The British Psychological Society (BPS)

This is the representative body for psychology and psychologists in the UK. Anyone can call themselves a psychologist or psychotherapist but only someone registered with the BPS can call themselves a Chartered Psychologist. A Chartered Psychologist has to achieve a level of qualifications and undergone relevant training. BPS keep a register of members and you can contact them to check out an individual. They will also investigate concerns about Chartered Psychologists.

United Kingdom Council of Psychotherapy (UKCP)

UKCP keeps a register of psychotherapists who have been trained to a certain level and be a member of an appropriate organisation like BACP. They must agree to an approved code of ethics and are accountable to the UKCP’s Complaints and Appeals Procedure.

Other disciplines

A number of other disciplines including Hypnotherapy and complementary medicine have their own representative organisations and registers, these include:

National Register of Hypnotherapists and Psychotherapists

British Hypnotherapy Association

British Psychoanalytic Council Institute for Complementary and Natural Medicine