BPsych Equivalent; am I just repeating my Honours?

The professional BPsych Equivalent (Registered Counsellor) programme is fast becoming a popular alternative for students that are looking to register with the HPCSA as a Registered Counsellor.

As the competition for entry into professional Masters programmes grows each year, the BPsych Equivalent qualification provides an incredible opportunity for students and graduates to make progress towards a professional registration with the HPCSA. The benefit of this registration is that graduates are able to practice independently in the field of professional Psychology; gaining experience while earning money.

BPsych graduates that wish to study further have the opportunity to articulate vertically towards a professional Masters degree and register with the HPCSA as a Psychologist. Students that decide to follow this route have the additional benefit of entering into Masters Selection Season with practical experience in the field.

Despite the BPsych Equivalent’s popularity, there are still a number of questions that students commonly ask in regards to the programme. Cognition & Co have compiled a list of frequently asked questions surrounding this programme, and provided comprehensive answers so that individuals considering this route can gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the course and registration.

This article focuses specifically on the Registered Counsellor BPsych Equivalent. You can find out more about the Psychometric BPsych Equivalent HERE.

What is a BPsych Equivalent (Registered Counsellor)?

A BPsych Equivalent (Bachelor of Psychology Equivalent) is a professional capping programme that allows for one to convert their academic qualification to a professional qualification. Being a professional programme means that the qualification is practical in nature and therefore can only be completed in a full-time capacity. Training is 18 months in total, and includes a 720 hour supervised practicum. Upon completion of the 18 month programme and practicum, individuals may then apply to write their national HPCSA board exam, to prove their level of practical and ethical competency following training. Once passed, graduates will register with the HPCSA as a Registered Counsellor for Independent Practice.

How is a BPsych Equivalent different from an Honours in Psychology?

As mentioned above, a BPsych Equivalent is a professional qualification, whereas a BA, BSocSci, BSc Honours is purely academic. What this means is that the content covered within an Honours qualification encompasses the historical, conceptual, and theoretical aspects associated with Psychology; however there is no practical training. Due to this lack of practical training under supervision, an Honours qualification does not meet the global training standards for professional Psychology and therefore graduates will not be able to register with the HPCSA with an Honours alone.

Am I just repeating my Honours if I do a BPsych Equivalent?

No. Although both qualifications hold the same NQF level (level 8), the content and presentation of the qualifications are significantly different. While an Honours degree covers the historical, conceptual, and theoretical aspects of Psychology, a BPsych Equivalent trains individuals to ethically intervene using practical therapeutics. From an Honours to a BPsych Equivalent, the focus shifts from understanding theory to applying practical counselling interventions is a safe and ethical manner. There is indeed an academic component to a BPsych Equivalent, but again the nature of this academic work is to further enhance practical skills for real-world use.

Will I get credits from my Honours if I do a BPsych Equivalent?

No. As these qualifications are so different in nature, universities are not able to provide credits from an Honours degree to a BPsych Equivalent. Having an Honours may provide a students with a theoretical edge, however all students entering a BPsych Equivalent will have no formal practical training and therefore will need to begin with the basics and fundamental aspects of practical therapeutics.

Why can I not just do the 720 hour practicum?

Students completing professional training must be monitored by the HPCSA as a means of creating an understanding of the ethical nature of professional Psychology. Students are therefore held partially responsible for their actions during training where disobeying statutory regulations can incur substantial ramifications. For this reason, student’s completing a BPsych Equivalent must be registered with the HPCSA as a Student Registered Counsellor (SRC number). The only way in which one can apply to obtain this student registration is to submit proof of registration to an accredited BPsych Equivalent programme.

We hope that this has post has been informative in answering your questions surrounding the BPsych Equivalent programme offered around South Africa. Registered Counsellors play an important role in the field of mental health and we encourage students interested in this career path to pursue it.

If you are interested in studying a BPsych Equivalent, please follow THIS link to find out which universities offer the qualification.

If there is anything else you would like to know about these qualifications, please do not hesitate to contact the Cognition & Co team.

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