Registered Counsellor

According to the Health Professions Council of South Africa, the role of the Registered Counsellor is to make psychological services accessible to the diverse South African population and to provide short-term psychological and preventative interventions that focus on support and promote the enhancement of wellbeing in community contexts.

Registered Counsellors are psychological professionals who perform psychological screening, basic assessment and technically limited psychological interventions with individuals and groups, aiming at enhancing personal functioning in a variety of contexts including education, work, sport, non-governmental organizations, Non Profit Organisations and community.

​A Registered Counsellor provides short-term, supportive counselling, psycho-education and psychological assessments, e.g. intellectual or scholastic abilities, aptitude, interests, career placement, personality profiling.

The scope of practice for a Registered Counsellor, a separate category to Psychologists, as set out by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is as follows:

1. Psychological Intervention

Registered counsellors enhance personal functioning of children, adults, families and communities. They perform a range of supportive and compensatory psychological interventions with children, adults, families and communities.

They do this through:
Individual or Group counselling
Psycho-education and training workshops

2. Psychological Assessment

Registered counsellors may practice general screening assessments requiring the interpretation of psychological functions (e.g. intellectual, scholastic abilities, aptitude and interests).

3. Project Implementation and Management

Registered counsellors can implement and manage formalized, structured short-term intervention at the primary curative/preventative level across the full scope of psychology. This intervention requires the application of concrete and predetermined decision-making rules.

4. Policy & Standards Implementation

Registered counsellors are able to assist with policy formulation based on various aspects of psychological theory and research. They can also participate in the designing, management and evaluation of psychologically based programmes in diverse settings and organizations such as health, education, labour and correctional services.

5. Professional Practice & Referral

Registered counsellors can identify symptoms or reasons for referrals to professionals within the health care system.

6. Research

Registered counsellors can conduct and report on research projects and implement findings in policy and practice.

7. Consulting

Registered Counsellors can act as a consultant at the primary curative/preventative level across the full scope of psychology. Registered Counsellors do not diagnose or treat pathology but in such a case will refer a client to the appropriate registered health care professional.

Registered counsellors in private practice, registered with the BHF (Board of Healthcare funders:, are issued with a practice number and their fees are guided by suggested medical aid tariffs enabling clients to then claim through their medical aids.

To find out more about where you can study a BPsych and become a Registered Counsellor, click this link.

Listen to our Registered Counsellor Podcast episode by clicking HERE. The Cognition & Co Podcast is available on all major Podcast streaming apps.

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