A new voluntary quality register for counsellors and psychotherapists has been launched.

The register will show that counsellors and psychotherapists have been vetted and approved by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care, an independent organisation that promotes the health, safety and wellbeing of health and social care service users.

It has been established by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), the professional body and charity that sets standards for therapeutic practice, and accredited under a new scheme set up by the Department of Health and administered by an independent body, accountable to Parliament.

Counsellors and psychotherapists on the register will be able to display the Accredited Voluntary Register quality mark, a sign that they belong to a register that meets the Professional Standards Authority’s robust standards.

Laurie Clarke, chief executive of BACP, said: “This accreditation is great news for counsellors, psychotherapists and their clients. By recognising the important role the profession plays in the country’s health and emotional wellbeing, it will give our members the status within the health and social care sector that they deserve.

“At the same time, given the increasing number of practitioners offering counselling services, this new safeguard provides a vital standard of service to help people select the very best counsellor or psychotherapist for them.”

Harry Cayton, chief executive of the Professional Standards Authority, added: “We are very pleased to accredit BACP’s voluntary register. Bringing counsellors and psychotherapists into a broad framework of assurance is good for clients, service users and the public and is the best way to promote quality. The scheme offers enhanced consumer protection and gives counsellors and psychotherapists the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment.”