A professional association consists of a group of people sharing the same type of education or profession, who have joined together to be able to manage certain matters collectively. Professional associations represent the interests of their members. In doing so, they take on various tasks. This allows them to assess the quality of training, maintain contact with health insurers and ensure that a profession gets more recognition. They can also arrange information days and meetings for members. Furthermore, most professional associations have a complaints officer and a disputes committee that members can make use of.
Potential benefits of membership
- You can make use of a complaints procedure/disputes committee (see below).
- You can make use of collective health insurance and professional liability insurance.
- You can make use of further training offered by the professional association.
- Contact with colleagues/peers.
- Depending on the professional association, the health insurer and the client’s policy, health insurance costs can be fully or partially reimbursed. (Please note: this is only possible with a supplementary insurance package).
When to join?
Becoming a member of a professional association is not compulsory, but if you are going to be a self-employed person in the (complementary) care sector, it is highly recommended due to the obligations of the Wet Kwaliteit Klachten Geschillen Zorg (Dutch law of quality, complaints and disputes in care; WKKGZ).
As a coach/counsellor with your own practice, you are a caregiver in the complementary healthcare sector. This means you must comply with certain obligations. One of those obligations, based on the WKKGZ, is to offer clients the option of both a complaints officer and a dispute settlement body. Professional associations often offer the option of joining their dispute settlement scheme. Be sure to check well in advance whether the professional association in question is actually affiliated with a disputes committee assessed by the Healthcare Inspectorate; otherwise, you will still not meet the requirements of the WKKGZ. For more information, see www.counselling.nl/en/legal-obligations-as-coach-counsellor/.
If you do not join a professional association, you still have to take other measures to make sure you comply with the WKKGZ. You can, for example, take a look at other organisations that cover the WKKGZ terms specifically for self-employed professionals in the care sector.
Where to join?
Dutch professional association: LVSC
The ACC works together with the LVSC (National Association for Supervisors and Coaches). As a student at the ACC, you can become a member of the LVSC and register as an ‘Aspirant-Registercoach (prospective register coach). After successful completion of our two-year programme (Coaching and Counselling Year 1 and 2), it is possible to register as a Register Coach*.
With an LVSC professional registration you show that you have a solid education and background as a coach, and that you continue to gain sufficient experience, follow recognized further training and participate in intervision meetings with your peers.
LVSC recognition of ACC training programme
Our training programmes ‘Coaching and Counselling Year 1’ and ‘Coaching and Counselling Year 2’ have officially been recognized/certified by the LVSC, which means that you can register with the LVSC as a Register Coach after completing both years. In the meantime, while still studying, it is possible to register as a student-member and as an ‘Aspirant-Registercoach’ (prospective register coach)*.
* Students who have started their ACC training programme before September 2019 can also become a member of the LVSC. In addition, if they have a diploma of the second year programme that has started after september 2020, they can become a Register Coach as well. In other words: students who have followed the first year with the old ACC and the second year with the new ACC can become a Register Coach at the LVSC. Students who have finished the full two-year-programme with the old ACC, can become an LVSC member, but not a Register Coach.
International professional association: IAC
The ACC is certified by the IAC (International Association for Counselling). This means that our institute and training programmes meet the standards of the IAC.
As an ACC student you can join the IAC. This means, amongst other things, that you can use the network of the IAC, participate in seminars and webinars, and that you will be sent the quarterly magazine with international articles and news in the field of counselling.
Please note: Joining the IAC will not be sufficient to meet the legal obligations as a coach in the Netherlands. For this, you will also have to join a Dutch professional association, or at least a disputes committee. Furthermore, it does not mean that you will be able to work internationally anywhere you please as a coach/counsellor. Please always check carefully what the local laws and regulations are per country you want to practice in. This really varies per country!
You can read more about the IAC-certification here.
Other professional associations
The list of Dutch professional associations in complementary care is enormous, and each professional association has its own conditions for admission. If you want to join a professional association other than the LVSC, we advise you to inquire at the professional association of your choice about its admission requirements.