Frequently Asked Questions

APACS > Frequently Asked Questions

General Public

What is APACS?

APACS is the acronym for Association of Psychotherapists and Counsellors (Singapore).


Is APACS an legal entity?

Yes! The association was legally registered with the Singapore Registrar of Society in February 2012. For more information on the Executive Committee, click here.


What is counselling?

Counselling is a process that focuses on enhancing the psychological well-being of an individual. This is done by assisting and guiding the individual to resolve issues, difficulties, and / or problems in personal, social and / or psychological. Coming for counselling allows an individual to reach his full potential and live an enriching life.


What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is the short form of the term Psychological Therapy. It is similar to counselling with exception of having the mental health practitioner to use a form of techniques or tools to help an individual to become better. In today’s context, contemporary psychotherapy are short-termed, having no clear distinction from counselling.


What is a Counsellor?

Counsellors are trained mental health clinicians. Most Counsellors in Singapore have a master’s degree in the field of Counselling. However, they may or may not have psychology / psychology-related degree (e.g. counselling, social work, nursing, etc). Counsellors are trained in the art of providing counselling to clients. Not all counselling master’s programme equip Counsellors with a psychotherapeutic tool or research skills. Many of them further their training in a specific psychotherapy modality after graduation.


What is a Psychologist?

A Psychologist is a trained individual in psychology. Most psychologists (with exception of applied psychologist) focus on research in studying human mind and behaviours.


What is a Counselling Psychologist?

Counselling Psychologists belongs to the group of Applied Psychologists. They received similar training as Counsellors, with the added focus of psychological assessment and psychological research. While Counselling Psychologists are trained in the art of providing counselling to clients, their undergraduate degree in psychology may help them to identify the root causes of clients’ issues better. Counselling Psychologist works primarily in the community settings and/ or private settings.


What is a Clinical Psychologist?

Clinical Psychologists belongs to the group of Applied Psychologists. They are trained in both the science (medical) and applied arts of psychology. They may work closely with the client with severe issues such as but not limited to brain injuries (e.g. missing half a brain due to car accident) and / or developmental issues (e.g. autism spectrum disorder). Clinical Psychologists primarily works in hospital / medical settings. There are also many who works in the community and / or private settings.


What is a Psychotherapist?

Most mental health clinicians who are trained in a specific set of psychotherapy tools may call themselves Psychotherapist. Some examples are Hypnotherapist, Art Psychotherapist, Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, Play Therapist, etc. Many Psychologists and Counsellors may call themselves as psychotherapists to appeal better to the public.


What about Psychiatrist?

Psychiatrist are trained medical doctors in the area of mental health. They perform psychiatric evaluation and prescribe psychiatric medication for patients. Psychiatrists may not be trained in counselling and / or psychotherapy.


Why do I need to seek help from Counsellors or Psychotherapist?

While Psychiatrists can prescribe psychiatric medication, perform psychiatric evaluation, and issue a medical certificate, Counsellors and Psychotherapists can provide counselling and psychotherapy respectively. In addition, Counsellors and Psychotherapists may be able to perform certain psychological assessments and / or diagnosis if they are trained to perform.



Mental Health Practitioners / APACS Members

Is the membership affordable?

Yes, please refer to the online application form here to find out more.


Why another association for mental health?

APACS is here to protect the interests of all mental health professionals in Singapore. We are an inclusive association and are here to assist mental health professionals to grow in their clinical competencies. Fresh graduates from mental health-related programmes (e.g. Psychology, Counselling) are most welcomed to join our family.

APACS advocates for the mental health professional’s community in Singapore. We work closely with many key organisations to advocate for our members. These includes but not limited to the Healthcare Services Employees’ Union (HSEU), National Trade Union Congress (NTUC), and the National Council of Social Service (NCSS).


What are the benefits of joining APACS?

The mental health in Singapore is currently self-regulated. Working with various industries and governmental bodies, both locally and internationally, APACS provides members with the professional recognition, skills enhancement training, and networking opportunities. For more information on membership benefits, click here.


Am I able to seek employment in the mental health / healthcare industry?

You can seek employment as a Counsellor or Psychotherapist even without joining APACS as a member. However, as an APACS member, you would be provided with networking opportunities to meet and interact with people from the counselling and psychotherapy industry to learn from one another. APACS also provides the professional recognition of your knowledge and skills in counselling and / or psychotherapy. In addition, being a member of an association puts you in a better position if you are looking for employment in the future.


Am I able to join APACS if I do not have a Psychology / Counselling Degree?

Yes. You may join us as an Ordinary if you have a degree or diploma in an unrelated field and if you would like to eventually pursue advanced education and training to become a practitioner with us.

As a non-practitioner Ordinary Member, you may be required to complete an APACS Bridging course consist of identified modules by the Executive Committee. Alternatively, you may complete an APACS accredited course.

If you are currently a student, you may join us as a student member.

Social work, nursing and other allied health practitioners are welcome to join us.


I have a master’s degree in counselling with 100 hours of supervised face-to-face. Am I able to join APACS as a Practitioner?

No. You would be required to accumulate another 50 face-to-face clinical hours before registering for Level 1 Practitioner status. The criteria for Level 1 Practitioner is 150 hours of clinical hours.


I have a bachelor’s degree in counselling. Am I able to join APACS as a Practitioner?

Yes, if you have also completed 150 hours of supervised practicum hours. You may join us as a Level 1 Practitioner.

Upon successful completion of another 150 hours, you may request for Level 2 Practitioner (300 hours in total.)


What is APACS Bridging Course?

APACS Bridging Course is a series of modules designed to help APACS members to bridge the knowledge and skills gap that may be missing from their previous coursework. APACS members may take up to a maximum of three modules, identified by the Executive Committee.


How do I register as a Level 4S Supervisor?

You must be an APACS Level 4 Practitioner and complete the APACS accredited course “Certification in Professional Counselling Supervision”.


I am a mental health practitioner registered with APACS. I have been bullied and harassed by XXX (person / organisation). Help!

Please lodge a police report to seek legal investigation. If that person is a registered mental health professional, you are advised to lodge a formal complaint to the appropriate association that the person is registered to, and update APACS for recording purposes. You are encouraged to keep all communications in written form (email, SMS, WhatsApp, recorded phone call, recorded video call) You may approach APACS for legal advice through our free legal clinic services.



Professional Indemnity Insurance

What is the eligibility for application for the APACS Professional Indemnity Insurance?

Only Practitioners (L1 to L4S) can apply for our APACS Professional Indemnity Insurance.


How long is the coverage?

The coverage is from 1 Jan to 31 Dec of each year if you renew/apply before 1 Jan of the following year. If you apply in the midst of the year, the coverage will start from the time you made payment to 31 Dec of the same year. When you renew, the coverage will be from 1 Jan to 31 Dec of the following year.