SAC Frequently Asked Questions – January 2017 Update

I have just started doing a counselling course, can I become an SAC member?

Yes, you can apply to be a student member. The Annual Membership Fees for all categories of member is $80.00 from January 2017. Please go to http://www.sac-counsel.org.sg/join-sac-renewal/  for more details.

I have just graduated from a counselling course, can I become an SAC member?

Yes, you can apply to be a provisional clinical member if you wish to become a clinical member and registered counsellor in the future. Otherwise, if you can apply to be an associate member, or an allied member if you are working in the field of mental health. The Annual Membership Fee for all categories of members is $80.00 from January 2017. Please go to http://www.sac-counsel.org.sg/join-sac-renewal/  for more details.

Can lay people become a member of SAC?

Yes, lay people who are interested in supporting counselling can become associate members. The Annual Membership Fee for all categories of members is $80.00 from January 2017. Please go to http://www.sac-counsel.org.sg/join-sac-renewal/  for more details.  

I have just graduated from a counselling course, how do I become an SAC Registered Counsellor?

Firstly, you need to check if your counselling course is a recognized course by SAC at http://www.sac-counsel.org.sg/courses/ . If the course is recognized, understand that you are only allowed to start clocking the hours after the course has ended. This means that you cannot use hours you had clocked during your training and practicum.

While you are working your way to be a Registered Counsellor, you can apply to be a Provisional Clinical Member once you have clocked at least 100 hours of clinical work and 10 hours of clinical supervision, and work your way to become a clinical member and registered counsellor.

Why are there so many requirements for one to become a Clinical Member or SAC Registered Counsellor?

We set stringent requirements because there are high standards of training and practice that the public and government agencies can associate with the SAC Registered Counsellor. As there is a lack of legislation for counsellors in Singapore, untrained and inexperienced people may call themselves counsellors without any consequence. To ensure that clients are able to get quality help for their issues, SAC sets standards and regulates counsellors who are our members. When clients are able to experience professional, ethical and effective help from counsellors, then members off the community will feel that counselling is a viable and reliable way to help solve and manage problems.

I am a master clinical member, do I need to renew my membership?

Yes, you will need to pay membership fees every year. The membership renewal cycle is in January of each calendar year. Additionally, if you are a registered counsellor, you will have to renew the registered counsellor status every two years in June, and pay the fees then. The Annual Membership Fee for all categories of members is $80.00 from January 2017. Please go to http://www.sac-counsel.org.sg/join-sac-renewal/  for more details.  

I am a clinical member, do I need to renew my membership?

Yes, you will need to pay membership fees every year. The membership renewal cycle is in January of each calendar year. Additionally, if you are a registered counsellor, you will have to renew the registered counsellor status every two years in June, and pay the fees then. The Annual Membership Fee for all categories of members is $80.00 from January 2017. Please go to http://www.sac-counsel.org.sg/join-sac-renewal/  for more details.  

I am a provisional clinical member, do I need to renew my membership?

Yes, you will need to pay membership fees every year. The membership renewal cycle is in January of each calendar year. The Annual Membership Fee for all categories of members is $80.00 from January 2017. Please go to http://www.sac-counsel.org.sg/join-sac-renewal/  for more details.  

I am an associate member, do I need to renew my membership?

Yes, you will need to pay membership fees every year. The membership renewal cycle is in January of each calendar year. The Annual Membership Fee for all categories of members is $80.00 from January 2017. Please go to http://www.sac-counsel.org.sg/join-sac-renewal/  for more details.  

I am a student member, do I need to renew my membership?

Yes, you will need to pay membership fees every year. The membership renewal cycle is in January of each calendar year. The Annual Membership Fee for all categories of members is $80.00 from January 2017. Please go to http://www.sac-counsel.org.sg/join-sac-renewal/  for more details.  

I am an allied member, do I need to renew my membership?

Yes, you will need to pay membership fees every year. The membership renewal cycle is in January of each calendar year. The Annual Membership Fee for all categories of members is $80.00 from January 2017. Please go to http://www.sac-counsel.org.sg/join-sac-renewal/  for more details.  

How do I become a Recognised Clinical Supervisor?

To become a Recognized Clinical supervisor, you must first be a SAC Registered Counsellor in good standing, have done at least 1000 hours of clinical work, have been trained in clinical supervision, and have been a professional counsellor for at least five(5) years. When you meet the requirements and have your supervisor or director of your workplace to sign for your application, you can submit the form to become a Recognized Clinical Supervisor.  From January 2017, there will be an application/renewal fee of $50.00 for Recognized Clinical Supervisors. Renewal to remain on the Register of Recognized Clinical Supervisors will be required every 2 years. Please go to http://www.sac-counsel.org.sg/clinical-supervisors/ for more details.

If I have applied to be a clinical member but I have not met the criteria, what will happen?

 Depending on the criteria that is not met, SAC may approve your application to be a different category of membership, and email you about what requirement you will need to fulfill to become our member. You will expect to hear from the secretariat about your application within 3 months from the date of submission.

I have submitted my papers to become a SAC member, when will I expect to become a member?

It could take up to 3 months to process your application depending on whether all documents are properly submitted

Why have I not heard from SAC after I submitted my papers to become a member?

 Please email admin@sac-counsel.org.sg   and saccommsteam@gmail.com  to check if the secretariat has received your application. You can also call the Secretariat Office at 62517040 to ask about your application.

How come it takes so long for SAC to approve my membership?

Membership applications submitted to SAC will first need to reach the Secretariat office, then submitted to EXCO for approval. As EXCO only meets once in two (2) months for meeting, if your application only reach the secretariat or is processed after the monthly meeting date, your application will only be presented in the following month for discussion.

 In the straightforward case, when all hours and documents required are submitted satisfyingly, the membership will be approved, and you will be informed by the secretariat by email that your documents have been approved, and following your payment of membership fees, you will become a SAC member.

 However, if your documentation is incomplete, or that you do not have enough hours, or that your supervisor is of dubious background and qualification, or that your counselling training is not recognized or needs to be checked, or that you did not have the proper signatories, your application will not be approved immediately. What may happen is that the secretariat will communicate with you to inform you of what is lacking, and ask you to furnish the necessary documents, or they will suggest that you become a member of a different membership category.

 Therefore, a lot depends on when you respond, when you furnish the missing documents, and when the secretariat process your forms. Due to the varying situations, you may become a SAC member from two weeks to however number of months it takes for you to furnish your documents. It will be realistic to estimate that you can become a SAC member in two to three months. 

Does SAC have any events?

Yes, SAC has its Annual General Meeting in the month of March each year, and other events like In Conversation with the EXCO, seminars, and other peer learning activities. Please email saccommsteam@gmail.com  so that we can update/add your name on the mailing list, and send information of events to you. 

Does SAC have any networking events?

Yes, SAC hold several networking events a year. Please email saccommsteam@gmail.com  so that we can update/add your name on the mailing list, and send information of events to you. 

Why was I not informed of the events at SAC?

 Please email admin@sac-counsel.org.sg   and saccommsteam@gmail.com  for us to update/add your email to our system, so that we can inform you when we have any SAC events.

Does SAC have counselling rooms that we can use?

Currently, SAC does not have counselling rooms that we rent out to members. However, this is something that we are looking into and may be available in the near future. 

Is SAC a centre that does counselling?

SAC is not a centre that does counselling, but an association for competent counsellors in Singapore. On our website, you can find a list of registered counsellors whom you may wish to seek consultation from. These counsellors have all gone through rigorous training, have at least 600 hours of counselling work done, and has been supervised for at least 60 hours by qualified clinical supervisors for them to attain the registered counsellor status.

Does SAC have a library?

SAC does not currently have a library. However, this is something that we are looking into and may be available in the near future.  

How to know more news about SAC?

You can go to our website at http://www.sac-counsel.org.sg  to find out more about SAC.  

Who is in the current EXCO of SAC?

 You can find out the latest information about the current EXCO at http://www.sac-counsel.org.sg/sac-committees/

How long has SAC been established?

SAC was formed in 1982 and has been registered as an association since March 1983. SAC became a full member of the National Council of Social Services in April 2016.

If I am an SAC member what benefits do I get?

Some of the benefits you can enjoy as a SAC member includes:

 – Work opportunities in many government, corporations, VWOs, institutions and agencies as it becoming the norm to require applicants looking for a counseling position to be an SAC member

– Credibility as an ethical, professional and well-trained counsellor

– Enjoy preferential rates for Professional Indemnity

– Free seminars and workshops

– Networking sessions with over seven hundred members

– Bimonthly news bulletin

– Biannual e-magazine

– Membership card

– Opportunity to join subcommittees and serve the community

Do SAC members get better employment opportunities?

Yes. It is now becoming the norm for government agencies and other large corporations and VWOs to prefer the counsellors they hire to be an SAC member.

How do I become a volunteer at SAC?

You can contact members of the subcommittee to ask them about volunteering at the specific subcommittees, or contact members of the Executive Committee directly to volunteer. Alternatively, you may wish to email saccommsteam@gmail.com  for us to link you up to the respective subcommittees.

Is there a Crisis Response Team at SAC?

Yes, from January 2017 SAC has officially set up a Crisis Response Team of Counselors. SAC networks with SGSecure to respond to local emergencies when mobilized.

How do I get into the Crisis Response Team at SAC?

To sign-up for the Crisis Response Team, please write to president@sac-counsel.org.sg

How do I join the subcommittee as a member?

You can contact members of the subcommittee to ask them about volunteering at the specific subcommittees, or contact members of the Executive Committee directly to volunteer. Alternatively, you may wish to email saccommsteam@gmail.com for us to link you up to the respective subcommittees.

Can I find job opportunities as a member of SAC?

Yes. SAC will include job opportunities in the bimonthly news bulletin we send out to members. We also send such information via the secretariat occasionally.

Can I advertise my services via SAC?

Yes. SAC will circulate information relevant to counsellors via the bimonthly news bulletin, or via email by the secretariat. If you are an SAC member, you are able to broadcast one service or course one time for free. Repeated broadcasts are chargeable. Please contact the secretariat for more information about the charges.

What if people falsely state that they are SAC Registered Counsellors when they are not?

Please inform the EXCO and email the Honorary Secretary and President about the matter, specifying who, where and when this false statement occurred. SAC will address the matter and ensure that the person desist such claims. SAC may also inform organizations that are affected by this misrepresentation.

What can I do if I suspect an SAC member who misconducts or malpractices?

 Please email the Ethics Board at ethicsboard@sac-counsel.org.sg if you wish to report the matter, or seek advice on what to do with the information. The Ethics Board will guide you in what can be done.

What can I do if I do not know whether the counselor or psychotherapist who misconducts or malpractices is an SAC member ?

 Please email the Ethics Board at ethicsboard@sac-counsel.org.sg if you wish to report the matter, or seek advice on what to do with the information. The Ethics Board will investigate to the best of their ability. However, we are only able to attend to practitioners who are official members of SAC. The Ethics Board or the EXCO may propose other options for you to pursue the matter.

Why do Registered Counsellors need to get Professional Indemnity?

With competence and professionalism comes responsibility. Like other international counselling associations of impeccable standing, being a recognized/licensed therapist means that there is a high volume of counselling work conducted, and with it comes the responsibility to protect the interest of the client, theg practitioner and the practice. Being required to have professional indemnity means that one has reached a certain professional standing. This professional indemnity also protects the member should the member be involved overseas or on international platforms for counselling, consultation, clinical supervision or training.

Can I buy Professional Indemnity if I am not a Registered Counsellor?

Yes, you can purchase the SAC group Professional Indemnity as long as you are a member of SAC in good standing.

Can I buy Professional Indemnity if I am not a SAC member?

No, the SAC group Professional Indemnity is only available to members.

How do I buy Professional Indemnity?

Please email admin@sac-counsel.org.sg to find out more from the SAC Secretariat.

My company has a group policy for Professional Indemnity, is there still a need to buy the SAC Professional Indemnity?

Your organization’s group Professional Indemnity policy will cover your requirement if you are a Registered Counsellor. However, we recommend you to purchase Professional  Indemnity for yourself, as the policy will no longer cover your practice when you leave the service. Nevertheless, clients whom you have counselled during your term in the organization can still choose to pursue legal action after you have resigned, and you may have to handle the legal matters without any insurance coverage.

I am a SAC Registered counsellor, do I need to renew my membership?

Yes. The maximum term for Registered Counsellor status is two years, starting from June of each calendar year. If you apply to be a Registered Counsellor or renew your registered counsellor status after June, the length of term will still expire in June of the second calendar year. Note that for a successful application or renewal to occur, your submitted documentation needs to be approved, you need to show proof of having professional indemnity, and you will need to pay your registered counsellor fees for the term.

 When the term of your Registered Counsellor status has ended, SAC will remove your name from our list of registered counsellors on our website and also in our list offline. Your name will be listed again once your Registered Counsellor renewal is approved and you have met the other criteria required.

How long is the term of being a Registered Counsellor? When do I need to renew my Registered Counsellor status?

The maximum term for Registered Counsellor status is two years, starting from June of each calendar year. If you apply to be a Registered Counsellor or renew your Registered Counsellor status after June, the length of term will still expire in June of the second calendar year.

 To enjoy the maximum term as a Registered Counsellor, it will be good to submit your renewal from late April in the year that your Registered Counsellor status expires.

Why am I charged $200 when I renew my Registered Counsellor status?

From 2016, SAC will collect the fees for being on the Register of Counsellors for the entire term (2 years) during the renewal process.

Why did I not get a SAC Membership Card?

As the membership card is not produced by the secretariat, the team does not have details such as your identification number or photograph to produce the membership card. To get your SAC Membership Card, you can email your full name, identification number and photograph to saccommsteam@gmail.com and we would send you an acknowledgement once we have received the information. We will inform you once the membership card is ready to be mailed to your mailing address.

Why didn’t I receive my SAC Membership Card?

If you had made a request to make your membership card after furnishing details such as identification number and photograph, please email saccommsteam@gmail.com  to enquire about your card. We will send you an email to inform you when the membership card was sent out, but it could be lost in the mail, or sent to your previous mailing address.

Why does it take so long to make my SAC Membership Card?

Volunteers typically collect the information from members to make the card, so when there is low demand, we would wait until we have at least particulars from seven members before we proceed to send the information to the card manufacturer. After the card is produced by the vendor, we would send a volunteer to collect the cards, and do post processing to prepare the cards for mailing. Therefore, it typically takes two to three weeks from sending the cards to the manufacturers, to sending the cards to you by mail. However the wait for the collection of a minimum seven cards may take two to four months.

Why is SAC not responding to my calls or emails?

 Please email saccommsteam@gmail.com  or the President (president@sac-counsel.org.sg ) and Honorary Secretary (secretary@sac-counsel.org.sg ) directly so that we can respond to you quicker. For new applicants who wish to follow-up on the process of their application please write to (application@sac-counsel.org.sg )

How much is the membership fee?

From January 1 2017  the annual membership fee for all categories of membership is $80.

Why is my name not on the list of registered counsellors when I am a clinical member?

If you are a clinical member but not a Registered Counsellor, it means that at some point of time, you may have lapsed the renewal of your Registered Counsellor status.

To recover your Registered Counsellor status, you need to clock 400 hours of clinical hours within the previous two (2) years, 50 hours of continuing professional education, purchase Professional Indemnity and pay the necessary fees to be listed on the Register. Your name will then be reinstated on the Register.

Why is my name not on the list of Registered Counsellors on the SAC website?

Only members who have fulfilled the requirements to be a Registered Counsellor and have applied and approved to be Registered Counsellors will have their names on the Register. If you had inadvertently lapsed the renewal of your Registered Counsellor status, your name will be removed from the list.

However, if you have recently received confirmation of your registered counsellor status, but fail to see your name on the list, please email the Honourary Secretary at (secretary@sac-counsel.org.sg) directly so that we can rectify the error rapidly.

Why is my name no longer on the list of Registered Counsellors on the SAC website?

Your name is removed from the list of Registered Counsellors when you have lapsed the renewal of your Registered Counsellor status. To recover your Registered Counsellor status, you need to clock 400 hours of clinical hours, 50 hours of continuing professional education, purchase professional indemnity and pay the necessary fees to be listed on the Register again.