This programme provides professional training that leads to eligibility for registration as a counselling psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and chartered status with the British Psychological Society (BPS).
This programme has recently been updated and re-validated to incorporate new BPS standards. It is at the leading edge of international developments in counselling psychology practice, research and theory; and brings together contemporary understandings from person-centred psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioural models of therapy. There is a strong emphasis on your identity and employability as a practitioner psychologist, including skills in assessment and formulation, leadership, service evaluation, psychological testing, qualitative and quantitative research methods.
The course is based on a relational pluralistic philosophy that values diversity, and promotes individual empowerment and social change. This means that we respect and value a wide range of approaches to psychological intervention and research, view relationships as central to wellbeing, and seek to enable trainees to make a positive difference both at an individual and social level through their clinical and research work.
You will join a vibrant community of practitioners and researchers, who will help you achieve your goals, and enable you to make a valuable contribution to the field of counselling psychology.
In years one and two as a trainee, you will focus on gaining clinical experience working in person-centred and psychodynamic models of therapy respectively. In year three, you will have the option of gaining experience working in a cognitive-behavioural, integrative or pluralistic model. By the end of the programme, you will have completed a minimum requirement of 450 supervised client hours in a range of placement settings.
Starting in your second year, you will work towards the production of a doctoral portfolio to showcase and integrate your learning as a counselling psychologist, across both professional practice and research domains. The portfolio contains elements, such as research papers, that you will be encouraged to submit for publication, thus further enhancing your professional contribution and employability.
During your training, you will develop key transferable skills as a practitioner psychologist, in research, psychological testing, service evaluation, team working and leadership. Your development will be closely supported and monitored throughout the programme, using formative and summative assessment, involving clinical tutors and research supervisors.
The programme is affiliated to the Centre for Research in Social and Psychological Transformation (CREST). CREST carries out world-leading research into psychological therapies. You have the option of choosing an area of doctoral inquiry that is aligned with CREST research activities. CREST also has a dedicated therapy and research clinic located at the university. This provides unique opportunities for you to engage in cutting-edge research. You can also undertake practice placements within the clinic.
Here are examples of some the modules we currently offer:
As an HCPC registered Counselling Psychologist you will be qualified to work in a range of settings, including the NHS, the voluntary sector and private practice. As well as providing psychotherapeutic interventions, your work may include providing clinical supervision, service management, teaching, research and consultancy. Click here to find out more about the scope of counselling psychology and about careers on the BPS website.
The programme offers advanced academic study of counselling and related practices. It aims to foster the development of critical reflection on the field by professionally qualified practitioners.
It complements professional training in counselling by providing students from a range of backgrounds with critical perspectives on counselling and related practices.
This programme firmly locates the practice of counselling within the field of social science enquiry. Its distinctive features include close links with professional training in counselling and with social science research concerned with counselling and society.
It includes the professionally validated Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Studies, three other substantive taught courses and a dissertation based on empirical research.
This MSc is not a full professional training in counselling. The latter is offered through the Master of Counselling (Interpersonal Dialogue), two years full-time, or the Master of Counselling, four years part-time.
Teaching and learning methods include lectures, theory seminars and independent study. Assessment is through essays and the dissertation.
The Postgraduate Certificate component involves experiential group work, practice-skills workshops and individual tutorials, with self and peer assessment and portfolio work, complementing essay-based assessment.
The programme provides a high level of student-tutor contact and close supervision of both listening practice and research, in line with professional and academic requirements.
The MSc in Counselling Studies provides:
Graduates of the MSc Counselling Studies use the degree in a variety of ways. For some it opens up employment opportunities in a range of fields, including education, policy, research and development on health and illness, emotional health and wellbeing, and counselling, often in combination with first degrees or other professional training.
The degree also enhances the career prospects of professionally qualified counsellors and practitioners. Many graduates use the MSc as a foundation for undertaking further specialist therapeutic training in the UK or abroad.
Others enhance their careers by using newly developed conceptual, analytical and research skills and may use the MSc to embark on doctoral research.
This programme provides the training in counselling and psychotherapy necessary to become eligible for BACP (British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy) individual practitioner accreditation.
The course, accredited by the BACP, is based on an integrative relational approach to counselling and psychotherapy, which has been developed over many years by our cutting-edge teaching team. Our integrative approach, at the forefront of counselling and psychotherapy theory, practice and research, incorporates aspects from three main therapeutic traditions; person-centred, cognitive and psychodynamic. You will be encouraged to explore psychological processes and experiences from these different perspectives, and recognise the theoretical, personal and cultural assumptions which influence your work.
As well as cognitive and reflective skills, you will also learn practical ways of working with your clients in a therapeutic relationship to address conscious and unconscious needs and produce a change in emotional and cognitive processes and behaviour. This involves integrating complex and advanced skills, and responding creatively to complex, novel and unpredictable situations.
Our teaching includes life-span developmental theories, therapeutic skills practice in small groups, supervision of client work in small groups, critical analysis of approaches and research into counselling and psychotherapy. You will develop a critical understanding of the role of research in the development of the counselling and psychotherapeutic disciplines, and be able to incorporate research knowledge into clinical practice. You are required to be in personal therapy throughout the course, which will help you to develop a high level of awareness of self and the therapeutic process, to be able to use this constructively in therapeutic encounters. You will be equipped with the necessary skills to work with a wide range of people with a range of psychological issues in a variety of settings.
The Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy programme is taught by means of interactive lectures and seminars, experiential skills workshops, small clinical supervision groups, and personal development work. Much of your learning will be by a process of reflection on the experience of skills practiced and the use of demonstration, observation, self, peer and tutor feedback as well as a more traditional academic study.
The course emphasises the central importance of the therapeutic relationship, and builds your understanding of a variety of theories and practices, to make informed choices about therapeutic interventions suitable for the problems which clients present. Central to developing your therapeutic skills is a sustained effort of attunement to the client as well as openness to and awareness of their and your internal processes. As well as having a theoretical understanding of these processes, from the first year you will have modules allowing you the opportunity to practice your counselling skills.
Later modules in the course will familiarise you with a variety of forms of psychological assessment, so that you are able to critically evaluate the appropriateness and limitations of the procedures and underlying concepts. As many students will go on to work in a multidisciplinary team, in particular within the NHS, they need to have an understanding and working knowledge of psychiatric diagnoses and classification systems, while being aware of their acknowledge limits and critiques.
You will have the opportunity to work with a placements co-ordinator to find a suitable counselling/psychotherapy placement in which to gain the depth and range of experience necessary to become a competent practitioner. Information on over 500 different counselling placements is available.
Here are examples of the modules:
Graduates can work in health and social services, voluntary organisations and the education in counselling field.