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Masters Degrees (Talking Therapies)

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Our stimulating PGDip Psychological Intervention (CBT) programme provides comprehensive teaching in cognitive behavioural therapy through a rich range of learning experiences, providing opportunities to integrate theory with practice in cognitive behavioural models. Read more
Our stimulating PGDip Psychological Intervention (CBT) programme provides comprehensive teaching in cognitive behavioural therapy through a rich range of learning experiences, providing opportunities to integrate theory with practice in cognitive behavioural models.

This ensures that graduates can provide a high quality talking therapy to service users.


Our PGDip Psychological Intervention programme is a well-established course offering high-quality training to individuals working within psychological therapy services.

The programme addresses real-world challenges with teaching on relevant service issues, clinical presentations and input from service users themselves.

Master-classes from leaders in the field of cognitive behavioural therapy form a key component of the training curriculum, and are complemented with lectures, workshops, video role-plays, debates, trainee presentations, experiential and self-reflective sessions.

After completion of the programme, students will be qualified to deliver high-quality and NICE-compliant cognitive behavioural therapy to adults with common mental health problems, including depression and anxiety disorders.


This programme is studied full-time over one academic year.

The trainees will spend two days a week at the University, the remaining three days a week occur at their place of work where they undertake supervised clinical practice. Six block weeks will be provided across the year, at the start of each module.

On successful completion of the programme trainees may apply for BABCP accreditation as a practitioner.
-Fundamentals of CBT 1: Theory and Research
-Fundamentals of CBT 2: Practice
-CBT for Anxiety Disorders and Depression
-Experiential, Professional and Reflective Practice in CBT 1
-CBT for Anxiety Disorders and Depression 2
-Advanced Theory and Practice in CBT 1: Further Applications and Complexity
-CBT for Anxiety Disorders and Depression 3
-Experiential, Professional and Reflective Practice in CBT 2


The course modules are delivered across two academic semesters with attendance at the University of Surrey required on Thursday and Friday.

There are also five week-long blocks of intensive workshops during the year. In addition to regular lectures, skills-based competencies will be developed through an innovative range of learning methods including experiential workshops, debates, presentations and video role-plays.

Weekly clinical group supervision for training cases will also be provided by members of the course team. Trainees will be expected to undertake self-directed study and will have access to the University Library and online resources.


-Enable trainees to achieve the indicative content as laid down by the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) National Curriculum for high intensity Cognitive Behaviour Therapy course, in conjunction with the British Association of Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy requirements for Level 2 course accreditation
-Ensure that trainees are prepared to practise safely and effectively, and in such a way that the protection of the public is assured, adhering to BABCP code of conduct
-Enable the trainees to utilise, integrate and evaluate the evidence base available for the delivery of CBT
-Enable trainees’ achievement of knowledge, understanding and skill acquisition as well as the development of critical thinking, problem solving and reflective capacities essential to complex professional practice
-Enable trainees to select the relevant psychological theory and research that will be appropriate to the service contexts in which it is delivered
-Trainees to be committed to the maintenance, development and delivery of high intensity clinical practice
-Trainees to be committed to consultation/collaboration with service users and carers
-Trainees to be able to function effectively, professionally and responsibly within Increasing Access to Psychological Therapy services
-Trainees to be aware of, responsive to, and able to represent the changing needs of the Profession
-Trainees to be sensitive and responsive to difference and diversity in clients
-Trainees to be able to understand, and effectively communicate, with clients
-Trainees to be able to integrate a scientist practitioner/reflective practitioner approach in their work
-Trainees to be aware of the need to foster their own personal and professional development and to look after their own emotional and physical well-being

At the end of the course trainees will be able to:
-Construct maintenance and developmental CBT conceptualisations for depression and anxiety disorders
-Develop CBT specific treatment plans
-Practise CBT with depression and anxiety disorders systematically, creatively and with good clinical outcome
-Deal with complex issues arising in CBT practice
-Take personal responsibility for clinical decision-making in straightforward as well as more complex situations
-Demonstrate self-direction and originality in tackling and solving therapeutic problems
-Practise as “scientist practitioners,” advancing their knowledge and understanding and developing new skills to a high level
-Demonstrate a systematic knowledge of the principles of CBT and the evidence base for the application of CBT techniques
-Demonstrate a systematic knowledge of CBT for depression and anxiety disorders
-Demonstrate a critical understanding of the theoretical and research evidence for cognitive behaviour models, and an ability to evaluate the evidence
-Demonstrate an ability to sensitively adapt CBT, and ensure equitable access, taking into account cultural and social differences and values


Knowledge and understanding
-Knowledge and understanding of adult clients with mental health problems
-Knowledge of professional and ethical guidelines
-Knowledge and understanding of the cognitive behaviour therapy, its basic principles, and the rationale for treatment
-Knowledge and understanding of the common cognitive biases relevant to cbt
-Knowledge and critical understanding of the theoretical and research evidence of cbt models and ability to evaluate evidence
-Knowledge of cbt for depression and anxiety disorders
-Understanding of the need to adapt cbt to ensure access to diverse cultures and values.

Intellectual / cognitive skills
-Demonstrate an ability to study independently and proactively to meet the needs of the clients in clinical practice and academic study
-Understand and evaluate clinical application of research evidence within a diagnostic and research context
-Draw upon a number of sources to develop an understanding of complex mental health problems and create comprehensive treatment plans

Professional practical skills
-Engage with clients and form and maintain therapeutic alliances
-Provide clear and comprehensive assessment of clients with mental health difficulties and identify suitability for cbt interventions
-Appraise and assess risk to the client and to others
-Make good use of supervision
-Deliver comprehensive conceptualisations of the client’s mental health difficulties within the cbt framework
-Develop and deliver specific treatment plans
-Deliver cbt with anxiety disorders and depression systematically and with good clinical outcome
-Deal with complex issues arising in cbt practice
-End therapy in planned manner and deliver long term maintenance plans

Key / transferable skills
-Communicate effectively with a wide range of service users, their carers, and service providers using a variety of means
-Make good and constructive use of supervision
-Apply a wide range of problem solving skills
-Deal with change effectively in a clinical context
-Develop a range of organisational skills (time management, work load prioritisation)
-Make good and effective use of available resources to manage personal stress
-Develop appropriate skills to evaluate academic, professional and clinical performance


The course is BABCP accredited and part of the Department of Health ‘Improving Access to Psychological Therapies’ programme (IAPT), which aims to improve access to evidence-based talking therapies in the NHS and any other qualified healthcare providers (AQP) through an expansion of the psychological therapy workforce and services.

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Applications to this course must be received by the 31st March. Any applications received after that date will be placed on hold and will be considered if places become available. Read more
Applications to this course must be received by the 31st March. Any applications received after that date will be placed on hold and will be considered if places become available. Late applicants will also be offered the opportunity to have their application considered for September 2018 entry.

Counselling is an activity and profession that provides emotional support for people experiencing problems in their lives. Studying counselling at a post-graduate level involves developing theoretical understandings, practical skills and a high level of personal awareness and resilience.

The first year of this programme begins with an introduction to counselling and practical training in the application of helping interventions, so from the outset you are engaged in skills learning. This foundation year provides counselling skills, and the experience needed to undertake a practice placement.

The subsequent two years involve a combination of teaching in theory, research, practice and professional issues, and self-development, all of which are directly linked to practice placement.

This part-time programme requires one day per week attendance.

This programme includes three exit points, these are
-End of first year: Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Skills
-End of second year: Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling Studies
-End of third year: Masters (MSc) in Counselling

Why choose this course?

This is currently the only UK programme that provides comprehensive training in the Pluralistic framework for counselling and psychotherapy integration. A key benefit of this approach is that you will train in a wide range of theories and interventions, and learn how best to adapt your counselling approach to the needs of your clients.

Abertay University has a long tradition of providing training in counselling and counselling skills. Our counselling teaching staff are respected within the profession as leaders in their field, and in coming here you will join a vibrant community of practitioners of past and current students.

We have a strong research orientation, and the Tayside counselling research centre is based on campus. There are opportunities for you to be involved in projects that are influencing and developing the role and effectiveness of counselling interventions in modern society.

As a postgraduate student you are part of our Graduate School, a dedicated facility specially designed to promote integration and inculcation of interdisciplinary working in our next generation of researchers.

What you study

The course offers a comprehensive selection of topics on talking therapies, interventions and professional practice.

The core areas include:
-The pluralistic approach to counselling and psychotherapy
-A range of theoretical approaches to counselling, such as Person Centred and Experiential, Psychodynamic, Transactional Analysis, Existential, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapies
-Practice skills in working with clients, and professional skills for working in counselling contexts
-Personal development and self-awareness
-Evidence-based practice and research methods
-Ethical and professional issues in counselling

These core areas are covered in increasing depth over the three years of the programme. In addition you will have the opportunity to take part in workshops to introduce and develop your understanding of mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, addictions, and eating disorders, along with specific approaches such as solution-focussed therapies, and mindfulness.

In combination with the one day a week attendance on campus, in year 2 and 3 you will take a placement as a counsellor as an essential part of your professional training.

Assessment is through a range of methods including case-studies, theory essays, literature reviews, practice observations, and reflective accounts, along with reports from supervisors and practice placement.

Assessment tasks are integrated in to the course and spread through the three years.

Formative assessment is ongoing and the programme team provide feedback on practice skills and activities in class.

Further info

By providing both foundational and professional training in a single programme Abertay are giving you the opportunity to undergo a three year part-time degree as a direct entry in to a counselling career.

Our graduates have moved on to work within the field of counselling, psychotherapy, social care, research and education. Some graduates choose to enter private practice, while others remain in the voluntary sector. In addition it is possible to go on to train in counselling supervision.

An MSc in Counselling also provides transferable skills, and can considerably enhance career prospects for people working in health, education, the church, criminal justice, human resource management, and the voluntary sector.

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