Masters degrees in Counselling Psychology explore psychological approaches to counselling techniques, and equip postgraduates with the skills to apply these methods within counselling and healthcare contexts.
Related subjects include Addiction Psychology and Therapeutic Counselling. Entry requirements typically include an appropriate undergraduate degree such as Counselling, Social Work or Psychology.
Counselling psychologists specialise in improving, managing and preventing mental health conditions for individuals, groups, and communities.
Courses in this field build your theoretical and empirical knowledge of the everyday processes that affect the mental health and wellbeing of various kinds of individuals. You will examine mental health from developmental perspectives, and explore specific psychological techniques in therapeutic interpersonal communication.
The kinds of topics you may be expected to help people with include career development and professional struggle, health and wellness, disability and social justice issues.
As a result, the contexts in which you may work are highly diverse. You might find roles within inpatient settings or early intervention, community mental health teams, schools and higher education, or vocational rehabilitation counselling. As well as counselling, you may explore careers in social work, or even forensic settings including probation.
The Graduate Certificate in Counselling Psychology is for students who are planning to go on and do further graduate work, whether through a Doctorate in Counselling Psychology or a related profession.
The course is for students who have an undergraduate degree, but you do not have to have a first degree in psychology. Some students use the programme as a bridge towards further study in counselling psychology, while others apply their knowledge and skills from the course within the counselling or psychotherapy profession.
As well as fulfilling the academic side of the programme, you need to be willing to investigate yourself and be open to exploring personal and interpersonal dynamics. This is a course for those with a willingness to expose their vulnerabilities and explore their own and others’ inner worlds.
The Graduate Certificate in Counselling Psychology has been designed to give you an excellent foundation for further advanced study in counselling psychology or related areas. A one-year part-time course, the programme blends theory and practice so you gain a rigorous academic base in counselling and psychology, as well as a significant and varied practical component.
Emphasising the connection between psychological theory and counselling, this programme is not just about understanding knowledge – it is about understanding how to apply what you have learned to ensure that your practice promotes psychological development.
On our Graduate Certificate programme, we focus on the therapeutic relationship between the therapist and the client and concentrate on the personal subjective experience of the whole person. This makes the emphasis of our approach holistic rather than diagnostic, in keeping with the ethos of counselling psychology.
You will investigate person-centred, psychodynamic and cognitive behavioural theories and use a range of practical modes from client case studies and interviews to personal diaries and role-play exercises.
Here are some of the questions the course poses:
This is not a professional training programme and is not intended to train you to be an independent practitioner. If you wish to undertake professional training in counselling psychology, leading to registration with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and chartered membership with the British Psychological Society (BPS) please see our Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology.
Practising clinicians teach this programme so you gain insight from experts working within the field who offer clinical examples from their own experience. Lecture sizes tend to be fairly small (typically around 25 people) so you learn within an intimate environment.
You will learn through a variety of methods including lectures, role-playing exercises and group presentations.
Dr Sara Chaudry is the course director of the Graduate Certificate in Counselling Psychology Programme. Sara is also tutor and lecturer on the Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology. She has a broad range of clinical experience from working with diverse client groups, and she currently works in private practice.
To be awarded the Graduate Certificate qualification, you must successfully complete one piece of coursework for each of the six modules. Coursework formats include written assignments, a reflective diary, project work and class-based role-plays and presentations. Your project, which is a literature review where you choose a topic of interest and write a 2000-word essay, focuses on a specific mental health or psychological subject.
This course runs on one day a week (on a Wednesday) for one academic year. It consists of six modules, four of which are taught modules and two of which take the form of a project and personal and professional development. You will study two of the taught modules in the first term, and the other two in the second term. We expect you to use the time between the teaching hours for independent study.
One of the unique features of the programme is the variety of ways in which you apply your learning. For example within the ‘theoretical models in counselling psychology’ module, you will be given a client case and asked to write up a client study as though you were seeing the person in practice. This gives you the opportunity to choose a theoretical model and apply it within a client context.
Similarly, within the ‘understanding mental health module’, you learn about conditions including depression, anxiety, and psychosis and demonstrate your understanding by delivering a class presentation. You will also be asked to create a booklet for a layperson explaining a condition. In these ways, the course gives you opportunities to translate the theory you have learned into a practical application with a real-world impact.
For many students the programme is a means to progress towards doctoral study. Created with psychology graduates, healthcare professionals, teachers, social workers, managers and others professionals in mind, it gives you the opportunity to develop your interpersonal and counselling skills and improve the way you apply these skills within your professional practice.
Counselling psychology at the doctoral level is still a relatively new field in the UK. At City we offer the Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology, which many students choose to move on to after completing the Graduate Certificate.
City was the first institution in the UK to provide UK-accredited counselling psychology training. City’s Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology is one of the largest of its kind, and has made City one of the premiere institutions for counselling psychology training.
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.
Gain integrated clinical training and extensive professional development through GCU’s DPsych Counselling Psychology – the only programme of its kind in Scotland. Counselling psychology is a rapidly growing area of applied psychology, and a wide range of diverse settings are in need of highly skilled HCPC Registered Counselling Psychologists.
In this doctorate programme, you’ll expand your ability to work with complex client groups and contribute impactful research to the field of psychological health.
We draw on our relationships with active practitioners to give you a world-class and highly relevant education, with clinical training in both humanistic (person-centred) and cognitive-behavioural approaches. We take a holistic and comprehensive approach to instruction, and you’ll develop your skills in applied psychological theory and research as well as complete work in ongoing clinical placements.
Here, you’ll be a part of a thriving, open and diverse community with a shared investment in social responsibility and a commitment to the common good.
DPsych covers Psychotherapeutic Competencies and Skills; Critical Enquiry in Counselling Psychology; Advanced Research Methods and Dissertation; and Personal and Professional Development in modules ranging from 15 to 60 credits.
To reach the award of D.Psych, you much achieve a total of 540 credits. Early exits points are available at PgCert in Psychological Counselling (60 credits); PgDip in Psychological Counselling (120 credits); and MSc in Psychological Counselling (180 Credits) levels.
The D.Psych programme is delivered over three years full-time and up to 7 years part-time. Trimester attendance for teaching is over two days per week (Thursdays and Friday) full-time and one day per week, part-time. In subsequent years attendance is on Fridays only, supplemented by several intensive teaching weeks.
Placement experience of at least 450 hours of supervised clinical practice must be gained during the programme and placement practice is on-going year-round. Full-time students are expected to undertake placement activities over two days per week (outside the timetabled academic days), developing a range of related skills in addition to direct client work. Students are responsible for securing placements, although the programme provides considerable support and opportunities towards this.
On graduation, you will qualify for Chartered Psychologist status with the British Psychological Society and you are eligible to apply for HCPC registration.
Our graduates benefit from the growing demand for in-depth training and leadership abilities in the field of psychological therapy – and from GCU’s excellent academic reputation and world top 5% ranking. Our alumni work as registered counselling psychologists, making a positive impact in independent practice and academia, the NHS and in social care, organisational, educational and forensic settings.