Masters degrees in Counselling involve advanced study of therapy techniques aimed at improving individuals’ mental health. When you’ve finished an accredited Masters in Counselling, you’ll be able to apply to become a registered counsellor or psychotherapist.
Related postgraduate specialisms include Counselling Psychology and Therapeutic Counselling, while entry requirements typically include an undergraduate degree in a relevant subject such as Social Science or Psychology. Counselling programmes come in a variety of forms, from MScs to Postgraduate Diplomas and Postgraduate Certificates.
As a qualified counsellor, you’ll be providing a vital – and sometimes life-saving – service. You’ll be able to work in a range of industries and contexts, and could find yourself employed within coaching and business frameworks as well as in healthcare and therapeutic settings.
These courses examine several forms of professional counselling, including online and distance counselling; child and adolescent counselling; and individual, couples and group counselling. You may wish to specialise in a particular kind of therapeutic technique, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), art therapy or transactional analysis (TA).
Careers commonly include roles in a clinical or healthcare setting such as a hospital or private counselling service. Alternatively, you could work in social welfare with a charity or education institution, or a business-oriented role in a human resources department.
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:
Compulsory and Required modules
Compulsory and/or required modules may change when we review and update programmes. Above is a list of modules offered this academic year.
Optional modules, when offered as part of a programme, may vary from year to year and are subject to viability.
Graduates can work in health and social services, voluntary organisations and the education in counselling field.
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.
Person-centred-experiential counselling and psychotherapy is internationally recognised. Evidence suggests it's one of the leading therapeutic approaches to mental health and wellbeing, and it continues to develop important practical applications and theoretical knowledge.
Our long-established postgraduate courses in counselling have offered a unique opportunity to gain in-depth experience of the Person-Centred-Experiential methods applied in counselling and psychotherapy, to Masters level. Our courses have an international reputation and attract students from the UK, Europe, Canada, the USA, China, and India.
The course has been restructured to meet evolving standards for evidence-based practice, rising educational standards, increased professional regulation, and rapid social and economic change. You'll gain a solid grounding and thorough integration of theory, research and practice, as well as a capacity to engage with the wider field of human distress and wellbeing, including private, public and third sector mental health agencies.
The emphasis is on person-centred therapy throughout the programme. You'll undertake counselling training, including theoretical, personal and professional development and practical/skills-based components, over an 11-month period (September to August).
The counselling practice element of the training includes the following classes:
The Research Dissertation class involves training in counselling research methods and a write-up of a small empirical study, practical case study, or review of research.
You'll receive intensive skills training to prepare you to undertake a minimum of 100 hours of counselling experience. This counselling practice is undertaken with real clients across a range of placements within third-sector organisations, voluntary agencies and other health service educational and community settings.
You'll develop your skills and capacity to practice as a professional therapist leading to accreditation with professional bodies such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and COSCA.
The Research Dissertation involves training in the main counselling research methods and four options for research projects: a quantitative study, a qualitative study, a systematic case study or a systematic review.
We have dedicated teaching space especially set up to foster collaborative learning in groups.
The Counselling Unit at Strathclyde has developed one of the most diverse and innovative databases of counselling opportunities in the UK. You'll be supported to organise your own counselling work placement opportunity by our team.
The MSc course run by the Counselling Unit received the Charlotte and Karl Bühler award from the Society for Humanistic Psychology in 2010, given to key organisations that have made outstanding and lasting contributions to humanistic psychology.
In 2013 and 2015, two of our MSc students received the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy Outstanding Research awards.
In 2016, one of our MSc Students received the PCCS Books student prize for the winning paper presented at the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy research conference.
The Counselling Unit has a long tradition of guest lectures, particularly the annual Mary Kilborn Lecture. In 2016/17 Professor Stephen Joseph will give a lecture entitled, ‘Building Bridges between Positive Psychology and the Person-Centred Experiential Approach’.
The MSc will be delivered on a full-time (one-year) basis and delivered using a combination of large group formats (lecture/workshop/groupwork) and small group formats (supervision, personal and professional development groups) plus pre-recorded/streaming blended learning inputs.
You'll be expected to supplement class time with directed and self-directed learning and placement experience working with clients in community settings. The research class will be delivered with a combination of lectures on the main research methods in counselling research, and small group tutorials and independent work.
Assessment is through summative written assignments and formative assessments which draw on interactions within all the aspects of the course.
Graduates from our training courses have the potential to move into full-time or part-time positions. However, the more typical pathway is for students to continue within their placements, adding to their client experience.
Most UK employers are looking for client-contact hours greater than the minimum 100 hours gained during training. Many students quickly gain part-time employment in agencies offering telephone counselling and also in employee assistance programmes offering short-term counselling to their employees.
We encourage our graduates to work towards professional accreditation which also affords professional registration and recognition. A therapist requires 450 hours of practice to begin the accreditation process and the majority of counsellors also engage in advanced professional development to broaden their professional profile while working towards accreditation.
Ultimately, most counsellors work in a mixture of part-time settings, such as paid part-time work in the NHS or voluntary sector, plus some private practice and/or gaining a qualification to do group work or professional supervision. Other choose to mix their practice with non-counselling employment.
If you graduate from this course with your Postgraduate Diploma, you will not be awarded accreditation status. To qualify for full BACP accreditation you must complete the full Masters programme. Further information is available from BACP.
An intensive foundation in counselling for those who meet elements of counselling in their day-to-day work and who wish to enter this field professionally.
This programme is designed to provide an intensive foundation in counselling for those who meet elements of counselling in their day-to-day work and who wish to enter this field professionally, but lack sufficient experience and qualification to study at postgraduate diploma level.
It is particularly suitable for those anticipating an application to our MA in Counselling.
The programme is taught by means of theoretical lectures, seminars, experiential workshops and group tutorials. You’ll study key theoretical concepts that inform the practice of humanistic and psychodynamic counselling and will identify the specific responsibilities and processes of the counselling alliance.
Please note: the programme is at post-experience rather than postgraduate level.
This course takes place over 26 weeks. In 2017-18, teaching will take place on Wednesdays, 6-9pm.
Assessment is continual and is carried out by means of 2 essays of 2,500 words; a reflective journal and a practical skills assessment. Students must pass all four essays pieces of work to be awarded the Certificate. 40% constitutes the pass mark.
Please note that due to staff research commitments not all of these modules may be available every year.
You'll develop critical, communication and interpersonal skills, and listening skills.
Suitable careers for graduates of this programme include:
Find out more about employability at Goldsmiths.
Counselling Psychology (CNPS) offers a Master of Arts Program that is accredited by the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association. Our masters CNPS programs allow students to focus on one of the four areas for which we have accreditation.
The Counselling Psychology Program, in line with the mission of the research-intensive University of British Columbia, creates, advances and critically examines knowledge in counselling psychology, especially with respect to its validity, applicability, limits, and interface with other disciplines. In developing and applying pertinent and innovative research methodologies, the Counselling Psychology Program relies upon and builds qualitative and quantitative evidence to determine effective counselling interventions in educational, community, health, and occupational settings.
The Counselling Psychology program recognizes the critical importance of diversity in our rapidly changing and globalized society, and provides leadership in emphasizing culturally-based considerations in learning, human development, assessment and counselling. In addition to its cultural lens, our program embraces positive, growth-oriented, and developmental perspectives across the lifespan. Attention is also paid to the complex ecological influences on individuals, groups and communities. Our faculty members’ programs of research reflect the core values and foci of the discipline of Counselling Psychology: career development, health and wellness, indigenous healing, gender and cultural diversity, disability, and social justice issues. Our Master’s and Doctoral programs address the needs of individuals, couples and families across the lifespan in terms of research, teaching and counselling practice.
Our graduate programs adhere to the scientist-practitioner model. Rigorous theoretical and research training is integrated with the development of core counselling competencies. In addition to our core curriculum at the Master’s and Doctoral levels, our students can specialize in community, school, higher education or vocational rehabilitation counselling. Our programs focus on the education of the whole person – promoting not only students’ professional development, but also helping them to realize their intellectual, physical, and emotional potential. Faculty view their roles as facilitators of learning rather than providers of information, and strive for excellence in their research, teaching, and community and professional engagement. The mandate of our programs is the preparation of professional counsellors, counselling psychologists, and scholars in the field of Counselling Psychology.
The MSc by Research in Counselling Studies provides students with a comprehensive understanding of research design, data collection and data analysis for research in the field of counselling and psychotherapy.
It offers an advanced education to students interested in developing research skills, including qualified counselling and psychotherapy practitioners and social science researchers.
Counselling and psychotherapy specialise in qualitative, reflexive and critical approaches to research, and have particular expertise in practice-based research that draws directly on practitioners' own therapeutic work, on the client's experience of therapy, and in narrative, reflexive and auto-ethnographic methods.
We are especially keen to encourage research concerned with the interface between counselling, psychotherapy and social, cultural and political life.
Our research portfolio is highly interdisciplinary, integrating concepts, practices and scholarship from counselling and psychotherapy, psychology, sociology, philosophy, education, cultural studies, health and social care, and other social sciences.
Our interests include disability, gender, trauma, abuse, counselling children and young people, and sexualities.
You can read more about our research interests and publications on our website:
The programme aims to provide students with advanced understandings of research design, data collection and data analysis issues in counselling research.
The programme enables students to develop their understandings of debates about research, evidence and practice in relation to counselling and related practices.
Distinctive features of this degree include:
The degree may be taken as a free-standing MSc or as a foundation for PhD studies. Candidates must complete a programme of research training courses and submit a dissertation on an approved topic.
Teaching and learning methods include lectures, theory seminars, discussion groups and independent study.
Assessment is through essays and the dissertation.
Individual courses may have other learning and assessment methods such as student presentations, research projects and web-based learning.
The programme provides research training in counselling, opportunities to design research, a research-based appreciation of key elements of counselling practice, a critical appreciation of approaches to research in counselling and psychotherapy, and the ability to work across disciplinary boundaries.
You will complete a programme of research training courses and submit a dissertation on an approved topic. The MSc by Research can be taken as a stand-alone qualification or as a foundation for PhD study.
Based on the idea that mental illness is to some extent the result of repressed negative experience, psychodynamic counselling aims to expose the contents of a client's unconscious to make him or her aware of any underlying psychological conflicts.
It prioritises the therapeutic relationship and draws from the work of psychoanalysts such as Freud, Klein, Winnicott and Bion, as well as more contemporary thinkers such as Lacan, Bowlby, Kohut, Mitchell and Benjamin.
The postgraduate diploma teaches models of both long-and short-term counselling, the second of which is particularly relevant to NHS work and employee counselling schemes. It stresses the importance of developing counselling awareness through practice in workshops and provides a sound theoretical foundation to the psychodynamic approach.
The course is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and therefore recognised as preparing students for work as a professional counsellor. The university itself is an organisational member of the BACP as well as the Universities Psychotherapy and Counselling Association (UCPA).
The courses are taught on a semester system with two semesters each year. The provisional dates for the 2017-2018 academic year are as follows:
In addition to academic study, you will need to complete 100 hours of supervised counselling practice in an approved clinical practice agency, for example at the Rock Clinic or Sussex University counselling service.
You also need to undertake a course of personal therapy that lasts for the duration of the course, from October of year 1 to June of year 2, and we recommend that you factor in the cost of this therapy before your application.
Assessment consists of four essays and three case studies. You will also keep a professional log of your clinical work and maintain a personal journal.
The course contains four major elements: academic and professional studies, practical training, training supervision, and personal growth and development. A strong theoretical knowledge is of great importance and considerable weight is given to canonical writers. The seminars provide a broad overview of the reading material and invite you to reflect further on it.
Psychodynamic counsellors rely on their own feelings to help make sense of the moment-by-moment changes in client sessions. This process underlies the need for a certain level of self-awareness and maturity, hence why personal growth and development is the fourth key strand on the course. This is partly met through personal development groups and partly through your own counselling or therapy.
Year 1 modules
Year 2 modules
Completion of the Postgraduate Diploma allows continuation (after successful application) on to our Psychotherapy MSc
The postgraduate diploma has an excellent reputation in the locality and our students have gone on to hold counselling posts across the public, private and voluntary sectors. Others have progressed to further training or used their counselling skills in their existing professions.
If you enjoy the course and are interested in further study, you may want to consider our Psychotherapy MSc, to which all successful graduates of the PGDip are eligible to apply.