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Course content

Why this course?

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.

You’ll study

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 Therapeutic Relationship
  • The Therapeutic Process
  • Personality Theory
  • Counselling Case Analysis
  • Counselling Practicum
  • Personal & Professional Development

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.

Work placement

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. 

Major projects

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.

Facilities

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.

Course awards

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.

Student competitions

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.

Guest lectures

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’.

Learning & teaching

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

Assessment is through summative written assignments and formative assessments which draw on interactions within all the aspects of the course.

Careers

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.

BACP Accreditation

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.


Visit the Counselling & Psychotherapy MSc page on the University of Strathclyde website for more details!

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