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The Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Skills at the University of South Wales offers a stimulating introduction to the skills, theory and self-awareness needed to be an effective listener and communicator. Successful completion of this counselling course provides a stepping stone onto MA/PG Dip Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy and MSc/PG Dip Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy at USW where you can qualify as a counsellor or psychotherapist. This counselling qualification can also help people in related professions such as social work, nursing or teaching to develop their listening and communication skills. 

What you will study

During the Counselling Skills course you will:

  • develop the use of counselling skills within boundaries of ethical practice
  • communicate effectively in a way that is appropriate to the confidential, sensitive nature of emotional, psychological and/or mental health issues
  • critically reflect on your own awareness and your awareness of others
  • demonstrate your critical evaluation and reflective understanding of the literature underpinning teaching and evidence based practice

You will study the Level 6 module Foundation Counselling Skills and Awareness which builds a critical understanding of counselling theory alongside the development of foundation skills in counselling and a focus on building appropriate self-awareness.

You will then follow either the Integrative or CBT option which you will have chosen at enrolment.

Optional modules

  • Counselling Skills and Awareness in Practice – for the Integrative pathway (Level 7) – This module develops a more comprehensive range of advanced counselling skills and an understanding of practice contexts. The critical awareness of personal insights are understood in the context of counselling theory. Once more students integrate their developing counselling skills, self-awareness and insights and theory.
  • Cognitive Behavioural Skills and Theory/Professional Practice – for the CBT pathway (Level 7) – These two modules prepare students for entering professional practice as a trainee cognitive behavioural psychotherapist. They build on the counselling skills developed in the module Foundation Counselling Skills and Awareness by providing an introduction to the skills and theory of cognitive behavioural approaches to facilitating change, acknowledging the importance of the therapeutic relationship as a platform for interventions. Students also develop knowledge of professional practice issues required to practice in the field of counselling and mental health. It is possible to offer existing mental health professionals these two modules only in preparation for application to the MSc/PG Dip Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy. Applicants considering these two modules before applying for the MSc Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy will be given additional information at interview.


This counselling skills qualification is 60 credits at Level 6/7.

You will learn through experiential exercises, skills practice, personal development work and formal teaching. You will work in pairs, small groups and larger groups. Applicants are advised this is not a person-centred course.


The course runs from Tuesday, 18th September to Tuesday, 11th December 2018. You will begin again on Tuesday, 8th January to Tuesday, 30th April 2019.

  • The counselling course is part time for 24 weeks September to April (depending on Easter
  • Teaching is on Tuesdays, 9.30am to 4.30pm
  • Two workshops finish at 5.30 in January (Integrative study option only)
  • A placement event to meet placement providers is in late January, 5pm-7pm

You are expected to attend all teaching sessions and there is an 80% minimum attendance requirement


On the integrative route you will have two skills and two written assessments. On the CBT route you will have two skills assessments, one case study and one online assessment.


The course will improve your employability by enhancing your listening skills and development through practice.

Once you have successfully completed the course you will be awarded a Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Skills (60 credits). You may choose to exit here or apply for either the MA/PG Dip Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy or MSc/PG Dip Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapywhich are recognised qualifications to practice as a counsellor or psychotherapist in the UK.

Previous students have qualified as counsellors and psychotherapists or have enhanced their existing work skills. Graduates have found work in the NHS, private health facilities and private practice. Some have gone on to teach, to develop their research careers and to supervise.

Visit the PGCert Counselling Skills page on the University of South Wales website for more details!





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Recipient: University of South Wales

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