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Second-class honours degree in any subject or an equivalent professional qualification; non-graduates with academic and professional experience will be considered. Work that includes a counselling/psychotherapy component. Prior completion of a counselling/psychotherapy course at Certificate of Higher Education level or equivalent. If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 7.0, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.
Ben says: ‘The Birkbeck course has been running for some 40 years and has a very good reputation. I like the ethos of the College, and the way that students are treated as adults who are fitting study into their already-busy lives. I was struck by how incredibly student-focused Birkbeck is.
‘The methods of teaching and learning, the course materials, the tutors, the experiential learning, the group relations conferences and organisational psychodynamics, clinical support, the tutors in general, and my personal tutors in particular have been outstanding.
‘During the second year of the course I was on sabbatical from my job which gave me the time I needed to focus on the MSc, as at that stage I began seeing my first patients, as well as having one day a week in classes, plus a lot of reading to get through.
‘On the first day of the course the tutor said to us ‘Your most precious resource is here with you in the room’ – meaning our peer group. There were people from all walks of life in the group, with many years of life experience between them. It was very important to be able to draw on other students’ knowledge and experience in the experiential work and role plays. It was also useful that my peers were going through the same process as I was, learning more about themselves and also experiencing working with patients for the first time.
‘Two years after the course finished I am still part of a peer supervision group with five other students from the programme. We meet once a month for two hours and either present a case for discussion or just think about a particular issue. That group counts towards the supervision component of accreditation for the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy.
‘This course has been the single most powerful learning experience of my career. I’ve met some wonderful people – staff and students – who have taught me a lot about counselling and psychotherapy and about myself.'
'I have worked as a Psychiatric Nurse and Team Leader since 2002 at Broadmoor Hospital, Mental Health Trust. After studying for a work-based diploma in conjunction with Birkbeck, I was inspired to take the Master's in Pyschodynamic Counselling.
'Although I chose to study a different method of treatment from the one we use at work, the course was extremely useful. Broadmoor realised this and kindly helped fund my third year.
'Now I feel I can support my staff more and that I have a better understanding of people in general. The course also helped me understand the dynamics of the organisation too. You need a lot of emotional resilience to do my job and this Master's was a great voyage of self-discovery and really improved my confidence. Self-directed work was challenging but it was brilliant because it helps you to discover your potential and develop where necessary.
'I had always wanted to study psychology at university, but it was too expensive; so in Jamaica I trained as a nurse instead. Although I took a different path, I have ended up where I always wanted to be. My workmates knew how much I enjoyed my Master's and were worried that I would quit; but I love my job and am now even more motivated to help people.'
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