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Psychological Intervention: IPC (Interpersonal Counselling) PGCert

Course content

Our School of Psychology has a reputation for providing high quality IPT training to therapists who are already in practice and want to add this model to their repertoire.

This Psychological Therapy programme has been designed to be responsive to the needs of people who do not already have a therapy qualification. The first year of this programme will enable professionals to develop core counselling skills and IPC intervention skills to enhance their effectiveness with clients, further their psychological skills and increase their understanding of mental health issues.

Many roles in the workforce today require people to have enhanced their psychological and therapeutic skills. At present, our programme is the only one in the UK that offers the opportunity for individuals to undertake IPC training.

Successful completion of this year will enable individuals to undertake the Diploma in IPT, a full therapy qualification.

Programme structure

This one year programme can be undertaken on its own or as part of a flexible training of up to three years. Successful completion of all modules in this first Certificate year gives the option of progressing into year two, the Diploma in IPT, which confers a full therapy qualification which allows individuals to practice in the NHS or elsewhere. There is also the option to complete a third research year to obtain an MSc.

The first year comprises of four modules of 15 credits each. Each module comprises of 150 hours of learning, including student contact, private study, skills practice either on placement or in the classroom and assessment. In order to achieve the Postgraduate Certificate in Psychological Intervention: IPC (Interpersonal Counselling) students must complete all four modules and complete 60 credits at FHEQ Level 7.

Example module listing

  • Psychological Theory and the Fundamentals of Adult Mental Health
  • The Therapeutic Relationship
  • Introduction to Assessment, Intervention and Ending Skills
  • Supervision of Client Work

Teaching approaches

Specialist knowledge relevant to the subject area will be delivered using a variety of methods, including lectures, experiential workshops, micro skills teaching, audio-recording reviews, clinical supervision, group discussions, and through the interaction of the student with coursework assignments. 

Clinical practice with application of their learning to client work will be supervised closely and students will be required to keep a log of their clinical activity as well as supervisory activity and will be evaluated on their clinical competence.

The strength of this programme lies in the integration of classroom learning and clinical practice learning and development. The personal impact of working with clients presenting with distress will be explored as well as ethical issues. Students will develop their skills in applying theory and technique to real life client situations in supervision sessions at the University via discussion and micro-teaching.

The feedback process is designed to be ongoing, in that comments and reflections from these sessions will provide an escalator of personal learning for the student. At critical points there will be summative learning points to provide a marker for the student as to their progress against the benchmark standards being expected. Formative and summative feedback will be provided as appropriate to help students develop their skills in these areas of practice.

The associated research evidence bases will be integrated into all aspects of the teaching. 

Students who have access to clients in their ongoing job role whilst studying may incorporate part of this work as their practice placement, subject to agreement with their manager and the University. Otherwise students will be supported to obtain a suitable practice placement.

Educational aims of the programme

This programme will enable professionals to develop core counselling skills in IPC (Interpersonal counselling) to enhance their effectiveness with clients, further their psychological skills and increase their understanding of mental health issues without undertaking a full therapy qualification.

Interpersonal counselling is a brief intervention, based on the principles of Interpersonal Psychotherapy, for people suffering from stress or mild depression. It is designed to be delivered by individuals after a relatively brief training course, and does not require them to have previous mental health qualifications.

Programme learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

  • Have a basic understanding of psychiatric classification and of those conditions most frequently met in clinical practice
  • Understand the role of medication in the treatment of mental health problems
  • Understand the difference between the therapeutic alliance, the real relationship and the transference relationship and their contribution to the therapeutic relationship
  • Understand their own relationship to and work with difference and diversity
  • Understand the function of the therapeutic frame

Intellectual / cognitive skills

  • Critically assess different models of the underpinnings of psychological health

Professional practical skills

  • Select appropriate clients and plan an intervention
  • Undertake completed pieces of time-limited (short-term) interpersonal clinical interventions under supervision
  • Use the Interpersonal Counselling (IPC) model to deliver complete short therapeutic interventions
  • Manage challenges in the therapeutic relationship
  • Facilitate clients in developing and maintaining a strong therapeutic relationship
  • To use appropriate measures to evaluate the success of treatment
  • Understand and work within the professional context of psychological therapy, including ethical practice

Key / transferable skills

To reflect on their development as a psychological practitioner

Professional recognition

Recognition is being sought from IPT-UK, the organisation that accredits therapists in this particular model of therapy.


Visit the Psychological Intervention: IPC (Interpersonal Counselling) PGCert page on the University of Surrey website for more details!

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