A brief guide to counselling training

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The world of counselling training is complex and can be difficult to navigate. There is an extensive range and variety of courses available, and it is important that you choose the right path for you.

The below is not an exhaustive list but details aspects you may wish to consider when choosing your training path and also how we manage them at Basingstoke Counselling Service (BCS).

 

Which modality you wish to train in

There are many different types of counselling, often known as modalities. Prior to embarking on a Diploma or Degree level training course it is important to have identified the right modality for you. An Introduction to Counselling course and/or a Certificate in Counselling Skills and Theory course will assist you in making this decision.

A good resource is the BACP website which has an A-to-Z list of all types of Counselling and Psychotherapy.

At BCS, we offer a range of courses which together form a progressive training journey culminating in Qualified Counsellor status at Diploma level.

Our Introduction to Counselling course is a Level 1 course, in which our approach is generic, informing you of different types of counselling. However, as you progress through the training the content becomes more specialised. BCS is predominantly a psychodynamic training organisation.

Psychodynamic counselling focuses on understanding, and working with, the root causes of emotional and mental health issues, which often stem from early experiences.

BCS is part of the National Counselling Network, the largest Counselling network for psychodynamic training in the UK.

 

Where you want to train

The main choice to make here is between an educational training establishment, such as a Higher Education/Further Education College or University and a Professional Counselling Organisation with a training programme. Factors such as location, availability and cost will, of course, influence your decision, particularly at Certificate level. However, when choosing your Certificate course it is worth considering factors which will affect you further along your training journey should you decide to take that route. Once you reach Diploma or Degree level, the inclusion of an in-house placement may also be a key factor; this is covered in more detail below.

BCS classes itself as a Professional Counselling Organisation with a BACP accredited training programme. We therefore offer in-house clinical placements and supervision within the cost of the course.

 

What qualification do you gain?

Because of the variety of counselling training courses available and the different levels of attainment achievable within the same ‘level’, it is important that when considering a course that you are clear as to the qualification you will be gaining.

For example, some ‘Certificate’ courses will enable you to move on to a Diploma or Degree level training, whilst others will require a higher level ‘Certificate’ before you can reach Diploma level. Whilst some Diploma courses offer Qualified Counsellor status at the end, others don’t.

At BCS we offer a clear path to qualification, should that be your goal. This journey begins with our Level 1 10-week evening Introduction to Counselling course and although this is not compulsory for acceptance onto our Levels 2 & 3 one-year part-time Certificate in Counselling Skills and Theory course, it is advised, particularly if you are unsure as to whether a career in counselling is for you.

If you successfully complete the Certificate and wish to continue with your training, you may then apply for our Levels 4 & 5 three-year part-time BACP accredited Diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling, which leads to qualification as a Counsellor. Being a counsellor is a position of responsibility and we believe in providing you with high quality, thorough training when preparing you for this role.

 

Accreditation

There are a number of professional organisations which accredit training courses, including the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP). An accredited course has usually undergone a rigorous application and assessment process by the respective professional body to indicate robust and high-quality training. Please note that some courses may be ‘approved’, which does not indicate the same level of standing.

Graduating from an accredited course enables you to reach further professional status more easily in due course.

BCS’ Levels 4 & 5 Diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling is a BACP accredited course.

 

Placements

Once you reach Diploma or Degree level there will be a requirement for you to undertake clinical hours as part of your training. Different organisations have different requirements for the number of clinical hours and it is important to look at this aspect of the training before deciding. This will usually be for a minimum of 100 hours.

If you are training at an educational training establishment, you will usually have to find an external placement, and sometimes, external supervision as well. However, if you are training at a Professional Counselling Organisation with a training programme as part of its service, in-house placements and supervision are often included.

BCS is a busy, vibrant counselling and training organisation at the heart of the local community. As such we have the ability to offer our trainees at Diploma level in-house placements. This means that you not only train with us, but you conduct your clinical work and supervision with us too. We believe this offers a significantly more cohesive and holding training experience. Studying counselling at Diploma level is an emotionally and academically challenging time. Our setup also ensures there is no added stress of finding your own placement, which previous trainees have found invaluable.

 

Supervision

Once you begin clinical work it will be a requirement for you to have regular supervision to monitor and guide you in your work. Some organisations provide supervision and this may or may not be included in the cost of the course. Some courses require you to find and pay for external supervision.

BCS has a long heritage of providing high-quality professional counselling training. We understand the complexities of counselling training and the demands placed on trainees when they begin in clinical practice. We therefore recognise the importance of supporting our trainees through their journey and we perceive in-house supervision to be an essential element of this. Supervision itself is seen as a vital and integral part of the training journey and BCS’ supervisors have a wealth of knowledge and experience. Weekly supervision is included in the cost of the Diploma to ensure that trainees have a consistently high level of support for their clinical work throughout their training. Supervision groups begin as soon as the course commences, so the support is in place even before client work begins.