The course, accredited by the BACP, is based on an integrative relational approach to counselling and psychotherapy, which has been developed over many years by our cutting-edge teaching team. Our integrative approach, at the forefront of counselling and psychotherapy theory, practice and research, incorporates aspects from three main therapeutic traditions; person-centred, cognitive and psychodynamic. You will be encouraged to explore psychological processes and experiences from these different perspectives, and recognise the theoretical, personal and cultural assumptions which influence your work.
As well as cognitive and reflective skills, you will also learn practical ways of working with your clients in a therapeutic relationship to address conscious and unconscious needs and produce a change in emotional and cognitive processes and behaviour. This involves integrating complex and advanced skills, and responding creatively to complex, novel and unpredictable situations.
Our teaching includes life-span developmental theories, therapeutic skills practice in small groups, supervision of client work in small groups, critical analysis of approaches and research into counselling and psychotherapy. You will develop a critical understanding of the role of research in the development of the counselling and psychotherapeutic disciplines, and be able to incorporate research knowledge into clinical practice. You are required to be in personal therapy throughout the course, which will help you to develop a high level of awareness of self and the therapeutic process, to be able to use this constructively in therapeutic encounters. You will be equipped with the necessary skills to work with a wide range of people with a range of psychological issues in a variety of settings.
The Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy programme is taught by means of interactive lectures and seminars, experiential skills workshops, small clinical supervision groups, and personal development work. Much of your learning will be by a process of reflection on the experience of skills practiced and the use of demonstration, observation, self, peer and tutor feedback as well as a more traditional academic study.
The course emphasises the central importance of the therapeutic relationship, and builds your understanding of a variety of theories and practices, to make informed choices about therapeutic interventions suitable for the problems which clients present. Central to developing your therapeutic skills is a sustained effort of attunement to the client as well as openness to and awareness of their and your internal processes. As well as having a theoretical understanding of these processes, from the first year you will have modules allowing you the opportunity to practice your counselling skills.
Later modules in the course will familiarise you with a variety of forms of psychological assessment, so that you are able to critically evaluate the appropriateness and limitations of the procedures and underlying concepts. As many students will go on to work in a multidisciplinary team, in particular within the NHS, they need to have an understanding and working knowledge of psychiatric diagnoses and classification systems, while being aware of their acknowledge limits and critiques.
You will have the opportunity to work with a placements co-ordinator to find a suitable counselling/psychotherapy placement in which to gain the depth and range of experience necessary to become a competent practitioner. Information on over 500 different counselling placements is available.
Here are examples of the modules: