Where to Train in the UK to be a Counselling Psychologist

**Please note this article is in need of updating. We highly recommend you cross check any information with your own research. 

What is Counselling Psychology?

Counselling psychology is a branch of professional psychology that involves using theory and applied therapeutic methods in order to treat clients. It holds similarities to: psychotherapy, counselling, clinical psychology and psychiatry, although focuses more on the counselling psychologist’s personal awareness. This means using your own life experiences to better understand the theories, in order to enhance your understanding of the therapeutic methods.

Education - How to become a Counselling Psychologist

  • Firstly you must attain the Graduate Basis for Chartered Member (GBC). This is usually achieved by gaining a Degree in psychology, which must be accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). This is fundamental in creating the foundations for the theoretical knowledge of psychology.
  • Secondly you must complete a 3+ year postgraduate doctorate-level training and study. This means completing a BPS accredited Doctorate in counselling psychology or the BPS Qualification in counselling psychology. This course must also be approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HPC).

Postgraduate degree places are very competitive, and so it is generally essential that you have participated in counselling skills training before applying.

For more information on counselling skills training courses, please visit the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy website: www.bacp.co.uk

Where to study to become a Counselling Psychologist?

There are several universities or associated training institutes that have BPS accredited training programmes in the UK, for postgraduate doctorate-level training and study. These are also approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HPC), which is essential in order for you to become a qualified counselling psychologist.

Doctorate in Counselling Psychology (BPS Accredited and eligibility to apply for HCPC):

  • Teesside University (Accredited since 2002)
  • University of Wolverhampton (Accredited since 2004)
  • University of East London (Accredited since 2004)
  • London Metropolitan University (Accredited since 2004)
  • City University London (Accredited since 2005)
  • University of the West of England (Accredited since 2006) - part-time course only
  • Glasgow Caledonian University (Accredited since 2007)
  • University of Strathclyde (Accredited since 2007)
  • University of Manchester (Accredited since 2010) - currently pending HCPC approval
  • Tavistock & Portman NHS Trust - Child and Educational Psychology (Accredited since 2005)

Additional Universities and Institutes that offer combined Counselling Psychology courses (BPS Accredited)

  • University of Surrey - (PsychD Psychotherapeutic and Counselling Psychology) (Accredited since 1994)
  • Metanoia Institute - (Counselling Psychology & Psychotherapy by Prof Studies) (Accredited since 2001)
  • New School of Psychotherapy & Counselling - (Existential Counselling Psychology & Psychotherapy) (Accredited since 2006)
  • Regent's University London (Existential Counselling Psychology)
  • Roehampton University (PsychD in Counselling Psychology)

Summary of the doctorate course programmes:

Teesside University  - (University of the Year for the Times Higher Education awards in 2009)
Clinical, academic and research training are combined. You gain experience of applying therapeutic psychology to a range of clients and develop the skills required to work as an autonomous clinician.

* University of Wolverhampton

Half of the course is university-based, and half is work-based in a variety of placement settings. Training makes competent individuals and good employability into the NHS and privately.

* University of East London
This programme seeks to produce professional practitioners who can utilise and integrate a range of mainstream psychological theories, scientific research and clinical enquiry into counselling psychology theory, practice and research.

*Regent's University London 

This DPsych in counselling psychology offers a range of approaches including cognitive behavioural, psychodynamic, existential, and phenomenological. 

* City University London
They aim to equip you with rigorous practical and theoretical principles, as well as sound ethical, professional and research skills, to enable you to become a qualified counselling psychologist.

* University of the West of England
This is a five-year, part-time course. The part-time route allows you to combine your training with part-time employment, possibly within a psychology post.

* Glasgow Caledonian University
The programme can lead to four levels of qualification: D.Psych, Master of Science, Postgraduate Diploma, Postgraduate Certificate and allows a curriculum of modules that are relevant to psychology graduates looking to qualify as Chartered counselling psychologists.

* University of Strathclyde
It is the first counselling psychology programme to be orientated around a person-centred/experiential core, and the only course of its kind in Scotland.

* University of Manchester (It is presently pending approval from the Health and Care Professions Council)
Trainees will be introduced in detail to the Skilled Helper Integrative Model of therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy.

* Tavistock & Portman NHS Trust (Educational Psychologist)
A child and educational psychology Doctorate course in the UK that includes opportunities for developing multidisciplinary perspectives in an NHS setting. 

To conclude:

Although an incredibly competitive field to train in with many years of study required, becoming a counselling psychologist is an extremely rewarding career path to take.

For more information please visit our article How to Become a Counselling Psychologist and our Training Placements Guide.

Disclaimer: Information produced above by Harley Therapy was correct at time of publication - please check to confirm current course status with the British Psychological Society or the Health and Care Professions Council. 

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