One way is to take a counselling diploma then continue on to a psychotherapy MA from there. This can be a cheaper option if finances are a concern. (See our article on Counselling Courses in London if interested).
Then there is the counselling psychology route. This entails taking a BA in psychology then choosing a counselling psychology MA. (See our article on “Psychotherapist vs Counselling Psychologist” for more on this front).
Finally, there is the straightforward psychotherapy school route, where you start and end with studying the transformative art of talk therapy. London is the most popular city for such courses.
This article looks at the most well-known London psychotherapy training courses and what they offer for beginning students.
Regent’s is perhaps the most known and well-regarded psychotherapy school in London. They are registered with the UKCP, and you can apply to the BACP as an individual therapist after graduation.
Regents Park is one of the most expensive schools, reflected in their central location and beautiful buildings. But note you are in a university with many other courses, dorms, and very young students from all over the world, so if you are a mature student seeking a quiet discreet school this is something to consider. On the other hand, you have access to their beautiful library, extensive computer rooms, and other student services.
Located in “Little Venice” in a beautiful old building on a busy road, CCPE is known for being rigorous with a slightly non-traditional edge. They offer courses in ‘transpersonal’ therapy, which can include things like dreamwork.
You can attend one of their weekend courses in advance without being a registered student, which can be a way to get an idea for their sort of approach.
foundation: transpersonal, integrative
format: once a week for 30 weeks, Jan – Nov
price range: very high
future study at CCPE: diploma or MA, transpersonal
They are actually more of a psychotherapy school, but you can choose to finish their school in less years by accepting a counselling diploma instead of finishing a counselling and psychotherapy MA.
Their foundation year involves both theory, group work, and experiential groups, and you must personally attend therapy weekly. You need at least an intro to counselling certificate or some volunteer experience to even apply.
They are known for being a tough school, even asking students to repeat years or take time off if flagging. But they are highly regarded and want the best for their students. So if you want a very full-on program that might become your life for several years, but means you emerge a fully confident practitioner, this is the school for you.
format: weekly, or an intensive format where you go one weekend a month
This is another highly-regarded school that offers both psychotherapy and counselling courses. The foundation year is in integrative counselling skills, but from there onward there are many psychotherapy MAs to choose from.
Their foundation year sets you up for their school more than it prepares you to transfer elsewhere. Falling between an intro to counselling certificate and the rigorous foundation years at other schools, there is actually no written work on the course.
On the other hand, with some relevant experience Metanoia might accept you directly onto a psychotherapy degree. Worth talking to them about if that’s you.
format: weekly, or over weekends
price range : low for foundation, high for further study
Again, a school that offers both counselling and psychotherapy, the Psychosynthesis Trust is the only school offering an MA in Psychosynthesis Psychotherapy (although psychosynthesis and transpersonal therapy are the same school of thought, so you might also want to consider CCPE also).
Psychosynthesis integrates spiritual development with psychotherapy, but has roots in psychoanalysis, with its founder a student of Freud (if perhaps more aligned in thinking with Jung).
Their foundation year is thorough, including written work and the requirement of doing personal therapy sessions. It leads to their counselling diploma and then their psychotherapy MA.
Known for its friendly teachers, the school is small and a bit tired-looking inside, but it has a very central location (London Bridge).
foundation: psychosynthesis counselling
format: weekends spaced over a year or ‘intermonth’ format (see site)
‘price range : high for foundation, medium for further study
future study at the Trust: a diploma in counselling and MA in psychotherapy
This is the school for anyone interested in existential psychotherapy. It was founded by the highly regarded contributor to the formation of this type of psychotherapy, Emmy van Durzen (who still teaches at the school).
Yes, existential psychotherapy involves philosophy, but the school has quite an academic and scientific approach, looking at neurodevelopment and offering additional courses in ADHD and autism.
The foundation year covers both counselling, coaching, and psychotherapy, and is really quite integrative, touching on psychoanalytic and humanistic approaches as well. There are intakes three times a year.
future study at the NCPE: various MAs plus doctorates
accreditation: BACP, UKCP, BPS.
But I have found another school that isn’t on this list?
The above list is by no means comprehensive. There are many schools of counselling and psychotherapy in London, with some shutting and new ones arising every few years. Our pieces cover the main schools, but that is not to say another school isn’t right for you. Do your research, attend an open night, talk to previous students for feedback, and check their accreditations.
Interested in a specialty form of psychotherapy training in London, like art therapy, dance therapy, or body therapy? Sign up now to our blog for an alert about the next post in this series that will look at such schools and what they offer.
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