Taught course

Foundation for Counselling and Psychotherapy Training

Birkbeck, University of London · Birkbeck Centre for Counselling

Entry requirements

You will be able to demonstrate your readiness for academic study with an undergraduate degree or equivalent qualification. You will also need to have completed an introductory-level course in counselling and be working in a helping role.

Applications are reviewed on their individual merits and your professional qualifications and/or relevant work experience will be taken into consideration positively. We actively support and encourage applications from mature learners.

Months of entry

January, October

Course content

Our new Graduate Certificate in Foundation for Counselling and Psychotherapy Training has been designed to provide you with a pathway to full clinical training as a counsellor or psychotherapist. It is suitable for those working within the helping professions who have completed our Introduction to Counselling course, or equivalent.

You will learn about key concepts in counselling and psychotherapy with a focus on the psychodynamic method and psychosocial/organisational perspectives. You will be taught the significance of developmental life stages and the impact of these on the counselling relationship. You will also develop counselling skills in practical listening exercises and engage in a process of personal development through various experiential learning activities.

On completion of this counselling and psychotherapy training, you will be equipped with knowledge and understanding about the principles of counselling, developmental issues and psychodynamic theory and method. You will also have gained important foundational listening skills and have begun to develop the emotional sensibility necessary to apply to clinical training.


  • Successful completion of this foundational course offers you the chance to apply for clinical training at Birkbeck with our MSc Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy and MSc Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy with Children and Adolescents.
  • Our counselling courses are taught by experienced and practising clinicians.
  • Birkbeck has 50 years' experience of teaching psychodynamic counselling and practice and an excellent reputation with employers.
  • We have a distinctive multidisciplinary psychosocial perspective with academics coming from backgrounds in anthropology, cultural and postcolonial studies, education studies, gender and sexuality studies, literary studies, critical psychology, psychoanalytic studies and sociology.
Careers and employability

This course will enable you to make informed choices about whether counselling and psychotherapy training is right for you.

On completion, you will be ready to apply to clinical training, including Birkbeck's MSc Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy and MSc Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy with Children and Adolescents.

If you choose to continue in your current work role, you will have acquired valuable skills and understanding which can increase your professional effectiveness, especially if you are in a helping role or working with people in some capacity.

Graduates from our MSc clinical training courses go on to work as counsellors and psychotherapists in a range of settings, often related to the placements they undertook while training.

We offer a comprehensive careers service - Careers and Enterprise - your career partner during your time at Birkbeck and beyond. At every stage of your career journey, we empower you to take ownership of your future, helping you to make the connection between your experience, education and future ambitions.

Information for international students

If English is not your first language or you have not previously studied in English, our usual requirement is the equivalent of an International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic Test) score of 6.5, with not less than 6.0 in each of the sub-tests.

If you don't meet the minimum IELTS requirement, we offer pre-sessional English courses, foundation programmes and language support services to help you improve your English language skills and get your place at Birkbeck.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • GradCert
    part time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Student Advice Service
+44 (0)20 3907 0700