Research course

Counselling and Psychotherapy

Open University · Department of Psychology

Entry requirements

Minimum 2:1 (or equivalent). We normally expect applicants to have an appropriate masters degree, including some research methods. A recognised MSc (Research Methods) is required for Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) studentships.

Months of entry


Course content

A significant development in the Department of Psychology’s research is in the area of counselling and psychotherapy. As with other areas, the approach here is one of theoretical and methodological innovation that is grounded in the world of practice (all staff working in this area are practitioners). There is an exciting range of approaches, including existential, systemic, mindfulness, and integrative, as well as a broad-based research expertise which includes quantitative and qualitative methods. The department also has an interest in methodological innovation and expertise in the related arena of self-help and advice-giving.

The department has strong links with the nationwide Psychosocial Network which brings together researchers adopting various psychosocial approaches, many of whom are also clinical practitioners. In addition, the work of the Psychosocial programme (including research on intimacies) and the Families, Relationships and Communities programme within the Centre for Citizenship, Identities and Governance is relevant to this area of enquiry. These links make the department an exciting and innovative place to conduct research with a counselling and/or psychotherapy focus and there are active and on-going relationships with non-statutory sector agencies working in this field.

Potential supervisors

Department specialisms

Sexual and relationships therapy Life course transitions and intimacies Alternative structures and sites for intimacy Infidelity and internet infidelity Working with gender and sexual diversity, particularly openly non-monogamous relationships, BDSM, and bisexuality Working with families and other systems beyond the individual Existential, systemic, mindfulness, and integrative approaches Use of new technologies for the provision of counselling and/or psychotherapy Psychotherapy and racialised minorities The impact of body shape in the context of counselling Therapy research which uses session transcripts as the core data Analyses of self-help or advice, particularly relating to sex and relationships Salutogenesis: promoting health and resilience in counselling and psychotherapy

Fees and funding

Please see The Open University website

Qualification and course duration


full time
36 months
part time
72 months
distance learning
variable months


part time
24 months
distance learning
variable months
full time
15 months

Course contact details

+44 (0)1908 653947