Taught course


University of Northampton · School of Social Sciences

Entry requirements

Candidates will normally have a first or second class bachelors' degree and be prepared to carry out a placement where they will be working with clients. Therefore, individuals on this course will need a high level of critical self-awareness and a willingness to reflect on their own process. Voluntary or professional experience of support work with adults is desirable, but not essential. Applicants for whom English is not their first language will need to demonstrate that they meet the minimum English language requirement of IELTS 7 minimum all categories (or equivalent).

Months of entry


Course content

This course is an exciting development that will provide students with a level of knowledge and skills in counselling which will equip them to develop as counsellors, and once they have gained further experience and client hours will open up a range of professional opportunities. For students with a first degree in psychology (which is Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) accredited) further postgraduate training opportunities will include doctoral training on British Psychological Society (BPS) accredited courses in Counselling Psychology.

The course will also provide students with a range of skills that will be highly relevant to those wishing to undertake further training in a range of related careers and specialisms. In addition to careers options, the degree will provide a range of communication skills and personal development skills that will be highly valued in a range of organisations and situations. Most of all, this course enables students to feel that they belong to a process of development that enriches them as human beings. A passion develops throughout for a subject that enables not only personal growth but interest in all the knowledge that will be embedded throughout study.

The course consists of examining differing counselling theories and presenting issues. It also concentrates on skills work and therapeutic competencies in organisational settings. Importantly, the course offers the opportunity to maximise self-awareness and reflect on self-process and that of others. The placement allows students to take their competencies to organisations to work with clients.

Throughout, students will be encouraged to develop a critical, evaluative approach to the knowledge which underpins present-day professional practice and will develop skills in critical reflective thought and the ability to make evidenced based decisions. Current issues within counselling and therapy will be considered critically with particular emphasis on their relationship to client practice.

It is important that those attending this course are prepared to carry out a placement when they will be working with clients. Therefore, individuals on this course will need a high level of critical self-awareness and a willingness to reflect on their own process.

Course content:

Counselling Theory and Practice

30 credits

This module examines relational integrative models of counselling, which will involve developing an understanding of the main models of psychodynamic, humanistic and cognitive behavioural approaches. Organisational issues vital to the counselling environment are introduced and there is opportunity to debate ethical dilemmas, especially with regard to multicultural differences and counselling in a diverse society; legal issues pertaining to the work-place; and the BACP ethical framework. Assessment, including risk assessment and use of therapeutic outcome measures, and supervision, including different models of supervision and how to use it effectively will be covered. The module examines the genesis of human problems and introduces a range of issues that clients may present in practice.

Counselling Skills and Process

30 credits

This module will offer the opportunity for students to learn and practise advanced counselling skills within role play scenarios. Emphasis will be placed on the development of the therapeutic relationship and an understanding of the ‘process’ of counselling, the ‘space in-between’ and the content of a counselling session. Students will develop their ability to ‘be’ with clients in role play sessions and to underpin their skills with their own developing integrative theoretical approach. In the first part of the course, students will learn basic and advanced counselling skills and practise these in role play situations. They will learn how to conduct appropriate beginnings and endings. They will also be encouraged to practice the skills with peers outside the formal teaching periods. They will then undertake the role play assessment to ascertain their readiness for supervised placement. The second part of the course offers an exciting opportunity to practise skills in role play with clients in front of larger groups and discuss, as a group, the theoretical orientation and skills apparent in the ‘gold-fish bowl’ scenario.

Self-Awareness and Reflectiveness

30 credits

This module provides the opportunity to critically reflect on personal development, including ways in which life experiences affect self and relationships. It allows the time and space to engage in rigorous self-examination, monitoring thoughts, feelings, physical sensations and behaviour in reflectivity of therapeutic relationships and in life. In addition to academic demands, this course as a whole will make complex demands on the student as a person and therefore this module offers the opportunity for students to question their values and beliefs and sense of self in a safe, supportive and controlled setting. Constructive criticism is an important aspect of personal development and this module will expect students to self explore, to relate their outer environmental experiences to their inner processes and to be able to articulate these to others.

Placement and Supervision

30 credits

In this module students on placement will carry out at least 100 hours of supervised practice with face to face adult clients (students should refer to the placement handbook for details of placements). The skills practise developed in PSYM? is taken to another level in this module, where work with ‘real’ clients within supervised practice is experienced. Through working with clients and discussing this work with an experienced practitioner in supervision, students will develop their skills as well as their understanding of theory and practice.

Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods

10 credits

The rationale for the module is to build research skills in quantitative and qualitative research methods. This module is designed develop the skills needed for independent research, and to design a proposal for an empirical research project.

Dissertation and Research Methods

50 credits

The rationale for the dissertation module is to build advanced research skills, and to provide students with the opportunity to engage in supervised but independently undertaken research. This module is designed develop the skills needed for independent research, and to support students to autonomously formulate and conduct an empirical research project under supervision.

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months

Course contact details

+44 (0)1604 735500
+44 (0)1604 713029