Post Graduate Diploma - Psychological Wellbeing, Counselling and Psychotherapy


Persona was established in 1995 as a not-for-profit organisation with the purpose of providing personal and professional development opportunities in the area of inter-personal relationships and counselling founded on the principles of the Person-Centred approach. Since that time, Persona has concentrated on providing professional training programmes for counsellors and psychotherapists whilst also offering a range of psychological and wellbeing programmes for the workplace to public and private sector organisations.

In 1996 Persona established a Diploma Programme in Counselling and the first cohort of students completed their studies in May 1998. The course was then eligible to apply to the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) for course accreditation which it received. In 2007 the course gained academic validation with the University of Stirling as a Post-Graduate Diploma and in 2010 it was further accredited as an MSc in Psychological Wellbeing, Counselling and Psychotherapy.

The two-year part time Persona Post Graduate Programme in Counselling and Psychotherapy has been running for 20 years. The programme is well known and has a good reputation of being innovative and effective in the field of counselling training in Scotland. The programme is professionally accredited by BACP (since 1998) and has been academically accredited with the University of Stirling for the last 10 years. The three-year part time MSc Programme in Counselling and Psychotherapy is a relatively new development for Persona; it has been running for seven years and has rapidly become an attractive option for individuals who wish to enter the counselling profession. In 2016 Persona changed academic partners and is now working with the Aberdeen University who accredits and grants the academic awards for the Post Graduate Diploma and Masters programmes.

The MSc provides an advanced training programme in the Person Centred approach and allows students the opportunity to engage in professional and personal development to the standard that BACP sets for professionally accredited counsellors.

The Persona course has been running successfully for twenty years and is now the only primarily residential training programme for counsellors and psychotherapist in the UK and one of three remaining BACP accredited programmes in Scotland.

The course is specifically designed to accommodate people who have work commitments during the week which make weekly attendance difficult and for that reason the course takes place mainly at weekends or week-long blocks over three years. The programme benefits from being largely residential allowing regular periods of intense and focused work as well as creating the opportunity for students to spend some informal time with others on the course; both are important and part of the immersive design structure of the programme.

The Person Centred approach is founded on a well-integrated theory of growth and development which stresses the inner resources of each individual. As a therapeutic approach it sets out to provide individuals with a connection with another person which minimises adverse conditions and maximises those conditions which support development. The approach is based on the work of Carl Rogers and it has continued to develop from his original writings.

Persona programmes are not simply about learning the core elements of the Person-Centred approach; they are about learning this within a Person-Centred learning environment. The central values of the Person-Centred approach are the major influence in the design, structure and the curriculum of the programmes we provide as well as how they are delivered and managed. Course facilitators, trainers and supervisors are committed to fulfilling their roles in ways that embody a Person-Centred philosophy, particularly a trust in each person's ability to find a way to direct his/her own development, based on our belief in the actualising tendency; the tendency of the individual to grow and develop to one's full potential. Persona specialises in training in Person-Centred Counselling and Psychotherapy and offers courses at Certificate, Post-Graduate Diploma and MSc levels. Persona is also in the process of developing a PG Certificate in Supervision.

Persona's educational aims are:
  • To provide the opportunity, environment, resources and support for individuals to undertake advanced accredited training in professional counselling.
  • To offer a programme which supports and respects the learning process of students by incorporating a variety of training approaches relevant to counselling.
  • To provide a learning and assessment process which is informed by the Person Centred philosophy and encourages students to take major responsibility for their learning.
  • To provide programmes with a primary focus on the central concepts/theories of the Person-Centred approach in counselling but which also consider other theories of human growth and development and related therapeutic approaches, models of psychopathology and mental health issues
  • To provide a learning process within which students can consider their own reflective processes, reactions, thoughts and feelings in support of their development as reflective practitioners.
  • To provide programmes which support the development of clinical competence and ethical practice through the integration of:
  • 1) counselling skills
    2) underpinning knowledge of therapeutic models and processes
    3) personal reflectiveness and understanding of intra-psychic and interpersonal processes