The Professional Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy is a two-year part-time programme professionally accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and credit rated by SQA on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework with 120 credits at SCQF Level 11 . The programme has an annual intake starting in September every year.

Programme Overview

The programme is an advanced training programme in the Person-Centred approach providing students with the opportunity to engage in professional and personal development to the standard that BACP requires for professionally accredited counsellors. 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 two years. Residential attendance on the programme is a requirement of the course.

Module 1
Theory and Practice of Therapeutic Change
Year One, Term 1

Module 2
Personality Theory, Psychological Wellbeing and Psychopathology
Year One, Term 2

Module 3
Reflective Practice, Developments in Counselling and Complex Clinical Issues
Year Two, Term 3

Module 4
Research Issues and Research Methods
Year Two, Term 4

Module 5
Clinical Competence, Supervision and an in-depth analysis of the Counselling Process
Years One & Two
Terms: 1, 2, 3, 4

Module 6
Developing the Reflective Practitioner
Years One & Two
Terms: 1, 2, 3, 4

What does the course Involve?

The programme is predominantly residential, consisting of residential weekends and one week-long residential per module, plus a number of non-residential study days, in each module.

The programme curriculum and structure balances theoretical understanding, personal development and clinical competence which offers students the environment an opportunity to integrate their personal and professional learning and share responsibility for their learning.

The programme is designed around three key principles:

  • The development of theoretical understanding: key academic areas for study, evaluation and assessment.
  • The development of professional and clinical competence: the ability to create and sustain the therapeutic conditions which facilitate change
  • Personal development: the ongoing development of self-awareness and reflectiveness

These key principles are delivered within a structure which provides focus whilst also promoting the integration of learning helping students make connections between the distinct elements of the course, synthesise their own knowledge and understanding and create new insights.

Presentations and seminars by the staff team and visiting presenters provide a substantial input on Person-Centred theory and theories from other approaches including different models for understanding the process of individual development and psychopathology. Workshops and seminars encourage exploration and reflection on key issues relevant to society and the counselling profession and stimulate the growth of greater self-awareness. Course Community Meetings and Process Reflection Groups which are held throughout the course, offer opportunities for self-reflection. The development of counselling competence involves counselling practice with peers on the course, and a clinical practicum where students work with clients in counselling placements. This dimension of the programme also involves individual supervision and group supervision.

In addition to attendance on the programme, students are required to complete a clinical placement which involves one to one therapeutic counselling with clients and attendance at individual supervision. The course also requires students to engage in independent study and complete a number of written assignments.

Whilst the development of competent, ethical, professional practitioners is a key priority for the course, which we take seriously, our programme also recognises that creativity, experiential learning and social time with ‘fellow travellers’ as important elements in this process of development.

Course Requirements

Clinical Placements 

The course provides information about different counselling agencies who have been approved by the course. It is the student’s responsibility to contact agencies and arrange their own counselling placement. Students require to meet the minimum course requirement of 120 hours of appropriately supervised counselling practice. Students should be aiming for an average of 3 hours of client work per week once they have completed the Readiness to Practice assessment by the end of Module 1. 

Students are also required to attend individual supervision throughout the course, at a minimum frequency of one hour per fortnight and a minimum of 32 hours for the duration of the programme 

Assignment Submissions 

Each module has a formal assessment process; modules 1, 2 and 3 include a 5000 word written assignment, and module 4, a 4500 written assignment, which are tutor assessed. Modules 5 and 6 have a blended assessment process which includes oral presentation and analysis of client work, and the students process, supported by written assignments which are tutor, peer and self-assessed.  

How much does the course cost?

The overall cost of the 2024-2026 programme is £9,980 for a single room.  This fee includes a non-refundable deposit of £500 is required to secure a place on the programme. With regard to payment of course fees: the fee for each year is £4,740 for a single room. Fees are required to be paid in advance at the beginning of the academic year. Payment Plans are available.

The course fees include the cost of student enrolment, PVG check with Disclosure Scotland and full board and single room accommodation at the venue. Residential attendance is a mandatory requirement of course participation.

Please note: The course is not SAAS funded.

Additional Fees: Students are required to complete clinical practicum which involves 120 client hours with a placement organisation and 32 hours of Individual Supervision.  This cost of individual supervision is not included in the course fees and can range from £35-£45 per session.

Students are also required to apply for BACP student membership at a cost of £86 per year.

Although it is not a mandatory requirement of the course the vast majority of students choose to engage in personal therapy during the programme. The cost of personal therapy is also met by the individual student.

How do I apply?

You can access the course information leaflet and application form for the 2024-2026 Professional Diploma by clicking on the links.  Guidance for Referees can also be found here.

In order to fulfil our obligations under the Equality Act 2010, Persona is seeking your co-operation to enable us to do this by providing some demographic information. When submitting an application form please also complete the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion questionnaire which is embedded in the form.  Submission of EDI section is entirely voluntary.  The information provided will be kept confidential in accordance with GDPR regulations and will only be used for monitoring purposes.

If you have an enquiry, you can either complete the form on the ‘Contact Us’ page,  email or call us on 0330 202 0283

APPLICATION PROCESS FOR THE 2024-2026 DIPLOMA IS NOW OPEN – Places will be offered on a first come first served basis.  Early applications are recommended to avoid disappointment as there are limited spaces. 
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Further Information

If you have an enquiry or want to request further information: either complete the form on the ‘Contact Us’ page, or email or call us on 0330 202 0283

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