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Counselling Psychology

Programme Details 2018-2019

Entry September 2016 and onwards

Department of Psychology

PROGRAMME CONVENER(S): Dr George Georgiou, 020 8392 3559, g.georgiou@roehampton.ac.uk

For further information, please contact the Programme Administrator, Meera Mahadeva, 020 8392 3601, meera.mahadeva@roehampton.ac.uk.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS SPECIFIC TO THE PROGRAMME: (1) All candidates entering the programme must possess a first degree or conversion course in Psychology recognised by the British Psychological Society as conferring the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the BPS, and of a standard which indicates their suitability for work at Doctoral level, normally a good upper second or first class Honours degree. Candidates with a 2:2 may be considered if there is evidence of subsequent higher academic achievement, such as a merit or a distinction in a relevant Masters programme that includes a research dissertation. Overseas candidates must establish eligibility for and gain GBC status via [http://www.bps.org.uk/what-we-do/membership/graduate-member-mbpss/graduate-member-mbpss]the BPS membership section before they can apply for the programme. All applicants must include with their application a letter from the BPS confirming their GBC status. Applicants who are currently completing a BPS accredited degree or conversion course, or are in the process of ascertaining eligibility for GBC, will be considered provided that they will have completed their course and been granted GBC before the programme starts in September. Candidates who have not gained GBC status will not be admitted to the programme.

(2) Candidates must also have relevant and appropriate professional experience of working in an emotionally demanding helper role that involves the use of counselling skills. This can be in a paid or voluntary capacity. Experience should involve working over a continuous period at least 6-12 months prior to the point at which the application is made in a role where you have provided face to face therapeutic help, for example, as a counsellor, support worker, assistant psychologist or psychological wellbeing practitioner. Telephone counselling, observing psychotherapy work, undertaking short work experience placements or having experience of caring for an individual or family member with mental health problem, though relevant, would not on their own constitute sufficient experience. Examples of types of work experience that would be considered relevant include:

• assistant psychologist (including clinical experience)
• psychological wellbeing practitioner or high intensity IAPT worker
• counsellor (professional or voluntary)
• trained health care professional (e.g. nurse, social worker, support worker)

Work experience in the following roles is relevant but may not be adequate on its own, so gaining experience in any of the above areas would be beneficial:

• telephone counsellor
• teaching/training
• befriending
• HR, management, coaching

(3) Candidates must have completed at least a basic training in counselling skills before commencing the programme. This can be a short intensive certificate course or a longer diploma course. Broadly speaking, the longer and more theoretically-based the course undertaken the more valuable it is likely to be as a preparation for the programme. The course must include a focus on practicing counselling skills. Where an applicant has gained substantial relevant work experience or completed in-house skills trainings this may be considered adequate. The less formal direct counselling or psychological experience an applicant has the more important an introductory counselling skills course is likely to be. Applicants who have not completed a counselling skills course may be required to complete one as a condition of taking up an offer of a place on the programme. The [http://www.bacp.co.uk/]British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy can be contacted to find out more about organisations that offer introductory level counselling courses.

(4) Proficiency in reading, writing and spoken English of a standard necessary to support academic study and professional practice at doctoral level. In line with HCPC standards, applicants for whom English is not a first language must possess an English language qualification demonstrating proficiency of an IELTS minimum of 7 with no element below 6.5 or TOEL IBT min 110 with a minimum of 26 in reading and a minimum of 28 in writing speaking and reading. Evidence of proficiency in written English will also be gleaned from the quality of the applicants’ personal statement.

When completing personal statements applicants should aim to demonstrate the following:

• A standard of written English adequate to support advanced postgraduate study
• A capacity to reflect upon learning gained from professional experience to date
• A constructive appraisal of their stage of development and further learning needs
• An understanding of the field of counselling psychology and a clear rationale for wanting to become a counselling psychologist
• Personal maturity, self-awareness and reflective capacity
• Research interests relevant to the field of counselling psychology
• Academic ability sufficient to support advanced postgraduate study
• A realistic understanding of doctoral level study and readiness to undertake this.

The selection process aims to ensure that students admitted to the programme are likely to complete it successfully. The PsychD Counselling Psychology will place high demands on students, their abilities and their personal resources. Therefore the selection process has to be thorough and rigorous.

Applicants who fulfil entry requirements (1), (2) (3) and (4) will be invited to attend a selection day with other shortlisted candidates. Before the selection day shortlisted candidates will be asked to submit an example of a previously completed piece of written work that evidences their research and academic ability, e.g. a previously completed research dissertation. This will be used by the selection team to help assess a candidate’s readiness to undertake advanced postgraduate study. The selection day will involve a presentation to candidates about the programme and an opportunity to ask questions. Candidates will also participate in interviews with members of the programme team, focussing on their work experience, personal development, research experience and skills. Candidates will be expected to explain their rationale for wanting to become a counselling psychologist, to critically discuss examples of their work experience to date, to reflect on their personal development and life experience, to discuss their research experience and interests, to demonstrate a critical understanding of research methods, and an appreciation of and readiness for the demands of doctoral level study.

Candidates will be rated by interviewers according to specified criteria. The available places will be offered following the rank ordering of ratings and discussion of candidates.

Successful candidates for the PsychD Counselling Psychology will need to demonstrate that they are:

• academically able to succeed at Doctoral level
• able to develop their professional practice to Doctoral level
• mature, responsible persons with a high degree of integrity
• ready to work with vulnerable clients and able to cope with the emotional demands of this
• open-minded and able to accept other people's perspectives in order to avoid imposing their views on clients
• self-reflective, i.e. able to reflect on their responses to and effects on others, aware of their own strengths and limitations, and open to challenge, as a requirement for professional learning and development
• aware of the demands of the training and their reasons for following this career, and aware of the implications of working with people in distress
• able to relate to others and to demonstrate a good level of interpersonal skills
• proficient in the English language and able to communicate complex ideas.

Accreditation of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer
Accreditation of prior learning (APL) will be considered for applicants who have completed modules or a programme which are equivalent to specific components of this programme. Equivalence in module level, content and assessment will be scrutinised in each case on the basis of submitted course material. Candidates for APL will be interviewed to assess if they meet the selection criteria for this programme. If this is the case, applications for APL will be processed within Roehampton procedures. APL will not be granted for personal therapy and client hours undertaken before the start of the training. This means that it is not possible to gain APL for all Year 1 components of the PsychD and direct Year 2 entry.

Registration for the Doctorate
Registration for the PsychD will take place at the start of the programme. In order to proceed to Year 2 of the Doctorate, students will need to have a) passed all Year 1 modules; b) achieved a minimum average mark of 60% across all Level 7 Year 1 modules and c) a pass the Research in Counselling Psychology module at level 8.

Alternative Exit Awards
Students who successfully complete 120 credits at Level 7 but who do not pass the Research in Counselling Psychology module will be eligible for an exit award of a Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling Psychology. Students who successfully completed 180 credits at Level 7 will be eligible for an exit award of a Master of Science in Counselling Psychology. These awards do not confer eligibility to apply for registration with the HCPC or chartered status with the BPS.

Postgraduate Diploma: 120 Level 7 credits
MSc: 180 Level 7 credits
PsychD: 120 credits at Level 7 plus 420 credits at Level 8 (Doctoral)

LOCATION: This programme is taught at the Whitelands College campus.

PROGRAMME OUTLINE: The programme’s primary rationale is to train individuals to be eligible to qualify as HCPC registered and BPS chartered counselling psychologists. The University of Roehampton has a long tradition in offering high quality postgraduate training programmes in counselling, psychotherapy and counselling psychology, and has maintained a strong position in an increasingly competitive market. The counselling psychology programme was one of the first in the country to gain accreditation with the BPS, and continues to be successful in terms of recruitment, student satisfaction, and feedback from employers.
Distinctive features of the PsychD programme at Roehampton are its relational, pluralistic philosophy, its strong research culture, the rigour and depth of the therapeutic training, and the wide and varied expertise and interests of the teaching staff. At Roehampton, counselling psychology is regarded as being primarily concerned with the promotion of human well-being through an understanding and fostering of constructive human relationships and social context. Relationships are considered central to an understanding of human development, identity and functioning, and thus to the role of the counselling psychologist, whether as therapist, supervisor, researcher, consultant, teacher or manager. Likewise, an awareness of social justice issues, a commitment to pluralistic inclusive practice, and an emphasis on empowerment, are key components of the programme’s philosophy.

The programme is closely affiliated with the Centre for Research in Social and Psychological Transformation (CREST), which is a hub of internationally-recognised research activity in the psychological therapies field, and has its own psychological therapies clinic, in which students can undertake clinical research and practice placements.

The programme has an innovative supportive design, which places students’ professional practice and development at the heart of the learning process. It offers flexible study options which aim to facilitate access to the profession, for those who may not be able to undertake full-time study.

AIMS: Programme aims for the exit awards are stated before those of the main programme, in the sequence of the progression through the programme.

Completing the Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) will:

  • enable students who do not wish or do not fulfil the requirements to complete the PsychD, to acquire an academic qualification which reflects their achievement at Master's level;
  • enable students to acquire sound foundations in the theory, research and practice of counselling psychology.
Completing the MSc will in addition:
  • enable students to develop relevant competency in research in the field of counselling psychology.
Completing the PsychD in Counselling Psychology will:
  • enable students to acquire a comprehensive training in counselling psychology, which confers eligibility to apply for HCPC registration as a Counselling Psychologist and Chartered membership of the British Psychological Society;
  • enable students to work as competent, reflective, and ethically sound counselling psychologists who can provide high quality professional services through the skillful and creative application of a broad range of psychological knowledge and extensive, self-reflective practical experience;
  • enable students to create new knowledge and understanding in research and practice which will contribute to the development of the profession of Counselling Psychology and related fields.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Before specifying the learning outcomes of the final award of the PsychD in Counselling Psychology, the learning outcomes for the alternative exit awards are stated. The learning outcomes for the PsychD build on those for the PGD.

Learning Outcomes for the Exit Award of PGD

Students who have successfully completed 120 credits at Level 7 including modules Person-centred and Experiential Theory and Practice and Inclusion Ethics and Social Justice may leave with a PGDip in Counselling Psychology.

The PGDip will be awarded to students who have demonstrated:

  • the acquisition of a comprehensive and up-to-date body of psychological theory and research relevant to counselling psychology;
  • a critical understanding of the theory and practice of humanistic therapies, including their philosophical bases and research evidence;
  • a critical understanding of the arguments and evidence in contemporary debates regarding the process and effectiveness of psychological therapies;
  • a knowledge of the relevant professional codes of ethics and practice, and the legal and ethical issues arising in a variety of complex situations in research and practice;
  • an awareness of the ways in which personal, cultural and theoretical assumptions impact on theory, practice and research.
Holders of a PGDip will be able to:
  • critically evaluate contemporary developments in theory, research and practice on the basis of thorough conceptual and methodological understanding;
  • apply concepts and skills from the humanistic therapies to facilitate growth and change;
  • respond to the complex demands of therapeutic practice in a safe and ethical manner;
  • monitor and reflect on their practice from personal and scientific perspectives, recognise limitations of their competence and identify areas for further professional development.
Holders of a PGDip will have:
  • the skills to communicate complex conceptual and practical issues clearly in oral and written form;
  • the ability to work independently and take responsibility for ongoing learning;
  • the therapeutic skills to respond productively to unpredictable and complex interpersonal situations.
Learning Outcomes for the Exit Award of MSc

Students who successfully complete 180 credits at Level 7 may leave with an MSc in Counselling Psychology.

In addition to the learning outcomes for the PGDip, the MSc will be awarded to students who have demonstrated:
  • the ability to conceptualise and design a research project which addresses a relevant question in Counselling Psychology;
  • the ability to critically evaluate a comprehensive range of research methodologies a critical understanding of how to apply them appropriately.
In addition to the learning outcomes for the PGDip, holders of an MSc will be able to:
  • understand the appropriate use of research methods competently to answer relevant questions in the field of counselling psychology.
Learning Outcomes for the Final Award of PsychD

Students who successfully complete all of the programme modules, 120 credits at Level 7 and 440 at Level 8 (540 credits in total), will be eligible for the award of PsychD in Counselling Psychology.

The learning outcomes for the PsychD have been designed to align with the relevant QAA descriptors for Doctoral study, as well as the HCPC and BPS professional standards for approved training programmes in counselling psychology.

The PsychD will be awarded to students who have demonstrated:
  • the ability to create and interpret new knowledge in Counselling Psychology through original research of a high standard which merits publication;
  • the ability to conceptualise, design and implement a project for the generation of new knowledge, applications or understanding at the forefront of the discipline, and to adjust the project design in the light of unforeseen problems;
  • a detailed understanding of the range and critical applications of relevant and up-to-date research methodologies;
  • a critical understanding of a relational pluralistic philosophy of practice, based on comprehensive and up-to-date knowledge of relevant theory and research, and a competent and creative application of this knowledge in response to complex and unpredictable problems, diverse service user needs and practice settings;

  • the systematic acquisition and personal integration of a substantial body of knowledge and experience of psychological theory, research practice and personal development relevant to the professional practice of counselling psychology at the forefront of the discipline;
  • an in-depth and critical understanding of the complexities of psychological practice, professional, legal and ethical requirements and dilemmas, and their implications in a variety of organisational contexts and roles.
Holders of the PsychD in Counselling Psychology will be able to:
  • respond to the complexities and changing demands of professional practice in a critical, self-reflective, flexible and resilient manner, analyse ethical and professional dilemmas, and maintain the ability to make thoughtful autonomous judgments and decisions in the face of powerful pressures in emotionally demanding situations and in the absence of complete data;
  • critically evaluate and apply comprehensive, up-to-date psychological knowledge and models to produce appropriate rationally based formulations, interventions, guidance and training that can be applied to a range of service users and contexts, and to communicate their ideas clearly and effectively to specialist and non-specialist audiences;
  • establish and maintain productive, collaborative and respectful working relationships with a range of service users and colleagues, and use their professional knowledge and skills to foster good practice, psychological insight, safety, wellbeing and change;
  • monitor, reflect on and adapt their practice drawing from personal, theoretical, service user and research perspectives, recognise the limits of their competence, identify areas for further learning, and maintain their continuing professional development and fitness to practice;
  • appreciate the relativity of perspectives on human nature, distress, change, therapeutic action, relationships, organisational and social systems, and the way in which personal and cultural values and assumptions impact on theory, practice and research;
  • undertake professional research and engagement at an advanced level, contributing to the development of new ideas and approaches in counselling psychology, awareness of psychological services and the good reputation of the profession.
Holders of the PsychD in Counselling Psychology will have the qualities and transferable skills necessary to work successfully in a range of occupational settings and roles requiring the exercise of personal responsibility and initiative in complex, demanding and unpredictable situations, as both an independent practitioner and as part of a team. These include the ability to:
  • communicate complex or contentious information clearly and effectively to a variety of audiences, both orally and in writing;
  • work, advise, teach or lead effectively within a group;
  • use advanced interpersonal and reflective skills and psychological knowledge to enhance individual and group functioning, and manage relationships effectively;
  • draw form a wide range of resources and knowledge to inform and update practice;
  • take a logical and systematic approach to problem solving;
  • handle and work productively with large volumes of information;
  • use information and communication technologies appropriate to their practice;
  • organise and manage workload, resources and timescales effectively;
  • articulate and record decisions and actions appropriately;
  • be an independent, self-critical learner;
  • take responsibility for maintaining personal self-care and fitness to practice;
  • take responsibility for continuing professional development, drawing on a wide range of resources;

ATTENDANCE: The programme may be undertaken flexibly over a period of 3 to 6 years, with continuous full-time attendance consisting of 3 years of study and continuous part-time attendance consisting of 6 years of study. Trainees may also opt to vary their mode of attendance between full and part time pathways as they move through the programme.

Continuous full-time attendance over 3 academic years would be as follows:

Year 1: Wednesdays and Fridays
Year 2: Wednesdays and Thursdays
Year 3: Wednesdays and Thursdays

Continuous part-time attendance over 6 academic years would be as follows:
Year 1a: Wednesdays
Year 1b: Fridays
Year 2a: Wednesdays
Year 2b: Thursdays
Year 3a: Wednesdays
Year 3b: Thursdays

Teaching takes place primarily during the autumn (September to December) and spring (January to March) terms, with some workshops and seminars provided during the summer term (April to June). The summer recess is between June and September. When not attending the University, students will be engaged in their clinical placements and supervision (normally 1 to 2 days per week), research work and academic assignments, and attending personal therapy. Students on a part-time pathway can complete the programme’s clinical practice and research components over a longer period of time and at a lower intensity than students on a full-time pathway, thus allowing more extra-curricula time, for example to maintain some paid employment or for family commitments.



Compulsory and Required modules
Compulsory and/or required modules may change when we review and update programmes. Below is a list of modules offered this academic year.

Optional modules
Optional modules, when offered as part of a programme, may vary from year to year and are subject to viability.

LEVEL 7 & 8 (Doctoral)

PsychD in Counselling Psychology
Students on this programme take 120 credits at level 7 and 420 at level 8, providing them with the eligibility to apply for registration with the HCPC as a counselling psychologist and chartered psychologist status with the BPS.

Full-time mode

Year 1
#DCP060L020Y - Professional Practice and Development
#DCP020L021Y - Person-centred and Experiential Theory and Practice
#DCP020L022Y - Inclusion Ethics and Social Justice
#DCP020L023Y - Assessment Formulation and Clinical Presentations
~DCP060L024Y - Research in Counselling Psychology [level 7 variant of DCP060D025 for MSc exit award only]
+DCP060D025Y - Research in Counselling Psychology

Year 2
+DCP360D060Y - Advanced Practice and Research [all year 2 components]

Year 3
+DCP360D060Y - Advanced Practice and Research [all year 3 components]

Part-time mode

Year 1a
#DCP020L021Y - Person-centred and Experiential Theory and Practice
#DCP020L022Y - Inclusion Ethics and Social Justice
#DCP040L031Y - Professional Practice and Development 1a

Year 1b
#DCP020L023Y - Assessment Formulation and Clinical Presentations
~DCP060L024Y - Research in Counselling Psychology [level 7 variant of DCP060D025 for MSc exit award only]
+DCP060D025Y - Research in Counselling Psychology
#DCP020L032Y - Professional Practice and Development 1b

Year 2a
+DCP360D060Y - Advanced Practice and Research [Psychodynamic Theory and Practice, Experiential Group, Professional Practice]

Year 2b
+DCP360D060Y - Advanced Practice and Research [Empirical Research Project, Advanced Competencies, Professional Practice]

Year 3a
+DCP360D060Y - Advanced Practice and Research [Cognitive-behavioural Theory and Practice, Experiential Group, Professional Practice]

Year 3b
+DCP360D060Y - Advanced Practice and Research [Empirical Research Project, Advanced Competencies, Professional Practice]

Module annotations:
# - compulsory module (must be passed)
+ - compulsory module for PsychD students only (must be passed)
~ - compulsory module for MSc students only (must be passed).

a) Each module code consists of a three-letter module prefix denoting the programme it belongs to (eg JOU020L403S = Journalism Studies), the following three digits refer to its credit value (eg JOU020L403S = 20 credits), the single letter in the middle (eg JOU020L403S) denotes the module level (L = Level 7), the last three digits denote its unique number (eg JOU020L403S), and the final letter denotes its suffix (eg JOU020L403S). The suffixes indicate the following: A - Autumn term, S - Spring term, H – Summer term/Summer intensive mode, Y - All year, V - collaborative partnership (off-site).

b) Individual module details can be viewed by clicking on each module code or using the "View all modules" link below for a complete list of module assessment and descriptions.

View all modules

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