Counselling Diploma Course

The Counselling Diploma provides for a more intensive development of skills and a deeper understanding of the theoretical frameworks and concepts underpinning different counselling approaches, leading to an integration of these into sound counselling practice. The course will cover recent developments in counselling together with humanistic and psychodynamic approaches.

Over three years students mix teaching, experiential learning, group discussion, practical application and microskills exercises with relevant theory. Students will qualify for
the Diploma in Integrative Counselling, which is also the first step to obtaining BACP accreditation. If students successfully complete the first two years of training they have the option to complete the Diploma in Counselling or to apply to continue to do the MA/Advanced Diploma.

Who is it For?

This course is for people who:
  • are seeking professional training having done some previous training
  • are seeking professional training having had some practical experience
  • are practitioners without qualifications
  • are practitioners who wish to extend their qualifications

When is it Held?

The Counselling Diploma is a three-year course. The first two years are taught over six ten-week terms. Training takes place one day a week, every Tuesday in the first year and every Thursday in the second year, plus occasional weekends. After completion of these two years, to obtain the Diploma you will need to meet additional requirements for clinical supervision, and submit an essay, a process report and a research proposal, and present clinical work for live assessment. This work is undertaken during a third year.

Entry Requirements

Students must have successfully completed the Minster Centre Foundation course or had training and/or experience to a similar level before beginning the diploma. Any foundation course undertaken elsewhere should be at least 90 contact hours, covering theory and skills.

Applicants must have completed a minimum of 20 hours of ongoing personal individual therapy within the year prior to the start of the course. It is essential for all students to be in individual psychotherapy at least once weekly throughout the course. Choice of therapist is made with flexibility subject to Minster Centre approval.

Disclosure and Barring Service: A DBS check will be required before you can start seeing clients. Having a criminal record will not necessarily prevent you from training or seeing clients but you should disclose all convictions, cautions, reprimands, warnings or occasions when you have been bound and any active involvement with police investigations on your application form so that we can consider their relevance to your suitability to train and see cleints.
If you do not disclose this material and a DBS check subsequently identifies it this will be dealt with as a fitness to practice issue and you could result in you leaving the training. If you are accepted on the course we cannot guarantee external placements will accept students with a criminal record.
Working with clients is an essential part of the qualification and you will not be able to receive the qualification without them. There may be implications resulting from a criminal record for future employment, and there is no guarantee that completing the course will mean students will also be eligible for professional registration. This is a decision made by the relevant regulatory body. More information is available here

Practicing as a counsellor or psychotherapist, and training to be one, is a psychologically, as well as intellectually, demanding process because it requires us to be open to forming and maintaining therapeutic relationships with others, who, at times, may be deeply distressed or confused. Therapists need to be able to do this safely without harming others or ourselves. In order to prepare for this, trainees need to be able to engage in experiential learning, to reflect on their experiences and to be open to feedback from tutors and peers. This requires a degree of psychological robustness and a capacity for self reflection. Having had a mental health diagnosis or problem in the past is not, necessarily, a barrier to training and some people are able to train whilst managing a level of ongoing difficulty; however we do need to consider ,carefully ,whether there is a danger of the training exacerbating mental health problems in applicants. We also need to consider the well-being of any current or future clients. For this reason, we will ask about mental health during the application process, and the Centre reserves the right to refuse admission to applicants who we judge would not, at this time, be able to benefit from our training or for whom it might be too disturbing.

Course Description

Routes to Qualification


1. Contemporary Models of Humanistic Counselling and Psychotherapy.

A weekly two and a half hour seminar over one and a half terms where students are introduced to: a critical awareness of the conflicts and contradictions within the field of humanistic psychotherapy;
an integration of the humanistic approach in their personal understanding of themselves and other people; the application of the basic elements and attitudes in their own practice through participation in experiential work involving humanistic material. Modes of learning include tutor introductions to the ideas, experiential exercises, student presentations and reflective discussion.

Course requires one written paper of 4,000 words.

2. Object Relations and the Psychoanalytic Tradition

A weekly two and a half hour seminar over one and a half terms exploring the evolution of psychoanalytic theory throughout the twentieth century to today. Starting with Freud’s ideas about the unconscious and biologically based drives as being primary motivating forces in human behaviour, we track the conceptual development of psychodynamic thinking to a change of emphasis wherein relationship and the environment are seen as central in shaping the human experience. The aim of the module is that students learn how to critically compare, contrast, contextualise and apply humanistic and psychodynamic theory and methodology.

Course requires one written paper of 4,000 words.

3. Weekend Workshops

Students participate in three experiential weekend workshops during the year – each fulfilling specific experiential needs or introducing specialist training.

4. Experiential Training Group

This is a weekly two and a half hour session in which the focus is the personal and emotional development of the students, their sensitivity towards/awareness of themselves, others, and
the interactions within the group of students. Sessions are entirely experiential and have no set agenda. Each group meets for ten weeks in the term. Students are expected to increase their self awareness and awareness of others.

5. Clinical Practice

Students will be assessed for readiness to start client work at the end of this year.

6. Intensive Skills group

Attendance at a weekly two and a half or two-hour supervision and Skills Group is required. The Skills Group in the first year focuses upon skills practice at an intensive level and is a preparation for the later Supervision Group where students continue to learn from each other and support their client work. See more information on Supervision Groups in Section One and Three.

7. Individual Psychotherapy

A minimum of 40 sessions of weekly psychotherapy is required in the year.


1. The Body in Psychotherapy

An overview of different forms of bodywork, with the focus being a neo-Reichian approach. Students will practise body-oriented psychotherapeutic skills using breathing, touch and movement.

The seminar teaches the art of body reading, how to use the material arising from it and how to use one’s own bodily responses as a therapeutic tool.

New developments in neuroscience and the implications for psychotherapy will be explored, focusing particularly on intersubjectivity and attachment, grounded in the early mother–child relationship.

2. Diversity

This course opens up the wider world for all practitioners who may have to encounter it. It will:
  • look at all forms of prejudice (sexism, racism, etc), both conscious and unconscious
  • touch on key aspects of the history of oppression and conflict to raise personal and professional awareness
  • deal with the psychology of in-groups and out-groups
  • offer help with conflict resolution and the integration of differences
  • emphasise the value of diversity
  • attempt to raise political awareness.
Through theory seminars and practical workshops designed to raise both skills levels and
consciousness the course will enable practitioners to deal with the whole range of difficulties and challenges that may be encountered when dealing with social and community issues.

At the end of the course students will be better able to work with people who have to live in a world where oppression is common.

The course requires two 4000 word written papers, one on Diversity and the other on the Body in Psychotherapy.

Students will also study the application of what they have learnt to therapeutic practice.

3. Experiential Training Group

Students continue to attend a weekly one and a half hour evening experiential group. Further information on the experiential training group can be found under the first year description.

4. Clinical Practice and Placement

Students will start working with one, two or three training clients, and may start an external placement when deemed appropriate by both supervisor and student. A total of 150 supervised clinical hours is also required for completion.

5. Supervision Group
Attendance at a weekly supervision group is required. All students are in supervision during the second and subsequent years of the Diploma and MA courses. Sessions may include presentation and discussion of work with training clients, role plays, practice sessions and discussion of issues related to practice.

Learning outcomes include: sensitivity to context and the environment of the client, ethics, assessment skills, communication skills, ability to relate theory to practice, self management
skills, developing an integrative practice style.

6. Individual Psychotherapy
A minimum of 40 sessions of weekly psychotherapy is required in the year.

Completion of the Diploma
To complete the Counselling Diploma students must also produce and pass the assessment of:

1. An essay of 5000 words
2. A research proposal of 3000 words
3. A Process Report based on ten minutes of recorded material from one client session (5000 words). A viva is included in the process.

Students also need to ensure they attend at least 80% of each module or group and achieve 80% attendance overall. In addition to the taught hours, significant private study will be required for weekly reading as well as for the preparation and writing of the essays.


Assessment is by Minster Centre staff, except for the Live Assessment and Process Report, which is assessed by outside examiners. In addition to formal assessment of essays, tutors and supervisors assess students' experiential and clinical work. Students are assessed each year and given specific recommendations vis-à-vis their training.


Students who successfully complete all the requirements are awarded a Diploma in Integrative Counselling.

The Minster Centre abides by its own Code of Practice and the BACP Ethical Framework

Accredited Prior Learning (APL)

BACP Accredited Diploma in Integrative Counselling
There is no APEL option for applications to the BACP Accredited Diploma in Counselling beyond the first year. This is because the first year forms such a substantial part of the accredited course and includes more than a third of the teaching hours. Students who join the professional training beyond the first year or join at the start of the MA cannot opt to take the BACP Accredited Diploma in Counselling. Students who join in the second year of professional training or join the MA may be able to submit evidence to BACP of their previous training and the training they undertake at the Centre in as part of their submission for BACP Registration or Accreditation. Applicants in this situation are advised to look at the BACP website for information about accreditation and consult with BACP membership services.

Information about the Application Process

The Academic Year 2018/2019 starts in late September 2018.

We give priority to applications from students who have successfully completed one of our Foundation courses.

  • The second round of applications is open now, the deadline is 7th August 2018.

  • We run regular open events where a senior member of staff will present pathways through training, give details about the course curriculum, and answer questions. Current dates can be found here. If you have further questions, please email Betti

    To apply, you must email an application form, a CV and a personal biography. Please see the “Notes for Guidance” (below). All candidates are selected by individual interview with two senior staff members and the interview fee is £95.

    Notes for Guidance here in PDF

    Download Application Form here in Word

    Therapist Approval Form in Word

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    Course Summary
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    Entry Requirements
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    Course Handbook
    Application Process
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