The Foundation Course at The Minster Centre

provides a comprehensive and critical introduction to the field of psychotherapy and counselling, given from an integrative viewpoint.

It enables students to:
  • develop a basic grasp of the main strands of psychotherapy and counselling theory
  • acquire basic counselling and psychotherapeutic skills
  • increase their own self-awareness, their awareness of others and their capacity to relate and interact with others.

Through this course students will be provided with the facilities and opportunity to work with tutors and each other. They will also be presented with critical material not usually found in introductory courses. 

This course is complete within itself and is a valuable asset for personal growth as well as professional development.

Who is it For?

This course is for people who:
  • are coming to psychotherapy or counselling for the first time
  • wish to gain skills for another career or interest
  • seek to build on previous introductory skills training
  • have related work or academic experience

When is it Held?

This is a one year part-time course, taught on Mondays, 5.30pm to 9.30 pm for 30 weeks of the year, with the addition of two weekends. The course provides 129 training hours in total.

Entry Requirements

Training is open to those with a first degree or with previous training in non-degree courses e.g. in social work or health care or those without formal qualification who have equivalent and suitable life experience and can demonstrate the capacity to complete the academic aspects of the course.

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

1. Foundation Theory and Practice Seminar

A weekly two hour seminar where students are introduced to the field of counselling and psychotherapy from an integrative perspective, and incorporating a critical approach. In the theory component of the course, students will be introduced to the major schools of thought Psychoanalysis, Analytical Psychology and Humanistic Psychology. The skills practice component will help the student to acquire basic therapeutic skills and to connect theory and practice.

The first term will introduce Freud and Object Relations theorists including: Freud, Klein, Winnicott. The second term will look at Analytical Psychology and the Transpersonal, including the work of Jungians and Post-Jungians, Psychosynthesis and Ken Wilber. The third term will cover Reich and Humanistic Psychology, including Maslow, Rogers, Perls, Lowen, Keleman and others.

Tutors: Vaughn Goldschagg, Reena Shah, Andrew Sutton, Stephen Callus and other Minster Staff.

The course requires a written paper of 3,500 words.

2. Experiential Training Group

A weekly one and a half hour session in which the focus is the personal development of students. Sessions are entirely experiential and have no set agenda. Each group meets with a facilitator for ten weeks in the term. The focus is on the personal and emotional development of the students, their sensitivity towards/awareness of themselves, others, and the interactions within the group.

Students are expected to increase their self awareness and awareness of others.

3. Weekend Workshops

Students participate in two weekend workshops offering a different structure and context for experiential work.

4. Individual Psychotherapy

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. Therapists should not be Minster Centre staff. If you are uncertain, please contact us to discuss at or


Assessment is by Minster Centre staff. Students' experiential and written work is assessed. For experiential elements there is continuous peer-, self- and tutor assessment within the group.

One essay is required during the Foundation Year, and in order to be eligible for entering either MA programme, students without a first degree must achieve an average mark of 60% or above. The Centre will inform students of their acceptance into further training or otherwise by the end of the year.


Students who successfully complete the Foundation Course will be awarded a certificate of attendance. Successful completion of the course is also an entry route into the Diploma and MA courses in Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Information about the Application Process

Please note: we operate a rolling admission process, on a first-come-first-served basis. EARLY APPLICATION IS RECOMMENDED.

The Academic Year 2018/2019 starts on 24th September 2018.

We run regular Introductory Evenings 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.

To apply, you must email an application form, a CV and a personal biography. Please see the “Notes for Guidance”. All candidates are selected by individual interview with a senior staff member. The interview fee is £60.

Notes for Guidance here in PDF

Download Application Form here in Word

Download Therapist Approval Form here in Word

you are here: Home>> Training>> Foundation Courses >> Foundation

Course Summary
Who is it for?
When is it held?
Entry Requirements
Course Description
Course Handbook
Application Process
Supportive Documentation
Download Application Form