School of Education
  

MA Person-Centred Experiential Counselling and Psychotherapy Practice Student Profiles

This is a collection of reflective accounts from MA Person-Centred Experiential Counselling and Psychotherapy alumni. They describe why they chose to study at the University of Nottingham, their experience of the course and how it has helped develop their career.
 

 

Jennifer Holland - MA Person-Centred Experiential Counselling and Psychotherapy PracticeJennifer Holland

Study mode: Part-time
Year of graduation: 2018
Home country: UK

 

 

Why did you choose this course?

I chose this course because I felt a natural affinity towards the ‘person-centred’ approach and the course has a good reputation within the field of counselling and psychotherapy. The option to study part-time (over four years) was also an important consideration as I had a young child at that point.

How has the course helped you in your career?

The course opened up an entirely new career for me. After graduating I chose to continue academic research and was fortunate enough to receive a studentship from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy for my PhD. Alongside this, I work within private practice as a psychotherapist and I also lecture. This is very different to life before the course. 

Was there a particular module that you enjoyed the most?

The luxury of part-time study allowed me to immerse myself in each module. The part of the course that I found particularly helpful for my personal development were the intensive encounter weekends. 

What was the best part of the course?

It was a remarkably transformative experience. I had not anticipated when I started the course how much I would change. I still remember sitting in the car park on day two, feeling totally bemused, thinking, “what just happened?” It was much more than I expected. The course changed the way I saw education, and the way that I saw others and myself. Since graduating I have remained a part of the person-centred community that remains strong within Nottingham, it feels like home. Going forward, I’d like to continue my career as an academic researcher, coupled with my work in private practice. 

How did you find your placement - how has it helped you develop your skills?

As a group of students, we created our own placement organisation by working alongside David Murphy to create The Human Flourishing Project (HFP), which is a research clinic offering free psychotherapy within Nottingham City. The clinic is now six years old, running as a co-operative community interest company. The HFP offers great placements to current students on the adult pathway, with supervision included. It was (and remains) a unique placement experience that prepares students for private practice, future employment in the field, and further research projects. 

Why do you think students should come to the University of Nottingham to study this course?

The support and dedication to my personal growth by the team, is the part that strikes me as one of the most important aspects of the course that I often reflect upon. If you feel that the person-centred approach is a good fit for you, and you want to experience a person-centred education, where your autonomy is prized, then I’d thoroughly recommend this course. 

 

Kaiqing Yang - MA Person-Centred Experiential Counselling Practice and PsychotherapyKaiqing Yang

Year of graduation: 2016
Home country: China

 

 


Why did you choose this course?

I chose this course as I liked Nottingham as a city. It wasn’t too busy but still very lively with many interesting events. However, I was mainly drawn to the University of Nottingham because of the course and its emphasis on experiential learning, which was very unique. Also, it was a two-year course that provided enough opportunities for me to adapt and learn in a different culture.

How has the course helped you in your career? 

Completing the course allowed me to practice as a therapist, which has always been what I wanted to do. It gave me the confidence to work independently, ethically and most importantly, it enabled me to appreciate and enjoy my work as a work. I plan to continue being a therapist, connecting with different people, getting to know them and sharing their journey. I would also like to promote the idea of person-centred as I believe the world would be a much better place if more of us are ‘person-centred’.

Was there a particular module that you enjoyed the most?

In terms of my favourite module, I would say ‘Power, Politics and the Socio-Cultural World’. It really opened my eyes to lots of different topics I’d never thought enough about. I learned to be more open minded, curious, intuitive and empathetic towards the world around me. It made me think more, which is a quality I will benefit from for the rest of my life.

What was the best part of the course?

The classes were the best experience I’ve had in my education life. It was so different to previous experiences I’ve had in the classroom. Instead of learning from Powerpoint, we learned from actual experiences that we couldn’t have had elsewhere. As a group we learned to share, be open and listen as well as how to accept and be accepted. We also learned about emotions by experiencing them and staying with them. We were experimenting in a safe bubble held by tutors; we could make mistakes, explore, change and grow. Overall, it was empowering, touching, and so much fun. I wouldn’t have become a complete therapist without this experience. I miss being in those classes.

How did you find your placement - how has it helped you develop your skills?

The commute to my placement in the morning sun was one of my best memories. I looked forward to seeing my clients each week. My placement taught me how to work safely within boundaries, use supervision, contract, and build therapeutic relationships. The tutors and supervisors were extremely caring and supportive, making the experience exciting and reassuring.

Why do you think students should come to the University of Nottingham to study this course?  

I really do believe everybody would benefit from going through this course, not only to become a counsellor, but more importantly, to become a person. It will be the start to a life changing journey where we would find ourselves, find our power and autonomy, connect with others, and ourselves and therefore able to create a supportive environment for the ones around us to grow together. Also, the friends you make during the course are going to be lifelong. You will be of a similar mind set and you’ll get to know each other very well. You’ll be caring and understanding of one another, and most importantly, you will be accepted as yourself. The course creates for us these great opportunities to form strong and close bonds that can hardly be found elsewhere.

 

Shun Chen - MA Person-Centred Experiential Counselling and Psychotherapy PracticeShun Chen

Year of graduation: 2017
Home country: China

 

 


Why did you choose this course?

I chose this course because there weren’t many universities that offered a course in person-centred psychotherapy and counselling. Nottingham provided an experiential learning experience which made it more unique. In addition, I enjoyed the beautiful campuses, excellent facilities and countless cultural activities on offer.

How has the course helped you in your career? 

The course fulfilled the accreditation criteria required by professional bodies and offered me opportunities to accumulate practice hours, these were important to the development of my career. This course was my first step toward becoming a psychotherapist. I have now been in private practice for more than two years.    

I have already achieved my objective for doing the course, which was to become a counsellor. I’m currently working towards a PhD degree in the Centre for Research in Human Flourishing at the University of Nottingham and undertaking private practice in my spare time. I plan to continue my dual-career path with the goal of promoting wellbeing and facilitating development. 

Was there a particular module that you enjoyed the most?
 
I enjoyed almost everything in the course because the experiential approach supported my autonomy in learning and professional practice. The learning environment was supportive, inclusive and equal. I have learnt theories from books but also through interactions with everyone in the course. The University also provided sufficient support and resources to facilitate my learning.

What was the best part of the course?
 
I had the best educational experience during the course. Not only did I learn knowledge and skills about counselling/psychotherapy, but I also grew and became a better person with the support of tutors and course mates. My participation in the course was the most unique and amazing experience I have ever had at every level of education.

 

Yang Peng - MA Person-Centred Experiential Counselling and Psychotherapy PracticeYang Peng 

Year of graduation: 2019 
Home country: China 

 

 


Why did you choose this course?

 
I chose this course as Nottingham is a beautiful city; all of its campuses are very nice. The living cost is lower than other big cities too. Differing from other masters courses, this course is two years long, giving you more time to learn and gain experience.

How has the course helped you in your career? 

This course not only helped my career, but most importantly, it empowered me. I am now more open, confident and controlled, it has been a life-changing course. After the course, I was able to land a well-paid job in a well-known organisation as a counsellor.

Was there a particular module that you enjoyed the most?

During my first year, I really enjoyed the modules ’Person-Centred Experiential Theory’ and ‘Professional Practice and Skills’. It was my first time encountering these topics and by the end of each, I had gained a better understanding and appreciation for different perspective to counselling. However, I did find them challenging as they were different from what I expected.

After completing the degree, I managed to get a job as a counsellor in the UK. The course, along with the counselling experience I gained helped me to stand out when applying for jobs.

How did you find your placement - how has it helped you develop your skills?

My placement experience at the Human Flourishing Project (HFP) was great. The placement is run by the students of the course, everyone is committed to helping others and shares the responsibility for the administration duties. It allowed me to get more exposure to intake sessions and improve my confidence when meeting a new client. A typical placement day consisted of providing clients with recommendations to community resources, documenting client progress in confidential files and undertaking rigorous clinical assessments and identify action needs/risks, such as CORE, BLRI, PHQ9, GAD7. 

What was the best part of the course?

The best part of the course for me was the tutor’s unconditional positive support, especially David Murphy. He always offered his support and reassurance. When you join the course, you enter an atmosphere of respect and encouragement for each other, without labels, where tutors will listen to concerns and try to assist us to find our own solutions.

Why do you think students should come to the University of Nottingham to study this course?     

It is a special course that is definitely worth it if you are interested in counselling. You will experience a lot in those two years. It is hard but you will not regret to choose this path.

 

  

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