Triangle

This course is no longer accepting applications for 2021 entry.

Course overview

Person-centred experiential psychotherapy and counselling is part of the group of therapies that are based on humanistic-existential psychology. This course enables you to gain the theoretical, professional and personal skills needed for effective counselling practice.

Our teaching is informed by over 50 years of counselling tradition, leading scholars and practitioners in the field. Their expertise and academic knowledge allow you to see how this type of counselling can have a tangible impact.

You will undertake a work placement as a counsellor and be supported by qualified practice educator, allowing you to build practical skills and develop as a counsellor. You may also engage with a wider community of scholars through training events, seminars and conferences organised by external organisations or the course team.

This course is ideal for those who wish to train to become a counsellor in this experiential area. It will equip you with the required number of training hours for individual accreditation with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. It will also prepare you for doctoral studies in counselling and psychotherapy or related areas.

View our student profiles page to see what previous students say about their experience on the course.

Why choose this course?

Over half a century

of experience in humanistic psychology within the School of Education

Counsellor placement

to help build your clinical skillset

Active seminar series

featuring distinguished visitors in your field from across the world

Top 50

in the world for education

3rd in the UK

with 84% of research considered world-leading or internationally excellent

Course content

This course provides a seamless journey from beginner to qualified practitioner in Person-Centred Experiential Counselling and Psychotherapy Practice. In year one, you will complete core modules in person-centred experiential theory and professional practice skills.

During year two, you will choose between two specialist pathways:

  • Counselling for adults across the lifespan
  • Counselling for children and young people

If you are full-time student you will also commence your counsellor placement. You must complete a minimum of 100 hours. During this time, you will also commence your own personal therapy, of which you you must complete a minimum of 80 hours. Part-time students will complete these elements of the course during their third year. 

You are responsible for organising your own placement and ensuring that the four-way contract between you, your supervisor, placement provider and course leader is signed, with a copy placed on your file in the School of Education. Supervision must be provided by a trained and/or experienced supervisor. Line management and peer supervision is not acceptable. You will need at least 20 hours of supervision to complete the 100 hours of clinical placement.

You must agree to abide by the guidelines of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)'s Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions or to an equivalent code for members of other relevant associations, such as the UK Council for Psychotherapy or the British Psychological Society.

Pathways

Pathway one: Counselling for adults across the lifespan pathway

This pathway aims to equip you with the skills to working therapeutically with adults in a range of settings across public and private sectors. You'll gain the knowledge needed to work across the whole adult lifespan, from those seeking therapy for severe mental distress to personal growth and development.

Pathway two: Counselling for children and young people pathway

On this pathway, you will be prepared to conduct therapeutic work with children and young people in a range of educational settings. This could include schools, colleges and universities, social care or mental health services, or youth and criminal justice settings.

Tutors

Modules

Core modules

Advancing Professional Practice and Skills

This module advances knowledge and experience of working with more challenging and complex case presentations and issues. Whilst continuing to extend and deepen your self-awareness in preparation for placement you will:

  • conceptualise an individual therapeutic positioning in preparation for placement
  • gain an understanding of models of supervision, prepare for and make use of supervision
  • use clinical case discussion covering issues of self-awareness and relational/interpersonal dynamics
  • advance self-awareness through process group activity
  • further refine skills development using tape assisted recall methods/IPR

You will develop more advanced skills in therapeutic relating. You will develop greater self-awareness by engaging in a range of activities including process groups, small and large group exercises and counselling skills sessions.

Advancing Person-Centred Experiential Theory

This module will take you further into an examination of advanced theory for person-centred experiential (PCE) psychotherapy and counselling.

The module builds on their existing knowledge of the philosophical underpinnings of the PCE to psychotherapy and counselling taught in Developing Person-Centred Experiential Theory in semester one. This module advances your learning by examining contemporary theoretical developments, evidenced based practices and the issues and influences that have created these changes.

Building on previous learning, you will consider research and theory from applied social and positive psychology and learn how these knowledge bases inform therapeutic practice and personal development in a range of applied contexts. Through experiential learning you will gain a deep understanding of your own values as a therapist and helping professional.

Developing Person-Centred Experiential Theory

This module will provide the foundation of knowledge in the core theories for person-centred experiential (PCE) psychotherapy and counselling.

The module will begin by examining the philosophical underpinnings of PCE psychotherapy and counselling. This will provide the basis for acquiring a critical perspective on theories of the development of self and psychological distress and the development of personal growth.

The sessions are taught through experiential learning activities and the student will gain a deep understanding of the personal meaning of the theory that is to be applied in the psychotherapy and counselling setting.

Developing Professional Practice and Skills

This module introduces you to professional practice related issues. Core aspects for beginning counsellors will be addressed and will include:

  • developing and maintaining a therapeutic relationship - understanding the contributions of client and therapist
  • an in-depth examination of professional codes of ethics and their application - critical perspectives on systems of accountability
  • experiential workshops focused on ethical issues relating to therapeutic confidentiality, time keeping, record keeping, consent, boundaries (for example, use of touch), and working within a safe level of competence
  • the development of self-awareness through process group activity
  • skills development using tape assisted recall methods/IPR

You will gain skills and understanding in building therapeutic relationships, assess your capacity for working with clients and staying within your competence level. You will develop greater self-awareness by engaging in a range of activities including process groups, small and large group exercises and counselling skills sessions.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Friday 11 June 2021.

Core modules

Dissertation and Research Methods

This module will provide the foundation of knowledge in the core research methodology and methods for person-centred experiential (PCE) psychotherapy and counselling.

The module will begin by examining the philosophical underpinnings of research and its applicability to psychotherapy and counselling. This will provide the basis for acquiring a critical perspective on research and the development of a dissertation proposal.

You will gain a deep understanding of the range of quantitative and qualitative methods and how they can be applied in the psychotherapy and counselling setting. You will gain the experience of doing a piece of research relevant to counselling and psychotherapy.

Pathways

Pathway one: Counselling for adults across the lifespan pathway

Power, Politics and the Socio-Cultural World

This module provides you with the opportunity to immerse yourself in research and theory beyond the confines of the psychotherapeutic literature to learn about issues of power, equality, gender as well as the influences of the social and the cultural world on human behaviour.

Such learning provides you with the ability to think broadly about issues relevant to psychotherapy and how they may be conceptualised from different perspectives.

Pathway two: Counselling for children and young people pathway

The Lives of Children and Young People: Systems, Contexts and Approaches

The module considers the legal and policy context influencing counsellors' work with children and young people. This includes institutional contexts for the work with a particular focus on education, health and youth services settings. You will reflect on challenges and opportunities involved in reconciling multilayered systems (political, legal, organisational, individual and family) with person-centred experiential philosophy of practice.

You will examine the notion of presence as a professional in support of the child and their family. You will engage in experiential group work activities to develop your awareness, understanding and skills for engagement with key stakeholders, agencies and institutions.

Building on the systemic framework for mapping the social, psychological and emotional development of children and young people, you will look across influencing experiences, including developmental landmarks and events which either help or hinder children and young people flourishing.

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Friday 11 June 2021.

You can view an example PDF timetable, however this is subject to change year on year and your live timetable will be available via the online timetable system.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

  • Seminars
  • Group study
  • Small group learning
  • Workshops

This course is based on the principles of the person-centred experiential approach to learning. A foundation to this is the belief that people learn best when the social-relational atmosphere is optimal.

Students and staff actively engage in a process of relationship building and dialogue to form the curriculum, establish content for group discussions and create reading lists. The curriculum is then a reflection of the group’s needs for learning. Theories are applied to our experience as a way for sense making; therapeutic attitudes are developed through self-reflection, encounter and personal growth.

Classes are organised to provide multiple opportunities for learning through small, medium and large group activities, so that you have a range of spaces in which to express your feelings, thoughts and experiences.

You can read more information about experiential learning and course learning methods on the School of Education website, as well as some recommended reading.

How you will be assessed

  • Essay
  • Presentation
  • Case studies
  • Workplace-based assessment
  • Reflective portfolios
  • Coursework

You must complete and pass all assessment tasks and be an active member of the learning community. You will be required to take a Readiness to Practice examination during the first (full-time) or second year (part-time). If you successfully demonstrate your readiness to practice, you will be required to engage in a supervised counselling placement of 100 hours beginning in your second (full-time students) or third (part-time students) year.

Assignments vary in length and you will be given clear guidelines at the beginning of each module about its assessment requirements. You will also be assigned an academic tutor for each module who will discuss your essay plan and ideas with you. You will be able to select your own topics for assignments, focusing on some area of interest related to the module aims.

Placement supervisors are required to submit regular reports on your development as a counsellor within the context of the placement agency and your engagement with clients and supervision.

Contact time and study hours

Full-time students will study 240 hours per year, while part-time students will study 120 hours per year. In addition, you will be expected to spend a substantial amount of time in course-related learning (skills practice, research, reading, assignment preparation, writing, presentations, journaling) and practice-based learning, (personal therapy, placement activities, placement supervision). Overall, this amounts to approximately 30 hours per week full-time and 15 hours per week part-time, not including travel time.

Teaching typically takes place from 1.30-5.30pm on Tuesday and Wednesday each week with occasional attendance required at other times including at least one weekend per semester (this is subject to timetabling).

On some weeks, particularly where there are intensive workshops, the 30-hour average may be exceeded. It should be noted that in order to achieve the taught contact hours expected by the BACP, we have high expectations of attendance and participation.

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.

Undergraduate degree2:2 (or international equivalent)
Work experience

Prior experience in counselling and psychotherapy is not required, however, you should have one year of work/volunteer experience in a helping or supporting role.

All students are required to complete a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check before starting their placement.

Applying

Start dates

Start date Application deadline
20 September 2021 31 May 2021

Recognition of Other Learning (ROL)

If you have prior learning or experience at an appropriate level, you may apply for exemption from some of the credit requirements of the course.

Our step-by-step guide covers everything you need to know about applying.

How to apply

Fees

All listed fees are per year of study.

Qualification MA (year one) MA (year two)
Home / UK £8,500 Year two fees for this course are not yet available. The fee for year two is likely to be slightly more than year one. Part-time fees are pro rata per year.
International £20,000 Year two fees for this course are not yet available. The fee for year two is likely to be slightly more than year one. Part-time fees are pro rata per year.

Additional information for international students

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you will pay international tuition fees in most cases. If you are resident in the UK and have 'settled' or 'pre-settled' status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you will be entitled to 'home' fee status.

Irish students will be charged tuition fees at the same rate as UK students. UK nationals living in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will also continue to be eligible for ‘home’ fee status at UK universities until 31 December 2027.

For further guidance, check our information for applicants from the EU.

These fees are for full-time study. If you are studying part-time, you will be charged a proportion of this fee each year (subject to inflation).

Additional costs

There are some additional costs that you should factor into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses. This includes around £2,500 for attending personal counselling/psychotherapy as part of the training process.

If you choose to take a placement outside of the placement partnership, you may need to consider additional costs for supervision of around £1,600 towards this. Most students take placement with our partners and therefore do not incur this additional cost.

You might need to cover the cost of supervision and this should be in the region of £30-35 per hour. You will need at least 20 hours of supervision to complete the 100 hours of clinical placement.

The school covers the cost of a DBS check.

You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies or more specific titles, which could cost up to £100.

Please note that these figures are approximate and subject to change.

Funding

There are many ways to fund your postgraduate course, from scholarships to government loans.

We also offer a range of international masters scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

Check our guide to find out more about funding your postgraduate degree.

Postgraduate funding

Careers

We offer individual careers support for all postgraduate students.

Expert staff can help you research career options and job vacancies, build your CV or résumé, develop your interview skills and meet employers.

Each year 1,100 employers advertise graduate jobs and internships through our online vacancy service. We host regular careers fairs, including specialist fairs for different sectors.

International students who complete an eligible degree programme in the UK on a student visa can apply to stay and work in the UK after their course under the Graduate immigration route. Eligible courses at the University of Nottingham include bachelors, masters and research degrees, and PGCE courses.

Graduate destinations

Upon completion of the course you will have gained an internationally recognised qualification in an experiential form of psychotherapy and counselling. Our graduates go on to a wide range of careers. You may choose to become a counsellor in education, schools, health, community, private and public sectors or undertake doctoral studies in counselling and psychotherapy or related areas.

You will also have completed the training requirements for British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) accreditation. However, you will need to gain up to a further 350 practice hours and wait one year after graduating before applying for this accreditation. Please see the BACP website for the most up to date details.

Career progression

94.3% of postgraduates from the School of Education secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £28,280.*

* HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020, using methodology set by The Guardian. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

You will need to complete 100 hours of clinical placement and have at least 20 hours of supervision.  

Two masters graduates proudly holding their certificates
" I have been learning about the person-centred experiential way of being for more than 25-years. I am privileged to be able to reset that learning, as each new academic year, a new group begins and we learn together how the approach is always evolving and changing and the wide ranging contributions it can make to society and human flourishing. "
Dr David Murphy, Course Leader

Related courses

This content was last updated on Friday 11 June 2021. Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, but changes are likely to occur given the interval between the date of publishing and course start date. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply.