Frequently Asked Questions

I WANT TO BE A COUNSELLOR - WHERE DO I START? 

  • You may have decided that you wish to become a Counsellor but have found it difficult to understand where to start. There is a reason for this. It is because the title of 'Counsellor' is not protected in the UK as Counselling is not a regulated profession. Therefore, there is no official training course and many people out there practicing as Counsellors without any qualifications (which NCCS does not support). Because of this, there are many training options available from a short online course right up to a Masters Degree or PhD. 

  • However, there are recognised benchmarks for counselling training set by the UK counselling membership bodies . The current absolute minimum qualification requirement is a Level 4 Diploma in Counselling (or equivalent) although some professional bodies require higher level qualifications.

  • In 2012 the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) introduced a system of ‘Accredited Voluntary Registers’ with the role of these being the provision of 'approved' registers that the public and employers can be confident that the counsellors on the register have met the necessary standards for safe practice. 

  • The best place to begin is to find a training programme that provides a substantive amount of training eventually resulting in the undertaking of a supervised counselling placement (this is usually at minimum of Level 4 Diploma (or equivalent) or higher). Those who have completed this level of training are deemed to be 'qualified'.

SHOULD I BE LOOKING FOR AN ACCREDITED COURSE?

  • Although Counselling isn't regulated in the UK, a number of 'membership bodies' exist, such as the British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP) and the National Counselling Society (NCS).  Many of the membership bodies require their Counsellors to become Registered Members once 'qualified'. These are Registers that are approved by the Professional Standards Authority. To be added to the Register, a 'qualified' Counsellor will sit a short competency test to ensure that their Training Centre has provided robust and ethical counselling training. 

  • Sometimes Training Centres obtain accreditation for their courses from these organisations. If a student completes one of these courses successfully they are able to apply to be added to the Register without sitting the competency test. Undertaking an accredited course therefore isn't necessary - finding a course that suits you is more important. 

WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE COURSES OFFERED BY NCCS?

  • NCCS offers courses provided by the Counselling & Psychotherapy Central Awarding Body (CPCAB). This is a UK-based awarding body that is managed by professional counsellors, trainers and supervisors. Now in their 25th year of operation, they are the only awarding body in Europe to specialise in the field of counselling.

  • CPCAB has grown to become the UK's leading specialist awarding body in counselling. Their success is based on their commitment to develop competent counsellors - they are the only awarding body run by counsellors for counsellors.

  • The CPCAB provide a coherent progression route to becoming a qualified counsellor in both a counselling agency, private practice and beyond to becoming a counselling supervisor. Undertaking CPCAB courses provides the necessary guided learning hours required for cousnelling accreditation should a 'qualified' counsellor wish to undertake this in the future.

I HAVE A PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE - CAN I USE THIS AS A CONTRIBUTION TO MY COUNSELLING TRAINING?

  • Undertaking a psychology degree and counselling training are two different things;

  • Whilst both cover similar aspects in relation to theory of personality, a psychology degree is a knowledge-based qualification which requires a high level of academic ability. This is compared to counselling training which is a relational activity which depends on personal qualities, self-awareness and soft skills such as the ability to build a trusting relationship, work with difference and diveristy and covey empathic understanding;

  • These aspects of counselling training are not included or assessed in most psychology degree programmes and have to be learnt and developed in a very different learning context. Unless psychology degree students have other relevant experience, it is advisable to start with the Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills (CSK-L2).

DO I HAVE TO START AT LEVEL 2?

  • If you have already gained counselling skills and theory qualifications with another awarding body, NCCS will look at the number of guided learning hours (GLH) undertaken in a classroom and what the course comprised of in relation to the learning of theory and practical skills practice. 

  • To start at Level 3, potential students will have completed an equivalent skills practice course that comprises of a minimum of 75 GLH;

  • To start at Level 4 (NCCS hopes to have this course available from September 2020) students will have completed equivalent skills and theory courses comprising of at least 150 GLH. 

  • If you are unsure whether this relates to you then please contact NCCS and we will arrange a telephone conversation with you;

  • Online or distance learning courses will not be accepted as recognised prior learning.

CAN I TRAIN TO BE A COUNSELLOR VIA DISTANCE LEARNING?

  • In a world where counselling is an unregulated profession, there is a wide-range of training available and there is a place for distance learning or online courses, usually for Continuous Professional Development (CPD) once 'qualified' or when combined with high-quality classroom based learning (e.g. The Open University/CPCAB Foundation Degree)

  • Good quality counselling training has a solid relational foundation at its core and NCCS believe that in the first instance, this cannot be achieved via online or distance learning;

  • NCCS offers CPCAB courses which are all classroom-based and provide the benefits of an environment that consists of experiential learning building counselling competence as each level of training is undertaken;

  • Professional membership bodies such as the British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP) or the National Counselling Society (NCS)  require counsellors to register on an Approved Voluntary Register by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA). To do this the membership bodies and PSA insist that a proportion of the would-be counsellor's training is classroom-based. BACP state: "We believe that practising counselling skills under supervision, and with feedback from staff and fellow students, is an important aspect of training. Online and distant learning courses can offer an introduction to the use of counselling skills and theory, but do not have this relationship with staff and other students";

  • Any online or distance learning courses undertaken will also not count towards the training hours required for profession membership or accreditation should this be undertaken in the future once qualified;

  • At NCCS, we don't accept online or distance learning courses as recognised prior learning.

WHAT FUNDING IS AVAILABLE FOR COURSES?

As a private training centre, funding in the form of learning loans and remitted fees is not available. However, in order to help spread the cost an instalment payment option is available once the deposit has been paid. 

Northamptonshire Centre for Counselling Studies

07999 858630

enquiries@northantscounsellingtraining.co.uk

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