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Qualification in Counselling Psychology

The Qualification in Counselling Psychology (QCoP) is the independent route to training as a counselling psychologist for those who choose not to, or are unable to, undertake a professional doctorate.

Duration 3 years minimum (or part-time equivalent)
Enrolment (entry) requirements Graduate Membership of the Society with the Graduate Basis for Chartered membership

Access to a suitable placement (paid or voluntary)
Start date Flexible
Fees £11,103.60 (£9,253.00 plus VAT)

With the support of your supervisor, you will design your plan of training to accommodate your interests and circumstances (for instance, the therapeutic approaches that you study and the placements where you undertake your supervised practice), so long as this fits into the broad framework for the qualification. 

This is an integrated, doctoral level qualification which leads to eligibility for Chartered membership of the Society, full membership of the Division of Counselling Psychology, and eligibility to apply for registration with the Health and Care Professions Council, the statutory regulator for practitioner psychologists in the UK.

The Qualifications Board will be launching a revised Qualification in Counselling Psychology from 1 April 2018. Information on the revised Qualification can be found in the Forms and Handbooks tab. 

A Training Day for the revised qualification will be held at the Society’s London Office on Friday 18 May 2018. For more details please consult the documents below:

The QCoP involves undertaking a self-determined plan of training which will typically be built around appropriate postgraduate courses in two different models of therapy, supervised client work, your own personal therapy, a written examination, and a range of written pieces of work, including a piece of research.

Through this process, you will develop and demonstrate your skills to doctoral level in order to practice independently as a counselling psychologist. 

You will receive supervision and support from your Co-ordinating Supervisor, who will act as your mentor throughout your training on the qualification, in addition to your practice supervisor (for your client work), and support from the Society’s Qualifications Office. 

The QCoP usually takes a minimum of three years full-time, or the equivalent if you are training on a part-time basis.

If you have already completed some relevant postgraduate training, you may be eligible to apply for accreditation of existing competence and reduce the amount of assessed work that you need to complete. 

For further details, please, see the Candidate Handbook

For more information on the benefits of training independently, please click here.

The first step is to read the Candidate Handbook and make sure you fulfil the entry requirements of the qualification.

The next step is to contact a Co-ordinating Supervisor using the Register of Applied Psychology Practice Supervisors (RAPPS).

Supervision with your Co-ordinating Supervisor is an important part of your training on the qualification and, therefore, it is advisable to contact more than one Co-ordinating Supervisor before agreeing terms.

Your Co-ordinating Supervisor will be able to explore with you how you might develop and demonstrate the competencies within your current job or placement. 

Once you have secured a Supervisor, the next step is to download and complete the required applications and enrolment documents which can be found on the Forms and Handbooks tab.

The Candidate Handbook will guide you through the process, and if you have any queries, the Qualifications Team is available to help via email and telephone.

The QCoP consists of Documentary Evidence Units (DEUs) designed to ensure that you undertake appropriate developmental experiences including teaching, supervised client work and personal therapy, and Assessment Units (AUs) are designed to ensure that you are able to demonstrate the knowledge and skills which you have developed.  

You can submit work in December each year and, for most of the units of assessment, you can choose the order in which you submit them as best suits your circumstances. 

Your Co-ordinating Supervisor is available to provide feedback on your work, prior to submission, although this does not constitute a formal assessment of your work.

The final assessment on the qualification includes an oral examination, which will explore your overall competence and your professional identity as a counselling psychologist. 

Further details can be found in the Candidate Handbook.

The most significant changes to the QCoP in the revised qualification focus on encouraging candidates to follow a logical pathway through the QCoP to better support their development and progression, as well as facilitating the demonstration of competence by giving candidates more flexibility over how they do this. A summary of the main differences between the current and revised versions of the QCoP is as follows:

  • Units of assessment are now grouped into portfolios (portfolio 1, portfolio 2 and research portfolio) rather than submitted as standalone submissions. Candidates must attend a transitional meeting with their CS in between portfolio 1 and portfolio 2 to support their progression to D level. The submission dates for the revised qualification reflect the portfolio structure. 
  • The competencies in the revised qualification have been updated to reflect the Society’s revised standards for training in counselling psychology.
  • Candidates can now choose how they assign competencies to Assessment Units, rather than this being stipulated in the Candidate Handbook. All competencies must be demonstrated across the AUs before the qualification can be awarded.
  • AU7 Examination has been removed from the revised qualification, with the viva being extended to compensate for this.
  • The context academic paper is assessed at D level in the revised qualification, rather than M level. As such, there is no facility to apply for AEC for this unit in the revised qualification.
  • AEC for personal therapy is limited to 20 hours in the revised qualification.
  • The option to submit a reflective essay for the research component has been removed from the revised qualification.

This is a summary of the main changes. However, please ensure that you read through the Candidate Handbooks for both qualifications before you decide which qualification is likely to best fit your individual circumstances. 

In addition, you may wish to have an initial discussion with an experienced Co-ordinating Supervisor as well as arranging a telephone call with the Registrar.

If you would find it helpful to speak with the Registrar, we can see whether it would be possible to arrange a time for this prior to the next Registrar clinic, given that the deadline for applications for the current qualification is fast approaching on 6 April. If you do opt for the current qualification rather than the revised qualification, all of your enrolment paperwork, countersigned by your approved Co-ordinating Supervisor, would need to reach us by 6 April.

Please use the links below to download the requisite forms and handbooks:

Enrolment Forms

Handbooks and Regulations

Additional Documents

Enrolment Forms

Handbooks and Regulations

Additional Documents

Phone: +44 (0)116 252 9505

Email: [email protected]

Postal address:
The British Psychological Society
St Andrews House
48 Princess Road East

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