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I am writing this as I am contemplating taking a next step towards counselling psychology (obtained GBC and currently completing a pg certificate in counselling skills). I am a mature student and work part time as a business academic but I am passionate about pursuing / exploring a path towards counselling psychology. I have researched options on how to develop and found that there are a number of routes open to a person who seeks to maintain a day job and hence fund their training. What I do not know is how each of these less conventional routes is perceived and what employment options are available to these graduates. I would be grateful for any insight, opinion or information that you can offer.
Here is a summary of the (less conventional) part time options / routes leading to counselling psychology doctorates:
1) Independent route to training + Post chartership top-up doctorate
this route involves registration with the BPS for the Qualification in counselling psychology. The training is customised for each individual but usually involves an MSc in psychotherapy / counselling, necessary placements and regular supervision by a coordinator of training appointed by the BPS. There is an exam in the end as well.
A person can enter this route after completing a conversion diploma (granting GBC) and a certificate in counselling. As things stand (please correct me if I am wrong) one can start on this route without extensive face to face counselling experience. This experience is gained gradually during the first stages of a diploma/MSc in psychotherapy or counselling (taken as part of the training). Part time attendance and customised training means that chartership can be obtaied in 4-6 years after which one may continue to a post chartership top-up doctorate (offered by many conventional unis) which takes 1 or 2 years.
Total time of training: 5 to 8 years (approx), End qualification: QCoP and DCPsych
2) Part time doctorate in counselling psychology. Most universities don't really offer a part time option that is really useful to a person maintaining a part time day job. However, some institutions do currently offer evening, afternoon or weekend delivery. More specifically: Metanoia Institute offers a 5 year part time doctorate in counselling psychology delivered in 3 day blocks once a month (Fri, Sat and Sun).
Regents college had something similar but it lost its BPS accreditation and is trying hard to regain it.
The metanoia DCPsych programme entry requires the GBC, some exposure in helping roles, extensive (weekend long) interviews and selection but as it incorporates a certificate (year1), it does not require applicants to have extensive face to face counselling experience at the time of application. This is gradually gained during training there. Training there costs A LOT (much more than in route 1).
Total time to training: 5-6 years (approx), End qualification: DCPsych
As you can see above... two training routes available for those who need to maintain jobs and who would like to start and then build face to face counselling experience as part of the programme.
In contrast, most conventional universities require extensive (1year) face to face counselling experience as a prerequisite to application. This experience can usually be gained through placements as part of a diploma in counselling which means that applicants usually spend 2-3 years building these up prior to application. Their DCPsych training usually lasts 3 years full time though.
Questions in my mind:
a) Considering Routes 1 and 2 and how unconventional they are, how are graduates perceived by employers such as the NHS and even University psychology departments? In other words, if someone follows route 1 or 2, are they considered as well trained as graduates from conventional universities? Are the same opportunities open to all, including academic posts in counselling psychology?
b) Does anyone have any insight / experience regarding the quality of training for the counselling psychology doctorate at Metanoia? Are graduates well received?
Counselling psychology fascinates me but as the train is so long and expensive, I would really like to know what awaits me in the end
Perhaps (hopefully) the above summary has helped some people like me.
I am really looking forward to reading your views regarding my questions above.
many thanks in advance
All the best