Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy
This distance learning Diploma course leads to a private UK qualification in counselling and psychotherapy. It has been created in response to demand from students who, due to location or other circumstances, find themselves unable to attend tutorials or classes, or who wish to pursue the subject out of personal interest. The course will also benefit those who have been in practice for many years without a formal qualification, or with qualifications other than counselling/psychotherapy, who now wish to consolidate and update their learning. Others who will find the course attractive include those trained in highly specific therapeutic approaches who wish to broaden their horizons. This course takes an integrated approach drawing from dynamic, cognitive, brief therapy and self-therapy models within a framework of counselling and helping skills.
۰ Introduction to Psychotherapy
۰ Counselling and Helping Skills: The Egan “Skilled Helper” Model
۰ The Therapeutic Relationship
۰ Cognitive and Behavioural Therapy Techniques
۰ Stress Management
۰ Critical Incidents and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
۰ Supported Self-Therapy
۰ Practice Management
Introduction to psychotherapy
Psychotherapy is described in the set text as the use of relationships to help people with their problems. This module is an introduction to psychodynamic psychotherapy: the branch of psychotherapy which works by helping people know and understand themselves. Dynamic psychotherapy sees symptoms or problems as an expression of inner conflict. Parts of our behaviour or feelings which we find disturbing are kept out of awareness and we say that they become unconscious. To keep those aspects of us unconscious, we engage in defence mechanisms, which may help us cope or on the other hand may create symptoms.
You will study the history of psychodynamic psychotherapy and the key mental processes which, according to the psychodynamic view, drive our feelings and behaviour. You will read about how the self develops through childhood; how psychodynamic therapists view the mind (different experts have proposed different "models" of the mind); and how psychotherapeutic relationships work. You will read an introduction to the various styles of psychotherapy including some of the newer therapies. Finally there is a section on outcome, or how we know whether psychotherapy works.
Counselling and Helping Skills
The Egan model of counselling skills is widely taught and the workbook, "Exercises in Helping Skills", is one of the best ways of learning counselling skills short of actually attending classes. You will work through examples of many types of counselling situation and interaction and be able to recognise when you respond correctly and when your responses need improvement. Some learning about yourself is also involved. The skills learnt in the Egan model can be used in formal and informal counselling situations. They form a complete method of brief counselling in themselves and they can also be used by orthodox and complementary medicine practitioners to increase communication with patients or clients.
The Therapeutic Relationship
Communication and relationship are two essential ingredients of psychotherapy. You will study the theory of the relationship between therapist and client, and at the two key processes: transference, the emotions the client feels towards the therapist, based upon the client's earlier relationships, and counter-transference, the emotions the therapist feels towards the client, based upon the therapist's feelings towards significant figures in his or her life. This module also looks at some of the difficulties of therapy which are caused by such feelings arising but not being dealt with appropriately.
Cognitive and Behavioural Therapy Techniques
This module presents in condensed form the key concepts and techniques of cognitive therapy, which is a brief therapy that seeks to help clients change the negative and irrational thought patterns that are connected with conditions such as depression and anxiety. Studying these cognitive therapy skills will give you an extra toolkit which integrates well with the other brief interventions you will learn on this course. A list of further reading on this popular approach to therapy will also be given.
Many people enter counselling or therapy because they are stressed, and the helper needs to have a broad knowledge of stress and also of stress reduction techniques. The set text for this unit provides an excellent introduction to what stress is and how to cope with it, plus instructions in many areas of stress reduction. The following categories of intervention are presented, each with clear how-to-do-it instructions:
Breathing exercises, Progressive relaxation, Meditation, Visualisation, Applied relaxation, Self-hypnosis, Autogenics, Brief combination techniques, Making relaxation tapes, Refuting irrational ideas, Thought stopping techniques, Worry control, Coping skills, Goal setting and time management, Assertiveness, Coping with job stress, Simple nutrition, Exercise
These techniques will give you scope for conducting classes and groups, including specific techniques in therapy sessions according to the client's needs, using some of these techniques as "icebreakers" to build rapport with the client, and using them as a complement to other therapies which you might be practising.
You will have the textbook as a handy reference book and you can refresh your knowledge of any of the skills whenever you need to. For this course, you do not need to master all of the techniques but you will be asked to study a selection of them.
Critical Incidents and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Many people show symptoms of stress, or have other problems, years later stemming from a trauma or crisis in their lives. This may have been a violent incident, a disaster, an accident, or an acute illness, but trauma need not only be caused by a sudden event. It can be caused by an accumulation or series of negative events such as childhood abuse, bullying or even being overworked and underappreciated at work, which has driven many people to stress breakdown (what used to be called "nervous breakdown"). Other causes of traumatic stress that are only beginning to be recognised are a difficult birth and a miscarriage.
It is important for the therapist to be able to recognise the signs of post traumatic stress syndrome, so that they can reassure clients that their symptoms are actually normal reactions to an abnormal series of events. The helper also needs to know when to refer clients on to an experienced therapist who specialises in the area of post traumatic stress. Sufferers of post traumatic stress syndrome often do not respond to "stress management" regimes and do not do self-help homework when given. They can respond to special therapeutic approaches, to sensitive counselling, and to physical therapies such as aromatherapy.
Supported Self-Therapy is the core of the diploma course. Based on Cognitive Analytic Therapy, the set textbook has many exercises and questionnaires helping you explore yourself on a deep level, and at the same time, providing techniques which you can use with others. Ideally this module should be studied in parts throughout your course. As you study the other topics, you will also spend time working with approximately one chapter of the set textbook per month - doing any of the exercises or other set work in the book. Tutor feedback will be given. This is the only book for the course which is to be tackled as a long-term project, because it involves self-therapy work and it might be too much for you to cram all of the work into a few weeks. By the time you have completed all of the other modules, you should also have completed the supported self-therapy work.
Practice management deals with the business side of setting up as a therapist: how to advertise and gain publicity, select a place to work from, run your practice, organise the financial side of the business, liaise with financial experts such as an accountant an insurance broker, and other business matters. There are also the micro-management skills of how to manage a session, set up your therapy room, keep records, and so on. This module will help you decide what type of therapeutic setting suits your personality and circumstances.
Level of study: this diploma course includes introductory and advanced university-level material. The textbooks are chosen to be accessible to the intelligent student who is new to the subject. Most students will have experience of previous study at Advanced Level, High School Certificate/Baccalaureate, professional examination or higher.
Method of study
For its theoretical content, this diploma uses the traditional 'read a book, write a paper' distance learning method widely used by various distance learning colleges.
For each unit, the student will need to acquire one main textbook. Supplementary reading is optional. After study of the textbook and carrying out any practical exercises or assignments necessary, the student will submit a written paper or report. Tutor feedback on the assignments will be given by email or post.
A great deal of care has been made to select textbooks which are accessible, written by top authorities, and which, by including practical exercises and examples, provide the next best thing to classroom study.
Practicums: The student will be expected to carry out any required exercises with other people (friends, colleagues, students, existing clients/patients, or in a voluntary setting) wherever this is feasible and wherever this does not conflict with the student's existing ethical or contractual obligations. If the student is in a remote location or cannot carry out any practicum for any reason, the situation should be discussed with the Course Director, and the student will be required to do a written assignment in lieu of the practicum.
Guide Price: £250 plus approx. £150 for textbooks