Train to be a counsellor, London

You've decided you want to train as a counsellor – deciding where to train is the next, often very confusing, step. Here are training institutions and universities in London offering counselling training:

Birbeck University

Msc Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy

A part-time, 3-year, BACP and BPC-accredited course

October – July, 1-day a week

Counselling courses have been running at Birkbeck for over 40 years and have built up a reputation among employers for their high quality.

This part-time, daytime course establishes an understanding of psychoanalytic-based theory and covers the technical processes of counselling, while developing the personal and professional awareness required for effective practice as defined by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Year 1: An introduction to psychodynamic theory and practice, teaching observation and basic counselling/psychotherapy skills and processes, and professional/ethical issues.

Years 2 & 3: A more in-depth at psychodynamic theory, in particular the contributions of Freud, Klein and Winnicott. Also studied are forms of emotional disturbance, diagnosis and formulation, organisational dynamics, techniques, skills and principles of psychodynamic practice.

You are required to undertake clinical placements in Years 2 and 3 and to be in personal psychodynamic psychotherapy from the end of the first term of Year 1.

Msc Psychodynamic Counselling and Psychotherapy with Children and Adolescents

A part-time, 3-year, BACP and BPC-accredited course

October – July, 1-day a week

This part-time, daytime course teaches you the essential knowledge and skills of psychodynamic counselling, with particular emphasis on its application to children and adolescents.

Year 1: Covers the psychoanalytic attitude and provides an introduction to basic psychoanalytic concepts and techniques and their application to children and adolescents. It gives an overview of individual development and psychosocial issues from this perspective and there is emphasis on understanding infancy, through mother/infant observation.

Year 2: Provides a deeper study of psychoanalytic theory and psychotherapeutic practice, including a supervised counselling placement. There is an introduction to organisational theory.

Year 3: Primarily a clinical year consisting of more intensive supervision in a counselling placement. Advanced seminars in counselling theory and technique and in organisational dynamics are related to the practice placement. A group relations week is also held in both years.

Centre for Counselling and Psychotherapy Education (CCPE)

Diploma in Transpersonal Counselling and Psychotherapy

A part-time, 4-year course, accredited by the BACP and UKCP

January – November, one evening a week and five weekends.

MA Transpersonal Counselling and Psychotherapy (validated by the University of Northampton)

Suitable students have the option to work additionally towards an MA, beginning in the fourth year of their Diploma and lasting two years.

In transpersonal psychotherapy personal breakdowns and crises are seen to have a useful purpose in that they act as a warning signal as well as indicating the way for us to change, grow and unfold.

Once the crisis is over and the mental condition is stabilised there is a chance to re-examine ourselves with a view to change, and then unfold, thus preventing a recurrence of the crisis. This involves reassessing our motivation, sense of purpose and meaning in life and our capabilities.

Much of the counselling and psychotherapeutic work done at the Centre is based on the fundamental principle of building and expanding on people's strengths or 'qualities'. Attention is also paid to balancing the person's energies and lifestyle, i.e. the balance between grounded and aspirational, between being expressive and receptive, and to helping the person find their natural rhythm in work, at home, etc.

At this point the client is able to sense the right direction and to set goals that give him or her a sense of fulfilment and achievement in life.

The Counselling Foundation

Diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling

A part-time, 2-year course

Advanced Diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling

A part-time, 2-year course

Along with the previous Counselling Foundation Diploma, the 4-year course is BACP-accredited.

Courses are run in St Albans and Bedford, starting in September.

University of East London

Bsc (Hons) Counselling

On campus

A 3-year, full-time, BACP-accredited course

The UEL's School of Psychology Counselling course integrates four major psychotherapeutic approaches: person-centred, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), psychodynamic and existential. 

The Gestalt Centre

Diploma in Counselling

A part-time, 3-year, BACP-accredited course

Based in Camden, London, the Gestalt Centre offers a 3-year counselling programme. 

Year 1: Certificate in Humanistic Counselling: Students will study humanistic psychotherapy approaches more broadly and learn where Gestalt fits on the spectrum.

Year 2&3: Diploma in Counselling: Leading to a professional qualification and the ability to practise as a counsellor.

Goldsmiths University

Graduate Certificate in Humanistic and Psychodynamic Counselling

A part-time, 1-year course.

This programme is designed to provide an intensive foundation in counselling for those who meet elements of counselling in their day-to-day work, and who wish to enter this field professionally, but lack sufficient experience and qualification to study at a postgraduate diploma level.

MA Counselling

Full-time 2-years; Part-time 3-years.

This is a psychodynamic course, aimed to give students solid theoretical foundations as well as basic counselling skills in psychodynamic counselling and psychotherapy. It combines classical with contemporary psychodynamic theory and has a strong emphasis on issues relating to diversity and multiculturalism in theory and practice.

Highgate Counselling Centre

Diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling

A part-time, 2-year, BACP-accredited course

This training is supported by supervised clinical work, which is normally undertaken at Highgate Counselling Centre (HCC).  The course is open to those who have previously completed a Certificate in Counselling Skills.

The training is held on Monday and Thursday evenings from 7pm to 10pm plus some Saturday workshops (usually one per term).

Lewisham Counselling and Counsellor Training Associates

Higher Professional Diploma in Counselling

A part-time, 2-year, BACP-accredited course

A Level 5 qualification, this course is open to applicants who have a Level 3 Counselling Skills Diploma.

The core counselling model taught on the course is the person-centred approach. Therefore, the course is designed for those who wish to become person-centred practitioners on qualification. However, candidates will also become familiar with the theory and skills used in two other counselling models: cognitive behavioural therapy (an approach which is favoured by NHS employers) and the existential approach.

The Metanoia Institute

Bsc (Hons) Humanistic Counselling (validated by Middlesex University)

A part-time, 3-year, BACP-accredited course

Years 1&2: Contact hours Mondays 12–7.30pm

Year 3: Dissertation year 

The course includes theoretical input, skills training, personal development and practical experience of working with clients. The dissertation module begins upon completion of your two taught years. Students graduate from this course through the successful completion of this 8,000 dissertation, along with an oral examination. 

Before starting this course, students need to have taken Metanoia's Certificate in Therapeutic Skills and Studies.

Diploma / BA (Hons) Person-Centred Counselling (validated by Middlesex University)

This course can either be taken as a BACP-accredited Diploma, or as a BA (Hons) validated by Middlesex University. The latter has additional academic assignments, but means you can qualify in the same amount of time with a degree rather than a diploma. 

A part-time, 3-year, BACP-accredited course

Manor House Centre for Counselling and Psychotherapy

Diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling

A part-time, 3-year, BACP and BPC-accredited course

Year 1: Access Course: 225 contact hours and a Certificate in Psychodynamic Counselling Skills upon completion

Years 2&3: 210 contact hours each

All three years are taught on Thursday evenings and all-day Friday.

The Minster Centre

Introduction to Counselling Skills

An introductory course, open to anyone who is interested in learning how to use counselling skills and more about themselves.

This course is run in different formats, from week-long intensives, to 8- and 10-week options. 

The Foundation Course

A one-year, part-time course, taught on Mondays, 5.30pm to 9.30 pm for 30 weeks of the year, with the addition of two weekends. The course provides 129 training hours in total.
It is a requirement that all students attending the Foundation Course to be in weekly personal psychotherapy throughout the course. 

The Foundation Course is also available in an 8-weekend fast-track option.

Diploma in Integrative Counselling

A part-time, 3-year, BACP-accredited course

Successful completion of the diploma enables students to work as an integrative counsellor. 


Postgraduate Diploma in Counselling Children in Schools

A part-time, 2-year, BACP-accredited course

Course structure: 400 hours of contact time with tutors, 100 supervised clinical hours and at least 30 hours a year of personal therapy. One day (9.30am – 5pm) of tuition a week in the first term. One day on placement in a Place2Be school plus one tuition session (10am – 3pm) per week from the second term. Two training weekends in Year 1 and three training weekends in Year 2.

Msc in Counselling Children in Schools

A 1-year course

Entry requirements: The Postgraduate Diploma from Place2Be, or a different Postgraduate Diploma + significant experience in a Place2Be school placement.

The Psychosynthesis Trust

Postgraduate Diploma in Psychosynthesis Counselling

A part-time, 2-year, BACP-accredited course

Entry requirements: Requires completion of Stage 1 (4-day intensive, Essentials of Psychosynthesis) and Stage 2 (1-year, Psychosynthesis Foundations).

Tavistock Relationships

Foundation Certificate in Couple Counselling and Psychotherapy

PGDip/MA: Couple and Individual Psychodynamic Counselling/Psychotherapy

PGDip: a part-time, 3-year course, BACP-accredited

MA: a part-time, 3/4-year course (extra year for dissertation if needed)

The PGDip/MA in Psychodynamic Couple and Individual Counselling and Psychotherapy is a 3-year psychotherapy training that qualifies practitioners to work with both couples and individuals.

Tavistock Relationships specialises in couple relationships and is the leading couple therapy centre in London but many individuals also choose to come to Tavistock Relationships for therapy because at the core of many of the issues or dilemmas seen in the consulting room is often a relationship difficulty of some sort.

Regent's University

MA Counselling and Psychotherapy

A part-time, 3-year course

The course covers a range of theoretical perspectives, covering existential, psychoanalytic, humanistic and integrative approaches.


Diploma in Integrative Transpersonal Counselling

A part-time, 3-year, BACP-accredited course

Training runs from October – July each year, with one training weekend each month

Re-Vision's framework includes thinking from Jungian, Gestalt, relational, psychodynamic, neuroscience, body psychotherapy and family systems theory as well as developmental and archetypal psychology and eco-psychology.

University of Roehampton

MA Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy

A part-time, 3-year, BACP-accredited course

The University of Greenwich

Msc Therapeutic Counselling

A part-time, 3-year, BACP-accredited course

lists for therapy and counselling