Introduction to Counselling


An introduction to basic listening and counselling skills. Theory and self-awareness will complement the skills practice. No previous experience is required. By application only.

This is a 10-week introduction to the theory and practice of counselling. It assumes no previous knowledge or experience. Three strands run through the programme: theory, skills and self-awareness. Theory will include the difference between counselling and other helping skills; an overview of person centred and psychodynamic models, the ethical framework of counselling practice.

Skills practised will include basic listening and responding skills and the development of an empathetic and non-judgmental manner. Students will be encouraged to use their own experience, but will not be expected to discuss painful personal issues. Through the theory and skills practice students are encouraged to reflect on their personal learning in order to gain self awareness.

This is not training in counselling, but provides an opportunity for students to discover whether or not they want to progress to more advanced counselling training.

Application forms are available to download at the foot of this page, or are available from the Weekly Class Office. An interview will be necessary prior to acceptance on the course.


We are also running another Introduction to Counselling weekly learning class which starts on Tuesday 27 September 2022. This class meets weekly on Tuesday mornings and has a higher number of contact hours with the course tutor.

Programme details

Course begins: 26 Sept 2022

Week 1: Introduction to counselling

Week 2: Overview of theories, skills practice

Week 3: Person centred counselling

Week 4: Freud and those who followed

Week 5: Freud continued

Week 6: Ethical issues in counselling

Week 7: The importance of self awareness

Week 8: Further theory explored

Week 9: Trainees presentations

Week 10: Endings


Students who register for CATS points will receive a Record of CATS points on successful completion of their course assessment.

To earn credit (CATS points) you will need to register and pay an additional £10 fee per course. You can do this by ticking the relevant box at the bottom of the enrolment form or when enrolling online.

Coursework is an integral part of all weekly classes and everyone enrolled will be expected to do coursework in order to benefit fully from the course. Only those who have registered for credit will be awarded CATS points for completing work at the required standard.

Students who do not register for CATS points during the enrolment process can either register for CATS points prior to the start of their course or retrospectively from the January 1st after the current full academic year has been completed. If you are enrolled on the Certificate of Higher Education you need to indicate this on the enrolment form but there is no additional registration fee.


Description Costs
Course Fee £297.00
Take this course for CATS points £10.00


Ms Lisa Bruton

Lisa Bruton is an experienced Counsellor and Psychotherapist, who has worked within the NHS, for the Metropolitan Police, and the Maudsley Hospital. Alongside her MA in Integrative Psychotherapy she is also trained in EMDR, Mindfulness, and Couples Therapy.

She has taught Counselling theory and skills in a number of Higher Education settings.

Course aims

To introduce participants to the field of counselling. It is aimed both as a way-in to training in counselling or psychotherapy and as a self-standing opportunity for people wanting to know about the discipline. No previous knowledge is required.

Course objectives

1. To understand what counselling is and the psychological ideas which inform its practice.

2. To develop good listening and responding skills.

3. To gain in self awareness.

Teaching methods

Within the maximum of 16 participants, the learning groups will vary. Tutor input of theory will be given to the group-as-a-whole, with the aid of flipchart, small group discussion and case studies. Skills exercises will take place in triads in which appropriate practice will enable gradual acquisition of first level listening, reflecting and counselling skills.

Learning outcomes

- By the end of the course students should have some map of the field of Counselling.

- They should be confident in the practice of first level counselling skills and be aware of the core conditions needed for a counselling relationship to take place.

- They should have a developmental framework of reference and knowledge of the developmental tasks of the first five stages of the Eriksonian model of human development.

- Whether or not they have personal experience of the therapeutic setting as a client or patient, they should be aware of the importance of knowing their own inner world if they wish to be alongside others, particularly if they wish to embark on further training.

Students who complete the course successfully may wish to consider further courses in Counselling such as those offered by the Department for Continuing Education.

Assessment methods

There will be one written assignment of 1500 words which will offer an opportunity to demonstrate on paper the integration of the three core strands of the course. Alternatively, students may give a short presentation to the class backed up by notes.

Students must submit a completed Declaration of Authorship form at the end of term when submitting your final piece of work. CATS points cannot be awarded without the aforementioned form - Declaration of Authorship form


Applications are received on a first come, first served basis. Therefore, direct online enrolments are not available. Instead, please download and complete BOTH forms below and return them to the Weekly Class Programme Office:

Payment for the course will be arranged once places are officially offered and accepted.

1. Enrolment Form (PDF)

   Enrolment Form (Word)

2. Counselling Application Form

If you have any questions about the enrolment process please contact us.

Level and demands

Most of the Department's weekly classes have 10 or 20 CATS points assigned to them. 10 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of ten 2-hour sessions. 20 CATS points at FHEQ Level 4 usually consist of twenty 2-hour sessions. It is expected that, for every 2 hours of tuition you are given, you will engage in eight hours of private study.

Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS)