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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Health in Social Science : Counselling Studies

Postgraduate Course: Readiness for Counselling Training (CNST11093)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Health in Social Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits0 ECTS Credits0
SummaryThis course must be successfully completed by any student intending to continue with their professional programme studies into a second year.
Course description Students expecting to move into year 2 of their studies will be required to meet additional demands as part of the counselling training process. These include, demonstrating advanced listening skills (beyond those required to be successful at PgCert level), evidence a capacity to begin client work, apply for and secure a placement as a trainee counsellor within the community, work with clients on a one to one basis, undertake supervision regularly to support this, engage in the learning tasks of the programme, make use of group work to continue to develop self-awareness, meet interpersonal challenges and continue to develop interpersonal resilience. Because of these demands which exceed what is required for successful completion of year 1 of their studies (the PgCert in Counselling Studies) - this course is intended to provide an opportunity to assess a student's readiness for counselling training. This course and its assessment, needs to be successfully completed for students to progress into year 2 of their part-time professional training. It is expected that the learning opportunities in Year 1 thus far have offered spaces for students to begin to develop in many of the areas they are asked to speak into to evidence their readiness for counselling training.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Please contact the School directly for a breakdown of Learning and Teaching Activities
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 50 %, Practical Exam 50 %
Additional Information (Assessment) This course is a pass/fail

This course is assessed in 2 parts:
Part 1: Self-assessment of readiness for counselling training

Each of the assessment criteria for readiness should be used as a separate header, under which you should reflect on the degree to which you feel you meet the criterion. In your reflections you should include reflections on what you understand to be both your strengths and limits/ areas of potential challenge for you. There are 10 assessment criteria to speak into and the submission is expected to be between 2000 - 3000 words in length. The headers are:
1. Maturity and stability
2. Capacity to learn from experience
3. Self-awareness
4. Evident reflective process
5. Potential to cope with the emotional demands of the training
6. Open to learning, feedback and personal development
7. Respect for difference, diversity and principles of equality
8. Ability to form and sustain helping relationships
9. Good Interpersonal skills
10. Well matched to the core orientation of the programme
An accompanying professional reference should also be included in your submission. This should be provided by somebody that knows (or has known) you in a professional capacity. This can include having known you in a paid work role, voluntary role, or as a co-member of a committee of organisation (PTA for example). The referee should be asked to speak (as far as they are able) into each of the assessment criteria.

Pass/fail Critera
Your written self-assessment will be assessed as a pass if the following are met:
- A full and completed submission (self-assessment and professional reference)
- There is an acknowledgement of personal limits/ challenges as well as strengths represented within the submission.
- Areas of development are acknowledged and identified as part of your written submission.
- Your written submission includes a reflective account of your own process demonstrating a capacity for reflection.

Your written self-assessment will be assessed as a fail if any of the following apply:
- An incomplete submission (this would include a missing professional reference missing sections of the self-assessment etc.)
- A failure to acknowledge and identify areas of development as part of your self-assessment.
- A failure to acknowledge personal limits/ challenges as well as strengths.
- A descriptive rather than reflective account of your own process, failing to demonstrate a capacity for reflection.

The written self-assessment will be marked by two members of the professional programmes teaching team. If the written submission is assessed as a pass, then the student will be invited to proceed to part 2 which is an oral assessment of their readiness for counselling training. If the written submission is assessed as a fail the student will be provided with feedback under the following criteria:

- An incomplete submission (this would include a missing professional reference missing sections of the self-assessment etc.)
- A failure to acknowledge and identify areas of development as part of your self-assessment.
- A failure to acknowledge personal limits/ challenges as well as strengths.
- A descriptive rather than a reflective account of your own process, failing to demonstrate a capacity for reflection.

Part 2: Oral Assessment of readiness for counselling training

Students who pass Part 1 will be invited to engage in an oral assessment of their readiness for counselling training. This will take the form of a meeting with two members of the Professional Programme Teaching Team, usually in the month of May on a day and at a time negotiated with the student. These are two professional colleagues, both of whom are usually involved in the Postgraduate Diploma training and are practitioners in the field of counselling and psychotherapy. This means they are well placed to understand the demands of counselling training and of client work. Occasionally, a placement manager, practise supervisor, or other colleague within the subject area will be one of the tutors who would be involved in this assessment, but in all instances, at least one of the two tutors will be involved in Diploma level training and post qualifying counselling practise. The two core PgCert tutors working closely with the student in year 1 will not be among the two professional colleagues involved in the oral assessment of a student's readiness for counselling training.

The two tutors will formally assess the student's readiness for counselling training by asking the student to speak to a series of questions. They will use the readiness criteria to assess the student as either 'ready' or 'not yet ready' for counselling training. If they assess the student as not yet ready for counselling training, they would expect to provide some feedback on their experience and assessment of the student to help them understand why they have reached their decision. They might also make some suggestions about activities that could help the student develop in one or more of the areas in which they felt further work was required to become ready for counselling training.

We recognise that an oral assessment in the form of this type of meeting with two unknown professionals may feel challenging for some students. However, the work of counselling is a deeply relational activity, and will require trainee students to meet new people with some frequency while on programme. For example, students are expected to demonstrate interpersonal listening and responding skills as part of the placement readiness process in year 2. They also need to apply for a placement(s) as a trainee counsellor and often attend an interview(s) for selection. Sometimes the placement interview can be with a panel of placement staff. Students are also expected to begin their practice and come into relationship with clients (who may be especially vulnerable) and to be responsive and relationally oriented in these contexts. While there is considerable support on the Diploma to support preparedness for this, it is also important that students are assessed in advance of this to ensure they are in a position to make good use of this support, and that they have personal circumstances and capacities to go on to meet the academic, personal, emotional, practical and relational demands of the training.

It is hoped that this oral assessment gives an early opportunity for the student to present themselves to others, to come into relationship with others with authenticity, openness, and to make use of, draw on, and communicate their experiences to others effectively. It also offers feedback in the form of an assessment of their readiness for counselling training.
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. (LO1) Have an appropriate degree of maturity and stability to soon be able to step into the role of trainee counsellor, meet the commitments associated with the role and have personal circumstances which would enable the student to commit the time and resources to their studies and the practise of client work. (LO2) Have an evident capacity to learn from experience and to make meaning of their life experiences in terms of how they understand themselves which is a process trainee counsellors are expected to facilitate for their clients.
  2. (LO3) Can demonstrate self-awareness which includes a capacity to recognise the impact they have on others and how they appear and present to others interpersonally. Counsellors inevitably impact on clients and trainees need to have some capacity to understand how they might appear to others. (LO4) Can evidence a reflective process which may present as an interest in understanding and making meaning of their lived emotional experiences. Being able to reflect on self and other and relationships is an integral aspect of supporting clients to explore their own experience.
  3. (LO5) Have the potential to cope with the emotional demands of the training which include but are not limited to coming into relationship with the distress of self and other in client work and through engagement with course material and the learning community in group work. (LO6) Are open to learning, open to feedback and have an evident commitment to their own personal development in order to support the necessary personal and professional development associated with counselling training.
  4. (LO7) Have awareness of and demonstrate respect for difference, diversity and principles of equality. Counsellors within the person-centred and psychodynamic dialogue are seeking to provide a non-judgemental space to their clients, many of whom will have experienced discrimination and oppression at a structural and/ or interpersonal level. A commitment to anti-discriminatory practice and a strong interest in understanding more about processes of discrimination, oppression and how inequality impacts on individuals within society are essential attributes in counselling trainees. (LO8) Can demonstrate an ability to form and sustain helping relationships which is at the centre of counselling work. Students are required to indicate that they can (and have) come meaningfully into relationship with others in a way in which they have been experienced as helpful and to be able to talk about the quality of that relationship and how and in what ways they have been helpful.
  5. (LO9) Can demonstrate good interpersonal skills which provides a strong basis from which to enter into relationship and engage with other persons in ways which are open, honest, authentic, and with coherence as a potential trainee counsellor. (LO10) Are well matched to the programme which includes a close resonance between the core values and beliefs of the student and the principles underpinning person-centred and psychodynamic theory and practice. This is in recognition that efficacy of counselling is closely aligned with the counsellors relationship to the theories they draw on in their practise
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserMs Sharan Collins
Course secretaryMs Krystal Hanley
Tel: (0131 6)51 3969
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