Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology Professional Doctorate


    About This Professional Doctorate

    Course Description

    Our Professional Doctorate is a fully accredited professional training route toward recognition as a qualified counselling psychologist, with expertise in applied psychotherapy and research.

    It is a programme of personal and professional development designed to develop competencies in the assessment and psychotherapeutic treatment of complex mental health issues. The programme is approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), enabling graduates to have recognised professional expertise. Counselling psychology brings a unique fusion of the science of psychology with the traditions of psychotherapy, enabling trainees to work in a variety of challenging professional practice settings. 

    The vitality of the course comes from an experienced and supportive course team, passionate about empowerment in mental health.

    Building on a programme history spanning two decades, the programme is committed to the development of ethical and reflective practitioners who work collaboratively with clients, as co-creators of the therapeutic experience. A foundation in humanist values, with emphasis on an empathic therapist-client relationship as central to mental health work, allows an integrative framework for the development of a range of clinical, research, and reflective skills. It offers an applied working knowledge of humanistic, cognitive behavioural, psychodynamic and systemic approaches. It supports the development of formulation-driven, integrated, and evidence-based ways of working, where trainees respond to the unique needs of each client they see. 

    What happens on the course?

    The course has both full-time (3 years) and part-time (5 years) pathways. The pathways for this course are structured into two stages in accordance with the University of Wolverhampton Professional Doctorate Course Regulations (2021). These stages are normally sequential and a student progresses to the stage two when stage one has been successfully completed.

    Stage one prepares trainees with the foundations in therapeutic, research, practicum and personal development skills to grow autonomy. At this stage, trainees will engage with therapy trainings in humanism/person-centred, cognitive behavioural therapy, systemic approach and critical psychopathology modules, as well as trainings and engagement with research methods and clinical placement. 

    At stage two, trainees consolidate their learning towards becoming a professional and attaining qualification. Here, trainees will maximally engage in their doctoral thesis, continue their therapy trainings in human development and psychodynamic therapies, as well as engage with advanced level clinical practice and personal development.

    Potential Career Paths

    Applying theory and research in helping to resolve a range of client’s life issues such as relationship difficulties, bereavement, sexual abuse and trauma, counselling psychologists bring extensive training in psychotherapy and a grounding in evidence-based research to alleviate distress and improve personal functioning.

    Types of employment where you can use your Psychology degree outside of becoming a registered psychologist include:

    • commercial companies (analyst, statistician, public relations)
    • charities (engagement worker, fundraiser, project leader, grant writer, PR)
    • advertising, press and media.
    • financial organisations (insurance, banking, statistician)
    • human resources (recruitment company, HR manager, careers consultant, coach)
    • local and national government
    • the legal sector (e.g. legal researcher)
    • the NHS (creative therapies, mental health support work, speech and language therapy, management training programmes)
    • security services (intelligence officer with MI5, customs officer, police forces)
    • National Probation Service and prisons etc
    • schools, sixth form colleges and colleges of further education
    • social services

    Counselling psychologists work in a range of settings, performing assessment and therapy with clients presenting with personal problems. They offer assessment and formulation work, followed by brief and long-term psychotherapies characterised by active collaborative relationship, facilitating empowerment and change. Areas of work include the effects of childhood abuse, domestic violence, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosis, and complex family issues.

    The skills of a counselling psychologist extend outside the therapeutic setting such as leading and developing mental health services, clinical supervision, legal settings, court and expert witness work and consultation with charities. Some examples of work settings are:

    • NHS - including primary care; community mental health teams; tertiary settings for psychiatric in-patients; specialist services for older adults, those with eating disorders, personality disorders and learning difficulties; and in general healthcare settings where psychological services are offered.
    • Prison and Probationary Services - social services; voluntary organisations; employee assistance programmes; occupational health departments; student counselling services, and as an independent consultant.
    • As a private practitioner - engaging in therapy with those seeking therapy through insurance agencies or charities, providing clinical supervision, training placements, and consulting to solicitors and other organisations.

    Visit the Counselling Psychology Professional Doctorate page on the University of Wolverhampton website for more details!

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