This one year, part-time course is one of our most popular. As well as forming the foundation for our Counselling Programme, it’s often taken as a standalone course by people looking to understand life and relationships – whether for personal insight or professional development.

Counselling skills are regarded as advanced, interpersonal, social and communication tools that enable people with their thoughts and feelings. Showing that you can listen and understand a person, even if nothing can be changed about their situation is invaluable to them. Counselling skills are also used to guide people through decision processes, perhaps helping to see potential possibilities or areas for change.

Gestalt holds a central position in this course and as an evolving, exciting and universally applicable theory it supports the use of counselling skills. It is well respected and has influenced and enriched many other therapeutic, educational and managerial approaches to supporting people.

A mandatory minimum of 12 hours’ personal therapy with an MBACP (Accred) or UCKP Registered counsellor/therapist is required as part of the training for all Certificate students.

Note: Should you go onto further study, individual therapy/counselling is a mandatory requirement for the duration of the Diploma in Counselling course. This MUST be with either a Reg. MBACP (Accred) counsellor or a UKCP registered psychotherapist with at least 3 years’ post qualifying experience. There is a similar requirement for those who progress to the psychotherapy training programme.

Who takes this course?

You can take this course as a standalone introduction to counselling or as the start of our Gestalt Counselling Programme. The course typically attracts:

  • This is a first level entry for people who want to train as counsellors.
  • People-focused professionals in health, complementary medicine, social care, the prison service, HR, consultancy, coaching and mentoring who want to develop their communication, negotiation, assertiveness and problem-solving, and to gain a qualification as part of their CPD
  • People who want to understand more about themselves, others and their relationships.

What the course offers

  • Participation in a varied, stimulating learning environment which includes tutor and student input, group-work and personal reflection
  • An understanding of the theories which support the use of counselling skills
  • Opportunities to practice various counselling skills and techniques within an ethical and professional framework
  • A safe place to begin to explore and share some of your personal beliefs and values
  • Continuing professional development.

Course outline

There are three components to the course.

1. Foundation

Here, you’ll learn about the various counselling skills and techniques needed to support people in personal exploration and during times of difficulty. Looking more closely at yourself and relationships with others, you’ll be invited to consider your attitudes to race, gender, sexuality and other differences. There will be an introduction to person-centered counselling and to Gestalt theory and practice and how it supports the use of counselling skills.

2. Gestalt in Action

This component will enable you to deepen your understanding of Gestalt theory and practice using words, art, writing, sound, movement and other creative means. You’ll explore how we make and interrupt contact with ourselves in order to meet our needs, others and the environment and how this affects our life. As a central theme in Gestalt therapy theory, you’ll also look at the issue of responsibility and at the consequences of disowning it. (We also offer this component as a single weekend.)

3. Loss and bereavement

As children, the quality of the bond that we make with others lays the groundwork for future relationships and determines how we cope with the many different losses in our lives. We respond to loss by beginning a process of grieving and you will learn how best to understand and support people who are going through this process in the light of various cultural and spiritual attitudes. Sometimes, grieving can be complicated by unusual or unexpected loss, e.g. a child’s death, suicide, the loss of a limb, redundancy, illness etc. and you will consider this too. You’ll also have the opportunity to look at how you respond to the losses in your life and how this affects your work with grieving people.

What our students say…

“Better than I could have imagined.” HS (secretary)

“I would recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about themselves and those who do not.” SM (Senior HR Business Partner)

“I thought it was an excellent intro to Gestalt counselling.” SH (trainer)

  • Course format

    This is consistently one of our most popular courses so we offer four different attendance formats:

    1. Wednesday evenings, 6pm to 9pm over 3 terms. (32 sessions) plus 3 whole days on either Saturday or Sunday, 10am to 5pm
    2. Friday mornings, 10am to 1pm over 3 terms (32 sessions) plus three whole days on either Saturday or Sunday 10am to 5pm
    3. 16 Saturdays + 3 Sundays, 10am- 5pm, over three terms
    4. Friday afternoons, 2pm to 5pm over 2 terms (26 sessions) plus 6 whole days Sundays

    Each attendance format adds up to 114 hours of training. You also need to allow time for personal study; some students also opt to have counselling sessions themselves.

  • Assessments

    To pass the course, you’ll need to:

    • Show appropriate participation in all areas of the course
    • Keep a personal learning journal which gives an account of your reflections on the course material and its impact on you as a person and your relationships
    • Write two essays, one on a theoretical topic relating to counselling and the other on an aspect of Gestalt theory that has interested you.
  • FEES

    Certificate in Humanistic Counselling Skills (Year 1)

    Wednesday pm or Friday am format x 3 terms
    Sponsored, per term: £700 x 3
    Self funded, per term: £596 x 3
    Standing order per month: £149 x 12

    Saturday/weekend format
    Sponsored, per term: £700 x 3
    Self funded, per term: £596 x 3
    Standing order per month: £204 x 1 month and £198 x 8 months

    Spreading the cost

    Students may set up a Standing Order, paying over 12 months (commencing 1st July) for the Wednesday and Friday formats of the Certificate, 9 months (commencing 1st October) for the Saturday format or 6 months (commencing 1st February) for the Thursday format.


    Students who pay the full year in advance receive a small discount on the course fees.
    Self funded total discounted annual fee: £1,703
    Termly Fees are due during the following months (£25 per term discount only applies to fees received before the 1st of the named month):

    Autumn Term (and the year): July
    Spring Term: November
    Summer Term: February


    Fees paid after the due dates will be liable for a £50 charge for additional administration costs, unless prior arrangement is made.

Leads to:

Successfully completing the course gives you a Certificate in Humanistic Counselling Skills and fulfils the entry requirements to apply to join our two-year, BACP accredited Diploma in Counselling course

“The tutor’s ability to create a safe, boundaried, enjoyable learning space is second to none.”

CC - former communications consultant


Questions on courses, timings or fees? Ready to book your place? Want to know more about room hire or finding a counsellor? We have the answers you’re looking for.

Add your name plus a contact email address or telephone number to the contact form and we'll get back to you as soon as we can. Alternatively, you can call us (8.30am to 5.30pm, Monday to Friday) on the number below.

CALL US ON 020 7383 5610