N.B. Applications are now closed for the September 2022 intake, which is full.  The next intake will be for September 2023 and applications will be accepted up to the deadline of 5.30pm on Monday 27th March 2023.

This two-year diploma-level course is part of our Gestalt Counselling Programme. It offers intensive, practical professional training. On completion (and having completed the required number of personal therapy, client and supervision hours) you’ll be a member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and fully equipped to work competently with a range of clients.

Who takes this course?

Most students apply to this course directly from the Certificate in Humanistic Counselling Skills (also part of our Counselling Programme) with a view to becoming a qualified professional counsellor. Occasionally, we admit students with prior experience from elsewhere at this stage – see the entry requirements tab further down this page for full details.

What the course offers

There are four components to this part of the programme:

  • teaching, practice and evaluation of skills involved in creating and developing a counselling relationship
  • developing awareness of self and self in relation to others both personally and professionally
  • presenting sound theoretical concepts from relevant established disciplines
  • group supervision to discuss and evaluate counselling practice.

Course outline

In the first year, you will:

  1. Gain a solid grounding in the philosophy and practice of gestalt as a core model.
  2. Review and evaluate the fundamental principles of counselling and relate these to the core method.
  3. Discuss and explore ethical and professional issues in relation to the counselling profession and clinical practice.
  4. Explore a range of theories of human development.
  5. Address major areas such as:
    • cross-cultural counselling
    • race, sexuality and gender issues
    • other topics relevant to student needs.
  6. Develop one-to-one counselling skills.
  7. Learn to review counselling sessions with peers.
  8. Integrate this theoretical, practical and experiential learning into current counselling practice with the support of supervision.

In the second year you will:

  1. Focus on groupwork theory, skills and practice.
  2. Deepen your understanding of gestalt theory and methodology with reference to subjects like transference and developmental theories.
  3. Cover other topics relevant to the developments in the wider counselling profession, e.g. short-term, brief therapy, loss and bereavement
  4. Have an introduction to psychiatric diagnosis, treatment and drugs.
  5. Focus primarily on integrating this learning into individual and group counselling practice through case discussions, group and individual supervision and peer feedback.

The weekly components of both years are:

  • peer learning groups for study, skills practice, professional exchange and support
  • seminars on theory, professional and ethical issues
  • weekly personal development groups to address and explore individual and group issues, interpersonal relationships and attend to group process.

Across the two years, students need:

  • to be in their own private, individual gestalt counselling for a minimum of 80 hours over the two year period of training
  • to find a suitable trainee placement, in accordance with the Gestalt Centre guidelines and complete 100 hours of work with clients
  • to have a minimum of 20 hours’ individual supervision with a Gestalt Centre approved supervisor in addition to any supervision that may be provided by the student’s counselling placement.

What our students say

“Very intensive but of great value.” (CN)

“I rate this course as excellent and would happily recommend it.” (SA)

  • Structure

    This a two-year part-time course. We offer two formats, Mondays or Thursdays, and meetings are held weekly, 4pm-9pm for three terms each year, totalling thirty-six weeks commencing annually in September. In addition, there will 10 x weekend days spread through the year for Year 1 and 6 x weekend days spread through the year for Year 2. Both years attend a four-day large group event in the spring/early summer. There will be three 30 minute tutorials each year, one per term.

    You’ll need to allow extra time for reading, writing assignments as well as for counselling practice in a trainee placement, individual clinical supervision and personal therapy/counselling.

  • Assessment

    Students are assessed by a variety of methods. Staff consider the progress of students at the end of each year based on tutor, peer and self-assessment. In addition, assessment will be based on:

    • A personal learning journal, which should contain details of individual learning contracts and accounts of key learning experiences
    • Two essays of 2,500 word in Year 1 on aspects of counselling theory
    • Two audio recordings of counselling sessions with critical commentary and analysis: one at the end of Year 1, another by mid-way through term 3 of Year 2
    • An extended essay of 5,000 words in term 2 of Year 2 on a topic of special interest to the student, in discussion with the tutor
    • A 2000-word self-reflective essay in term 3 of Year 2
    • 90% attendance on the course
    • a minimum of 100 hours counselling work with clients
    • a minimum of 20 hours supervision
  • Entry requirements

    Completion of Certificate in Humanistic Counselling Skills – the first course of our Counselling Programme


    • evidence of ability to study at diploma level
    • some training in counselling, e.g. a certificate in counselling skills, minimum of 95 hours of sustained study
    • a willingness to find a counselling placement, as defined in the Student Handbook, and accrue a minimum of 100 client counselling hours with appropriate supervision (min. 20 hours) across the two years
    • an appropriate level of maturity i.e. the ability to respond sensitively and flexibly to a wide range of people, feelings and ideas
    • a willingness to be in individual counselling/ therapy for the duration of the course.

    Candidates who meet the entry criteria will be invited to a group and individual interview to discuss the course, assess their readiness to embark on the training and to meet other applicants and the core staff.

  • Fees

    Diploma in Counselling

    Fees for 2022 -2023
    Self-funded, per term: £1,565 x 3 (Total: £4,695)
    Standing order per month: £391.25 x 12 (Total: £4,695)
    Sponsored, per term: £1,828 x 3 (Total: £5,484)

    Fees are inclusive of UKAGP annual subscription – £10 optional payment if paid in one instalment or in 12 instalments at £1 per month

    Please note

    Diploma trainees are required to be in weekly individual counselling for the duration of their training; fees for this are not included in the course fees and may range from approximately £55 to £75 per session. Paying this fee to the counsellor is the trainees’ direct responsibility. In addition, trainees need to allow for individual supervision fees (from £55 per hour). These fees are also additional to the course fees and are paid direct by the trainee to their counselling supervisor.


    If you pay the full year in advance, there’s a small discount on the course fees.

    Self-funded discounted annual fee: £4,495

    Due Dates for Termly Fees

    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 a prior arrangement is made.

    Payments per month and per term

    Each student’s contract is renewable in July for commencement in September of each year and it is a condition of the contract that fees are payable in accordance with the published schedule. A non-refundable deposit of one month’s fee is required to secure a place on the training. If you leave before completing a year’s training, the fee for the year will be payable.

Leads to

This course is accredited by BACP; you’ll be eligible to apply for professional membership of the BACP once you’ve completed the course including the required number of personal therapy and supervised client hours. Our graduates go on to work as counsellors in various settings including: GP practices, voluntary agencies, higher and further education staff and student counselling services. They also work in private practice.

Alternatively, on successful completion, you can apply for entry to our Psychotherapy Programme at PG Certificate or PG Diploma level.


“It was a really fulfilling experience and I feel that I learnt a huge amount and have a basis for further learning at greater depth.”



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