Counselling Courses in London:
The Definitive Guide

counselling courses in bristol

Are you interested in pursuing or developing a career in counselling?

Discover the range of counselling courses London has to offer with our informative guide.

From beginner to experienced practitioner, we’ve got you covered with all the essential details you need to choose the right course for you.

Take the next step on your counselling journey today!

1. Counselling in London

2. Qualifications available

3. London course providers

4. Classroom vs Online

5. Why choose Connect?

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1. What does counselling in London look like?

Are you considering training as a counsellor in London? Allow us to give you the inside scoop on what counselling entails in this magnificent capital city!

London stands out as an exceptional location for training and practising as a counsellor, thanks to its wide-ranging and vibrant populace, robust support network for mental health professionals, and dedication to enhancing mental health across the region. With abundant opportunities to engage with a diverse set of clients and organisations, London is a splendid city for anyone eager to positively impact individuals’ lives through counselling.

Let’s explore some of the specific reasons why London is an excellent place for training and working as a counsellor.

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There is a high demand for mental health services. Despite its reputation as one of the best UK cities in which to reside, London has its challenges with mental health. The city reports poorer mental health statistics compared to the national average, especially among young people. In fact, A 2022 survey of over 2000 Londoners revealed that young people (aged 18-24) are most likely to experience challenges with their mental health, with 85% admitting that they are struggling. This highlights a critical need for high-quality counsellors in the area, offering you, as a counsellor, the chance to make a significant difference in the local community.

Mental health is a major focus in the region. Owing to the challenging mental health statistics in London, mental health and well-being have become a prime concern for the local authorities. Consequently, numerous outstanding programmes and organisations have been initiated in London to address mental health issues.

For instance, the London Boroughs have launched various initiatives aimed at improving mental health and well-being in local communities, schools, and workplaces. For example, NHS South West London has developed a new mental health strategy specific to local needs. Thrive LDN has partnered with local organisations and individuals, including the Mayor of London, committed to eradicating the stigma associated with mental health and discrimination within mental health services.

This not only translates to ample job opportunities for qualified counsellors but also provides a robust support network and a plethora of resources for those engaged in the counselling profession in London.

There is a diverse array of counselling opportunities. Whether your interest lies in working with young people, couples, or individuals, numerous organisations and charities in London offer counselling services to individuals from every walk of life. For instance:

  • London Mind is a mental health charity providing counselling, among other services, to a broad client base in London.
  • Community Mental Health Teams (CMHTs) are NHS teams across the UK delivering mental health support, including counselling, to adults.
  • Thrive LDN is another mental health charity that offers mental health assistance for the people of London, focusing on large campaigns, supporting communities and much more.
  • Women’s Trust is a London-based mental health charity, offering counselling specifically tailored for women.
  • Off the Record provides counselling services to 11-25 year-olds, focusing on the mental health needs of young people in London.

These examples represent just a fraction of the many local mental health charities, NHS organisations, and private practices that play a vital role in London’s mental health landscape. Regarding training, there are also numerous institutions across London offering counselling courses to kickstart your career in this fulfilling field (more on this below!).

2. What qualifications are available to me?

So, if London sounds like the city for you, what’s on offer to help you get started as a counsellor?

Bristol counselling courses

Before diving in, let’s quickly clear up the difference between what you need to and should do to start working as a counsellor in London. 

As counselling is not yet a legally regulated profession in the UK, you could technically start working as a counsellor with no qualification at all! But, for the safety and well-being of your clients and yourself, it’s strongly advised that you do obtain a qualification to equip you with the necessary skills to handle challenging and sensitive situations. Moreover, employers and clients are increasingly looking for counsellors with a qualification accredited by a professional body. 

So, where does this leave you? 

Well, there are two major professional bodies for counselling in the UK, and accredited qualifications from both of these are on offer as counselling courses in London. Let’s take a look at these two bodies. 

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)

The BACP is the largest professional body for counselling in the UK. It upholds high ethical standards and, therefore, gaining BACP membership is a great stamp to have to help you find employment and clients. 

To become a BACP member, you need to meet certain criteria, which include completing an approved core practitioner course. One example of a pathway to BACP membership is to take a series of CPCAB-accredited courses. We’ll use this as an example to demonstrate the amount of training that is required to gain BACP membership.

To gain membership to BACP via CPCAB, you need to have at least completed:

CPCAB Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills – 170 hours total qualification time
CPCAB Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Studies – 196 hours total qualification time
CPCAB Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling – 1,204 hours total qualification time

There are several different providers that offer BACP-accredited counselling courses in London. Hang tight; we’ll look more at the specific providers for London counselling courses in the next section.

The National Counselling Society (NCS)

The other major professional counselling body in the UK is the National Counselling Society (NCS). Like the BACP, you also have to meet certain criteria to gain NCS membership. 

There are also several different providers that offer NCS-accredited counselling courses in London, but only one offers the Level 4 course required to gain NCS membership. We’ll come to these in a moment. 

At Astranti Connect, we believe the route to becoming a BACP member is the preferable option of the two – you can read about why this is in our definitive guide to counselling qualifications.

Other options

If you’re just looking to pick up some counselling skills for your own personal development or to help with another professional role, like as a teacher or manager, and don’t intend to practise as a professional counsellor, there are a few additional options for counselling courses in London. 

A number of individuals and organisations offer short counselling courses, some of which allow you to gain a qualification that could contribute towards BACP or NCS accreditation if you choose to study further in the future. Others won’t be accredited, however, and so it’s important that you keep in mind there is no guarantee of their quality.

3. London counselling course providers

There is a variety of counselling course providers in London, and the ideal choice for you will be influenced by your objectives, interests, and career goals in the counselling domain.

Let’s explore the main options available.

Universities and colleges

A number of universities and colleges offer counselling courses in London, characterised by their extensive course offerings. These institutions boast large student populations and expansive campuses. Thus, if you’re keen on fully experiencing student life and participating in various extracurricular activities, these options might be attractive to you.

Universities such as the Regent’s University London, Birkbeck and London Metropolitan University offer a master’s degree in Psychotherapy & Counselling. Their courses combine practical sessions with lectures, which might not be the preferred learning style for everyone.

Colleges like Lambeth College, City Lit and Capital City College Group, provide counselling courses from levels 2 to 6. New City College offers Levels 1-3 Certificates and a BA Diploma, while West Thames College offers Level 4 courses only.

Specialist providers

London also hosts a plethora of specialist counselling course providers. These institutions focus narrowly on counselling and/or mental health and wellbeing, offering a more specialised curriculum.

Classes at these specialist providers are typically smaller, fostering greater interaction with faculty members and a more supportive, immersive learning experience. Many instructors are practising counsellors with strong connections to the local counselling community, which can be invaluable for securing placements and employment opportunities.

Here are some specialist providers of counselling courses in London:

Heartwood Counselling – Offers Level 4 and Level 5 courses, along with introductory courses.

The MHCPC – Provides introductory to post-qualification counselling courses. 

The CPTA – Provides counselling courses from Level 2 to Level 6.

The Gestalt Centre – Offers a Diploma course, as well as a variety of short courses and workshops.

CPPD Counselling School – This institution offers counselling courses from introduction to diploma levels. 

Astranti Connect – Last but certainly not least, we provide CPCAB and  BACP-approved counselling courses from levels 2-6, alongside specialised post-qualification courses and CPD. 

These are some of the key institutions in London offering counselling courses, each providing unique opportunities for those interested in starting or advancing their careers in counselling.

4. Classroom vs Online: what should you choose?

This is a good question – and, like with choosing the right qualification and training provider, the answer very much depends on what your aspirations in counselling are!
This is because if you want to be able to join a professional counselling body, both the BACP and NCS require a significant number of your training hours to be in person.

Bristol counsellor training

Let’s return to the example we discussed earlier of the CPCAB pathway to BACP membership. Here, the CPCAB Level 2 and Level 3 courses can be taken online but for the CPCAB Level 4 course, 75% has to be taught in person.

So, to gain BACP or NCS membership, a blend of online and classroom training will be required – or just classroom, if that’s what you prefer! This is something to watch out for, as some course providers will provide online-only Level 4 courses, BUT these will not allow you to apply for BACP or NCS membership.

Another thing to keep in mind is that, for BACP and NCS membership, any online courses that you take also need to be live, such as over Zoom, allowing you to interact and practise with your tutor and other students. This is because the professional bodies believe that students will not be able to pick up the necessary practical skills for counselling via self-directed learning.

So, what are the pros and cons of an online-only or blended online-and-classroom counselling course?

Advantages of online counselling training: 

  • Greater flexibility
  • Not just limited to local courses
  • Reduced costs

Disadvantages of online counselling training: 

  • Technical difficulties
  • Distractions
  • Some social interaction may be lost
  • You need to be careful choosing the right online course

Overall, there’s no right or wrong choice when it comes to choosing between online-only, classroom or both online and classroom counselling courses. It very much depends on your personal preferences and circumstances, and you should choose the format that best fits your needs and goals. 

If you’d like more information on this subject, you can check out our definitive guide to online counselling courses.

5. Why join a Connect course?

So, why do we think you should study with us? 

We have experienced tutors

Connect tutors are all qualified counsellors with experience in teaching. Many are also practising counsellors and, when they aren’t teaching our classes, they continue to work with their own clients. Our tutors have a wealth of relevant, real-life experience and strong ties with the local counselling community.

We specialise in counselling

We have over 15 years of experience in counselling training and, unlike universities and colleges which offer a broad range of courses, our expertise and knowledge are focused on a small number of subject areas.

We are a national provider with centres across the country

If you’re not set on completing your counselling courses in Bristol, but you’d like to take part in one of our classroom counselling courses, we also have counselling hubs in Devon, Wiltshire, Norwich, Sheffield and Manchester. This also means you don’t have to be tied to one area throughout the course of your studies! We also have online options for Levels 2 and 3 and our post-qualification courses, offering additional flexibility. You can check out our full range of courses here.

We have a high Trustpilot rating

We are renowned as a high-quality training provider, as you can see from our excellent Trustpilot rating and reviews!

bristol counselling training
bristol counselling training
We have limited class sizes

Both our online and in-person courses have a maximum size of 16-18 people. This offers a great balance between plenty of tutor interaction and support and working and practising with a diverse range of people.

You will get access to our online community

We have an active online community, allowing you to learn from other students and support each other in your studies.

Our students must pass pre-course assessments

This helps to ensure our courses run as smoothly as possible, and you can rest assured that you and your fellow students are well-suited to the course.

We provide courses for Levels 2 to 6

This means once you pass one course, you can move on to another! Completing our Levels 2, 3 and 4 courses sets you up to apply for BACP membership to become a qualified, professional counsellor.

Our CPD Seminar Subscription comes free with our CPCAB courses

Twice a month our own tutors or expert guest speakers host live online seminars, each focusing on a new interesting topic in the world of counselling. From ‘Exploring Sexual Diversity’ to ‘What Star Wars Can Teach Us About Right and Wrong’, there’s something for everyone.

When you join a Connect course, you’ll have access to our live seminars and full bank of recorded sessions for the duration of your course.

Our Connect courses 

Whether you’ve decided a classroom or online course is best for you, we have lots of course options available to suit your needs!

We offer the following in-person courses at our London hub: 

Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills 

Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Studies

Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling

Each of these courses is approved by the CPCAB, and completing the Level 4 Diploma provides a pathway to BACP membership. It also forms part of the CPCAB Open University Foundation Degree if you’d like to come away with a degree at the end of your studies. 

counsellor course Bristol

If you’re after a bit more flexibility, we also offer live daytime and evening online courses for Levels 2 and 3 (remember, these can be completed online as long as they’re live, but the majority of Level 4 must be completed in a classroom setting to qualify for BACP membership!). 

Once qualified, we also offer a Level 5 Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling and Level 6 Certificate in Therapeutic Counselling Supervision – because why stop there? 

And, as we mentioned above, if you’re not sure you want to complete your counselling courses in London, we also have counselling hubs in Devon, Bristol, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Sheffield and Manchester.  You can check out our full range of courses here.

Want to talk to someone about your next course options?

If you have any questions about Astranti Connect’s counselling courses in London, you can have a free 1-2-1 call with one of our Connect student advisors!

Head to your relevant course page below to book yours:

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