Counselling Courses in Manchester:
The Definitive Guide

manchester counselling course

Are you considering pursuing or advancing your career in the field of counselling?

Look no further than our informative guide to the diverse range of counselling courses available in Manchester.

Whether you are a beginner or an experienced practitioner, we have all the essential information you need to choose the course that best fits your needs.

Take the next step on your counselling journey today with confidence and clarity.

1. Counselling in Manchester
2. Qualifications available
3. Manchester course providers
4. Classroom Vs Online
5. Why choose Connect?

1. What does counselling in Manchester look like?

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Manchester Counselling courses
Enrol for our Manchester-based CPCAB courses and kick start your journey to becoming a qualified counsellor!

Manchester is a fantastic place for those interested in counselling and psychotherapy, and it’s no surprise that many professionals choose to make it their home and base of practice. Let’s take a look at some of the specific reasons why this is the case.

Manchester has a rich and diverse community. This makes it an ideal location for counsellors and psychotherapists to work. With such a diverse range of people from different backgrounds and cultures, there are endless opportunities to work with a variety of clients. Whether you have a passion for working with a particular group or want to address specific mental health issues, or just want a varied and rewarding career working with people from all walks of life, Manchester has got you covered!


It offers a great work-life balance for mental health professionals. Manchester is a bustling city, filled with a variety of cultural events, entertainment, and dining options, offering a healthy work-life balance that is essential for those working in the mental health field. It’s also well-connected, with excellent transport links to other cities and the surrounding countryside, including the stunning Peak District, allowing an easy getaway for those looking to relax and unwind outside of the city.

There is a high demand for mental health services in Manchester. Research has shown that the proportion of the population in contact with mental health services in Greater Manchester is significantly higher than the national average.  As a result, there is a demand for skilled and compassionate counsellors and psychotherapists in the area. If you choose to pursue a career in counselling or psychotherapy in Manchester, you’ll have the opportunity to positively impact the lives of many people who are struggling with their mental health and well-being.

There is a wide range of opportunities for counsellors. If you’re thinking about working and training as a counsellor in Manchester, you’re in luck because there are loads of organisations and charities offering counselling services to all kinds of people. Here are a few examples to illustrate the diverse range of organisations in Manchester that offer counselling and psychotherapy services: 

  • Manchester Mind is a mental health and well-being charity that offers counselling, among other services, to a diverse range of clients in Manchester.  
  • Centrepoint is a youth homelessness charity that provides psychotherapy services as part of its support for young people in Manchester.
  • The Therapy Hub is an NHS organisation that provides care for older adults with complex mental health needs, including counselling for individuals and their families.  
  • The LGBT Foundation offers talking therapies, among other support, to those who identify as LGBT+ living in Greater Manchester. 
  • 42nd Street is a mental health charity that offers counselling, among other services, for young people in Greater Manchester. 

And that’s not all – there are loads more local mental health charities, NHS organisations and private practices that are doing incredible work to support mental health in the local community. Plus, if you’re looking to get started on your counselling journey, there are various institutions offering counselling courses in Manchester too. We’ll be taking a look at these shortly!

Manchester CPCAB Level 4 Course – September 2024

Enrolment for our Manchester-based CPCAB Level 4 course is now open!

Become a qualified counsellor in two years with our part-time course, consisting of 60 live sessions spread across two years.

2. What qualifications are available to me?

So, what qualifications are on offer in Manchester to help you kickstart your career in counselling and/or psychotherapy?

Well, first of all, it’s worth noting that employers and clients are increasingly looking for counsellors and psychotherapists with qualifications that have been accredited by a professional body. So, this is a good place to start. 

This is because counselling and psychotherapy aren’t legally regulated professions in the UK – technically, anyone can call themselves a therapist! Obviously, this is not ideal from the client’s point of view. Counselling and psychotherapy are challenging professions that can have a profound impact on people’s lives. Therefore, it’s essential therapists have the right skills and knowledge to handle sensitive and challenging situations. And the way for clients and employers to be sure this is the case is to choose therapists that are members of a reputable professional body. 

In the UK, there are two major professional bodies for counselling, and you can find qualifications accredited by both of these bodies in Manchester. Let’s have a closer look at these options.


At this point, you may be wondering, “what’s the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?”. If this is the case, let us direct you to our ultimate guide to becoming a counsellor or psychotherapist in the UK. Here, we run through the subtle differences between these two professions. 

Quite often, undertaking a counselling qualification will then allow you to progress on to a psychotherapy qualification. So here, we’re just going to be talking about the qualifications you need to become a counsellor.

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)

The BACP is the largest professional counselling body in the UK. It promotes high ethical standards amongst its members, and therefore, gaining BACP membership can help you build your reputation as a counsellor and attract clients. To become a BACP member, you need to meet certain criteria, including completing an approved core practitioner course. To give you an idea of how much training is required, let’s take a look at an example qualification pathway that can be used to gain BACP membership. 

This example qualification route involves taking a progression of CPCAB-accredited courses. 

CPCAB Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills
CPCAB Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Studies
CPCAB Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling

Here, Level 2 requires 170 hours of training, Level 3 requires 196 hours of training and Level 4 requires 1,204 hours of training. It generally takes at least three to four years to complete a BACP-approved qualification such as this, as these courses are typically taught on a part-time basis. There are a variety of providers that offer BACP-accredited counselling courses in Manchester. We’ll look at these shortly!

The National Counselling Society (NCS)

NCS is the other major counselling professional body in the UK, and you also need to meet specific requirements to become a member, including completing an approved core practitioner course. The options are a bit more limited for NCS-accredited counselling courses in Manchester, with just one course provider offering this pathway. 

At Astranti Connect, we recommend pursuing BACP membership as the preferred option between the two professional bodies, and you can find out why in our definitive guide to counselling qualifications.

Other options

Finally, there are a few other qualification options on offer in Manchester that do not fall into either of the above categories. These may be good options if you’re not interested in becoming a professional counsellor, but you’d like to learn some counselling skills. Some of these courses may offer a qualification that could contribute towards BACP or NCS accreditation if you decide to study more in the future. Other courses may not be accredited at all, however, and so it’s important to be aware that their quality will not have been validated by an external body.

3. Manchester counselling course providers

If you’re looking for counselling training providers in Manchester, the good news is that you’re not going to be short on options! There is a range of different providers offering counselling and psychotherapy training in Manchester, from universities and colleges to specialist providers. 

Let’s take a look at the main options.

Universities and colleges

There are a variety of universities and colleges providing counselling and psychotherapy training in Manchester. Because universities and colleges provide a large range of courses, they tend to have large student bodies and campuses. So, if you’re after an immersive student experience and the opportunity to get involved in extracurricular activities and student clubs, a university or college may be a good option for you. 

The Manchester Metropolitan University offers a BSc (Hons) in Psychology with Counselling and Psychotherapy. This is a broad course aimed at those who are considering a career in clinical psychology, counselling or psychotherapy. Therefore, this may be a good option if you’re not sure exactly what you’d like to end up doing. 

If you already have an undergraduate degree (in any subject!), the University of Salford offers a Graduate Skills in Counselling course. This then leads to an MSc/PgDip in Counselling and Psychotherapy.

And, if you already happen to have a psychology degree, the University of Manchester offers a Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology for those looking to study further. 

Typically, university-taught courses involve a mixture of practical sessions and lectures – the latter of which won’t suit everyone’s learning style! If you’d prefer a less academic and more hands-on approach, there are also colleges offering counselling and psychotherapy training in Manchester. 

The Manchester College and UCEN Manchester together offer counselling courses from Levels 2 to 6. The two education providers are part of the same group and share a campus right in the centre of Manchester. Manchester Adult Education, another college, offers Level 2 and 3 counselling courses in three of its centres distributed across Manchester.

Specialist providers

But that’s not all! There are also numerous specialist providers offering counselling and psychotherapy training in Manchester. As the name implies, these providers tend to have a narrower and more specialised focus compared to universities and colleges, typically only providing courses relating to counselling and/or psychotherapy. 

Generally speaking, specialist providers of counselling and psychotherapy courses tend to have smaller class sizes, allowing you to get to know your tutors and fellow students better. This also means more support and one-to-one interaction with faculty members, leading to a more immersive and supportive learning environment. 

When they’re not teaching, many tutors continue to practise as counsellors or psychotherapists, maintaining close ties with the local counselling community. This can be handy when you start to look for employment or placement opportunities. 

Let’s take a look at some of the specialist providers of counselling courses in Manchester. 

Manchester Training Counselling Center – Offers Level 2 to 5 counselling courses in their Manchester counselling training centre. 

South Manchester Centre for Psychotherapy – Offers a Certificate in Therapeutic Counselling and Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling. 

Chrysalis Courses – Provides Level 4 and 5 courses in counselling in their Manchester counselling training centre. 

Manchester Institute for Psychotherapy – Offers a Diploma in Psychotherapy Training in Transactional Analysis from an Integrative Perspective.  

Manchester Gestalt Centre – Offers a foundation course, Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling and Advanced Diploma in Gestalt Psychotherapy. 

Astranti Connect – We provide Level 2 to Level 6 counselling and psychotherapy courses at our Manchester counselling training centre.

4. Classroom vs Online: what should you choose?

We wish there was a simple answer to this question! Choosing the right format for counselling training can be a bit of a challenge, and, at the end of the day, it all comes down to what you want to achieve in your counselling career and your personal needs and preferences.


If you’re aiming to become a member of a professional counselling body like BACP or NCS, you’ll need a significant amount of your training hours to be in person. For example, the CPCAB pathway to BACP membership that we discussed earlier requires at least 75% of Level 4 training to be taught in person. This is worth keeping in mind as some counselling course providers offer online-only Level 4 courses, but these won’t qualify you for BACP or NCS membership. 

Additionally, any online courses you take need to be live, for example, over Zoom. This is another requirement of the BACP and NCS because they need to be confident that you’ve got the necessary practical experience and skills required to be an effective counsellor or psychotherapist, and it’s more difficult to pick up these skills through self-directed learning.

Here are some pros and cons of online counselling and psychotherapy courses…

Online training does offer some advantages, such as:

  • Greater flexibility
  • Lower costs
  • More options to choose from

But there are also some drawbacks to consider, including:

  • Technical difficulties
  • Distractions at home
  • Potential loss of some social interaction

Ultimately, the decision between online-only, classroom, or blended online-and-classroom courses comes down to your personal preferences and circumstances. And it’s important that you choose the format that best fits your needs and goals. 

If you’d like to read more about this subject, 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!

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 Manchester hub: 

Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills

Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling

We plan to have both level 3 and level 4 courses following the level 2 courses that are currently scheduled – this will offer anyone who completes the level 2 course the opportunity to continue their journey towards becoming a qualified counsellor, without the need to switch course providers.

All of our courses are 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. 


If you’re looking for 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 – these are designed to enable you to set up your own practice and become a supervisor, respectively. 

And, if you’re not sure you want to complete your counselling courses in Manchester, we also have hubs in Devon, Bristol, Liverpool, London, Glasgow, Edinburgh and Sheffield.  Find 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 Manchester, 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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