Counselling Courses in Norwich
The Definitive Guide


Are you looking to pursue or advance your career in counselling?

Explore the diverse array of counselling courses in Norwich with our comprehensive guide.

Whether you’re just starting out or have prior experience, we provide all the vital information necessary to help you select the most suitable course for your needs.

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1. Counselling in Norwich

2. Qualifications available

3. Norwich course providers

4. Course comparisons

5. Classroom vs Online

1. What does counselling in Norwich look like?

So, you’re thinking about training as a counsellor in Norwich? Let us take you through what it’s like to study and work as a counsellor in this beautiful part of the country. 

Why is Norwich a good place to study and work in counselling? 


Norwich offers a good work-life balance for those working in mental health. Training and working as a counsellor can be intense and emotionally demanding. Norwich provides a great setting to relax and recharge outside of work. It’s a lively cultural hub with a thriving arts scene, great restaurants and cafes and plenty of independent shops to explore, so there’s always lots to see and do. The city is renowned for its stunning medieval architecture, there are many green spaces to enjoy, and the beautiful Norfolk coast is just a short drive away. 

There is a need for high-quality mental health services in Norfolk. According to a report by the Norfolk and Waveney Health and Care Partnership in 2019, 86% of the public surveyed feel that mental health services in the Norfolk and Waveney area are failing to meet the needs of adults, and 70% feel that mental health services are not locally accessible. As such, there is a demand for more high-quality mental health professionals, including counsellors, as well as the opportunity for you to make a real difference in the local community. 

There is a diverse range of counselling opportunities. Norwich is home to various organisations and charities offering counselling services to people from all backgrounds. So, whether you’re drawn to working with young people, couples or individuals, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to train and work in your desired area. 

Here are just a few examples to illustrate the range of different organisations that offer counselling services in Norwich: 

  • Wellbeing Norfolk and Waveney is an NHS service that provides mental health support, including counselling, for those over the age of 16 across the Norfolk region. 
  • Supporting Smiles offers mental health support and counselling services for 4-14 year-olds from its Norwich hub. 
  • The Big C Cancer Charity has various hubs in and around Norwich and provides counselling services for those affected by or close to someone affected by cancer. 
  • The Norfolk LGBT+ Project offers one-to-one counselling for those who identify as LGBT+ or are struggling with issues related to their sexuality or gender identity.
  • The University of East Anglia offers a well-being service for its students.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg! There are numerous other NHS organisations, local charities and private practices that are working to improve mental health and well-being in the Norwich and wider Norfolk community. Not only does this mean there are diverse job opportunities for qualified counsellors, but there is also a wealth of resources and a good support network for counsellors working in Norwich. 

There is also a choice of training institutions that offer counselling courses in Norwich to get you started on this fulfilling career path (we’ll be looking at these soon!).

2. What qualifications are available to me?

If you’re considering Norwich as the place to kick-start your counselling career, you may be wondering about what qualifications are available to you in this city. 


What qualifications do you need to have to work as a counsellor in Norwich? 

The short answer to this question is none at all! That’s because counselling is not yet a regulated profession in the UK, which means anyone could start working as a counsellor in Norwich. 

However, this is not recommended! As a counsellor, you will be handling sensitive and challenging issues, and so, for the safety and well-being of your clients and yourself, it’s essential that you undertake counselling training to equip you with the right skills and experience. 

What qualifications are available in Norwich? 

Fortunately, there are a variety of counselling course providers in Norwich offering a range of counselling qualifications. These days, more and more employers and clients are seeking counsellors with qualifications accredited by professional bodies. So, we’ll take a look at these qualifications first.

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)

The BACP is the UK’s biggest professional counselling body. Because of its high ethical standards and size and scope as an organisation, membership to the BACP is held in high esteem in the counselling world. 

To gain membership to the BACP, you need to satisfy specific requirements, which include completing an approved qualification. To illustrate the amount of training that is required, let’s take a look at a specific pathway that can be used to gain BACP membership which is taking a series of CPCAB-accredited courses. 

To gain membership via this pathway, you need to complete the following: 

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

Here, the total qualification time is 170 hours for Level 2, 196 hours for Level 3 and 1,204 hours for Level 4. These courses are typically taught on a part-time basis, so you’re looking at three to four years at least to complete a BACP-approved qualification. 

At Astranti, we believe a BACP-approved qualification is the best option for anyone who wants to practise as a counsellor – you can read why this is in our definitive guide to counselling qualifications. There are a few different counselling course providers that offer BACP-accredited courses in Norwich. Stay with us, as we’ll look at these in the next section.

The National Counselling Society (NCS)

The NCS is the other main professional counselling body in the UK. To gain membership to the NCS, you also have to meet specific requirements, and, just like for the BACP, this includes completing an approved qualification. Only one provider is currently offering an NCS-accredited counselling course in Norwich. 

Other options

There are also course providers in Norwich that provide qualifications that do not fall into the two above categories. These may be good options for you if you do not intend to practise as a counsellor and, instead, are looking to learn counselling skills for your own personal development or another professional role, such as a teacher or minister. 

3. Norwich counselling course providers

You’ll be happy to know that there are a few different counselling course providers in Norwich. The best choice for you will depend on your interests and the type of qualification you’d like to come away with at the end of the course. However, if you wish to study within the city itself, then your main options are specialist providers. 

Let’s take a look, shall we?

Universities and colleges

Counselling courses are not currently offered by the University of East Anglia, or any of the colleges located in Norwich city. If you’re willing to look further afield in Norfolk, the East Coast College offers a BA (Hons) in Person-Centred Counselling awarded by the University of Suffolk in Great Yarmouth, located a 40-minute drive from Norwich. The College of West Anglia offers a Level 3 course in counselling in Wisbech, located an 80-minute drive from Norwich. 

Because these colleges offer a large range of courses, not just counselling, they have much larger student bodies and campuses than the specialist providers. This means if you wish to immerse yourself in student life and get involved in extracurricular activities, these options might be attractive to you. However, unfortunately, you won’t be able to do this in the city of Norwich itself! 

Specialist providers

As the name implies, these providers offer a narrow, specialised range of courses focused primarily on counselling and/or mental health and wellbeing. The following are specialist providers of counselling courses in Norwich: 

The Norwich Centre Provides an introductory, certificate and postgraduate diploma course. 

Matrix College – Offers a BSc (Hons) in Integrative Counselling awarded by Middlesex University. 

Chrysalis Courses – Offers counselling courses from Level 4 to Level 6 in Norwich. It also offers a Level 3 course in Hypnotherapy and Counselling for those interested in specialising in this area. 

Supporting Minds – Offers a BTEC HNC in Counselling and Applied Psychology for those with previous experience or qualification in a relevant field. 

Astranti Connect – We plan to provide counselling courses in Norwich from Level 2 to Level 6.

One advantage of choosing a specialist provider is that the class sizes are generally smaller, allowing more one-to-one interaction with your tutors and leading to a more supportive learning environment. Plus, teaching won’t be their full-time job for many tutors, and they’ll also be practising as counsellors. This means they may have good connections with the local counselling community, which could be helpful when you’re looking for placements and employment opportunities.

4. Comparing counselling courses in Norwich

So, what do each of these providers of counselling courses in Norwich offer? 


The Norwich Centre

Matrix College

Supporting Minds East Coast College Chrysalis College of West Anglia Astranti Connect
Location City centre,


TBC Great Yarmouth,
City centre,

TBC shortly!

Specialist provider?


Online options?

Pathway to BACP?

Pathway to NCS?

Nationwide provider?

Online counselling library?




Reviews (Trustpilot & Google) 4.6/5
(16 reviews)
(7 reviews)
(6 reviews)
(69 reviews)
(780 reviews)
(18 reviews)
(600 reviews)
5+ years of experience?


5. Classroom vs Online: what should you choose?

There’s no “right” answer to this question, as the best choice for you will really depend on what you’re hoping to achieve from your counselling career and your personal circumstances and preferences. 


Requirements for BACP and NCS membership

If you want to be able to join either the BACP or NCS, then it’s worth noting that you are required to complete a significant portion of your training in person. 

Let’s take another look at the example we discussed earlier of the CPCAB pathway to BACP membership. While it’s possible to take the Level 2 and Level 3 courses entirely online, 75% of the Level 4 course has to be taught in a classroom setting. 

So, if a membership to the BACP or NCS is your end-game, you’ll need to choose a qualification pathway that is a mix of online and classroom training – or just classroom, if that’s more your cup of tea! This is important to keep in mind when choosing your course as you may see online-only Level 4 courses on offer – these won’t qualify you for BACP or NCS membership. 

Further, if you want to gain membership to the BACP or NCS, any online courses that you take also need to be taught live over a video conferencing platform, such as Zoom. Again, this is a specific requirement of these professional bodies because they need to be sure that you’ve picked up the necessary practical skills required for counselling, and they don’t feel these can be taught as effectively through self-directed learning.

The pros and cons of online counselling courses 

Let’s take a look at the benefits and drawbacks of online-only and blended online-and-classroom counselling courses. 

The pros of online counselling courses:

  • You have more flexibility 
  • You’re not just limited to local courses in Norwich
  • Online courses are typically cheaper

The cons of online counselling courses:

  • You may encounter technical difficulties
  • It may be harder to stay focused
  • You may miss out on some social interaction
  • Choose carefully if membership to a professional body is needed

As we said before, there’s no “wrong” or “right” choice when it comes to deciding between online-only, classroom or a blend of both approaches. It all depends on your personal preferences, goals and circumstances. So, choose the format that works best for you. 

If you want more information to help you make your choice, be sure to check out our definitive guide to online counselling courses.


Illustration by Storyset.