Introduction to Counselling

Birkbeck is widely recognised as a centre of excellence for courses in counselling. This course provides a broad-based introduction for people studying counselling for the first time. It is ideal if you want to develop your helping skills in professional or voluntary roles, or if you wish eventually to train as a professional counsellor. It can be taken on a stand-alone basis, but it also acts as Module 1 of the first year of the Certificate of Higher Education in Counselling and Counselling Skills.

This course introduces you to a range of counselling theories and practice, including psychodynamic, humanistic and cognitive behavioural perspectives. It shows how counselling ideas and practice can be of use in understanding human growth and emotional development. It helps you to develop skills for self-reflection as a way of enhancing self-awareness and to plan for your own personal and career development. Finally, it shows how counselling skills and attitudes can usefully be applied in various helping relationships.

Counselling skills are developed through student-centred methods of learning, including practical exercises, discussions, seminars, observations, lectures, and individual and group work. Assessment is 100% coursework.

For more information, read our programme handbooks.

Entry requirements

This course is open entry. There are no formal entry requirements. However, all courses are taught at university level and you should be able to read, write and speak English fluently. To maximise your chances of succeeding in your studies, we strongly recommend that you have a minimum of ESOL level 2 or academic literacy level 2.

Duration and attendance

Two hours a week for 30 weeks (weekday or evening), starting in October 2017, or

Seven once-a-month weekend-only sessions (four hours each on Saturday and Sunday), starting in January 2018.

How to apply/enrol

All classes for the academic year 2017-2018 are now full

This Short Course can be taken as a stand-alone course or it may be available as part of a Certificate of Higher Education.

    30 credits at level 4

    • Entry requirements

      Entry requirements

      Most of our short courses have no formal entry requirements and are open to all students. You may have to fulfil specific prerequisites for some intermediate-level or advanced-level courses, but these will be specified where relevant.

      Visa requirements

      If you are not from the European Economic Area (EEA) and/or Switzerland and you are coming to study in the UK, you may need to apply for a visa.

      The visa you apply for varies according to the length of your course:

      • Courses of more than six months’ duration.
      • Courses of less than six months’ duration.
      • Pre-sessional English language courses.

      International students who require a Tier 4 visa should apply for our three-year evening study BA/BSc/LLB degrees, as these are classified as full-time study and qualify for student visa status. If you are living in the UK on a Tier 4 visa, you will not be eligible to enrol as a student on Birkbeck’s part-time evening study degrees.

      For full information, read our visa information for international students page.

    • How to apply

      How to apply

      You enrol directly onto the classes you would like to take, using the Enrol Now link below. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis – so apply early. If you wish to take more than one short course, you can select each one separately and then enrol onto them together via our online application portal. There is usually no formal selection process, although some modules may have prerequisites and/or other requirements, which will be specified where relevant. 

      All classes for the academic year 2017-2018 are now full