DCPsych in Counselling Psychology  Psychotherapy by  Professional Studies

The Doctorate in Counselling Psychology and Psychotherapy by Professional Studies is a joint programme between NSPC and Middlesex University.  It is designed for students who have obtained the Graduate Basis for Chartering of the British Psychological Society.

The philosophy of this programme is existential.  This  means that the focus of students’ practical work will be on understanding the human predicaments of their clients in a philosophical way. It draws on the work of existential and phenomenological thinkers and on the practice of existential psychotherapy. 

The course may be taken full-time, over 4 years, or part-time for a longer period.  For the first two years, students may participate as distance learners, attending on an intensive basis for blocks of study, or as weekly attenders, attending NSPC in London either on a Wednesday for three ten week terms, or on a Saturday.  Some of the modules may also be studied online with intensive online tutor support.  Weekly attenders may also be required to attend some 2 or 3 day intensives.

The second, third and forth years of the course are provided by 5 day intensives or, for some modules, online with intensive online supervision.

Key Course Details
Possible Study Modes:
  • Intensive
  • Wednesdays
  • Saturdays
Length:
  • 4 Years (Full Time)
  • 8 Years (Part Time)
Entry Requirements:
  • A good Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology
  • Graduate basis for chartership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society 
  • An introductory course in psychotherapy and counselling such as the New School’s own Foundation Course
  • Some counselling practice, either professionally or in a voluntary position, for instance with Childline or the Samaritans
  • Personal suitability for the course to be demonstrated at interview
Accreditation:
 

 

This is a joint Middlesex University and New School of Psychotherapy and Counselling programme. It will lead to a Professional Doctorate in Existential Counselling Psychology.

The DCPsych in Existential Counselling Psychology and Psychotherapy has ongoing accreditation with the British Psychological Society.

Professional Registration:
  • Successful completion of this programme provides eligibility to apply for registration with the Health Professions Council (HPC).  It is a legal requirement that anyone who wishes to practice using a title protected by the Health Professions Order 2001 is on the HPC Register.  For more information, please see the HPC website at: www.hpc-uk.org
  • Completion of the programme confers eligibility for Chartered Membership of the Society (CPsychol)
  • Completion of the DCPsych plus the completion of an additional module on Human Sexuality, also leads to eligibility for registration as an existential psychotherapist with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy, through membership of the Universities Training College
  • In addition, after becoming a chartered psychologist, those who have completed the DCPsych will also be eligible for registration as a psychologist supervisor with the British Psychological Society
  • Candidates will also have completed sufficient supervision and group leadership training to apply for recognition as a supervisor and trainer with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

All of the above pathways are subject to the candidate meeting the professional training requirements as well as the academic requirements.  Applications for professional registration occur after the completion of the programme and are subject to separate scrutiny by the professional bodies. 

Qualifications:
 
 It is possible for candidates who choose not to complete the full doctoral programme, to exit after one year with a PG Certificate,  two years with an MSc (or with a PG Diploma if a research project is not completed), and after three years with an MProf.  
 
Satisfactory completion of three years of study, and of 450 hours of supervised psychotherapy practice as part of that course, means that a student is elibible to apply both for BACP. In addition to the full DCPsych, students may also choose to take an extra module in Human Sexuality in order to be eligible for UKCP registration.
 
Start Dates:
 
Autumn, Winter and Spring start dates are available on this programme
 
 
 

 

 

 

Clinical Requirements

Students are required to be in supervised and approved placements from year 2 of the course onwards.  The NSPC placement coordinator will assist students to find a suitable placement.  Approved supervisors offer face to face and also online supervision.

Students are normally required to complete at least two different placements in order to accrue the necessary 450 hours of client work.  Most of the hours will be accrued in respect of one to one work with adults.  However, up to 33% of those hours may be accrued in respect of work with children, couples or groups.

Students are also required to have at least 150 hours of personal therapy, comprising of a minimum of 12 hours per year.  Therapists should have an orientation that is compatible with the existential approach.  

Research Requirements

The final dissertation will include a discursive, philosophical element and the research will usually be based on phenomenological enquiry. Research training is provided throughout the course and you will have supervision from the second year onwards by two experienced academics.

Module Overview

Year 1

Introduction to Counselling Psychology
Credit points:  15

Aims:

  • To familiarize students with the profession of counselling psychology and establish a working knowledge of its theoretical and practical parameters, including professional ethics standards and assessment.
  • To enable students to review their previous learning and apply for recognition of accredited learning where this is relevant (RAL) as well as plan out the rest of their programmes.
  • To prepare students for their counselling psychology placement in year two. 
  • To help students connect their placement to their research work starting in year 2.
Existential Theory and Practice
Credit points:  15

The aim of the theory element of the module is to introduce students to the fundamental theories of existential philosophy and phenomenology that underpin existential psychotherapy and existential counselling psychology. This will include the writings of the continental philosophers, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre and Merleau-Ponty and will consider the application of these philosophers to the psychotherapeutic work of important practitioners such as Binswanger, Boss, May, Yalom, Laing and Szasz. Students will be given the opportunity to critically evaluate phenomenological theory and the existential philosophies that underpin existential psychotherapy and counselling psychology, and one week will be devoted to the contribution of postmodern philosophers to the critique of this theory.

The aim of the practice element is to introduce students to the principles of phenomenological practice and familiarize them with their roots and links in existential philosophy. Students will be introduced to some theoretical principles but the focus of the programme will be on the students’ practice of the principles in triad groups in the roles of talker, listener and observer. They will be introduced to principles of good practice with respect to communication and feedback. Creative use of hermeneutic enquiry will also be taught. An essay reflecting on personal learning as a result of these experiences is mandatory.

Psychoanalytic Theory and Practice
Credit points:  15

Theory

This module will introduce students to a range of classical and contemporary psychoanalytic concepts. The emphasis will be on the progression of theory starting with Freud’s intra-psychic formulations leading up to the contemporary inter-subjective theorists via the British Object Relations School and American Self Psychologists. A study of some classical case studies and seminal texts will be included. Students will be encouraged to critically reflect on the implications of psychoanalytic ideas from alternative social and clinical perspectives, and, in particular, explore the historical and theoretical links with the existential approach.

Practice

The aim of this module will be to apply some of the key concepts of current psychoanalysis to clinical practice. Students will participate in exercises, working in pairs, trios, small or large groups. A learning and reflection group setting will be offered for exploring individual themes of personal and professional development. The main emphasis of this part of the module will be on experiential learning and personal reflection. The main thrust will be on taking opportunities for practising non-defensive listening, speaking congruently, relating truthfully, and monitoring sensitively the impact of any communication on self and others. Whilst there is a strong experiential bias to this module, students are expected to journal their experiences from both, psychoanalytical and phenomenological perspective.

Critical Psychopathology Theory and Practice
Credit points:  15

This module introduces the student to a critical evaluation of views and models of psychopathology, concepts of assessment and diagnosis, some categories of disorder from the ICD-10 and DSM-IV and V and implications for the practice of existential psychotherapy.

The overall orientation of the material to be considered is to enable the student to evaluate and critically assess the field of contemporary psychopathology. The objective is for students to become completely familiar with existing best practice and evidence based psychological theories, whilst using their growing body of philosophical thinking to examine such theories from a more interactional and subjective perspective.

The practice sessions will provide an opportunity for students to consider practical aspects of psychotherapy and counselling psychology in preparation for their placements.  Concrete factors such as contracting, the needs of service users in different settings, stages of psychotherapy and counselling, ethics, and good use of supervision will be discussed. Personal experience, clinical material and case studies will be drawn upon for illustrating and examining the theoretical concepts to become familiar with a broad range of client presentations and different ways of responding. For the latter part of the session a professional and personal development group will continue to investigate private issues that are relevant to the students’ training. The seminar is an opportunity to integrate the elements of counselling psychology and psychotherapy thus far studied in readiness for the start of the counselling placement in year two.

Quantitative Research Methods
Credit points:  15

This module aims to provide students with an understanding of critical enquiry and the variety of counting-based research methods that have been developed to make such enquiries.

It will enable students to design, conduct, and critique quantitative studies.

Year 2

Advanced Existential Theory and Practice
Credit points:  15

This module will develop and deepen students’ familiarity with the existential approach to psychotherapy and counselling psychology both in theory and practice. There will be a continuous questioning of the relevance of philosophy to the practice of psychotherapy and counselling psychology. Students will be exposed to the various philosophers and practitioners on whose work existential therapy is based and consider their pertinence to current day clinical practice, deepening their understanding from year one. There will be an emphasis on understanding particular human dilemmas and life issues and learning to work with these creatively and with depth of understanding. There will be much opportunity for class discussion about the application of philosophical thinking to personal and clinical issues and how to communicate effectively within a phenomenological framework. Students are required to contribute to a class presentation and to write an end of term essay. They will also participate in a number of training exercises.

Cognitive Behavioural Theory and Practice
Credit points:  15

This module will offer a critical perspective on existential-phenomenological psychotherapy from a CBT point of view and the opportunity to critique CBT from an existential perspective.  But the emphasis remains on establishing a dialogue between the two modalities with the intention of pointing towards and perhaps mapping out an agenda for future research possibilities which address the tensions between the requirements implied by regulation and the need for the essence of EPT not to be compromised in our work with clients.

The module presents an opportunity for NSPC students to become conversant with NHS, IAPT, NICE and HCPC but then to draw on this to explore the extent to which the requirements from these bodies allow for the existential-phenomenological approach to be implemented.  

Life Span Psychology and Human Development
Credit points:  15

This module presents and critically examines the mainstream themes and theories of lifespan development from the vantage point of existential-phenomenology and psychology. Sexual, perceptual and motor development, cognitive development, social development, adolescent identity development, events such as the 'mid-life crisis', marriage and divorce, ageing and wisdom, and other landmarks of the life span.

This critical overview will facilitate the exploration of alternative models of lifespan development which view growth as a process of existential birth and movement towards death. In line with psychotherapy’s phenomenological heritage and postmodern ethos, knowledge will be viewed as the product of interpersonal activity, choices and engagement with the world and others.

Qualitative Research Methods
Credit points:  15

Aims:

  • To provide students with an understanding of qualitative research in theory building and in providing an account of how individuals interpret experience.
  • To describe and contrast the main qualitative research methods and to illustrate various types of mixed method combinations.
  • To contrast qualitative and quantitative research, and to illustrate various types of mixed method combinations of the two.
  • To enable students to design, conduct, and critique qualitative studies.
Research Supervision 1
Credit points:  15

Aims:

  • To support the student to design, plan, carry out, and complete independent and original research that can be written up as an acceptable programme planning document.
  • To assist the student to monitor their progress on a regular basis.
  • To enable the student to present their work at a programme planning viva and make the necessary corrections. 
Placement and Supervision 1
Credit points:  15

During the second, third and fourth year of the programme all students are required to be in a clinical placement appropriate to the requirements of their course. Students will be given support in establishing their placements and rigorous assessment of their placements and their clinical work and professional performance will be carried out. Supervision will be provided by the New School and the placement itself, where supervision groups will have no more than six students and will be staffed by professionally registered and experienced clinical supervisors. A suitably qualified person will also line manage the student while on placement and this will be monitored by our placement coordinator. Supervision at the New School will provide existential input to the student's clinical work. The clinical placement will enable students to develop their therapeutic skills in a variety of different settings, the aim being to gain the professional competence required to work independently by the end of year four. 

Programme Planning and PAP viva
Credit points:  15

Aims:

  • For students to review their learning at masters level in preparation for doctoral level studies and find their research supervisors
  • To prepare a detailed research outline in preparation for doctoral level research
  • For this research outline to be reviewed, and the title and general area and method of research to be approved following a viva voce or Skype presentation at the programme approval and planning board.
  • To enable students to plan their learning and research in relation to their future contribution to their field of practice

Year 3

Counselling Psychology Skills and Assessment
Credit points:  15

This module aims to enable students to acquire and apply a substantial body of knowledge to assessment and practice in counselling psychology with a range of clients. It will enable students to communicate to their clients, carers, parents, and colleagues the evidence basis for the decisions being taken in the programme of this practice. The module includes psychometric testing and introduces students to the way this can be used therapeutically.

Students will explore the application of their skills in relation to particular groups of clients. At this level students have often already had experience in working with these groups, such as children, families etc. and will be encouraged to reflect on and share their knowledge and experience with the group. This module is an opportunity for students to demonstrate their ability to practise as autonomous professionals and their ability to understand how effective communication that takes into account factors such as age, language, learning ability etc. is a key element in practice. As part of this, students will explore the need for continuing professional development and the importance of maintaining fitness to practice

Social, Cultural and Ethical Issues
Credit points:  15

Aims:

  • To provide students with sufficient theory and practical examples that they can make appropriate decisions about consent, confidentiality, discrimination, exploitation, fairness, duty of care, and other ethical and moral quandaries in professional practice
  • To increase students’ knowledge of cultural variation, and the impact of social organization and culture on morals, values, and social expectation
  • To provide students with the theory and worked examples that will enable them to be culturally competent, and to apply this competence to their professional practice.
Counselling Psychology Settings and Integration
Credit points:  15

The ultimate aim of this module is to integrate professional theories with practice in multiple settings. Students will show evidence of performance through peer and expert review of their ability to work in a variety of professional environments by demonstrating the ability to develop new ideas or approaches to complex problems in these different settings. A plethora of different settings for counselling psychology will be presented to prepare students for the varied challenges these represent. Students will give presentations on different settings and will discuss the different requirements and special complexities of each. They will show their ability to design different approaches as required in an integrative or pluralistic manner and to apply complex knowledge appropriately and flexibly.

 This programme will consider the responsibilities and duties of the counselling psychologist in each setting as well as the opportunities represented for the contribution of a well-balanced range of interventions.  The importance of teamwork and appropriate referral will also be emphasized.

Advanced Research Seminar
Credit points:  15

Aims:

  • To support the student to design, plan, carry out, and complete independent and original research that can be written up as a completed research dissertation
  • If necessary, to assist the student to make a successful research ethics application
Research Supervision 2
Credit points:  15

Aims:

  • To support the student to design, plan, carry out, and complete independent and original research that can be written up as a completed research dissertation
  • To assist the student to monitor their progress on a regular basis
  • If necessary, to assist the student to make a successful research ethics application
Placement and Supervision 2
Credit points:  15

During the second, third and fourth year of the programme all students are required to be in a clinical placement appropriate to the requirements of their course. Students will be given support in establishing their placements and rigorous assessment of their placements and their clinical work and professional performance will be carried out. Supervision will be provided by the New School and the placement itself, where supervision groups will have no more than six students and will be staffed by professionally registered and experienced clinical supervisors. A suitably qualified person will also line manage the student while on placement and this will be monitored by our placement coordinator. Supervision at the New School will provide existential input to the student's clinical work. The clinical placement will enable students to develop their therapeutic skills in a variety of different settings, the aim being to gain the professional competence required to work independently by the end of year four. 

Part 1 Research Project
Credit points:  75

This module is designed to enable the student to complete part of the requirements of their final dissertation by submitting a document that will have a near final draft of their literature review and intended methods and an analysis of one transcript or an example of practice. 

Year 4

Existential Supervision Training
Credit points:  15

This module will enable students to acquire expertise as an existential supervisor. Students will already have sound previous knowledge and experience of the existential approach as well as experience of working as a supervisor. Students will be expected to be active as a supervisor and be able to bring appropriate material to the programme from their own current practice.

The module will provide general information about different models of supervision and specific guidelines to enable participants to develop their own model of effective existential supervision. In the first half of each session specific supervisory issues will be addressed from an existential perspective and participants will need to prepare for discussion by reading some set texts. In the second half of each session one of the participants will present a supervisory dilemma drawn from their current practice and this will be used to demonstrate an existential approach to supervision.

This module will make the link between existential philosophy and supervision. The philosophical underpinnings of existential therapy will be summarized, author-by-author. The relevance of each of their contributions to existential practice and supervision will be considered. This unit will enable trainees to review and re-activate their theoretical knowledge and connect it directly to the practical skills of therapy and supervision.

Existential Group Training
Credit points:  15

Aims:

  • To introduce the student to a range of group psychotherapy approaches
  • To demonstrate the links between these approaches and existential psychotherapy
  • To apply the work of existential philosophers who have written on the quality and conditions of interpersonal relatedness to group therapy practice
  • To develop an existential practice of group psychotherapy
  • To enable the student to run groups along existential lines in a competent and responsible fashion
Leadership Training
Credit points:  15

Aims:

  • To fit graduates of the programme with the ability to supervise other staff, to lead teams, and to evaluate service designs, and implement service innovations.
  • They will build on previous modules to include skills acquired in existential supervision training and group training and review their own leadership skills.
  • They will consider how existential concepts can be used in democratic and inspirational leadership.  They will learn about conflict intervention and problem solving.
  • To ensure that graduates of the programme can synthesize the perspectives of stake-holders, including users and carers, in service provision and development
  • To ensure that students completing the programme are able to apply their research skills to monitoring the progress of individual clients and to audit their service provision.
  • To consolidate the knowledge and skills that students have acquired during the course, enabling them to advocate for their profession locally and nationally.

Preparation for Viva
Credit points:  15

Aims:

  • For students to prepare for successful presentation of their research project at a viva voce examination
  • To provide students with practical experience of a viva voce examination
  • To review the final project dissertation independently of the research supervisors.
  • To learn with other students about submission of the dissertation
Research Supervision 3
Credit points:  15

Aims:

  • To support the student to design, plan, carry out, and complete independent and original research and monitor the writing up process for the completed research dissertation.
  • To assist the student to monitor their progress on a regular basis.
Placement and Supervision 3
Credit points:  15

During year four the student will work for a minimum of 10 clinical hours in a setting where they can practice some of their leadership skills as well as continuing to practice their existential therapeutic skills.  They may do one of the following: lead a group, offer supervision, offer training sessions, or provide mentorship to a first year DCPsych student.  They will receive supervision for these leadership activities in their NSPC supervision group. 

Research Project Part 2
Credit points:  105

To enable the student to complete an original dissertation of publishable standard in an area of research related to existential counselling psychology.

Prior Learning

Students who have completed and obtained credit for master’s or doctoral level learning at a recognized higher education institution  may make a case that their previous learning has been consolidated by subsequent experience and that this should be considered accredited learning, that is learning that can be equivalent to taught elements of the course, and added to the credits towards the DCPsych.  The procedure for this will be discussed on application, and during the ‘Introduction to Counselling Psychology’ module.  NSPC uses a form and guidelines to help students to make an application for a Review of Accredited Learning (RAL) and these applications are considered at the RAL board.  

There will be an additional administration fee for each 15 credit RAL submission (see Fees section).