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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment

Learn Counselling Techniques- increase your knowledge and enhance your counselling skills.

  • Study major theoretical approaches to counselling.
  • Understand the application of theory in the counselling process.
  • Learn how to improve your counselling skills.
  • This course is suitable for anyone wanting to work in counselling or those already working in counselling who wish to expand their knowledge of counselling techniques.

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Improve your understanding and use of Counselling Techniques for training and professional development. 

  • Develop an understanding of important theoretical approaches to counselling.
  • Learn to apply theories to the counselling process.
  • Explore psycho-dynamic theory, rational behavioural therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy and much more...
  • Study this 100 hour course in your own home and at your own pace.
  • If you are interested in becoming a counsellor or developing your counselling skills, this course is an ideal starting point for your training and professional development.

This course is suitable for -

  • Carers
  • Counsellors
  • Trainee counsellors
  • Care workers
  • Support workers
  • Rehabilitation workers
  • Occupational therapists
  • Physiotherapists
  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Teachers
  • Social Workers
  • Volunteer counsellors
  • Family members



There are 8 lessons in the course, as detailed below.

Lesson 1.  Psychoanalytic psychotherapy l - Freud, Erikson, Jung

  • Value and relevance of psychotherapy.
  • Emergence of psychoanalytical theory.
  • Principles of psychoanalytical theory.
  • Elements of the personality.
  • The notion of conscious and unconscious.
  • Anxiety and psychoanalysis.
  • Inbuilt psychological coping and damage repair mechanisms.
  • Defence mechanisms.
  • Freud's psycho-sexual theory and Erikson's psychosocial theory.
  • Jung's perspective on personality.
  • Archetypes.
  • Recent developments in psychoanalytical theory.
  • Goals of psychoanalytical approach.
  • Psychoanalytic techniques.
  • Analytic framework.
  • Free associations.
  • Interpretation.
  • Dream analysis.
  • Resistance.
  • Transference.
  • Psychoanalytic approach and counselling.
  • Personality disorders.
  • Critique for psychoanalytic theory.

Lesson 2. Psychoanalytical psychotherapy ll - Adler

  • Alfred Adler.
  • Adler's key concepts.
  • Inferiority vs superiority.
  • What makes people self interested.
  • Social interest and community feeling.
  • Individual psychology.
  • Psychological types: ruling type, leaning type, avoiding type.
  • Sibling relationships.
  • Only child.
  • First child, second child, youngest child.
  • Use of Adlerian theory.
  • Applications to counselling.
  • Freud and Adler.
  • Critique.

Lesson 3. Humanistic/Existential approaches I - Gestalt Therapy; Fritz Perls

  • Introduction.
  • Human nature.
  • Holistic approach.
  • Field theory.
  • Figure-formation process.
  • Organismic self regulation.
  • Focus on the present.
  • Resolving dilemmas.
  • Personal maturity.
  • The effect of contact.
  • Effect of energy.
  • The experiment.
  • Confrontation.
  • Gestalt techniques: Internal dialogue, reversal, rehearsal, exaggeration, dream work, etc.
  • Critique.

Lesson 4. Humanistic/Existential approaches II - Person-Centred Counselling; Carl Rogers

  • Humanistic therapy.
  • Principles of person centred approach.
  • Personal attitude of the counsellor.
  • Goals of therapy.
  • Assessment techniques.
  • Areas of application.
  • Critique.

Lesson 5. Rational behavioural therapy - Albert Ellis

  • Rational emotive behaviour therapy (REBT).
  • Ellis's view of human nature.
  • Personality theory.
  • Goals and techniques of therapy.
  • Therapeutic techniques.
  • Cognitive techniques.
  • Emotive techniques.
  • Use of REBT.
  • Critique.

Lesson 6. Cognitive behavioural therapy - Aaron Beck

  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and REBT.
  • Premises of CBT.
  • Cognitive distortions.
  • Use of cognitive therapy.
  • Family therapy.
  • Modifications to CBT.
  • Stress inoculation training program (SIT).
  • Stages of SIT.
  • Constructivist modification.

Lesson 7.  Behavioural therapy

  • Contemporary behavioural therapy.
  • Behavioural approach.
  • Goals ant techniques.
  • Goals of therapy.
  • Use of behaviour therapy.
  • Basic ID.
  • Critique.

Lesson 8. Solution-focused counselling

  • Introduction.
  • Strategies in solution focussed counselling.
  • Engaging the client.
  • Constructing pathways for change.
  • Generating creative solutions.
  • Critique.



The following are examples of what you may do in this course:

  • Explain the concept of dream analysis.
  • Differentiate between elements of traditional psychoanalytical theory in terms of its usefulness in modern day counselling.
  • Describe the modification to traditional psychoanalytical theory as prescribed by Erikson.
  • Explain an object-relations interpretation of the origin of ‘narcissistic’ and ‘borderline’ personality disorders.
  • Explain the difference between Freudian and Adlerian theory.
  • Define the key concepts of Adlerian theory including: personality, goals and lifestyle.
  • Explain the concept of superiority v inferiority.
  • Describe the 4 stages of the Adlerian counselling process, i.e: -developing the counselling relationship; -exploring the individual; -encouraging self-awareness; -re-education.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of Adlerian therapy as applied to the counselling process.
  • Define Gestalt therapy.
  • Explain the importance of elements of human nature to the Gestalt approach.
  • Discuss ways in which dilemmas can be resolved using the Gestalt approach.
  • Explain the ‘effect of contact’ and the ‘effect of energy’.
  • Discuss the use of confrontation.
  • Describe different techniques of Gestalt therapy.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of Gestalt therapy as applied to the counselling process.
  • Define person-centred counselling.
  • Outline the principles of the person-centred approach.
  • Discuss how the impact of the counselling process is assessed.
  • Discuss suitable areas of application.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of the person-centred approach as applied to the counselling process.
  • Define REBT.
  • Explain Ellis’ views on ‘human nature’.
  • Describe Ellis’ theory of personality.
  • Discuss the stages involved in developing a rational philosophy of life.
  • Describe different techniques used in REBT.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of REBT as applied to the counselling process.
  • Discuss the differences between CBT and REBT.
  • Outline the main ‘cognitive distortions’ as set out in CBT.
  • Discuss the goals of CBT.
  • Describe modifications to CBT (known as CBM).
  • Outline the 3 phases involved in CBT.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of CBT as applied to the counselling process.
  • Define the main characteristics of behavioural therapy.
  • Describe different techniques of behavioural therapy including: -relaxation training; -systematic desensitisation; -exposure therapies; -assertion training.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of behavioural therapy as applied to the counselling process.
  • Define solution-focused counselling.
  • Describe how to engage the client.
  • Describe how questions are used to construct pathways for change.
  • Discuss strategies used to generate creative solutions.
  • Discuss the pros and cons of solution-focused therapy to the counselling process.



A key part of helping anyone as a counsellor, is to help people to see themselves in a different way to how they currently view themselves. To do this you must first understand the perception which they have of themselves.

Various psychologists have developed different concepts to help in understanding the "self". Adler is one such expert.  

Adler’s view was that people can only be understood as integrated and complete beings, responsible for their own thoughts and capable of making their own choices. Our thoughts, beliefs and behaviour are influenced by our upbringing and our social environment and culture. We have unique personalities that can only be understood in the context of our social system.  

Behaviour is seen as purposeful and goal-directed. Adlerian therapists believe that behaviour is more conscious than unconscious, and is characterised by striving for goals. While past experiences are important in determining behaviour, even more so is the striving to achieve a life goal of being a unified, complete being. According to Adler, it is our innate desire to achieve perfection that motivates our behaviour.

In striving for this life goal, every individual develops a unique personality and way of living. Alder described this strategy of living as ‘lifestyle’. The individual’s lifestyle consists of their behaviour, their habits and their thoughts about themselves and the world around them.

Inferiority v superiority

Adler argued that we should strive for superiority. He did not mean this in an antisocial sense. Adler’s belief was that feelings of inferiority are normal, and rather than being a sign of weakness, is what drives us forward. As soon as we feel an inferiority feeling, we strive to overcome that feeling, driven by a need to achieve superiority and competence. He thought that people were inextricably tied up with their society, as fulfilment can be found in doing things for the social good. He stressed, as did Jung, the importance of working towards goals. Much of his theorising anticipated later developments in humanistic therapy.
All of us may work towards fulfilment and self-actualisation, but some of us end up imperfect and far from self-actualised. Adler argues that his is because we are too self-interested and lacking in social interest.

What makes people self-interested?

Adler argued that it is due to our being overwhelmed by our inferiority. If we are doing well, competent and moving on, you can afford to think of others. If you are not getting the best out of yourself your attentions become more and more focused on yourself.
We all suffer from inferiority in one form of another. Some of us may have organ inferiority, for example, we may have a heart murmur, weaker parts of our anatomy etc. We may be too heavy or too short. Adler noted that people often respond to these organic inferiority by compensation. That is, they make up for their deficiency in some way.

They may try to strengthen the organ or overdevelop it – there are examples of people who overcome physical odds that better endowed people would not even dream of attempting. However, other people may not be able to handle their difficulties and live in despair.
people may also have psychological inferiority. They may feel that we are ugly, weak, are poor at school, not have friends etc.

We may not really be weak or unintelligent or ugly, but we come to believe that we are. Some people may compensate by becoming good at what they feel they are inferior in, or they may become good at something else. Others may just never develop any self-esteem.

Adler also noted a general form of inferiority – that children are naturally inferior to adults.
They are smaller, weaker, less socially and intellectually competent than adults. According to Adler, if you look at children’s games and fantasies, they often contain the common desire to grow up and be big, as in an adult. This is a striving for perfection. However, children may be left with the feeling that other people will always be better than them because they are older, taller etc.

If you become overwhelmed by these forces of inferiority, you may develop an inferiority complex. The inferiority complex is not a little problem, it is a neurosis. Sufferers may become timid, insecure, shy, cowardly, submissive, compliant etc. They may rely on other people to tell them that they are pretty or sexy or strong or good, which can become a drain on the person concerned.

Persons can also respond to inferiority complexes by developing a superiority complex. This involves covering up feelings of inferiority by pretending to be superior. Bullies are a prime example. Other, more subtle, examples might include people who put down others due to their weight, sexual orientation, gender, ethnic origin and so on. Others may hide their feelings of worthlessness in drugs and alcohol

Social interest and community feeling

Adler stressed the importance of social interest and community feeling as a measure of mental health. Socialisation, which begins in childhood, gives a sense of belonging and of contributing to society. Individuals that have a strong sense of empathy and community feeling are more likely to overcome their feelings of inferiority.

Humans are social animals; we exist with others and need others to survive. Adler argued that social concern is neither just inborn nor learned, but a combination of both. It is based on an innate disposition, but has to be nurtured to survive. Young children will show sympathy for others without being taught to do so. Also, children can be cruel and selfish. They may know what hurts people because they know what could hurt them.

Adler did not mean social interest as a form of extroversion i.e. being open, friendly, back slapping etc. Adler argued for social concern in the broader sense of caring for your family, your community, society and life. Social concern is being useful to others. Adler argued that a lack of social concern is a sign of mental ill-health.


You can start the course at any time.

It is studied by distance learning, so you can study in the comfort of your own home. But this doesn't mean you are all alone in your studies.  Our highly qualified and friendly tutors are there to help you every step of the way.  If you have any questions at all, they are always happy to help.

Each lesson includes set tasks, and is completed with an assignment which the student submits to their course tutor.  The tutor will mark the assignment and return this to the student with comments and suggestions for further reading.


At ACS we provide you with more than just a set of course notes.

Your 'learning package' includes:

  • Course notes.
  • Self-assessment quizzes.
  • Assignment feedback.
  • You can interact one on one with a professional tutor with decades of experience - just email, phone or log on to chat to connect with them.



"The online courses are very easy to use and follow. Prompt friendly replies from tutor to any queries. Course structure flows freely. Very satisfied with course and results."
Diana, Introduction To Psychology, Psychology And Counselling


Counselling Techniques is an ideal course choice is you are:

  • Interested in learning more about the important theories of counselling.
  • If you want to understand more about the techniques involved with delivering effective counselling.
  • If you are working as a carer or supporting people and want to train to improve your skills and knowledge.


Any Questions?

Use our FREE COURSE COUNSELLING SERVICE to contact a tutor.

Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Meet some of our academics

Tracey Jones (psychology)B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), DipSW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies) Tracey began studying psychology in 1990. She has a wide range of experience within the psychology and social work field, particularly working with people with learning disabilities. She is also qualified as a teacher and now teaches psychology and social work related subjects. She has been a book reviewer for the British Journal of Social Work and has also written many textbooks, blogs, articles and ebooks on psychology, writing, sociology, child development and more. She has had also several short stories published.

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How to be a Life CoachLife coaching is a relatively new profession - although coaches have been around for a long time in the guise of trainers, instructors, managers and tutors for various professions and disciplines. Life coaching is not easily defined, but it is a type of mentoring which focuses on helping individuals to achieve what they would like to achieve and thereby to lead more fulfilling lives. Unlike other forms of coaching, it takes place outside of the workplace and is concerned with all aspects of a person’s life.