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Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
Studying this course will give you an in depth knowledge of good practice in counselling.

If you work in counselling or are thinking of setting up your own professional practice, this is the course for you.  It will help you to develop your understanding of appropriate practices and procedures within the counselling profession. Students will also gain knowledge of the self, personality and emotions and their effect on the counselling process as well as being introduced to some of the most common disorders.  It also covers personal growth, psychometric testing, referral procedures and more ...


Pre-requisites: It is assumed anyone undertaking this course will already have a basic grounding in psychology and counselling, at least equivalent to the “Introduction to Psychology” course offered through this school.





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Studying professional practice is important in counselling.

Professional practice covers the type of background knowledge that all counsellors and therapists should possess. Whether you choose to work for yourself or propose to work for someone else, understanding yourself and your strengths and weaknesses is very important. So too is recognising the value of moral and ethical codes, multicultural awareness, the benefits of supervision, and knowing when to refer a client to another professional.

Ensure you have the knowledge to be a consummate professional.

  • Study counselling by distance learning.
  • Anyone thinking of setting up their own counselling service or business, or anyone who manages a counselling service, should have a good knowledge of professional practice.
  • This course will also provide you with knowledge of some of the underlying theories in psychology, e.g. personality, as they relate to practice in counselling.  

Course Duration: 100 hours.

Start Date: Start at any time - study at a pace that suits you, and with full tutor support for the duration of your studies.

Lessons: The course comprises seven lessons as detailed, below.

Lesson 1. Understanding Counselling
This looks at the client-counsellor relationship, effective counselling, counselling the counsellor, the values of the counsellor and multicultural counselling.

Lesson 2. Ethics and Confidentiality
Lesson 2 covers needs, the code of ethics, informed consent, right to privacy,  legal requirements, the use of psychometric tests, ethics and multiple relationships, keeping records.

Lesson 3. Understanding the Self
This lesson considers self-awareness, self-monitoring, self-concept, attribution theory, social perceptions, relationships, implicit personality theory, social exchange, love and intimacy.

Lesson 4. Personality
In this lesson, we consider what is a healthy personality, the trait approach, psychodynamic approach, the humanistic approach and the social learning and cognitive approaches.

Lesson 5. Emotions and Behaviours
Lesson 5 discusses what are emotions, emotions and counselling, effects on communication, aspects of emotion, emotional expression and counselling.

Lesson 6. Supervision
This lesson looks at - why supervision?  Working with others, quantity and effectiveness of supervision, personal counselling, dependency, types of supervision.

Lesson 7. Referral Practice
The lesson considers - counselling versus mental health issues, secondary care counsellors, abnormal psychology, anxiety, depression,  schizophrenia and personality disorders.

You can start the Professional Practice In Counselling 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.


  • Explain why a counsellor needs to be open to personal growth.
  • Discuss personal qualities that are beneficial to a counsellor.
  • Discuss how the counselling of a counsellor can be of benefit to their personal effectiveness’
  • Describe how a counsellor’s own values can impose on the counselling process’
  • Outline the importance of an ongoing education and an awareness of other cultures.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of other useful counselling qualities.
  • Discuss the importance of having a ‘code of ethics’ in counselling.
  • Describe what is meant by ‘informed consent’.
  • Discuss the extent to which the client has a ‘right to privacy’.
  • Understand when and how psychometric tests may be used.
  • Describe how to keep client records.
  • Discuss how the counsellor’s own sense of self-awareness can affect the counselling process.
  • Describe how self-perception can influence identity, roles and self-actualisation.
  • Define schemas, scripts, and attributions and their influence on social-perception.
  • Discuss the effect of attractiveness, closeness and similarity on relationships.
  • Discuss the effect of different levels of self-disclosure on the counselling relationship.
  • Describe symptoms of relationship breakdown.
  • Define a ‘healthy personality’.
  • Discuss the effect of nature and nurture on personality.
  • Describe the use of 2 different personality tests.
  • Compare and contrast 2 different approaches to personality and their application to the counselling process.
  • Discuss what is meant by emotions.
  • Describe the effect of emotions on communications.
  • Define different aspects of emotions including: physiology, cognition and behaviour.
  • Demonstrate ways in which emotional expression can affect the counselling process.
  • Discuss different methods of supervision of counsellors.
  • Describe how dependency can evolve in the counselling process.
  • Discuss the importance of upgrading skills and ongoing supervision.
  • Outline methods of observation used in supervision.
  • Discuss the counsellor’s responsibility to the client.
  • Explain what might be considered as abnormal.
  • Define symptoms of commonly encountered disorders.

Why Study This Course?

All therapists need to understand their own strengths and weaknesses as well as how to relate to their clients.  

This course is of most value to people working in the following fields:

Social work
Caring roles
Health professions

It is assumed that students will have some previous experience of psychology.

A suitable course if you have no previous experience might be our Introduction to Psychology course.

If you have any questions about the course, our Counselling Tutors are more than happy to help with any advice and support.

Please contact a Psychology Tutor here.

Why delay? Enrol today and learn more about good professional practice in counselling.

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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.

Check out our eBooks

Psychological ProfilingPsychological profiling is used to assess anyone from potential new staff and school children to serial killers. It helps you to determine someone’s personality, neuroses, mental health and career suitability. This book provides an excellent overview of psychological profiling techniques and pitfalls.
Psychology DictionaryThis book provides explanations for common terms used in Psychology.
Counselling HandbookA book for both students, as well as volunteers who may be involved in helping people with problems. This is a starting point for understanding counselling, and a reference for developing counselling skills. The book contains seven chapters: 1. Where can counselling be used 2. How to see behind the mask 3. Emotions and attitudes 4. How to communicate better when all you have is words 5. Theory versus practice 6. Diffusing difficult situations 7. Golden rules or tips
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.