Frequently Asked Questions
What are the rules around the 450 hours of practice? Are they conducted on a paid basis, voluntary or is it up to the student?
Hours are typically undertaken as a voluntary placement (not paid). However some candidates with existing qualifications who already work with clients (e.g. qualified counsellors) use their employment as one of their placement settings. Other candidates who work in helping professions but not in a therapeutic role, may step into such a role as part of their placement, with their existing employer, if this is available. In the main though, these are unpaid placements, typically in charities or third sector organisations, or within NHS or private health care.
Do we have to organise placement for ourselves?
We have a department of people whose job it is to identify suitable placement opportunities and who assist candidates in finding a suitable placement. We point you in the direction of organisations taking trainees but it is up to you to apply, attend interview and "sell yourself" in order to secure the placement. Many candidates also find that their initial placement is within Metanoia's own counselling service – MCPS, in Ealing.
MCPS is our in-house service that provides low-cost counselling and psychotherapy to the general public. MCPS aims to accommodate Metanoia students whose application is supported by their Primary Tutor and Primary Supervisor. It is a particularly useful as a first placement as outside agencies often prefer applicants to have some clinical experience.
MCPS is also a Research Clinic and students can both build their clinical experience and learn to use standardised evaluation methods in the course of undertaking work with clients. MCPS also undertakes other practice based research projects and these opportunities are advertised internally at Metanoia Institute.
What level of qualification is required in the supervisor?
The situation with supervisors varies depending on the nature of the supervision you receive in your placement: you will have a primary supervisor (typically someone you yourself choose) and possibly also a secondary supervisor (typically someone appointed by your placement provider and working in-house). The primary supervisor remains in overall charge of your clinical training and supervision. They must be a clinical or counselling psychologist with at least two year’s post qualification experience or alternatively a UKCP registered psychotherapist supervisor. In many cases, particularly in the NHS, the placement supervisor is sufficiently qualified to act as your primary supervisor, obviously with their agreement.
We require candidates to experience more than one primary supervisor during their training and recommend one counselling psychologist (or clinical psychologist specialising in psychotherapy) and one UKCP registered psychotherapist supervisor who works in a similar way to yourself (e.g. CBT, psychodynamic, humanistic etc).
What is Mental-Health Familiarisation Portfolio (MHFP)?
All psychotherapy students are required by the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) to undertake an additional 120 hours of Mental Health Learning as a part of their training. The general aim of this additional learning, which includes a placement in a psychiatric setting, is for psychotherapy students to gain familiarity with, and first-hand experience of, the thinking and clinical methods used in the psychiatric profession and the main mental health delivery systems in Britain, as well as the Mental Health Act. Full details will be provided at the time of application.
This is something which you personally organise, although again, the placements team will assist you in identifying possibilities.
As my doctorate research progresses, is it acceptable to use some of those 460 hours to test the therapy concepts within my research with a volunteer group or would that need separate volunteer sessions?
Can I count MHFP hours towards placement or vice versa?
Placement and mental health familiarisation are treated separately. Nevertheless, if your work setting enables, or has provided you, with experience which is suitable to demonstrate MHF, you can count these hours. However, hours cannot be counted twice – you must decide where you want to allocate these hours.
I have a research project in mind which I believe ticks a lot of boxes for Psychology, Counselling and Psychotherapy as well as drawing upon my own particular skillset, are there any restrictions or favoured areas?
No, but the project has to make a new contribution to the field of counselling psychology and be capable of benefiting the profession as a whole. It's best therefore to avoid anything extremely "inward looking", personal or narrowly focused. It's also worth keeping in mind that you will want to complete your project in a timely manner, so do not be overambitious. Obviously we advise you on the suitability of your proposed ideas for a practitioner research project. Our numerous research tutors and supervisors have significant experience of a broad range of research methodologies and topics, so if you have particular inquiry in mind, you may well find there is a supervisor in our Doctoral School or at Middlesex University, with previous experience or an interest in your topic.
Which therapies will we cover on the programme?
Training covers humanistic, relational psychodynamic and cognitive behavioural approaches to therapy and encourages a relational integrative approach to practice. We also cover expressive and creative therapies in an experiential training, such that candidates understand the role of these therapies and know when it is appropriate to make a referral to a specialist. A basic introduction to systemic therapies is also included as part of your second year.
I have gained experience in a non-UK country. Does this count?
Yes. If you have worked or volunteered overseas this experience of helping working with others and utilising counselling skills will certainly be recognised and strengthen your application. In fact, we greatly value the inclusion of a broad range of cultural and regional perspectives in our training and in the composition of our study groups.
I conducted my psychology qualifications in a non-UK country. Can I apply?
All candidates are required to have graduate basis for chartered membership of the British Psychological Society (BPS). If your previous education qualifies you for this, or if you have gained this basis for membership subsequently, in studies conducted in the UK, you may apply. As this is a doctoral programme, candidates are required to have an excellent command of written and spoken English. Completion of an undergraduate or masters degree in a non-English-language does not necessarily meet this requirement – so please see entry requirements above. Also note that we cannot provide student visas, so you must have pre-existing permission to study, work or remain in the UK.
How many days a week will I have time for paid work?
Although our training is four years, over 10 'long weekends' per academic year, you need to consider that there is a great deal of time required for private study, preparation for each teaching weekend and of course assignments. This Is likely to constitute at least 10 hours per week. As you progress, you are required to spend an increasing amount of time in placement-based learning, which is assessed and contributes to academic credit. For these reasons, we recommend that students do not work more than three days per week. Also, and as you increasingly move to conducting your research project, many students find it better to reduce their working days to two each week. Obviously circumstances will differ and each module is different but we definitely do not recommend attempting to work full-time whilst undertaking this programme.
When things return to 'normal' will teaching go back to face to face?
Whilst we are currently teaching the programme online, supplemented by additional materials on Moodle (our virtual learning environment), we plan to return to face-to-face teaching when it is safe and permitted to do so. Most students are currently accumulating placement hours utilising either Zoom or telephone and we have extended the scope of training to include these ways of working.
No one has a crystal ball of course, but we are hoping to return to face-to-face teaching in semester two 2021 and continue face-to-face with our new intake, starting in September 2021. At that point, physical attendance at all sessions, will be held at our campus in Ealing, London. Like all the training programmes at Institute, the DCPsych places great emphasis on the contribution of the relationship. Face-to-face contact is seen as conveying great benefits. It is likely however that we will continue to offer the learning materials which have been developed to supplement current online training.
Can you say a bit more about the research capabilities I will need to demonstrate in my application and interview?
We certainly do not expect you to be a "research expert!" What we do look for however is for you to demonstrate capacity for postgraduate training in research. We assess this by asking you to write and submit with your application, a short research proposal for a topic which interests you. This does not have to be the actual project which you will complete as part of your DCPsych training. Nevertheless, it has to be something in which you demonstrate that you have reviewed the literature to identify a research problem or a gap in knowledge, which is relevant counselling psychology, and that you can then write a proposal (qualitative or quantitative as appropriate) to address this research opportunity.
Demonstrating knowledge of methodology and matching an appropriate method to the nature of the enquiry is important. Your actual method and sample needs to be at manageable for a student project, as distinct from, for example, a nationwide survey of 5000 individuals conducted face-to-face! You also need to demonstrate some awareness and understanding of the ethics of good research, and also have a plan of how you would go about analysing the data you collect and some idea of how you would disseminate the findings to benefit the profession. Almost all applicants will have previously undertaken a research project for either psychology BSC or conversion programme and so much of this should be covered. However, it always helps to be well read on this topic.
Identically, what we don't want to see with your application is a 'copy and paste' rehash of a previously-submitted research proposal submitted whilst on your BSc or Psychology conversion programme, complete with references to your previous University's ethics committee!
Remember, we are a counselling psychology training programme, so your mini research proposal needs to reflect this and demonstrate that you have given thought to what might be appropriate, given the particular philosophy of counselling psychology.