DPsych Counselling Psychology

The HCPC approved and BPS-accredited Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology is the first of its kind in Wales, offering training in three therapeutic modalities, Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy, Integrative Psychotherapy and Systemic practice.

The programme is underpinned by a Relational and Pluralist philosophy and value base, with a strong focus on social justice. In addition to your training as a counselling psychology practitioner, you will undertake a doctoral level research thesis on a relevant subject.

As part of the Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology you will complete 450 hours supervised clinical hours. On graduating, you will be eligible to apply for registration with the HCPC and Chartered status with the BPS. The USW School of Psychology and Therapeutic Studies is ideally placed to offer this new course because of its expertise in both counselling and psychology teaching and research.

The vibrant, well-established psychology subject area has particular strengths in developmental disorders, health psychology and addictions, whilst the Newport campus acts as a regional hub for counselling and psychotherapy training. 

Study Mode
Duration Start Date Campus Campus Code
Full-time 3 Years September Newport City C
Part-time 5 Years September Newport City C

The programme offers both full-time (three years) and part-time (five years). The Doctorate course focuses on four key areas, which underpin the professional practice of counselling psychology:

  1. Theoretical knowledge and critical thinking skills, which value the therapeutic relationship and the diversity and plurality of practice
  2. Training in three therapeutic approaches, shaped by a relational and pluralistic ethos.
  3. A strong focus on personal and professional development and self-awareness through the development of critical reflective skills to self and practice.
  4. The undertaking of a comprehensive piece of research, which aims to make an original contribution to practice.

Year One

In the first year, your taught modules are assessed at Level 7 (Masters). You will take the first core module in Counselling Psychology Theory and Practice 1 (20 credits), which will focus on the underpinning philosophy and values of ethical, reflective therapeutic practice. It will prepare you to develop your skills and knowledge in working with difference, diversity and social justice. You will begin your primary modality in year one, Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy (60 credits). This will equip you with key clinical skills, knowledge and competencies to enable you to begin supervised clinical placements as a trainee-counselling psychologist. You will also take the Research Methods in Counselling Psychology (20 credits), which will develop your knowledge, skills and competence in research and research ethics, to prepare you for the first stage of your doctoral research.

Year Two

In the second year, your taught modules are assessed at Level 8 (Doctoral). You will take the second core module in Counselling Psychology Theory and Practice 2 (20 credits), which will focus on counselling psychology across the life span. It will develop your skills in assessment and formulation, enabling you to engage critically with the different frameworks used to conceptualise psychological health and well-being. You will also take modules in two different therapeutic modalities, Integrative Psychotherapy (40 credits) and an introductory module in Systemic Theory and Practice (20 credits). The second placement is usually undertaken in this year. The remainder of the year is devoted to you developing your research thesis under supervision.

Year Three

Your taught modules in the third year are assessed at Level 8 (Doctoral). You will take the third core module in Counselling Psychology Theory and Practice 3 (20 credits), which has a strong focus on integration and developing a counselling psychology professional identity. You will also take a module in Clinical Supervision and Leadership in Counselling Psychology (20 credits). You will take the second module in Systemic Practice (20 credits), which focuses on working systemically with children, couples, families and groups in Counselling Psychology. A third placement is usually undertaken in this year. The remainder of the year is devoted to you completing and writing up your research thesis under supervision. Part-time students will complete all the taught modules between years one to three, with years four to five focused on the research thesis under supervision. Ongoing personal development is a significant part of the Doctorate programme and you will be offered opportunities to develop reflective skills to develop your self-awareness throughout the course.


Teaching will usually take place over two days a week, with one or two days a week for placement.

The Professional Doctorate in Counselling Psychology course will be delivered using a wide range of teaching and learning methods, which will include lectures, group discussions and experiential exercises, personal development groups, skills practice, group work and case discussion groups. You will also be required to undertake supervised clinical placements and your own individual personal therapy.

You will undertake a range of placements with different client groups achieving 450 counselling hours. 

You will be required to undertake a substantial piece of doctoral level research, which will make an original and applicable contribution to practice.

There is a significant amount of independent study within each module to prepare you for assessments, personal development and placements.



Assessment will be varied to reflect the range of professional competencies and experiences that you will develop on the programme. These will include essays, case studies, presentations, process reports, research proposal, assessed skills practice, personal development reviews and placement reports. Students will also submit a doctoral research thesis of a maximum of 50,000 words, which will be examined by viva voce.


The DPsych Counselling Psychology is accredited by the British Psychological Society.


The University of South Wales has strong links with NHS setting, third sector organisations, and a wide range of local counselling agencies, employers and counselling services. The University also has an in-house counselling service offering placement. While there will be support to help you find placements from the placement coordinator, securing placement will be the responsibility of the student. The University will run placement and career events during the year and careers support beyond the course.


We have:

  • an exceptional suite of counselling rooms for training and for placement use, including five individual counselling rooms
  • a family/ children’s counselling room equipped with play resources
  • video and audio recording facilities
  • in-house placement provision
  • psychology computer lab with eye-tracker, EEG, bio-packs and other resources
  • interview and observation rooms
  • psychology technican support
  • access to SPSS and NVIVO
  • priority use subject teaching rooms

Featured Lecturer:
Dr Shelley Gait, course leader

Dr Shelley Gait, course leader

"It is very exciting to be offering the Counselling Psychology Professional Doctorate in Wales for the first time," says Dr Shelley Gait, course leader.

"The training will equip students for varied and interesting career as a practitioner psychologist in a rapidly evolving field.

"The counselling doctorate builds on USW’s existing strengths, offering therapeutic training of a high level in clinical skills, self-awareness and professional research skills."


The teaching team is drawn from across the School of Psychology and Therapeutic Studies, including:

You will need:

  • Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership with the BPS
  • Upper second class or first class degree in psychology / or Psychology conversion course
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Skills or equivalent (minimum approximately 150 hours). Your previous training needs to include counselling skills, introductory CBT theory and skills, and an introduction to professional practice.
  • Evidence, equivalent to at least 150 hours, of working in a one to one helping role (e.g. experience in the health and social care field in the public, private or voluntary areas)
  • The capacity to undertake Doctoral level research
  • Enhanced DBS check
  • Two references uploaded with your application (one from your previous/current counselling tutor)


You are required to provide a detailed doctoral research proposal prior to the acceptance stage. All applications will be considered by the University’s Research Applications Panel. Once your research proposal has been submitted and approved, you will be invited for interview. This interview will be in two parts, both will usually be held on the same day. One part will look at your potential as a practitioner in counselling psychology, and the other part will consider your suitability as a Doctoral level research student.

Please see further details on applying for research degrees at USW.

If you require further information on the research proposal please contact the course leader Dr Shelley Gait.

The criteria for a suitable placement will be discussed at interview and we will provide you with information about organisations who regularly accept students on placement, however you will need to organise the placement for yourself.

Full-time fees are per year. Part-time fees are per 20 credits. Once enrolled, the fee will remain at the same rate throughout the duration of your study on this course.

August 2020 - July 2021 Fees

  • Full-time UK and EU: TBC

  • Full-time International: TBC

  • Part-time UK and EU: TBC

Additional Costs

Students have access to a wide range of resources including textbooks, publications, and computers in the University’s library and via online resources. In most cases they are more than sufficient to complete a course of study. Where there are additional costs, either obligatory or optional, these are detailed below. Of course students may choose to purchase their own additional personal resources/tools over and above those listed to support their studies at their own expense. All stationery and printing costs are at a student’s own expense.

* Obligatory

Item Cost
Professional body student fees * £26
This is required for each year of your Doctorate course.
Clinical supervision * £0 - £1200
Cost per session will depend on the individual supervisor. In many instances, supervision requirements are available through the placement provider.
Personal therapy * £25 - £60
Cost is per session and will vary depending on the individual therapist. Students need to undertake a minimum of 40 hours in years one to three of the course.
Professional indemnity insurance * £45 - £75
Required for each year of the course. Some placement provider may cover you for insurance; evidence will need to be provided.
DBS * £57.20
This fee includes £44 for the enhanced DBS certificate, the Post Office Administration fee and the online administration fee.
DBS update service * £13
Years two to three for full time student; years two to five part time students.
Placement travel
Students need to fund their own travel costs to their placement. Costs vary, depending on location.
Kit * £45 - £55
Recording device and encrypted memory stick


You can apply for a postgraduate loan as a contribution towards your course and living costs.

Apply directly to the University for this course.

When you have completed and passed all components of the programme, including 450 hours of supervised clinical work and the research thesis, you will be able to apply for HCPC registration and chartered status with the BPS. Once qualified, you will be equipped to work with a variety of client groups, including adults, groups, families and couples in a broad range of settings, for example, the NHS and third sector organisations.