Adrian went from counsellor to clinically trained psychotherapist

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Adrian Perkins, 44, from Cardiff, studied the MSc Systemic Psychotherapy. He works for Relate Cymru and is  part of a private psychotherapy practice: Reflect Therapy and Counselling.

Why this course?
I did the postgraduate diploma in Family and Systemic Practice in 2009. This whetted my appetite for the clinical training offered by the Masters programme. However, for me, the choice to do this course was about much more that getting a postgraduate degree. I anticipated that it would continue to challenge me and shape me in developing my identity as a therapist – it did not disappoint!

Why come here to study it?
The Family Institute came with an excellent international reputation and pedigree – with its close links to the founding fathers and mothers of family and systemic psychotherapy. I was drawn to the clinical approaches used by the Institute – in particular, the emphasis on social constructionist ideas and the use of the team behind the screen in therapy sessions.

Tell us about the teachers
I mainly worked with Billy Hardy and Mary Morris. I appreciated their rigorous approach to joining with us on our journey as trainee therapists. They were supportive and at the same time challenging, while maintaining their professionalism at all times. This is not a course for the faint – hearted, but I would not have wanted to miss out on it.

What did you enjoy learning about?
I particularly enjoyed the module on Culture. This offered the opportunity to consider how, as a therapist, I could work more effectively to draw on the cultural dimension to make the therapy more useful for the client. It added another layer to post modern third order ideas on therapy for me to bring into my work as therapist. What I enjoyed most about the course was how, through the systemic skills of the lecturers, my colleagues and myself developed systemically as an effective  team in a way which I think I am unlikely ever to experience again. It was truly a privilege to share in this journey with Billy, Mary and my colleagues. Billy and Mary’s approach to guiding us systemically through the course was underpinned by excellent knowledge of theory  and many years experience in the systemic field.

What did you learn that made you more employable?
I started the course as a counsellor, I finished the course as a clinically trained psychotherapist, eligible for registration with the UKCP. Through doing the course I became competent to provide therapy to families; further, the course significantly enhanced my usefulness as a therapist in working with couples and individuals.

What are the highlights of your time at University?
The moments when I was in the spotlight, whether in the therapist’s chair or in team discussions and which at the time were personally very challenging, are now the times I look on as the highlights – because these were the moments of greatest learning and personal growth.