Course Syllabus

The Therapeutic Counselling Course Syllabus

Therapeutic Counselling Course Syllabus

This page outlines the course syllabus that all students will follow throughout the BTEC Level 5 Professional Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling course.

Our BTEC syllabus provides the national recognition and access to the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and the National Counselling Society (NCS) professional membership bodies required to work as a talking therapist in the UK.

Course Syllabus

Person Centred Approaches to Counselling & Psychotherapy

The aim of this unit is to enable learners to explore person-centred approaches to counselling and their relevance to our modern, technologically advanced society. 

This unit develops learners’ awareness of the principles and practice of person- centred therapy, with particular reference to the work of Rogers and later proponents of the person-centred approach to counselling, such as Thorne, Mearns and Cooper.

This unit requires learners to use the principles of person-centred counselling in practice, to apply these theories to themselves and to review the impact on themselves and the counselling process.  

The relational aspect of any therapeutic alliance is key despite our preferred therapeutic approach.

Learning and Assessment

Learning will take the form of directed study, personal development opportunities, role play/small group practice, self-directed study and enrichment activities. Assessment of the unit will be through a range of; role play and observations, group discussion, journal writing, presentations, debates and assignments which will all demonstrate theoretical understanding and clear reflection. 

Essential Reading

Learning and Being in Person-Centred Counselling (third edition) by Tony Merry and Sheila Haugh | 2 Jul 2020
The Handbook of Person-Centred Psychotherapy and Counselling by Mick Cooper, Maureen O’Hara, et al. | 31 May 2013


Counselling Skills Development

This unit is largely practical and encompasses all of those practical, skills based and safeguarding requirements needed to work as an ethical and competent therapist.

At the end of this unit you will start to see your counselling identity emerge.

The aim of this unit is to enable learners to develop their counselling skills and referral procedures. They will also explore legal, ethical and professional issues related to counselling practice. 

This unit focuses on the identification, practice and development of a range of interpersonal and counselling skills. It also considers the professional context of counselling. On completion of the unit, learners should have the inter-related skills required to initiate, maintain and conclude a counselling interaction. The unit will enable participants to develop their skills and relate them to experience drawn from their work, learning or personal setting.  

Learning and Assessment

Learning will take the form of directed study, personal development opportunities, role play, self-directed study and enrichment activities. Assessment of the unit will be through a range of role play and simulation, discussion, journal writing and assignments which all demonstrate theoretical understanding and clear reflection.

On successful completion of this unit learners will be issued with a “fitness to practice” certificate, allowing them to start their 100 hour placement.


Comparative Theories and Approaches in Counselling

The aim of this unit is to enable learners to compare different theoretical models.

We will specifically explore Gestalt, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Psychodynamic and Transactional Analysis.

This is the unit where a learners counselling identity starts to emerge and they may find themselves becoming more directive or creative. This really is an opportunity to push your boundaries on what you thought was possible in the counselling room.

We will explore different concerns that may come into the counselling room; depression, anxiety, eating disorders, personality disorders and more and the safest and most ethical way to work with these presentations.

Learning and Assessment

Learning will take the form of directed study, personal development opportunities, role play/small group practice, self-directed study and enrichment activities. Assessment of the unit will be through a range of; role play and observations, group discussion, journal writing, presentations, debates and assignments which will all demonstrate theoretical understanding and clear reflection. 


Grief and Loss

Grief and loss is something that we all experience everyday of our lives, the changing seasons, life transitions and death, amongst may other changes and losses are an integral part of being human.

The aim of this unit is to enable learners to explore and apply theoretical approaches to counselling those who have experienced loss and grief.  This unit requires learners to have an understanding of the various ways in which the term ‘grieving process’ may be understood. Learners will explore the application of various models to practice and are required to demonstrate a range of counselling skills within the context of loss and grief. 

Learners are challenged to determine whether any one grieving process is more than a social construct. The dilemma of medication and grief, and the consequent pathologising of grief, are considered in the context of counselling.  This unit considers theories of loss and grief and is focused on models used for counselling.  

Learning and Assessment

Assessment will be in the form of practical demonstration of skills and subsequent analysis of interventions made.  Learners should demonstrate their skills and capabilities by generating a specific loss scenario either provided by their tutor or from their own experiences and appropriately managed by the tutor. They should then be able to analyse which models and/or theories underpinned their interventions and how these affect the counselling process.  


Abuse and Trauma

We have all experienced or witness abuse or trauma in some form and therefore it is inevitable that our clients will bring this into the therapy room.

This unit has a particular emphasis on recognising our own traumas and exploring our life stories. It is only when we recognise the impact that our own trauma has in our lives that makes us safe, ethical therapists.

The aim of this unit is to enable learners to explore definitions of abuse and trauma and apply them to the counselling process in an ethical manner, making use of supervision where appropriate.  This unit looks at the term ‘abuse’ and ‘trauma’ in a broad sense and considers social, psychological and physical abuse as well as sexual abuse and the ongoing impact of complex post traumatic stress and post traumatic stress.  

The unit covers models of abuse, legal aspects and confidentiality. The unit emphasises the effects of counselling people who have experienced abuse or trauma on both client and counsellor, as well as the need for supervision. In addition to current care pathways and management of PTSD, we will specifically explore the Rewind technique. 

Learning and Assessment

Assessment will be in the form of practical demonstration of skills and subsequent analysis of interventions made.  Learners should demonstrate their skills and capabilities by generating a specific abuse scenario(s) provided and appropriately managed by the tutor. They should then be able to analyse which models and/or theories underpinned their interventions and how these affect the counselling process.  

Learners will also build a toolkit of more creative approaches to working with abuse and trauma through the use of life scripts (Berne), fairy tales and storytelling. 


Human Development

The aim of this unit is to enable learners to explore key models of human growth and development in relation to counselling. 

This unit gives learners the opportunity to consider the theoretical concepts underpinning models of human growth and development. Learners will explore the main physical and psychological factors affecting human growth and development in addition to exploring the impact of these concepts on themselves and the counselling process.  

Learning and Assessment

Learning will take the form of directed study, personal development opportunities, self-directed study and enrichment activities. Assessment of the unit will be through a range of; group discussion, journal writing, presentations and assignments which will all demonstrate theoretical understanding and clear reflection. 


Personal Development

This unit will enable learners to explore self development in relation to ‘clients’ and group dynamics in counselling and consider what is involved in producing a personal development plan. 

You will analyse the roles and functions of the course group and evaluate how group dynamics affect the counselling process. You will consider how personal development may assist your growth towards becoming a more complete practitioner and a more rounded person.

This unit is designed to begin unpicking your personal process and what makes you tick, therefore it can be personally challenging.

Learning and Assessment

Learning will take the form of directed study, personal development opportunities, self-directed study and enrichment activities. Assessment of the unit will be through a range of; process groups, group discussion, journal writing, presentations and assignments which will all demonstrate your developing self awareness and theoretical understanding. 


Client Work

The aim of this unit is to enable learners to explore the use of counselling skills in the workplace or volunteer settings through your practical 100 hour placement. You will also consider ethical practice, referral procedures and the use of supervision in the counselling process. 

Learning and Assessment

Learning will take the form of directed study, personal development opportunities, your 100 hour placement, supervision, self-directed study and enrichment activities. Assessment of the unit will be predominantly through a case study in addition to; group discussion and journal writing which will all demonstrate your developing self awareness and theoretical understanding. 


Next Steps

We understand the need to have some practical knowledge and guidance on moving forward post qualification. We have included this information at the end of your BTEC qualification to equip you with everything you need to know in terms of setting up in private practice or applying for work within an organisation.

There are a number of practical steps that you need to take that we will guide you through in addition to how to market yourself and find your niche. This is when the fun really begins!