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Empowering others
through knowing yourself
Empowering others
through knowing yourself

GCS supports you every step of the way in choosing the right training for you. This typically starts with an initial conversation about which course or career pathway is most appropriate for you. It may be an interest in counselling that has attracted you or you could have a listening role in your working life.

Our Introduction to Counselling & Listening Skills course offers a window into the world of counselling and a chance to explore your own personal development. For many this forms the start of their journey to becoming a trained counsellor. Formal professional counselling training continues with The Certificate in Counselling Skills, progressing onto the accredited Diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling. Unlike many other training providers, our Diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling course provides you with a comprehensive training package; we assign you with a clinical placement, as well as providing regular supervision and pastoral care. For those with busy lives, this extra level of support has proved to be highly valued.

People who train with GCS very often decide to continue studying with us, developing further specialisms and taking advantage of our highly acclaimed CPD programme. Some trainees go onto work with us. For those interested in joining our counselling service team, we offer an Associate Counsellor Programme.

How to become a counsellor?

It can take around 3 to 4 years to train to become a counsellor. The training can be split into three stages. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) recommends the following route, which our courses map.


Stage 1: Introduction to counselling

Take an introductory course to find out if counselling as a career is the right choice for you. GCS offers this course as an intensive weekend. In two days you’ll get an overview of the counselling process as well as training in core listening and counselling skills. The GCS Introduction to Counselling & Listening Skills course (ITC) has been running for many years and receives consistently excellent feedback. To find out more and check availability visit the ‘Introduction to Counselling & Listening Skills’ page.


Stage 2: Certificate in Counselling Skills

To move into a counselling career you’ll need to develop your counselling skills and gain a deeper understanding of counselling theories, ethics and self-awareness. The course is offered as a full year starting in September (working alongside the academic school year) consisting of 3.5 hour, weekly sessions at our training centres in Stroud, Cheltenham or Gloucester. Alternatively, an intensive option is available from January consisting of a mixture of long and short weekends.


Stage 3: Core practitioner training

BACP say, “This will give you the skills, knowledge and competence to work as a counsellor or psychotherapist. Your core practitioner training should be at the minimum level of a diploma in counselling or psychotherapy, but could be a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or doctorate.”

At GCS we offer the ‘Diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling’ The training runs over three years and combines theoretical understanding with clinical practice. All trainees are provided with a clinical placement within GCS’s Clinical Service. Clinical supervision of this work is an integral part of the course and is provided for trainees on site in Stroud. The Diploma training is accredited by BPC (British Psychoanalytic Council). This course is aimed at individuals who want to gain a professional qualification in counselling and ultimately, with post qualification training and experience, be able to gain professional accreditation as a counsellor.


Can I work independently?

The Post Qualification Course is intended for qualified counsellors and psychotherapists who wish to develop a range of skills and capacities that are important in moving towards independent practice or working in an organisation. Starting from September, this programme runs for one calendar year and comprises a supervised counselling placement with our adult open-ended counselling service alongside our programme of taught workshops.

The supervised counselling placement offered in the programme provides an opportunity for diploma-qualified counsellors to achieve the post qualification client hours required for individual accreditation by BACP.


Contact Us

If you want to find out more about your options training with GCS contact us now via email [email protected]

The route to becoming a counsellor can present a great many options and choices, some of which you may not be aware of at the outset. We offer all our trainees a free consultation to openly discuss their hopes, concerns and questions in a fully confidential environment.