The GCS Associate Programme

In this uncertain time, we are continuing to take enquiries and bookings for an Autumn start, this programme will go on-line if government guidelines prevent us from being on-site. Please get in touch with us via: [email protected]

About GCS

Gloucestershire Counselling Service (GCS) was established in 1980 and is the largest provider of
counselling training in Gloucestershire, outside of the NHS. GCS is accredited by the British Association for Psychotherapy and Counselling (BACP). All counsellors at GCS adhere to and work within the BACP Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions.

GCS has two principal objectives:

  1. To provide high quality professional counselling at affordable cost to the community of Gloucestershire and its surrounds.
  2. To provide a programme of professional training in counselling.

Our Counselling Service offers a broad range of direct counselling services in a variety of settings. These services include:

  • Adult Counselling Service: Offering confidential counselling to individual, adults and couples experiencing personal, emotional or psychological difficulties. Diploma trainees are offered placements with our Adult Counselling Service.
  • Employee Welfare Service: Providing short-term solution-focused counselling to employees of a range of organisations across Gloucestershire.
  • The Child and Family Counselling Service: Counselling for families, children and young people who are experiencing difficulties.
  • School Counselling Service: Counselling on school sites for individual pupils.

In addition to our introductory course in listening and counselling skills, our training department provides a comprehensive training programme for counsellors. This training comprises a three-year Diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling and the Associate Programme, a post-diploma programme for counsellors seeking professional registration with organisations such as BACP and BPC. We also offer trainings in different counselling modalities and in working with various client groups such as children, families and couples together with CPD programmes for practitioners.

GCS adheres to an Equal Opportunities Policy and is positively committed to opposing discrimination. We recognise that there are processes inherent in any organisation, including our own, which can work against this intention. We acknowledge that we have an obligation to be constantly re-examining all aspects of our policy development and implementation. We will aim to ensure that as far as is possible, equality of opportunity is available to all who work within GCS and use its services. As a charity, GCS tries to exercise the best possible stewardship of our financial resources to maintain the service.

The Associate Counsellor Programme

The Associate Counsellor Programme 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. Applicants should have achieved, or be about to achieve, a Diploma-level qualification with significant counselling experience.

The programme runs for one calendar year and comprises a supervised counselling placement with our Adult Counselling Service, and possibly with our Time Limited Counselling depending on experience. It is usual to begin the programme in September, but we will consider applications at any time of year.

Associate Counsellors will be eligible to apply for employed positions within the service, such as intake assessment workers and roles within the training team. Associate Counsellors will also receive discounts on all of GCS’s CPD workshops, reading groups and short courses and become part of a community of practitioners. This experience can be invaluable in becoming established within the counselling profession and navigating the transition from trainee to independent practitioner.

Accreditation & Registration

GCS has extensive experience in working with and supporting counsellors as they work towards professional accreditation. The Associate Counsellor Programme exists so that Diploma-qualified trainees can gain enough counselling and organisational experience to apply for accreditation with professional bodies and GCS will give help and support to Associate Counsellors as they apply for accreditation or registration.

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.

GCS is a Member Institution of BPC, recognised by BPC as a ‘gate-keeper’ of professional. On satisfactory completion of this programme Associate Counsellors who have trained in psychodynamic counselling may be proposed by GCS to BPC as registrants.

Supervised Counselling Placement

Associate Counsellors are expected to manage a caseload of at least four clients per week and will have the opportunity to work with a range of clients and presenting problems. Fortnightly counselling supervision is provided as part of the programme for 20 weeks of the year. Placement opportunities will be available for both time-limited and open-ended counselling.

Supervision Arrangements

Associate Counsellors will be in group supervision with GCS Staff Counsellors. Supervision groups are held at various times during the week, and suitable arrangements will be made when you are offered a place. Supervision takes place fortnightly for 20 weeks of the year.

If there is a need or requirement for individual supervision this can be discussed at interview. Please note that a different fee applies for individual supervision.

Diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling Notes

Other Matters


Associates are expected to attend at least 80% of the sessions. Prolonged absence due to illness or for other reasons may necessitate withdrawing from the programme.


  • GCS reserves the right to cancel an Associate Programme at any time if there are insufficient numbers of trainees to make the course viable.
  • GCS reserves the right to terminate or extend the training agreement with a trainee in the event of the trainee not meeting the requirements of the Associate Programme and/or those of GCS.
  • GCS reserves the right to refuse the offer of a place on the Associate Programme
  • GCS has Complaints and Appeals procedures.
  • Offers of a counselling placement are made subject to a satisfactory DBS check.



GCS operates a Complaints Policy. Complaints should be in writing addressed to the Chief Executive and will be dealt with in accordance with the Complaints Procedure, a copy of which is available on request.


GCS operates an Appeals Policy. A trainee accepted onto the Associate Programme wishing to appeal against a training decision during their training should put this in writing addressed to the Chief Executive and it will be dealt with in accordance with the Appeals Procedure, a copy of which is available on request.

Working within GCS

A Counsellor Handbook giving details of the counselling service and administration will be issued to Associate Counsellors

IT equipment

GCS operates an entirely paperless distribution of counselling documentation.  We also make much use of our secure internal email system for communications regarding your assessed work (such as essays), counselling placement and other service matters.  It is therefore important that you have access to IT, email and printing facilities. Please speak to us if this will be difficult for you in order that we know what further support to offer you.

Application, Selection & Fees


Group supervision fee: £549

Individual supervision: An individual fee will be set after discussion

Fees can be paid by instalments.


Applications and references

Send applications to the GCS Training Co-ordinator ([email protected]) by Friday July 24th 2020.

Applications should include the following:

  • CV
  • Log of client work to date
  • Log of CPD activity during the last year

Letter to include:

  • Details of current counselling skills and capabilities
  • Areas you consider you need to develop
  • How you see the professional role of a counsellor and what it entails
  • Experience of working within an organisational setting, especially administration and working relationships.
  • Details of any previous involvement with GCS apart from any training courses listed in your CV.



  • If you have not previously trained or worked at GCS, please provide the details of one referee (preferably a supervisor) willing to comment on your counselling capability.
  • If you are a GCS trainee or graduate, reference will be made to your most recent supervisor.


Selection criteria

Applicants must:

  • Have successfully completed, or be about to complete, either the GCS Diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling or an equivalent qualification.
  • Evidence a sound level of counselling competence with the capacity to deepen their skills.
  • Evidence the ability to hold both long-term and complex clients within a caseload
  • Demonstrate the ability to use supervision to develop counselling and theoretical understanding.
  • Demonstrate competence in managing the administrative tasks associated with counselling work.
  • Offer availability for a caseload of at least 4 clients per week.


Selection process

Applicants may be asked to attend an interview.


Conditions of acceptance

  • On accepting an offer of a place on the programme the Associate Counsellor will be required to pay a registration fee of £100 which is a non-returnable deposit deducted from the course fee.
  • The balance is payable either in full at the start of the course or in three termly payments, payable at the beginning of each term for which a £35 surcharge will be added.
  • In the event of an Associate Counsellor not taking up an accepted place the registration fee and any other fees already paid are non-refundable.
  • If an Associate Counsellor withdraws from the programme part way through the year, the full fees for the year are payable.
  • If GCS asks an Associate Counsellor to withdraw from the programme the fees paid up to and including that term are non-refundable.
  • In the event of an Associate Counsellor anticipating or experiencing difficulty in meeting financial obligations to GCS, he/she should contact the Head of Training as soon as possible so that a mutually appropriate solution can be sought. An award cannot be made if there are any outstanding fees unless an acceptable arrangement for the deferred payment has been made with GCS


2020-21 Associate Programme booklet 1.0