Counselling Placement Hours
Commonly asked questions
Do I have to find my own placement?
For when you are required to complete counselling placement hours you will need to look for a counselling placement that is suitable to your interests. Find something in your area of study.
You can ask your qualifying counselling college for more information on suggesting a professional counselling placement. Or you can look online to find something that is more suitable for you. If that is the case then make sure that you inform and discuss with your counselling college your choices to ensure the placement can be approved.
What is involved in gaining a placement?
You will need to apply for placement with your chosen counselling provider. Most likely and what is normal is that you will be required to have an interview like any other job. Counselling providers are usually keen to take on board volunteers as their business model needs them to continue the service.
You have the option, like with any job, to apply to many counselling providers if you feel it will be useful to yourself. Just be mindful not to take on too much. There is no rush. The more thorough you are in your placement the more you will personally and professionally gain.
How many hours do I need per week?
This is a question that relies on your own intuition. It is recommended that you do not take on board too much as you will perhaps have other commitments. We recommend speaking with the provider to gain more information.
Can I undertake my placement work in private practice?
We consider this as unethical due to the status of being a student still requires you to continue with further training. It is also worthwhile considering what you can gain from being part of infrastructure or provider that can enhance your learning and keep you, the clients and the organisation itself safe.
Do i need to have supervision during this placement?
The simple answer is yes. You will need a qualified supervisor in place before you begin the placement. You may find that with a professional placement the supervision will be given in-house. If not, you will be required to source your own. Get advice from your college tutors, they maybe able to sign post you in the right direction.
Why is personal therapy required?
Personal therapy is required for a few reasons. One reason is so that you, the student, can understand what it is like to receive counselling. At this stage in your development it will most certainly be Person Centred Therapy and will give you an insight into what you will be promoting in your own practice.
Most credible colleges have a requirement for all students to have taken up personal counselling as it is regarded as an essential part of the learning process, gaining first-hand experience of what it means to be a counselling or psychotherapy client.
Another reason is to safeguard clients and the student counsellor as much as possible, ensuring you do not bring your own issues into your practice.
Personal therapy is not counted if undertaken before the course. Once on the course it is normally counted.
Level 1 The Basics
The Beginning of your Journey in Counselling
Level 2 Counselling Skills
Understanding the Practical Skills
Level 3 Counselling Theory
Sign up for Level 4
100hrs client hours
Apply for Student Membership
Level 4 Counselling Skills
Using Theory and Skills
Qualified Counsellor Status
Upgrade to Associate Member
Level 5 Advanced Diploma
Self Development and
2 Years in Practice
Upgrade to Full Member
Gaining your 100 hours placement is a voluntary position of unpaid work that gains you experience ready for undertaking paid work.
This is an integral part of the student process and is required by us that this completed with either a recognised company or has been qualified by your college as a professional service.
You will need to have access to Supervision either from your placement or a privately paid Supervisor. This is to ensure that your working methods can be reflected and practiced on. Your hours will need to be qualified by your college throughout the duration of your placement, so keep good records of your hours.
Being a student counsellor can be a really vulnerable time at this point in your training. You will be finding new things about yourself, relationships may be changing in your private life, probably up to your limits in essays, case studies supervision, clients and of course your own private life, home, kids, friends, family etc… all of that and also required to find a placement.
There are many placements out there, if you are struggling to find one seek support from your tutors or college mentors. Find the right placement for you.
Non-profit counselling agencies are always looking for volunteer students and professional counsellors to help drive the business. It is in their interest to give people placements as their business model relies on it.
Look into your own interests throughout your training and go with a placement that suits that. Nothing worse than being in a placement that you have no interest in as it will only create issues for yourself and potentially the clients.
Having wide support networks can enhance not only your learning, but your ability to off-load, reflect and find balance. As you will have a supervisor during your placement, use the supervisor as a window into finding your own balance.
Look for a Non-Profit organisation as they almost always provide free supervision. If it's not free it is at a dramatically reduced cost. It is a normal trade off for someone giving up their free time.
Other support networks are out there, identify them throughout your studies and utilise them. The wider your support networks the more the available resources to help you on your journey.
Being valued is key to helping you transition from student to private practice counsellor. If you find that there is no mutual respect between yourself and the organisation that you are potentially going to work for then it's probably not a good placement to have, or keep. If there is mutual respect you are onto a winner as you will feel valued and considered as important.
We believe this is a very important part of the counselling industry as it promotes good counselling students into competent keen counsellors. Being valued will promote openness and being genuine, which of course is what you are expecting from your clients. It is all about the experience that your clients have, the experience that you have as a student and as an organisation that shines a light on good or bad care.
Being valued will steer this experience into the right direction.
As the saying goes, what you put in is what you will get out. Your placement is a learning opportunity that builds your experience and will enhance your abilities and understanding around the ethical framework that you abide by.
Of course it is going to be difficult balancing all of your plates that you will almost certainly be spinning, use your support networks and find clarity. Learning to priorities and keeping yourself in good care will be what you are wishing for your clients, so you will be needing to do this yourself.
Going the extra mile for yourself will be paid back in dividends. You will grow in confidence and find you are miles ahead of where you thought you would be at the end of your placement.
This is a standard part of the procedure in getting a placement.
Do not worry if you have a conviction on your record, lots of counsellors do. Hold your head up high and be responsible in your honesty. We all make mistakes and mostly when we are young and being irresponsible. If you have learned from your mistakes and can understand others that may be going in the same same direction as you did, this will add to your awareness of others.
The DBS will provide the organisation with the information they will need to safeguard their clients and the organisation itself. It is a formality and a necessity.
We encourage all students and accredited members to keep up to date with their training. If you're in need of further information please contact us and we'll endeavour to help.
Become a member
If you're looking to enhance your counselling framework and ethics please join the ISPC. We want to provide the same level of service that you would provide to your clients.