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ISPC Recommended Study Guide - Students

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ISPC Study Guide

Finding the right course

First of all, we would like to let you know that there are many different avenues to look at when it comes to parting with your money to start your training. There are many counselling courses out there that try and sell themselves as being the best, and of course adding a hefty price tag to go with it.

What you really need is a course that allows you to gain access to a Professional Membership Body allowing you to professionally practice as a counsellor and be able to gain public liability insurance. There is a lot of information out there that may confuse you. 

There are many different organisations that sell their courses to counselling colleges and make a great deal of money from you taking part in their apparent accredited scheme and path way. Do not be fooled.

What we recommend

We recommend that you have a look in your local area and have a look at what is being sold. What are they actually selling? What is the course content? What are the tutors like? What is their background? How aware are they?

If you are told that you will need to do this certain course over and above any other course because you will struggle to get membership and accreditation, let us tell you, that isn't true.

We recommend that you have a look at the price of what is being sold, and compare courses based on their content and who will be teaching you.

We recommend that you choose a college that will allow you to grow and take you through your comfort zone into your stretch zone, at your own pace, with guidance and support.

We recommend that you don't get baffled by all of the Professional Standards JARGON, we will help you through that bit. You are your own professional!  Interview each college, have a chat with them, weigh up the information.

Yes we do promote standards, and we help train people to be autonomous with their own morals, values and standards to help inform their own ways of working. The ISPC promote Private Practice and believe we all learn from each other. We don't believe in charging you a huge price tag for membership or accreditation or registry.

You are your own boss, learning to become competent will take time, and you don't need to spend thousands and thousands to get there.

Some colleges will charge you up to £3000 per year for your courses. This is not necessary. They charge that much because of their business model, and that they are paying a license fee for selling them onto you. They do not charge you such huge fees because they are the best courses. This simply is not true.

If you can find an independent college that writes their own material and has been qualified by a recognised body, that is all you need. And you will still become accredited as a member of a society, whomever that might be.

Your Journey






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

Get Insured

Level 4 Counselling Skills

Using Theory and Skills

Complete 100hrs

Qualified Counsellor Status

Upgrade to Associate Member

Level 5 Advanced Diploma

Self Development and

2 Years in Practice

Upgrade to Full Member

Writing a journal

So once you have found the right course for you, it fits in with your time schedule of work or family, or's time to start working.

From the beginning of your journey you will be learning new skills, specifically on the Level 1 and 2 Courses.

Start to write a journal of your journey, this will mean a great deal to you as it's the beginning of self reflection. Your course provider will hopefully promote this. It is recommended that you continue this process throughout the training from Level 2 through Level 3, 4, and 5.

Imagine starting to learn to drive, you pick up bad habits as you progress and drive by yourself. This is much like the mind. You are now being schooled in ways of thinking and working. This is very important.

The journal will become a diary of your training and learning experiences, but perhaps more importantly will paint a picture of who you have become, it might just surprise you just how much you will grow. This is an important process and takes time and effort. If you can fit it into your daily diet of learning it will become second nature.

Self reflection time should be what ever you want it to be, but an average of an hour or two a week should be ample. As you progress further into the training you will find that you will reflect naturally all the time, enhancing your awareness and competence.

Learning the Skills

It may sound silly, but the skills you will learn on your level 2 will be relevant throughout the duration of the training through to Level 5 and into Private Practice. Practice these in your day to day life, it will become more natural the more you practice. Do not worry what others think of you, what we do as counsellors is role model, so believe in yourself. Practice, practice, practice.

We also promote balance, and in your own time of course. Your enthusiasm will gain you miles....

Studying routine

As well as your journal and practical skills there will also be assignments to complete.

We recommend you complete these with time to reflect on them. We understand that this can sometimes be difficult with everything else that life has to throw at you. However, the more time you give yourself the less pressure you will feel.

We recommend that you set your own routine, but that you maintain that routine. The more you put in, the more you will get out. We are trying to gain better ways of being a Private Practice Counsellor, which will need a certain level of routine.

If you can get this routine into practice it will pay you dividends when in Private Practice, when writing up your sessions, this routine will already be a natural part of your time table.

If you can spare 2 or 3 hours a week this should be more than enough. If you continue to add this to your routine you will have a greatly reduced amount of stress. If you think about it, how will you help other people if you are stressed?

Note Taking

It is really important to be studious at your college. The more information that you can soak up the better. It will make your life easier.

One way to make your life easier is to take as many nots as possible through each lesson, you can use these to reflect on and enhance your assignments.

Benefits of Note Taking

  • Improves focus and attention to detail

  • Promotes active learning

  • Boosts comprehension and retention

  • Teaches prioritising skills

  • Extends attention span

  • Improves organisation skills

  • Increases creativity


Most educational professionals agree that flashcards are an effective way to retain and memorise key course information.

Try writing a few post it notes around your home with key information on them, such as headings of topics. If you put flashcards up in places in your home where you would normally go regularly, such as the kitchen, your eyes will naturally focus on them. Then you can be learning whilst standing waiting for the kettle to boil. Really will increase your learning and make your life easier.

Buying reading materials

There is a wealth of information on the internet that can see you through for the most part of your studying.

This being said we recommend you speak with your tutors, who should be qualified counsellors themselves, and ask them about reading materials that are relevant.

With your studying, the course should already have good solid reading lists. Most of the books you can buy off of Amazon and will cover you for the broadest of topics.

Reading will become your best friend, so if you don't enjoy reading we suggest adding just a few minutes a day to this topic. If you can learn to enjoy reading you're half way there. As you grow in confidence and enthusiasm we hope you can increase your reading to half an hour a day and up through a few hours a week.

The reason why we suggest this is because the work load will increase as you move through the courses and subjects become even more in depth. If you can get the reading into your daily diet you will naturally take on board new and useful information.

Counselling training

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.

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