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BA (Hons) Counselling & Psychotherapy course preparation

To help you feel prepared for your BA (Hons) Counselling & Psychotherapy studies, we’ve gathered together a range of course related activities including suggested reading, useful websites and some great things to do right now. Read on to find out more.

Suggested reading

You will be given lots of information about which textbooks to read and introduced to the University Library, as well as the many ebooks we have for you to access, when you begin your studies in September. In the meantime, there are a few suggested books below you might like to read before starting your degree if you can. We don’t recommend rushing out to buy texts before you arrive but if you can pick some up second hand, borrow from a library or access online to read over the summer, that might help you become more familiar with the programme:

  • Baker, N. (2008). The Experiential Primer. Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books.
  • Cooper, M., O’Hara, M., Schmid, P. and Bohart, A. (eds) (2013) The Handbook of Person-Centred Psychotherapy and Counselling (2nd Ed). Basingstoke: Palgrave.
  • Mearns, D. and Cooper, M. (2017). Working at Relational Depth in Counselling and Psychotherapy (2nd Ed). London: Sage.
  • Mearns D. and Thorne B. (2007) Person-Centred Counselling in Action (3rd) London: Sage
  • Merry, T. (2002) Learning and Being in Person-Centred Counselling (2nd) Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books.
  • Natiello, P. (2001). The Person-Centred Approach: A Passionate Presence. Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books.
  • Sanders P., Frankland A. and Wilkins P. (2009), Next Steps in Counselling Practice: A students’ companion for degrees, HE diplomas and vocational courses: A Students’ Companion for Certificate and Counselling Skills Courses, (2nd) Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books.
  • Sanders, P. (Ed) (2012), The Tribes of the Person-Centred Nation: A guide to the schools of therapy associated with the person-centred approach. (2nd Ed). Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books.
  • Tolan, J. (2012), Skills in Person-Centred Counselling and Psychotherapy (2nd). London: Sage
  • Wilkins, P. (2015). Person-Centred and experiential therapies: Contemporary approaches and issues in practice. London: Sage.
  • Rogers, C.R. (1980). A Way of Being. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.

Useful websites

These clips will help you to begin to get a feel for Person-Centred Experiential Therapy:

Start a journal

In each year of the programme, students will be expected to keep a process journal. The purpose of the process journal is to enable you to monitor and explore your own learning. The journal will act as:

  1. An aid in identifying and planning your learning needs as they emerge.
  2. A record of your thoughts and feelings to enable you to gain insight into your own personal development.

The journal is very much a personal and individual document and as such will not be officially assessed. It’s the process that is important rather than the content. We would like you to begin your journal work prior to commencing the programme.

The following reflection points will be useful to consider when writing your journal:

  • What feelings have I felt today? How strong were these feelings? Where in my body did I feel them?
  • What did I notice about how I relate to other people?
  • What have I learnt about the way in which I live in the world?
  • Is my way of seeing the world changing?
  • What would I like to change in my life?

You might also want to spend some time focusing on your experience and feelings in the present moment. To do this, try and suspend judgment. Also, try not to work anything out – just allow what we call the ‘felt-sense’ to arise:

  • What can I feel in my body right now?
  • Where can I feel this?
  • Is there a texture/a shape/a temperature to the experience?
  • As I focus on it, do I notice the bodily-felt experience changing/moving?

You might want to journal around this, write poetry/music or allow it to be expressed in art work. 

Your programme lead: