Students attending a counselling seminar, with a textbook open on the table in front of them.

BSc (Hons) Critical Approaches to Counselling & Psychotherapy

Discover a range of counselling models and develop empathic listening and groupwork skills, gaining experience of supporting the emotional wellbeing of others through setting up and running your own support group.

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      • Sandwich Year Option Available
      • International Students Can Apply
      • Professional Practice Placements


      UCAS Code: B9C8
      Course Length: 3 Years Full-Time, 6 Years Part-Time
      Start Dates: September 2022, September 2023
      Subjects: Counselling and Psychotherapy
      Location: Edge Hill University
      Example Offers: BCC-BBC (A Level) or DMM (BTEC)
      View full entry criteria

      This degree is for those who have a passion for helping others through learning different models of counselling. It will introduce you to a variety of counselling practices and enable you to explore counselling and psychotherapy as a means of promoting social justice in an ethical context, with a key focus on community action. You will participate in personal development sessions to build your confidence, self-awareness and active listening skills, with £500 of funding to spend on your own personal therapy, while learning how to facilitate groupwork and preparing for establishing and leading a community-based support group. The programme has a focus on international perspectives of mental health and will equip you with the qualities and work-based skills needed to respond with empathy in a wide variety of roles supporting others, while encouraging your growth into a socially aware, politically engages and empathically-attuned graduate.
      Please note, while this programme provides ideal preparation for postgraduate counselling and psychotherapy practitioner training, it does not confer professional qualification as a counsellor or psychotherapist. If you wish to gain professional qualification as part of your undergraduate course, you should consider our BA (Hons) Counselling & Psychotherapy degree.

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      In Depth

      What will I study?

      In Year 1 you will learn about humanistic psychology. This is the core model underpinning our approach to human development and therapeutic work with individuals and groups. Skills-based practice sessions will develop empathic listening techniques and emotional responsiveness and provide the foundations for building collaborative helping relationships. You will receive a grounding in key professional and academic skills and explore the politics of psychotherapy and its potential to transform lives.

      In Year 2 you will enhance your skilled helping techniques, gain a firm understanding of qualitative and quantitative research, and deepen your knowledge of social justice and community action by critically reflecting on the emotionally debilitating nature of social inequality and discrimination. You will also explore three alternative approaches to human distress, namely psychodynamic counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and existential psychotherapy.

      Participation in a personal development group enables you to share in therapeutic sessions where the emphasis is on relating to others with congruence, empathy and acceptance. This provides an opportunity to explore in-depth the concerns and life experiences of others in an environment of trust to help you develop as a reflective practitioner.

      Year 3 enhances your appreciation and experience of group participation and supervision and provides you with the opportunity to develop your skills on a practice placement. You will study the philosophy of mental health and broaden your understanding of emotional health and wellbeing by examining its international context, exploring how psychotherapy is delivered in other countries and assessing the impact of global issues such as climate change, natural disasters and conflict on mental health. The programme culminates in the completion of a dissertation.

      How will I study?

      The programme is initially delivered by tutor-led presentations and class discussions. As the course progresses, the focus shifts to student-led learning, including experiential groups, project work, portfolio building, practice placement activity, student presentations and seminars.

      Your lectures will typically take place over three consecutive days per week. Practice sessions may be scheduled for the late afternoon and early evening where counselling skills can be practiced in the quiet environment of breakout rooms to safeguard confidentiality.

      You will learn through a varied, inclusive and person-centred approach, reflecting on your own and your peers’ experiences through participation in a personal development group. Your personal development is so important that we will provide an individual budget of £500 to enable you to enrich your learning by accessing your own personal therapy.

      An experience of personal therapy provides you with a unique insight into the process of counselling and psychotherapy. Offering you a safe and confidential space in which to explore the depth of your feelings, the personal therapy will enable you to better understand the clients’ perspective and provide an opportunity to enhance your own skills by observing your therapist’s method of working.

      How will I be assessed?

      You will be assessed through written assignments, individual and group presentations, formal debates and skills practice videos.

      As the programme progresses, assessments will also include portfolio work, projects, negotiated essay questions and a research dissertation.

      There are no formal written examinations as part of the current assessment methods on this programme.

      Who will be teaching me?

      The programme team includes research-active counsellors and psychotherapists with extensive experience in their field, publishing on topics such as counsellor training, feminist approaches to emotional wellbeing and existential psychotherapy.

      Programme delivery will be supplemented by associate lecturers including qualified and experienced therapists who will offer insights into working with different client groups.


      The Faculty of Health, Social Care and Medicine offers some of the best facilities for the education and training of health and social care professionals in the country.

      The outstanding teaching and learning resources include leading edge clinical skills facilities, an 860-seat lecture theatre, and a variety of teaching rooms and social learning spaces.


      Timetables for your first week are normally available at the end of August prior to enrolment in September. You can expect to receive your timetable for the rest of the academic year during your first week. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week. Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities.


      Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of our published course information, however our programmes are subject to ongoing review and development. Changing circumstances may necessitate alteration to, or the cancellation of, courses.

      Changes may be necessary to comply with the requirements of accrediting bodies, revisions to subject benchmarks statements, to keep courses updated and contemporary, or as a result of student feedback. We reserve the right to make variations if we consider such action to be necessary or in the best interests of students.


      Expand All

      Year 1

      Compulsory modules:

      HUG1128Developing Empathic Listening Skills in a Helping Relationship (20 credits)

      Developing Empathic Listening Skills in a Helping Relationship enhances your use of basic counselling skills and empathically-orientated active listening. The module guides you in the development of a non-expert helping relationship. This will be achieved through practice, video recording, feedback and personal reflection. Experienced tutors will facilitate your learning, demonstrating counselling skills and providing immediate feedback to increase your range of empathic responses. You will have an opportunity to demonstrate your empathic listening skills in the video assessment that accompanies this module.

      Assessment: Practical(s): 100%.

      HUG1142Humanistic Counselling and Psychotherapy (20 credits)

      Humanistic Counselling and Psychotherapy introduces you to the underpinning philosophy of humanistic counselling and psychotherapy, beginning with the foundational work of Maslow and Rogers. The module then explores later developments including person-centred experiential counselling, Gestalt therapy and transactional analysis. In addition to these topics, you will discuss theories of human development and psychopathology and briefly reflect on the political and social context in which the humanistic approach emerged and developed.

      Assessment: Practical(s): 100%.

      HUG1127Introduction to Empathic and Emotional Responsiveness in a Helping Relationship (20 credits)

      Introduction to Empathic and Emotional Responsiveness in a Helping Relationship equips you with basic counselling skills and provides you a grounding in empathically-orientated active listening. The focus of the module is in the development of a collaborative helping relationship. This is achieved by providing introductory counselling skills training, drawn from a theoretical framework of person-centred, experiential counselling. The module will explore the characteristics and attitudinal qualities of an effective therapeutic relationship (empathy, unconditional positive regard and congruence) and support you in developing your self-awareness.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      HUG1137Introduction to Professional and Academic Skills (20 credits)

      Introduction to Professional and Academic Skills enables you to acquire key academic and professional skills on your journey to becoming an independent learner. Your academic skills will be enhanced to include note-taking, presentation skills, IT skills, the reading of academic articles and the development of a personal portfolio. You will also explore effective and ineffective communication strategies, self-awareness, resilience and transferable life skills such as time management, assertiveness, negotiation, active listening and problem solving.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      HUG1138Introduction to Research Skills (20 credits)

      Introduction to Research Skills provides an overview of research methods. The module equips you with a broad knowledge and understanding of the function and application of research relevant to those working in applied health and social care, including the effectiveness of different models, client issues and groupwork. You will be introduced to both the theoretical and practical aspects of research skills including research terminology, numeric and non-numeric data handling, statistical analysis and interpretation of qualitative and quantitative data.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      HUG1143The Political, Social and Ethical Context of Counselling (20 credits)

      The Political, Social and Ethical Context of Counselling provides you with a fundamental understanding of politics, ethical practice and the concept of power set within the social context of UK society. This module focuses on the potential of counselling and psychotherapy as a means of achieving political and social change. You will be encouraged to consider how personal ethics are developed and how social policy, social norms and the law can impact on ethical decision-making, especially if they conflict with professional ethics. A fundamental concept that will be discussed is how power manifests within the therapeutic relationship, how power impacts the lives of people who are socially marginalised, as well as how stereotypical views and assumptions can influence the practitioner.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      Year 2

      Compulsory modules:

      HUG2338Developing Counselling Skills (30 credits)

      Developing Counselling Skills equips you with the appropriate levels of competency required for skilled helping and the development of a therapeutic relationship. This will be achieved by training you in process-sensitive and emotionally focused counselling skills, incorporating demonstrations, small group practice sessions and video recordings. The module will be underpinned by an introduction to experiential process work as it introduces contemporary emotion theory and its evidence-based relevance within therapy.

      Assessment: Practical(s): 100%.

      HUG2340Models of Counselling and Psychotherapy (20 credits)

      Models of Counselling and Psychotherapy begins with an historical overview of counselling and psychotherapy, enabling you to locate theorists and concepts within a historical context. You will then examine the work of Freud, exploring contemporary applications of his psychodynamic approach and critically reflecting on the assessments of leading Freud academics such as Peter Gay and Frederick Crews. The dominant psychotherapeutic model of the moment, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), will be introduced. The evidence base supporting CBT will be examined and contemporary applications will be identified and assessed. You will also consider the political and social context in which CBT is practiced, while also exploring the existential approach to psychotherapy, examining the model’s roots in philosophy and literature and contrasting American and European perspectives.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      FDH2209Personal Development (20 credits)

      Personal Development focuses upon the developing independent reflective practitioner, enabling you to identify and work with differences between the clinical practice of your peers to enhance the client experience and relationship. The module provides you with the opportunity to explore your thoughts and feelings about your own and other group members’ life experiences. This will be achieved in a personal development group and through the use of expressive art materials such as paintings, modelling and collage work. The aim is to identify and process memories and experiences that impact on your personal and helping relationships.

      Assessment: Practical(s): 100%.

      HUG2341Social Justice and Community Action (20 credits)

      Social Justice and Community Action explores the concept of social justice within UK society in the context of a range of problems such as poverty, homelessness, unemployment and health and wellbeing concerns.  While considering the concept of ‘community’, you will explore how these inequalities and injustices occur from a social, political, cultural and spiritual perspective. You will then be able to identify how the ‘community’ in which we live can be both the problem and also the solution, and how a community can mobilise for collective action to bring about social change. The module provides the opportunity to practice some of the skills necessary for working with community groups to facilitate change within the community.

      Assessment: Coursework: 75%, Practical(s): 25%.

      HUG2213Understanding Research (30 credits)

      Understanding Research familiarises you with the nature and variety of research methods and data collection techniques, together with the need for an evidence-base to guide the decision-making process. You will evaluate qualitative and quantitative methods, examining the positive and negative aspects of both approaches in a comparative analysis. A key aspect of this module is the literature review. You will be shown how to develop a literature search strategy, learn how to find relevant literature using electronic databases and understand how to appraise the literature you find to identify key themes. Ethical considerations in relation to the development and undertaking of research will also be considered.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      Year 3

      Compulsory modules:

      HUG3165Critical Approaches to Mental Health and Wellbeing (20 credits)

      Critical Approaches to Mental Health and Wellbeing provides an opportunity to develop and apply analytical thinking to key debates in mental health practice. It will enable you to challenge assumptions and evaluate arguments. You will discover how attitudes and responses to mental health and illness reflect historical periods and social anxieties. You will also have the opportunity to evaluate definitions of mental illness, critically examining the claims of Thomas Szasz that mental illness does not exist, and discuss the role of values in mental health. The pragmatic approach that psychiatry takes to the categorisation of mental health disorders will be considered, from phenomenology, which offers the potential for a rich description of conditions such as schizophrenia and depression, to existentialism, which offers interesting ways in which to perceive mental illness. One particular area of investigation will be interrogating the notion of emotional distress as a boundary situation which can lead to emotional growth and a more authentic way of being.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      HUG3167Group Processes and Group Dynamics (30 credits)

      Group Processes and Group Dynamics is an experiential module that takes place within a therapeutic group. Making use of research and group work theory, you will develop a critical appreciation of your current and ongoing group experience, including your own levels and modes of participation. The focus of the module then shifts to group leadership, encouraging you to evaluate different group leadership styles and critically examine the theory and practice of group facilitation. You will develop your group leadership skills in preparation for the module’s final assessment, which requires you to establish and critically reflect upon the facilitation of a community-based support group.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      HUG3168International Perspectives on Mental Health and Wellbeing (20 credits)

      International Perspectives on Mental Health and Wellbeing examines the social, political and global context in which counselling and psychotherapy takes place. The module also enables you to critically apply ideas of social justice and community action locally, nationally and globally. This will be achieved by critically examining the concept of human rights as a vehicle for international social justice, before applying a human rights framework to key global issues including inequality, globalisation and climate change. You will explore how these issues impact on mental health across the globe and evaluate the response of counselling and psychotherapy to increasing levels of psychological and emotional distress.

      Assessment: Practical(s): 100%.

      HUG3166Placement Support and Group Supervision (20 credits)

      Placement Support and Group Supervision provides you with a critical perspective on a range of practice and client issues such as record keeping, safeguarding, psychopharmacology and emotional distress. Providing you with experience of working in multi-agency and multi-disciplinary teams, the module explores issues such as compassion fatigue. The aim is to ensure that you are aware of the emotional demands that you may face in the helping professions and the importance of self-care and personal resilience. Peer and tutor-led group supervision will be used as a means of building resilience, enhancing practice and increasing accountability. You will also create a career plan and develop interview skills.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      You will select one of the following optional modules:

      HUG3100Dissertation (30 credits)

      Dissertation enables you to focus on an area of vocational interest, or concern, which is identified by yourself and agreed with your supervisor. You will engage in a structured review of the literature related to the specific area of study, apply critical analysis to the literature and make recommendations that could improve service provision.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      HUG3240Primary Research Dissertation (30 credits)

      Primary Research Dissertation focuses on the identification of an area of vocational interest or concern to be identified by yourself and agreed with your supervisor. You will engage in a structured review of existing literature and design and carry out a research project related to your specific area of study. You will apply critical analysis to the established literature as well as the findings from your proposed research and make recommendations that could improve service provision.

      Assessment: Coursework: 100%.

      Optional modules provide an element of choice within the programme curriculum. The availability of optional modules may vary from year to year and will be subject to minimum student numbers being achieved. This means that the availability of specific optional modules cannot be guaranteed. Optional module selection may also be affected by timetabling requirements.

      Entry Criteria

      Entry Requirements

      Typical offer 104-112 UCAS Tariff points. No specific subjects are required.

      An interview forms part of the selection process.

      If you accept a formal offer from Edge Hill University you will be required to apply for a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) Enhanced Disclosure indicating that you meet the mandatory criteria of ‘Clearance to Work with Children and/or Vulnerable Adults’. Further information will be sent to you after you have firmly accepted an offer.

      Example Offers

      Some examples of how you can achieve 104-112 UCAS Tariff points are detailed below.

      • A Level: BCC-BBC;
      • BTEC Extended Diploma (or combination of BTEC QCF qualifications): Distinction, Merit, Merit (DMM);
      • T Level: Overall grade of Merit;
      • International Baccalaureate (IB): We are happy to accept IB qualifications which achieve the required number of UCAS Tariff points;
      • Access to Higher Education Diploma: 45 credits at Level 3, for example 9 credits at Distinction and 36 credits at Merit or 15 credits at Distinction and 30 credits at Merit. The required total can be attained from various credit combinations.

      Please note, the above examples may differ from actual offers made. A combination of A Level and BTEC awards may also be accepted.

      If you have a minimum of two A Levels (or equivalent), there is no maximum number of qualifications that we will accept UCAS points from. This includes additional qualifications such as Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), AS Levels that haven’t been continued to A Level, and General Studies AS or A Level awards.

      For further information on how you can meet the entry requirements, including details of alternative qualifications, please visit

      EU students can get country-specific information about the University’s entry requirements and equivalent national qualifications at

      International students should visit for information on the entry criteria for overseas applicants.

      English Language Requirements

      International students require IELTS 6.0, with a score no lower than 5.5 in each individual component, or an equivalent English language qualification.

      If your current level of English is half a band or one band lower, either overall or in one or two elements, you may want to consider our Pre-Sessional English course.

      Are there any alternative ways to meet the entry requirements?

      If you have the ability to study for a degree but lack the necessary qualifications or confidence, our Fastrack: Preparation for Higher Education course could be for you. This free, seven-week programme provides a great opportunity to enhance your study skills and subject knowledge and demonstrate that you are ready to study a particular subject with us, in lieu of achieving the UCAS Tariff points in the entry criteria.

      Upon successful completion of a Fastrack course, you will be well placed to progress onto a corresponding Edge Hill University degree, although additional entry requirements may apply and the availability of specific programmes cannot be guaranteed. For more information, visit

      Career Prospects

      What are my career prospects?

      You may wish to pursue a career working within the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service as a psychological wellbeing practitioner or child and young person psychological wellbeing practitioner. You could also secure mental health support worker roles in community, residential or forensic settings or rehabilitation support worker roles within addiction services.

      Outside the NHS, the health and social care workforce continues to grow, in line with the Government’s Skills for Care programme, creating other employment opportunities across the helping professions. The blend of knowledge and skills provided on this degree will prepare you for a career in areas such as social and probation work, education welfare, drugs and alcohol treatment, residential and community mental health work, keyworker roles and domestic abuse work. More broadly, career opportunities exist in many people-focused occupations, including international development, human resources and management roles.

      The programme provides ideal preparation for pursuing a postgraduate qualification in counselling, where you will need to complete 100 hours of supervised counselling practice to prepare for a career as a professional counsellor or psychotherapist.

      How can I enhance my employability?

      It is useful to consider, even before you apply, how you will spend your time while studying and make the most of your university experience.

      Optional, additional activities may be available on this degree which could help to prepare you for a stimulating and rewarding career. These include:

      • Sandwich Years – you may have the opportunity to apply to complete a sandwich year placement, usually as the third year of a four year degree, and gain highly relevant work experience;
      • Learning a Language – you may be able to participate in Language Steps classes, delivered at the Edge Hill Language Centre, as additional study.

      Please note, the availability of these additional activities cannot be guaranteed for all students. Depending on availability and the number of students wanting to participate, there may be a competitive application process for sandwich year placements or you may be required to secure a relevant placement yourself.


      Tuition Fees

      If you are a prospective UK student who will be joining this undergraduate degree on a full-time basis in academic year 2022/23, the tuition fee will be £9,250 a year. Tuition fees for international students enrolling on the programme on a full-time basis in academic year 2022/23 are £15,000 a year.

      If you are a prospective UK student who will be joining this undergraduate degree on a part-time basis in academic year 2022/23, the tuition fee will be £77 per credit. This is equivalent to £1,540 per 20 credit module. 360 credits are required to complete an undergraduate degree.

      EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, as well as Irish nationals, may be eligible for the UK tuition fee rate.

      The University may administer a small inflationary rise in tuition fees, in line with Government policy, in subsequent academic years as you progress through the course.

      Financial Support

      Subject to eligibility, UK students joining this undergraduate degree can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan from the Government to cover the full cost of tuition fees. UK students enrolling on the programme may also be eligible to apply for additional funding to help with living costs.

      For comprehensive information about the financial support available to eligible UK students joining this programme in academic year 2022/23, together with details of how to apply for potential funding, please view our Money Matters 2022/23 guide for your intended mode of study.

      EU/EEA and Swiss students who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme may be eligible to apply for financial support. Irish nationals should ordinarily apply to Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI). Please see for further details.

      Financial support information for international students can be found at


      Ten scholarship winners sitting together in a lecture theatre at the Scholarship Awards Evening.Edge Hill University offers a range of scholarships with a competitive application process for prospective full-time undergraduate students.

      These scholarships aren’t linked to academic success and celebrate determination, talent and achievement beyond your coursework, for instance in creativity, enterprise, ICT, performance, sport or volunteering.

      To find out more about scholarships, to assess your eligibility, and to meet some of our dedicated scholarship winners, visit


      How to Apply

      If you wish to study full-time, apply online through UCAS at Visit to find out more about the application process.

      If you wish to study part-time, apply directly to Edge Hill University at

      Further information for international students about how to apply is available at

      Should you accept an offer of a place to study with us and formally enrol as a student, you will be subject to the provisions of the regulations, rules, codes, conditions and policies which apply to our students. These are available at

      Visit Us

      If you are considering applying to study at Edge Hill University, the best way to gain an insight into student life is to discover our stunning campus for yourself by attending an open day. You can view dates and book your place at

      Alternatively, if you are unable to attend an open day, you can find out more about our full range of events for prospective students, including campus tours and virtual activities, at

      Request a Prospectus

      If you would like to explore our full range of degrees before you apply, you can order an undergraduate prospectus at

      Get in Touch

      If you have any questions about this programme or what it’s like to study at Edge Hill University, please contact:

      International students should visit or email [email protected] with any queries about overseas study.

      Course Changes

      Expand All This tab outlines any material changes to course content, programme structure, assessment methods, entry criteria, and modes of study or delivery, implemented in the past two years. Future material changes will be added here as amends are made to course information.

      2nd March 2021 - Update to Example Offers

      Example offers updated to include the Education and Childcare T Level with an overall grade of Merit.

      Covid-19 - Critical Approaches to Counselling & Psychotherapy Essential Information

      Critical Approaches to Counselling & Psychotherapy Course Statement

      Weekly delivery to consist of six hours of onsite teaching supported by six hours of online learning, comprising synchronous (seminar and tutorial) and asynchronous (lecture) learning activities and academic support.

      Teaching and Learning at Edge Hill University in 2020

      In this video Pro Vice-Chancellor, Lynda Brady, answers your questions and explains how teaching will work when you join us at Edge Hill University in September.

      Campus Facilities at Edge Hill University in 2020

      In this video Pro Vice-Chancellor, Lynda Brady, explains how we’re preparing the campus for your arrival in September and the facilities that will be available.

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