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BA (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy: Reflexive personal statement

Thank you for your application for a place on the BA (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy programme.

As part of the application process, you have been asked to write a reflexive personal statement, which details your personal and emotional process around wanting to study to become a Person-Centred Experiential counsellor/psychotherapist.

There is no word limit and we invite you to write freely, congruently and reflectively.

You are invited to respond to the following questions:

  • Please consider, and describe, your reasons for wanting to embark on this programme at this time in your life.
  • Please tell us about understanding of Person Centred Experiential (PCE) therapy.
  • Please write in detail about the ways in which the PCE approach relates to your own personality and experiences. We would like to hear about any ‘conflict’ as well as the ‘fit’ for you. You are not expected to know a vast amount about the approach, so do not feel threatened by this question. We are asking this question as we believe that the ‘fit’ between the person and the core theoretical model is very important in training.
  • Please read the following quote and then share your reflections on what this might mean for you:

The successful outcome of person-centered counselling is in direct proportion to the authenticity and integrity that the counsellor brings to its practice, and the growth and healing of clients depends on the deep human connection we are able to establish with them. The ongoing task for those of us who choose person-centredness as the core of our profession, is continued development of our capacity to be wholly and authentically present in the world, to abdicate power and control over others with whom we work, to tolerate their pain and struggle, and to grow in the exquisitely respectful attitudes of empathy and positive regard. Such a challenge infuses our work with continuing personal growth, energy, creativity, and fluidity

Natiello, 2012:14
  • Please tell us what you think the emotional demands of this programme will be for you personally.
  • Please read the following quote and then share your reflections on what this might mean for you (note that ‘experiential therapy’ here is shorthand for ‘person-centred experiential’ therapy):

Tenderness is really important in experiential work, and is particularly so within this aspect of encounter. Tenderness, perhaps, is a rare quality in today’s fast-paced, consumer-oriented and media-constructed society. Little attention seems to be paid to the small moments in-between. Careful and soft attention is necessary to notice these small moments within the client’s process. When we do pay such tender and careful attention, then it becomes more likely that we are sufficiently meeting the client in their process and more likely to fully receive them. Experiential therapists in training are encouraged to cultivate their ability to carefully and tenderly notice these moments and to attend to them with care and compassion

Westwell, 2016: 68
  • Please write about your qualities as a listener.
  • Please tell us what your understanding of personal development is within the programme. We would like to hear your reflections around what it might be like for you to share your feelings and vulnerabilities with the group. We would like to hear about any relevant previous experience you have of emotion-focused group work.
  • Please tell us what you understand by the term ‘therapeutic use of self’.
  • Please describe your understanding/or expectations of the way in which you will learn to develop/become a therapist.
  • Please describe how you expect to have grown by the end of the programme.
  • What are your thoughts about making such a deep personal commitment to training to become a PCE therapist?
  • Please describe your own philosophy towards human suffering? How might you be with someone in their suffering?
  • Please share with us anything else which you think is personally relevant to your application.

Reference list

NATIELLO, P., 2012. The person-centred approach: A passionate presence. Ross-on-Wye: PCCS Books.

WESTWELL, G. 2016. Experiential therapy. In: P. WILKINS, ed. Person-centred and experiential therapies. London: Sage. pp. 64-76.

Submit your work

Four students sat together at a table whilst taking notes. They are laughing together.

Please refer to your email for the submission deadline.