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Certificate in Counselling Skills & Theory (Levels 2 and 3)

Based in North Hampshire, Basingstoke Counselling Service offers a Level 2 and 3 Certificate in Counselling Skills & Theory. This runs twice per year as follows:

  • A one-year course runs from September to July on a Thursday evening.
  • An intensive course, takes place over four months, starting in February of each year on a Wednesday evening and all day Saturday.

If you choose to study the Intensive Course, you’ll cover the same material, receive the same number of contact and training hours and the same quality of teaching just in four months, instead of 12.

What does the Certificate in Counselling Skills course cover?

This course has multiple aspects to it, including:

  • to provide a basic training in counselling skills and theory
  • to develop an understanding of counselling and the counselling situation
  • to develop an understanding of the psyche
  • to build awareness and understanding of self in relation to others
  • to develop an understanding of human development
  • to develop study skills

To gain a more in-depth understanding of what the course involves please click here.

Is the Certificate in Counselling Skills for me?

People’s motivations for undertaking this course vary, such as:

  • an interest in a career in counselling and psychotherapy
  • a desire to gain a deeper understanding of yourself, your personal relationships, and how you interact with others
  • a curiosity in group dynamics and your own position within a group
  • an interest in exploring counselling skills from the perspective of people’s life experiences and how they have impacted them
  • a wish to enhance skills in a profession or helping role where listening and communication skills are important
  • a desire to develop your professional potential in a management role through the use of counselling skills in the workplace

If any of these reasons resonate with you, please see below to find out more about achieving your personal and professional goals and how to apply.

A Certificate in Counselling Skills is also a prerequisite for those wishing to pursue further counselling training. It is a mandatory step on any progressive training journey, including that offered by Basingstoke Counselling Service, which leads to status as a qualified counsellor.

Course Structure

One year course

The one-year Certificate in Counselling Skills course takes place over one academic year. There are thirty once-weekly sessions that take place on a Thursday evening and three weekend workshops spread over three ten-week terms. There is a half-term break in each term in line with Hampshire school holidays.

The course is split into two groups. Group One takes place between 5.45 pm and 9.00 pm and Group Two runs from 6.30 pm to 9.45 pm. Each evening is divided into two sessions: a seminar and an experiential group.

There will be one weekend workshop per term. These workshops run from 10 am to 4 pm.

Intensive course

The Intensive Certificate in Counselling Skills takes place from February to May. There are eleven weekly sessions that take place on a Wednesday evening and nine full Saturdays. There is a break over the Easter holidays.

There will be just one group on the intensive course. The Wednesday evenings run from 5.40 pm to 9.20 pm and the Saturdays run from 9 am to 5.20 pm. Seminars and an experiential group take place on all dates.

More details on dates for both courses can be found below.

Entry Criteria

The selection process is by means of an application form and interview. No formal qualifications are required. The selection of candidates is based upon an individual’s personal attributes and their intellectual and emotional capacity to work with the content of the course.

Completion of an Introduction to Counselling course prior to applying for the Certificate in Counselling Skills & Theory is recommended but not essential.

Applicants must be aged 18+ to apply for this course.

Seminar Leaders and Teaching Methods

All seminar leaders are experienced counsellors or psychotherapists and skilled trainers. They all adhere to the BACP Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions or an equivalent ethical body. Teaching is through seminar leader presentation, experiential exercises, role-play, and small and large group discussion.

The Experiential Group

This part of the training offers an opportunity in which to explore feelings and relationships within the group. The content of the course can be emotionally challenging and this group supports participants in their journey to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the group dynamics involved. Many people find this a rich and personally rewarding experience. The group is facilitated by a skilled group psychotherapist.

The Certificate in Counselling Skills Team

Catherine Butler MBACP
Certificate and Introduction Course Manager and Seminar Leader

Catherine Butler is the Certificate and Introduction Course Manager and is responsible for all aspects of these courses. She is an experienced Psychodynamic Counsellor and in addition to working at BCS, she has a thriving private practice. Catherine has a background in training; this experience combined with extensive subject knowledge, a good sense of humour, and excellent communication skills give her the ability to enthuse, encourage, motivate, and nurture others.

Catherine teaches on both the one-year and the intensive Certificate course.

Julia Charlesworth MBACP
Seminar Leader

Julia is an experienced Psychodynamic Counsellor, with experience of working in a number of clinical settings, including NHS, private practice and charitable organisations. She has also previously managed the Diploma Course at Basingstoke Counselling Service. She uses this experience to help students play to their strengths, whilst challenging themselves to explore their growth points, using a variety of engaging teaching methods.

She now holds the role of Co-Director at BCS and teaches on the intensive Certificate course.

Graham Cleaver MBACP
Seminar Leader

Graham is an experienced counsellor, practising at and co-managing a thriving psychodynamic therapy centre. He also has a background in teaching and enjoys responding to the diversity of individuals in their experiential learning. In meeting the challenges of a clinical training, Graham
seeks to facilitate the experience of a supportive environment in which faith in the process of what we do can be developed, bringing personal qualities of good humour, curiosity and compassion.

Graham teaches on both the one-year and the intensive Certificate course.

Jill Fowler UKCP
Seminar Leader

Jill is an Analytic Psychotherapist with 30 years of clinical experience gained in both the public and private sectors. Alongside her clinical work, Jill has conducted postgraduate research into depression and addiction and, for several years, was a tutor on the Postgraduate Diploma/Masters Course in Psychodynamic Counselling at the University of Reading.

Jill teaches on the intensive Certificate course.

Charlotte Medlicott MBACP
Seminar Leader

Charlotte is a qualified counsellor with a background in the visual arts and modern languages. She brings to her teaching role a passion for communication and encourages students to be as curious as they can about themselves in their learning journey. Charlotte fosters a space in which both challenge and support of one another contribute to the feeling of an open, engaging space in which to learn.

Charlotte teaches on the one-year Certificate course.

Experiential Group Facilitators

Bożena Skarbek-Cielecka UKCP: Experiential Group Leader on the intensive Certificate course.

Karin Smith BPC: Experiential Group Leader on the one-year Certificate course.

Reading and Written Work

Students are expected to engage in reading relevant to the course and will need to either purchase the core course books or borrow them from a library. Further reading suggestions will be provided at the beginning of the course and electronic copies of papers for discussion are also distributed throughout the course where appropriate.

There is one written assignment on the Certificate in Counselling Skills course of 2,000 words, which is completed in the final term. Students are also asked to keep a record of their personal learning journey throughout the course. Learning journal summaries are submitted at the end of each term.

Students will be supported throughout their learning by a personal tutor and will have a formal tutorial at the end of each term.


In addition to the above academic requirements, assessment of a student’s personal development is continuous throughout the course and consists of self, peer, and staff evaluation.

Counselling and Therapy Requirements

Students are not required to be in their own counselling or therapy during the Certificate in Counselling Skills course. However, this is encouraged at this stage if you are considering going on to further counselling training.

Award of Certificate in Counselling Skills

Students must demonstrate to a satisfactory degree an ability to use counselling skills and an understanding of self and the counselling process. They must also attend and participate in seminars, workshops, groups, and tutorials. All written work must be completed to a satisfactory standard. All fees must be paid. This course does not give qualified status as a counsellor.

Course Fees

One-year course (starting September 2024)
Standard £1,995
Late application (received after 30/04/24) £2,095.
A reduced fee of £1,750 is offered to those students who have attended the Introduction Course with BCS.

Intensive course (2025)
Fees and dates are yet to be finalised

If you study the Intensive Course, you’ll cover the same material, receive the same number of contact and training hours and the same quality of teaching just in four months, instead of 12.

There is also a non-refundable application fee of £30, which is in addition to the fees above.

Please note that our fees are reviewed every year, and the information above only relates to the entry dates stated.

Course Dates

One-year course (starting September 2024)

Autumn Term 2024
26th September 2024 – 5th December 2024 (inclusive)
Reading week: 31st October 2024 – no sessions
Workshop: Sat/Sun in November (TBC)

Spring Term 2025
9th January 2025 – 20th March 2025 (inclusive)
Reading week: 20th February 2025 – no sessions
Workshop: Sat/Sun in March (TBC)

Summer Term 2025
24th April 2025 – 3rd July 2025 (inclusive)
Reading week:  29th May 2025 – no sessions
Workshop: Sat/Sun May (TBC)

Application process for the Certificate in Counselling Skills

Applications for the one-year course starting in September 2024 are now open.

As the application form requires you to complete it in one go, a copy of the form can be found here in preparation for applying, but please be aware that this PDF version is just for information, not for completion.

Applicants who are successful in moving to the next stage will be invited to interview. Interviews will contain both group and individual activities.

Equal Opportunities Monitoring

We understand that discrimination and inequality exist in our society. As an organisation, we aim to treat everyone with dignity and respect and, therefore, challenge ourselves regularly to ensure we achieve this. We do this by listening and responding to feedback and regularly reviewing our approach to equality, diversity and inclusion.

Basingstoke Counselling Service assures you that any information you provide here will only be used for statistical monitoring and to monitor the effectiveness of our policies.

Please note that this form will not form any part of the process of your application.
People will not be excluded on grounds of gender, marital status, physical ability, race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.

Your response to this form will be completely anonymous.

Any questions

If you have any questions about any aspect of the course or the training journey we offer, please contact us on 01256 843125 or

Terms and Conditions


Payment for the course can be made in two ways:

  1. Full payment of the course fee by yourself or your employer upon acceptance of a place on the Certificate course.
  2. Payment of a securing deposit upon acceptance of a place on the course, followed by regular Direct Debit payments for the duration of the course. If you choose to pay by Direct Debit, you will be charged a small admin fee to cover the costs involved.


Basingstoke Counselling Service makes a commitment to each student who accepts a place on this course. We, therefore, require a reciprocal commitment from each student.

Acceptance of a place on the course enters a student into a financial contract with Basingstoke Counselling Service. This commits the student to payment of the full course fee. Should a student not take up an accepted place or leave during the course of the training for any reason, no refund can be given, and any outstanding fees will remain due to Basingstoke Counselling Service.


Basingstoke Counselling Service reserves the right to modify its training courses in line with BACP requirements.

Should exceptional circumstances arise, Basingstoke Counselling Service reserves the right to cancel the course. In this situation, any students already enrolled in the course would have their full fees refunded.