M.A. Counselling in Educational Settings

University of East London

Tuition fee: Not specified
Start date: September  2015
Duration full-time: 24 months
  • English
Delivery mode: On Campus
Educational variant: Part-time

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This MA aims to provide a professional training for students who wish to work as counsellors within an educational setting. It is a specialist training for students who are seeking employment in a formal counselling role in an educational setting, rather than a generic counselling training. Students own prior experience of working in educational settings is seen as a valued part of the training. This course is also appropriate for counsellors already working in educational settings but without prior training specifically relating to counselling children and young people. It is also appropriate for counsellors who have already undertaken an adult counselling training but who wish to work in an educational setting with children or young people.

Students follow taught courses in the following areas: key concepts in psychoanalytic theory, in particular relating to observation, group and institutional dynamics; institutional observations; key papers from recent research in child development; applied psychoanalytic theory relating to trauma in children and young people; a young child observation in an institutional setting; the professional role of and context in which counsellors in educational settings work; comparative models of counselling; and current research and methodology as required as preparation for the dissertation year. Supervision, both in small groups and individually, supports a counselling placement throughout the course.

Membership of an experiential group forms a compulsory but non-assessed part of the first year of the postgraduate diploma. Attendance at the 5 day Group Relations Conference held at the Tavistock Clinic is required once during the training. In addition a minimum of once weekly personal psychotherapy with a registered BCP psychoanalytic psychotherapist is required for the duration of the course and preferably for at least six months prior to starting the course. Whilst psychotherapy is private to the student, psychotherapists are asked to let us know if it is felt unwise for the student to qualify or continue the counselling placement.

MA in Counselling in Educational Settings at UEL
The unique character of the course is rooted in the following:

* It offers a psychoanalytic training to work as a counsellor with children and young people in educational settings based on the long experience of delivering post graduate psychoanalytic professional development courses to teachers and other educational professionals.
* It seeks to equip students to work in a variety of educational settings
* Students are in a position to use both the taught components and the supervised hours will contribute towards individual BACP accreditation.
* It uses a range of different teaching and learning methods, such as young child observation, theory seminars, experiential learning and supervised practice placements.
* It focuses on training students to be well equipped to be highly skilled and reflective practitioners both in their counselling practice and in their relationships with other professionals within and outside their educational setting.
* It equips students with the knowledge of recent research and research methodologies and techniques to be able to form an original research question based on their experience of clinical work or the impact of institutional dynamics that will add significantly to a complex understanding of the field.
* It equips students to be able to work independently within complex institutions and develop new initiatives or aspects of a service in response to their experience of shortfalls within current provision.


The course is a part-time course, taking place over two late afternoons and evenings a week in term time. Students will need also to have time available to undertake the required observations in the second two terms of Year One, as well as up to three institutional observations during Year Two. In addition, students will need to make available at least a half day a week for a clinical placement in an educational setting in order to complete the required minimum number of 150 hours for the PG Diploma and 200 supervised counselling hours. It is recommended that where possible students undertake a placement for a full day a week. Individual fortnightly supervision and psychotherapy also takes place outside the timetabled course events.

Learning environment
The teaching events in years one and two of the postgraduate diploma include lectures and seminars, and an experiential group in the first year. The MA dissertation year has a seminar to support students individual dissertation proposal and an opportunity to share their work in progress with peers. In addition, a tutorial programme of up to two tutorials a term offers an opportunity to reflect on professional development and progress on the course. Students also have individual fortnightly supervision. Membership of the Tavistock Group Relations 5 day event is part of the course.

Thesis/Dissertation/project work
Each student progressing onto the MA year has the opportunity to explore an aspect of their practice and thinking in depth and in so doing contribute to the field of applied psychoanalytic practice and understanding.


The PGDip/MA in Counselling in Educational Settings is an integrated programme of studies at Masters Level. Students will follow a standard admissions procedure for both of the courses and will be admitted if they satisfy the entry criteria specified in this programme specification.

Applications are welcomed both from applicants who have and who have not previously studied at the Tavistock Clinic.

The course is open to students who have successfully completed to PG Cert. level the UEL/ Tavistock PG Cert./Dip/MA in Emotional Factors in Learning and Teaching, or an equivalent prior learning experience within the Tavistock portfolio such as the UEL/ Tavistock PG Cert. in Therapeutic Communication with Children. It is also open to those who have successfully completed to at least PG Dip level of the UEL/Tavistock PG Cert/Dip/MA in Emotional Factors in Learning and Teaching course, or on an equivalent prior learning experience within the Tavistock training portfolio such as the UEL-Tavistock PG Dip/MA in Psychoanalytic Observational Studies. For applicants from other UEL/Tavistock Clinic Postgraduate Diploma/MA level courses specific APEL arrangements can be found in the appendices to the course handbook.

Applications are also welcomed from practitioners currently involved in counselling in educational settings. Entry to the course under these circumstances will be on the basis of sufficient prior experience and/or prior accredited learning. In such circumstances, the applicant will be required to submit a paper demonstrating capacity for reflection, observational skills and knowledge of the psychoanalytic framework, as well as the standard admissions procedure.

There is a full selection process including an application form, the gathering of references, from seminar leaders and tutors, if applicable, and from the workplace, followed by an interview for short listed students.. An enhanced CRB check is an entry requirement. The personal suitability of applicants will also be considered as evidenced from the application form and interview. Personal suitability includes an interest in reflection on intra and interpersonal relationships, a capacity to notice and manage anxiety and a coherent understanding of ones own personal and professional development. Applicants are encouraged to make full use of tutors or the organising team when considering the course.

Students enrolled on the PG Diploma in Counselling in Educational Settings who achieve a pass at 60% will be eligible for admission to the Masters (with advanced standing of 120 credits), if they have also satisfied the entry requirements of competency in their counselling placement so that they are in a position to qualify by the end of the MA year. Details of progression criteria relating to counselling practice can be found in the appendices in the handbook.

English Language Requirements

CAE score: (read more)

Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) is part of the Cambridge English suite and is targeted at a high level (IELTS 6.5-8.0). It is an international English language exam set at the right level for academic and professional success. Developed by Cambridge English Language Assessment - part of the University of Cambridge - it helps you stand out from the crowd as a high achiever.

180 (Grade C)

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