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MA Counselling and Psychotherapy Practice

Start date(s):
Study mode:
Course duration:
3 years

Tuition fees

Home part-time per credit
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About this course

LJMU's Counselling and Psychotherapy Practice MA develops practitioner researchers and offers the equivalent components of a PgDip in Counselling and Psychotherapy and Independent Research Dissertation.

PLEASE NOTE: The deadline for this course is 7 February 2025.

  • Qualify as a Counselling and Psychotherapy Practitioner on this flexible Masters programme with a two year clinical Diploma-level component
  • Enjoy a contemporary curriculum delivered by a research centre of excellence
  • Study a core model of person-centred and experiential practice, integrating other specific approaches
  • Carry out novel research in your chosen field
  • Benefit from excellent educational and professional training facilities, exceptionally supportive staff and a thriving student community

Counselling and Psychotherapy students come from a wide range of backgrounds in the voluntary, statutory, and commercial sectors. This creates a rich learning environment, enhancing the experience for everyone.

Our programme locates counselling and psychotherapy in its social, political, ecological, and economic context. It explores counselling through an intersectional lens and advocates anti-oppressive practice.

Integral to the course are considerations of power and prejudice, including those pertaining to class, disability, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality.


The programme is a professional training in Person-Centred Experiential Therapy. This includes Pre-Therapy, Focus Orientated Therapy, and Emotion Focused Therapy. Students will be supported to meet the required competencies to offer online and phone counselling to clients. Students will be given an overview of other therapeutic models that are not practiced on the course. This may include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Brief Solution Focused Therapy (BSFT), Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), Existential Therapy, and Psychodynamic Therapy.

The programme is delivered by practicing therapists and supervisors who are registered with Counselling and Psychotherapy professional bodies such as British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) and National Counselling Society (NCS). You will learn to work with issues such as loss, bereavement, anxiety, trauma, stress, mental health issues, depression, suicidal ideation, and sexual abuse.


  • Ryan's story

    Two years into his three year MA Counselling and Psychotherapy Practice masters, Northern Irish student Ryan Paden has the job he wants and a bright future ahead of him.

    Ryan came to LJMU in...

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Professional body recognition

The MA Counselling and Psychotherapy MA at LJMU is a dynamic and forward-thinking course that is independent from any specific professional counselling body, but which prepares you for student membership, professional registration and accreditation with several counselling and psychotherapy organisations on the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) register.

During the course, you are expected to enrol as a student member of a PSA-approved counselling membership body of your choice. You can learn more about PSA-approved registers on its website.

Fees and funding

There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students


The fees quoted at the top of this page cover registration, tuition, supervision, assessment and examinations as well as:

  • library membership with access to printed, multimedia and digital resources
  • access to programme-appropriate software
  • library and student IT support
  • free on-campus wifi via eduroam

Additional costs

Although not all of the following are compulsory/relevant, you should keep in mind the costs of:

  • accommodation and living expenditure
  • books (should you wish to have your own copies)
  • printing, photocopying and stationery
  • PC/laptop (should you prefer to purchase your own for independent study and online learning activities)
  • mobile phone/tablet (to access online services)
  • field trips (travel and activity costs)
  • placements (travel expenses and living costs)
  • student visas (international students only)
  • study abroad opportunities (travel costs, accommodation, visas and immunisations)
  • academic conferences (travel costs)
  • professional-body membership
  • graduation (gown hire etc)


There are many ways to fund postgraduate study for home and international students. From loans to International Scholarships and subject-specific funding, you’ll find all of the information you need on our specialist postgraduate funding pages.

Please be aware that the UK’s departure from the EU may affect your tuition fees. Learn more about your fee status and which tuition fees are relevant to you.

Additional Course Related Costs

Personal Therapy

A minimum of 12 sessions of personal therapy over the first two years of the programme, with at least six sessions taking place in Year 1 (approximately 30 to 60 per session).

Counselling Supervision

It is a course requirement that Year 2 students, who are on placement working with up to four clients a week, have fortnightly clinical supervision of at least 60 minutes. Students working with five or six clients per week are required to attend 90 minutes of supervision fortnightly. Supervision costs can vary significantly. Some placements fund (or part fund) counselling supervision for trainees. However, a 60-minute supervision session typically costs 30 - 50.

Professional Body Membership

During the course, you are expected to enrol as a student member of a PSA-approved counselling membership body of your choice (please see Professional Accreditation section above). The cost of student membership is not included within the course fees.


Further your career prospects

LJMU has an excellent employability record with 96% (HESA 2018) of our postgraduates in work or further study six months after graduation. Our applied learning techniques and strong industry connections ensure our students are fully prepared for the workplace on graduation and understand how to apply their knowledge in a real world context.

The course creates very employable graduates with many going on to work in the NHS, private and voluntary sectors. As a graduate you may move to higher management levels or developmental initiatives within your existing role, demonstrating an increased level of autonomy and responsibility.

Psychotherapists and counsellors are much sought after in various areas of business and many course graduates will go on to work as qualified Psychotherapists, Practitioner Researchers, IAPT Wellbeing Practitioners, Support Workers and Mental Health Workers.

The student experience

Discover life as a postgraduate student at LJMU.

Course modules

Discover the building blocks of your programme

Your programme is made up of a number of core modules which are part of the course framework. Some programmes also have optional modules that can be selected to enhance your learning in certain areas and many feature a dissertation, extended report or research project to demonstrate your advanced learning.

Core modules

Person-Centred and Experiential Counselling Competency
20 credits

This module aims to develop your person-centered- experiential counselling competencies. You will practice your counselling skills in dyads or triads and will give and receive feedback from peers in your skills group. You will demonstrate your competency via a portfolio of practice evidence and academic analysis.

Person-Centred-Experiential Theory
20 credits

This module aims to demonstrate a critical knowledge of contemporary person-centred-experiential theory, locating its development in an historical context. It focuses on the work of Carl Rogers in the history and development of counselling and psychotherapy. You will examine contemporary debates and developments in person-centred-experiential theory including how they have influenced practice, so that you can articulate your own therapeutic style.

Personal Development: Self and Society
10 credits

This module will help you to critically examine own conditions of worth and organismic valuing process and consider how this affects relationships with others and the potential impact upon the counselling relationship. It focuses on self-awareness and conditions of worth as well as how to be in relationship with others and understand how this links to client work.

Ethical Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy
10 credits

This module aims to critically evaluate current counselling and psychotherapy practice as an ethical professional enterprise. It prepares you for placement practice by emphasising the professional and ethical issues that may be encountered and must be considered.

Theory of Counselling and Psychotherapy
20 credits

This module aims to enable you to develop as professionally competent, reflective practitioners having acquired an in-depth critical understanding of counselling and psychotherapy theory and its application to a wide range of client issues and psychological distress.

Counselling practice; developing expertise
20 credits

This module develops expertise in counselling practice. It requires you to complete a placement component of 100 one-to-one client hours (please see Additional Costs section for more information).

Personal Development: Self in Relationship
10 credits

This module is experiential in nature and challenges you as a participant to be fully present and capable of bringing into awareness and accurately symbolising aspects of your immediate experience. The group facilitator will establish an appropriate balance of support and challenge in order for you to be able to: consider how your way of being impacts on others, become aware of patterns of interpersonal relating in the group, give and receive feedback on your and others’ interpersonal communication, articulate the intrapersonal impact of being a member of the Personal Development group and demonstrate your commitment to the group and its process.

Ethical Practitioner Research in Counselling and Psychotherapy
10 credits

This module aims to synthesize ethical research methodology with contemporary person-centered-experiential practice and develop your knowledge of case-study research methodology, which can be applied to developing practice and individual practitioner research. It enables you to draw on your own supervised practice with clients and use recording of sessions to reflect on and evaluate your own progress.

Important information: You must pass this module to progress to the dissertation stage of the programme.

Independent Research and Dissertation
60 credits

This module aims to prepare you to conduct an ethical, reliable, valid, independent research enquiry that is consistent with your professional experience and area of interest within counselling and psychotherapy. It:

  • helps you to synthesise prior theoretical and conceptual learning and consolidate research knowledge, professional practice issues and experience in conducting an independent research project
  • enables you to contribute to the field of counselling and psychotherapy as a practitioner researcher through a robust and critical research enquiry that informs and influences psychotherapy practice


An insight into teaching on your course

Study hours

The first two years of the programme are dedicated to equipping you with the knowledge and skills to qualify as a competent, ethically minded, reflective person-centred-experiential counselling and psychotherapy practitioner.

Years 1 and 2 involve attending timetabled lectures one day per week. In addition to the timetabled teaching, there is the equivalent of one day a week of independent study.

Year 1 modules:

  • Person-Centred-Experiential Counselling Theory
  • Person-Centred-Experiential Counselling Skills
  • Ethical Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy
  • Personal Development

You must pass all Year 1 modules to progress to Year 2.

Year 2 modules:

  • Counselling Theory
  • Counselling Competency - Developing Expertise
  • Ethical Practitioner Research in Counselling and Psychotherapy
  • Personal Development

In addition to the timetabled teaching and independent study, the Counselling Competency module has a practice element. Students are required to complete 100 supervised client hours at an LJMU approved practice placement. Students typically dedicate one day a week to their placement work.

Students must plan for the additional cost of fortnightly counselling supervision required when working with clients as specified by counselling and psychotherapy professional bodies.

Please note, successful completion of 7031COCPSY Ethical Practitioner Research is required before students can submit their research dissertation.

Year 3

Students will study independently to complete ethical, reliable, and valid practitioner research. There are four days of timetabled sessions, scheduled for mid-September. The lectures introduce students to this phase of the course and include research ethics and methodology.

Teaching methods

You will be taught via a series of lectures, seminars, films, discussion sessions, experiential learning and e-learning activities. Lecturers will offer valuable insights into the latest theories and practice techniques and ample one-to-one sessions will ensure the development of key communication skills.

Applied learning

There is a strong focus on practice placements in year two. These may involve voluntary counselling agencies; counselling services in colleges, hospitals or workplaces or those attached to a GP surgery.


How learning is monitored on your programme

To cater for the wide-ranging content of our courses and the varied learning preferences of our students, we offer a range of assessment methods on each programme.

The counselling and psychotherapy lecturers are all practicing therapists, who offer valuable insights into the latest theory and practice.

Each module in the first two years is assessed through coursework, using variety of assessment methods including:

  • essays
  • case studies
  • recording of skills work
  • written critiques of skills work
  • reflective work
  • presentations
  • verbal feedback

Relational skills are the cornerstone of counselling and psychotherapy. You are part of a community of learners and, as such, are encouraged to learn with and from each other. Peer assessment is a key feature of the course.

The final MA year involves four days of study followed by a research project to produce a dissertation, supported by tutorials and other forums.

Course tutors

Our staff are committed to the highest standards of teaching and learning

It is a privilege to be programme lead on the MA in Counselling and Psychotherapy Practice. Supporting our counselling and psychotherapy students as they progress from novice trainees to confident and competent professionals, is the most rewarding aspect of my role.

School facilities

What you can expect from your School

Situated in the City Campus, the School of Nursing and Allied Health works with a wide range of health and social care organisations to design, deliver and evaluate a dynamic suite of postgraduate programmes. In addition to specialist facilities, you will find high quality meeting and seminar rooms and lecture theatres, the Avril Robarts Library, plus a large cafe, IT facilities and social spaces.

Entry requirements

You will need:

Qualification requirements

Undergraduate degree

  • an honours degree 

Additional requirements

  • Relevant work experience

    • Basic counselling skills, preferably gained through a counselling skills level 2 award or through relevant work experience. 

  • Interview required

    Completion of a successful interview is required for admission onto this programme

International requirements


    • IELTS 6.5 (Minimum of 5.5 in each component)

Further information

  • Extra Requirements
    • PLEASE NOTE: The deadline for this course is February 9th 2024. 
    • International students entering on a Student visa cannot study part-time


  • RPL

    • RPL is accepted on this programme

Application and selection

Securing your place at LJMU

To apply for this programme, you are required to complete an LJMU online application form. You will need to provide details of previous qualifications and a personal statement outlining why you wish to study this programme.

Please note: the application deadline for this degree is Friday 7 February 2025.

The University reserves the right to withdraw or make alterations to a course and facilities if necessary; this may be because such changes are deemed to be beneficial to students, are minor in nature and unlikely to impact negatively upon students or become necessary due to circumstances beyond the control of the University. Where this does happen, the University operates a policy of consultation, advice and support to all enrolled students affected by the proposed change to their course or module.

Further information on the terms and conditions of any offer made, our admissions policy and the complaints and appeals process.