The purpose of the Certificate in Counselling Skills Course is to provide an opportunity for those who have already discovered an interest in counselling, or in the application of counselling skills to other settings, to take that interest further. It does not lead to a qualification in counselling but can be a reasonable stepping stone to such an objective. For others, simply completing the Certificate is sufficient in itself, since it is designed to enhance an individual's professional interaction with others. The Course brings together people from a wide variety of backgrounds. It is this coming together into a learning community that is at the centre of the Certificate experience.
These purposes and the practices of Counselling Skills Certificate courses are detailed in Chapter 12 of the book: Mearns (1997) Person-Centred Counselling Training. London: Sage.
The course aims to enable participants:- to gain a fuller understanding of self, and of self in relationships; to describe the values, concepts and process of the person-centred approach to helping; to apply this approach in their own helping context; and to become a more effective helper through the use of counselling skills. The three main themes of the course are: the personal development of the helper; person-centred theory; and skills development. The course is not lecture-based. Although there will be some presentations of content, the predominant process will be experiential. Course members will be invited to create a learning community in which they will be supported towards an exploration of person-centred theory and practice and of how this might enhance their professional work. This approach acknowledges the creative potential of the participants and through support and challenge provides the freedom to learn.
This 120 hour campus-based course currently runs from September-May, with the following elements:
* an introductory week in September, during which the course meets from 10 am - 5 pm each day;
* thirteen single Mondays distributed between October and April;
* finishing with one 2 day block in May.
The shape of the course may vary slightly from year to year.
Consistent with the person centred approach, assessment will both contribute to the learning process and to certification in a more formal sense.
There are three assignments. Two assignments focus on the integration of theory and practice for which there is both peer and tutor assessment. The final assessment is a self evaluation.
The course recruits from a wide variety of professions and interests, including the following:
* people working in a range of statutory helping agencies, including officers in charge, project workers and care staff as well as generic social workers, community educators and youth workers;
* people working for voluntary agencies which are concerned with care and support in the community;
* workers from the health professions including doctors, nurses, and speech therapists;
* those involved in the management and care of human resources;
* those who are considering entering the counselling profession and seek an exploration and introduction before embarking on a major Diploma course.
The Certificate is validated as a whole course by COSCA.
Organisation Based Courses
The Certificate course can easily be oriented towards specific groups and organisations while retaining its central curriculum. Hence the course can be purchased by organisations for their members and run ‘in-house’ or on campus. For some organisations the key aim is to develop counselling skills while for others it is the enhancement of ‘relationship awareness’ which is important for their working contexts.
In previous years the Certificate course has been adapted to employees in a major financial services company, staff of a telephone ‘helpline’ firm and a support agency for the disabled and their families. Currently, rolling series of courses are being run for Glasgow Council Addiction Service and for the Scottish Council on Deafness in a project financied by the Scottish Executive to develop counselling training and provision.