Division of Counselling Psychology


Recently I had an opportunity to attend the Division of Counselling Psychology annual conference in Newcastle. As well as attending various talks and workshops, I also presented a poster on my own research. It was a great opportunity to discuss my interests with fellow trainees and amazing counselling psychologists who shared their own training stories and passions. The discussions and conversations I had were extremely valuable in my development, and the support I received was just remarkable. Further, this was my first conference and I had many suggestions and tips from friends prior to attending the event. I was warned of difficulties in presenting your own work. I was told that qualified and highly accomplished counselling psychologists are intimidating. I was also warned that as a trainee I might experience exclusion from discussions and networking opportunities. I can safely say, that all the warnings were challenged, and I had a better time than I could ever imagine. I was pleasantly surprised to find friendly and approachable practitioners, and the support and encouragement I received as a trainee was astounding! As a trainee attending a conference, it helped me to locate myself and my university in this vast professional field. I am still trying to figure out what counselling psychologists do, and where our professional boundaries lie. I met people working in research, universities, charities, private practices, NHS, forensic, schools, and many more areas. The topics covered and explored were vast, and not only highlighted my lack of knowledge, but also showed that the sky is the limit in counselling psychology! Talking with fellow trainees from various academic institutions across the country showed me that differences and variety not only exists in individual practitioners, but also training institutions. I was surprised and excited to hear how different courses organise learning experiences for trainees, and where they place priorities in nurturing counselling psychologists-to-be.

A message from the (now past) Chair of Division of Counselling Psychology, Maureen McIntosh about this year’s conference, suggested that attending a conference will provide everyone with rich conversations, and stimulating presentations, but also a sense of being together. Well, I certainly felt all of that, but most importantly, I felt being a part of something bigger, something more important than myself, and something that is worth undertaking a long and intensive training for. If I can say one word to summarise the whole experience of the conference, it would have to be “inspiring”. I can’t wait to see how next year’s conference in Cardiff can top this!


Zivile Jackunaite

Trainee Counselling Psychologist

Tue, 07/08/2018 - 11:38

I am on the train to my placement. Beautiful day outside. But, I have a blog to write. When I noticed the possibility to write about my training journey I was very excited! I love my training, and I love my chosen path towards becoming a qualified Counselling Psychologist. But, the problem is: I am not ready to write! Not yet! What should I write!? What people want to read?! Scrolling on twitter (as I usually do) I noticed “The Readiness Myth”. It suggest that You Have to Write Before You Feel Ready. So here I am. Writing.

Easter is coming. Many people are joyful and making plans how they are going to spend a few days off from their work. Different from them, I had a few stressful weeks in my training as a second year trainee Counselling Psychologist, which can only mean one thing: catching up on my academic work during the Easter break. This time of the year brings research project into my everyday living, and jointly with my clinical practice in placements, it creates a varied routine consisting of reading many research articles and developing ideas how to contribute to the field, as well as seeing clients in a therapy room. I realized that many people are not aware how important research is in Counselling Psychology. But, over the few years of my training I realised the importance of well conducted research that can inform practice and offer new perspectives. Unfortunately, My Not Readiness also transfers very well into my research. I find myself changing topics and coming up with new even more exciting ideas that I wish I could do as part of my research project, but then remembering the potential of a lifelong career that presents many opportunities to pursue such dreams.

Research has always been a daunting part of psychology for me. Even now I feel my heart beat faster when I remember statistics lectures as part of my undergraduate degree in psychology. But, my understanding shifted, seeing research as a great opportunity to study very interesting phenomenon, gain better understanding about ourselves as well as the world we live in. Also, my course provides a stage to discuss research with my colleagues who are as passionate about their subjects as much as I am, which teaches me a great deal about the process of research as much as inspires to keep going on when it all just gets a bit too much…

My current task is to write a methodological proposal, in which I aim to provide my rationale for the study and explain how I am planning to conduct my study. This work will inform my ethics proposal that needs to be submitted to my university’s ethics committee. Once they decide that my study is adhering to ethical standards, I get “a green light” to start my data collection that next year (hopefully) will result in a research study that will inform and contribute to Counselling Psychology practice. And, speaking of research, I believe many researchers were Not Ready to Write. Let’s get to work then and see where the process takes me.

Sun, 24/06/2018 - 19:09

I had completed a psychology based undergraduate and in the process of a Masters in counselling, however in Scotland there is only one taught doctorate course for counselling psychology available. I was also unsure how it would be to do another three years but of full time study, when I had other commitments to see to as well. Additionally, I had to think of my own development, and although the course available would provide me with plenty developmental opportunities, there were other courses that seemed more suited to the skills I had developed from the counselling course, but were in other parts of the UK. Another major factor was the cost. I was self-funding my masters, could I self fund a doctorate on the back of it? (Nope)


A tutor on the counselling course let me know about the BPS Qualification in Counselling Psychology (QCoP). Initially, it looked really confusing. However, once I managed to get in touch with a coordinating supervisor, he discussed the process, and that the experience I gained on my masters regarding the teaching and my clinical practice hours could be counted. I’d still be self funding but the flexibility of the training and payment suited me and my other commitments. I successfully enrolled in 2017, and the experience I had was accepted as Accreditation of Existing Competence (AEC). I still have plenty of work to do for completion, and working on my assignments now for submitting in December this year.


The QCoP has felt like the right way forward for me to advance to become a counselling psychologist, but it will be interesting to see how I get on without a team of peers constantly around me. Hopefully blog posts will provide some insight into the experience of being a trainee taking this route.

Sun, 24/06/2018 - 19:05

My data collection is finally complete. Yay!! The relief lasted for about 3.5 seconds flat before the realization hit that I now actually have to analyse it all. Oh dear.

Of course I knew that. The whole purpose of the exercise was to get data for analysis. But there is knowing, and then there is being faced with the actual fact.

So here I am, feeling a rush of both possibilities and anxiety. Possibilities, because when starting something new I always sense this huge field of potentiality, and I find the power of this quite heady. So many things I could do with that precious, precious data! And then there is the anxiety, of not doing it justice. Talk about ambivalence.

So what’s next? Get my head down, follow the process and, as per the slogan of a major sports clothing manufacturer ‘Just Do It’.

I think it was Steve Peters who, in his book ‘The Chimp Paradox’ outlined essentially two different definitions of success. The first one is to accomplish a certain goal. The second to have given it your very best shot. One is evidently less under one’s control than the other.

Right now I’m really holding onto the second definition, hoping it’ll keep me centred until this whole thing is over.

Sun, 24/06/2018 - 19:02

Dear readers

Please follow this link to read another instalment from Petra Kagleder (Research student at Roehampton University). This time Petra talks about transcribing interviews...

Mon, 14/05/2018 - 20:28



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