Below are some frequently asked questions by prospective students that our committed team of tutors have taken the time to answer:
Why do my counselling training with Westmeria?
There are many reasons to study with us!
- We have a committed and experienced team of tutors.
All of our tutors are counsellors who are passionate about the work they do and are dedicated to your counselling training. They have trained and worked in a variety of organisations and so bring together a wealth of knowledge that provides the best of training to equip you with practical and creative skills to develop both personally & professionally.
- We offer all levels of CPCAB counselling training.
CPCAB (Counselling & Psychotherapy Central Awarding Body) accredit all of our courses which are internally and externally verified and moderated to ensure that you receive the best standard of training. Click here (COURSES page link) for course information.
These courses run concurrently and means that you can complete all of your training with us in around 3 years.
- Our last CPCAB External Verification report highlighted:
“I continue to be impressed with the high level of professionalism of this enthusiastic and committed team.”
“The candidates are fortunate to have such excellent and giving tutors”.
“Feedback is very rich and detailed…”
“…a high-quality counselling training organisation”
- We offer counselling training within a counselling service environment.
No other training establishment locally offers this.
We are a dedicated counselling training establishment. As counsellors/tutors/supervisors, we understand the needs of trainee counsellors and recognise how very different this is to other types of training. Bigger training or higher education establishments tend to be run more commercially along-side a variety of other courses and counselling training can be a “square peg in a round hole” here. This can influence & restrict how courses are run – often with larger groups & limited to ‘generic’ style courses. At Westmeria, our courses are creative and challenging, but most importantly equip you with skills (at all levels) in practical, professional and useful ways.
- We offer student counselling placements:
During your L4 training you will also have the opportunity to apply for a placement at Westmeria and join a long-established counselling agency, offering low cost counselling that supports the local community. Places are in high demand as we continue to excellent support & supervision alongside your training.
- Our courses are creative, stimulating and up to date.
We have created & developed courses which provide robust and up to date counselling training. Through a variety of teaching methods, they meet the high standards required to become curious, confident and passionate helpers and counsellors.
All of the courses are experiential, i.e. learning by doing. Whilst academic knowledge is important in counselling training, so are the “soft skills” needed to provide a warm and empathic therapeutic relationship. You will have the plenty of opportunities to practice your skills, develop your self-awareness and receive feedback to enable you grow professionally & personally. The skills you learn at all levels can equip you to work in different helping environments.
- No large impersonal groups
We restrict our group size to 15 people to allow for diversity without being too impersonal. Our tutors are then able to give you the appropriate support you need.
- You are helping to provide low-cost counselling for the local community
Established in 2003 as a low-cost counselling agency, we have been able to continue providing the service through the generous donations & fundraising of our clients, staff and valued supporters. Providing counselling training has been an alternative way to help sustain our ever-growing and much needed service. So, by attending our courses, you are directly enabling someone to receive the counselling they need – thank you!
- Here’s what some of our students say about us:
“Thank you so much for all your compassion, time and support you have given me… I have really learnt a lot about myself.”
“I have not been a learner in some considerable time. Westmeria has been a great, personally challenging, rewarding and positive learning environment for me. I feel I have really gained a lot from this course.”
“Having been a stay-at-home mum for many years, I signed up for the Introduction to Counselling Skills course at Westmeria College and enjoyed the experience so much that I stayed for the remainder of my studies. I am proud to say that I passed my diploma and am now working as a counsellor.
I found the small groups suited my learning style. That, along with the supportive tutors, made me feel safe enough to explore who I am and the type of counsellor I wanted to be. I was grateful for the opportunity to practise skills in role plays (with my peers) in real counselling rooms, making the transition to seeing actual clients less daunting. I believe that I came away, not just with a grounding of the main theories, but also with a taste of a broad range of other theories, tools and techniques that really helped me understand and develop my own counselling model. At the beginning of the diploma, the tutors shared their goal – to support us in becoming passionate counsellors and I think they did just that. Through theoretical teaching and an emphasis on experiential learning, I was able to develop my way of being a counsellor that is congruent to who I am and what I believe best supports clients.”
- We are award winners!
Westmeria Counselling Services have been recognised as an organisation that offers an outstanding charitable service to the local community – we are very proud winners of the 2019 Bromley Business Awards for Best Charity/Social Enterprise Award.
I am thinking about counselling training. Where do I start & how long will it take?
- Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills. This 15-week course is the first level of training and introduces you to listening and responding skills in order to help others. It is a stand-alone course and can be useful as continuing professional development or as the first step towards counselling training. You need to pass this to go on to the Level 3. You will not be a qualified counsellor at this stage. Click here (Link to L2 Course info) for more course information.
- Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Studies. This 15-week course introduces counselling theory alongside continuing to develop your counselling skills. It is a stand-alone course and can be useful as continuing professional development or as the next step towards counselling training. To do this course you need to have passed the Level 2 (or have evidence of prior learning). You need to pass this to go on to the Level 4 Diploma. You will not be a qualified counsellor at this stage. Click here (Link to L3 Course Info) for more course information.
- Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling. By the end of this 2-year course you can qualify as a counsellor, enabling you work in an agency. To do this course you need to have passed the Level 3, (or have evidence of prior learning). Click here (Link to L4 course info) for more course information.
If you complete all these courses concurrently you can qualify to be a counsellor in about 3 years.
What can I expect from counselling training?
All the courses have similar teaching and assessment elements. The further on in your training that you go, the more in-depth & extensive some of these elements become.
In all of the courses you can expect:
- Experiential learning – “learning by doing” – skills practice, pair/group work & discussions; individual reflections;
- Skills practice – Practicing your active listening, responding & counselling skills – often practised in “triads” where candidates practice their skills through role play with another student or tutor observer
- Developing your self-awareness – this often surprises new students, but this type of training involves exploring yourself – looking at your past; patterns of relating; how you think and what you feel. Developing your self-awareness is essential if you want to become a counsellor.
- Giving & receiving feedback – you will receive lots of feedback from your tutors as well as being expected to give feedback to & receive feedback from your fellow students
- Writing a Learning Journal – This is a compulsory reflective piece of writing to be completed each week of the course and can also help you to pass course criteria.
- Assignments – in addition to Learning Journals there will be other assignments to be assessed such as an essay or presentation.
- Portfolio of evidence – candidates build a portfolio of course work that provides evidence of their learning to pass the course internally
- Personal Reading & research – there is a reading list for each course to help you get the most out of your training
- External Assessment – this is done at the end of each course and assessed externally by CPCAB. Candidates have to pass both internally and externally to pass the course.
There are additional aspects to Levels 3 & 4. For specific course content, please look at the course outlines and objectives.
Course Handbooks, with more information will be given out once your place is secured with the deposit fee.
Course assessment criteria can also be found on the CPCAB website – click here.
What can I expect from my tutors?
We recognise how demanding and challenging counselling training can be – we have all been through it! However, it is also extremely rewarding – what you put in will impact what you get out of your training and your tutors are here to support & encourage you every step of the way.
We have all trained and worked as counsellors in various settings and so can bring this variety & experience into the training room.
One of the most frequent comments from our CPCAB External Verifier is the excellent quality and quantity of the support and feedback that we offer our students in helping them grow and develop into resilient and compassionate counsellors. Each Learning Journal will be looked at and feedback offered; regular one-to-one tutorials, as well as feedback on skills, assignments and personal development are structured into each course. Students can always make additional appointments with their tutors if they need to.
Disability and/or access needs
We recognise that some students may have disability needs and/or access needs such as Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLDs), and therefore may require some additional support during the course. It is important that you highlight this on your application form & discuss this in your interview so that we can understand how best to support you right from the start.
Facilities & Accessibility
We are based in Bromley Park Medical Centre, Bickley, Kent. All training is held on the first floor of the building and access to this floor is via stairs or the lift. There is an accessible toilet on both the ground & first floor.
The main teaching session takes place in the conference room, but there is also a break-out room for teaching, skills practice and breaks. Tea and coffee are also provided in this room as well as a fridge for you to keep lunch/snacks for the day.
Sometimes our counselling rooms are also available for skills practice offering you an authentic helping or counselling experience.
I have completed some of my training elsewhere – will this count?
Evidence of prior learning & experience is considered on an individual basis and will depend on where you trained previously, the type of course and the number of hours completed on the course. This is in line with the CPCAB requirements & specification for each course. If you have any queries about this please get in touch with us.
If you have taken the CPCAB L2 Counselling Skills or CPACB L3 Counselling Studies course more than 5 years ago we may suggest that you complete this again before going on to the next level.
On-line courses will not be considered as evidence of prior learning.
Travel & Parking
If travelling by car, please use the postcode on our website for your SATNAV. There is a small car park on site behind the medical centre which you will have access to on a first come first served basis. Please be aware that other users of the centre will also have access to this carpark and so spaces cannot be guaranteed. There is plenty of on street parking in surrounding roads.
There are two mainline train stations close to us – Bickley and Chislehurst. Both are a 20-minute walk away or 5-minute by taxi.
There are also local bus services that have stops within walking distance of the venue – the R7 stop is a 3-minute walk from the medical centre.
Can I come and meet with you?
We would love for you to come and meet with us as it gives you a great opportunity to meet our tutors and current students. However, given the on-going Covid-19 situation access to our offices and teaching facilities are restricted.
COLLEGE OPEN DAY 2021 – Saturday 22nd May 10.00am – 12.00pm
We hold an Open Day each year – Last year, it was via Zoom, but still enabled students a chance to speak with tutors and current students from all courses. Please click here to contact our admin team and register your interest for our 2021 Open Day.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about any of our courses or facilities, please do not hesitate to get in touch and we will be happy to answer them.
Applying for a course
To request an application form or if you have any more questions, please click here:
Our admin team will email you the relevant application form. Appropriate applicants will be invited to an informal one-to-one interview.
Applying for a Student Counselling Placement with us
Student Counselling Placements continue to be in high demand with us as we are a generic counselling agency offering excellent support and supervision alongside your training.
There are a limited number of placements available to start in September each year, (currently dependant on the Covid-19 situation). Applicant interviews are generally arranged in the June of the same year, but occasionally placements become available at other times, so even if you have missed the opportunity in June it is still worth getting in touch with us.
Whether you are studying with us or elsewhere, we welcome applications from counselling students who wish to have their training placement with Westmeria. You must be studying at least at Diploma level.
Please email your CV with a covering letter to firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 020 8467 9693
Or click here for our contact form.
Adam Shaw – Core Tutor (Level 4)
Zoe Germain – Tutor (Levels 2, 3 & 4)
Elaine Kendall – Tutor (Level 4)
Claire Barrett – Training Lead, Tutor and Internal Moderator
Sue Doughty – CEO, Course Director & Internal Verifier