Hi EM only getting back now
I know t changed to a D.Couns.Psych course this year but the basic course structure will stay the same. The extra year is to accommodate an extra focus on research and to allow more aspects of specific applied psychology to be covered in greater depth than was possible during my time.
The course will focus on building basic counselling skills during the first 9-12 weeks where you will be on campus 10 -5 monday to friday. There is also a major focus on beginning personal development work during this time. You will be expected to start personal therapy (they give you a list of possible therapist but you have to pay for this yourself, you can negotiate a student rate and need at least 90 hours over the 3 years) and will begin group work in college. This is one of the big transition stages that students find difficult and very intense ( you will become very familiar to seeing your future collegues in tears, great learning though)
Students find out pretty quick if they are cut out for the work during this time and this has the highest drop out rate of the entire course.
As previously mentioned you will get a list of placements in about the 5th week and you apply for a new one each year, depending on popularity you may have to interview. A good bet is to change the type of populations you work with each year, you can also take a smaller placement to build experience in a different or more specific area in the final two years.
For placements you will be supervised by an experienced psychologist, most of the time they will work in the service, although many 1st year placements dont have other psychologists working there and you will work with one off site (your placement pays for this, you get a list of potential supervisors from college you organise time/dates etc). You also have weekly group supervision in college.
you will mostly be on placement 2 - 2.5 days a week, 2 - 3 in college each week after christmas of the 1st year. Classes in college involve training in research/therapy/assessment (varying amounts each year), supervision, video skills practice where you are video recorded roleplaying a session with another student and analysed by the class and instructors (about as scary as it sounds!!!!!
You are assessed each year on your performance on placement, supervision, video and general contribution. There are also research and theory exams. And assignments in assessment methods. The biggest accademic pieces are case studies and process reports (where you transcribe a portion of a recorded session with a client and and micro analyse it for theoretical content and process) You are also expected to figure out what process is at the end of the 3 years
The course requires you to take an integrative approach to your theraptic orientation, you are assessed on your emerging integration and your journey towards it throughout the course.
Then in the second year you will begin your Dr. thesis - this will take up most of your non placement time in 3rd year.
In general a difficult and rewarding course both in terms of learning and personal development. As I pointed out in my earlier post, its not as easy to get work as if you studied clinical psychology, but also far from impossible.
let me know if you want more info on counselling psychology
also here is a link to the PSI careers day talk on counselling psych that I found on the PsI website, has some more info: