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Health Professions & Social Services

Counselling HNC

Campus Sighthill Campus

Qualification SCQF Level 7

Study mode Full time
Part time

Duration 41 weeks

Start date Aug 2022

Choose your study options

Campus Sighthill Campus Study mode Part time Start date 30/08/22 Duration 41 Weeks

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Course overview

Counselling is a unique way of helping people to become a more authentic and complete version of themselves. This requires not just enhancing our communication and listening skills, but also a broad understanding of theories around human psychological and personality development. 

The HNC is aimed at those working in or seeking to work in a variety of counselling settings. It may also be attractive to workers in the wider care, advice or guidance settings where counselling skills are becoming increasingly important. The course is the gateway to the Higher National Diploma in Counselling, which after successful completion, students can apply to the British Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy for registration as fully qualified counsellors. The course also is considered sufficient to equip students to apply for post-graduate studies at the university level in counselling or other related fields.

The course recognises and responds to changes in the provision of counselling throughout the profession and provides a flexible framework to meet the changing needs of employers in the sector.

The course has a strong emphasis on each student's personal development and over the year (or two years part-time) you will work on building strong self-awareness, assertiveness, challenging skills and learning how to work with confrontation. The course will direct you towards reflective practice and facilitate the emergence of your own unique style of listening and helping.

What you will learn

  • The course involves a significant study of historical and contemporary theories and concepts around counselling and psychotherapy. This includes Person-Centred and other Humanistic approaches, Freudian and other Psychodynamic approaches and Cognitive and other Behavioural approaches
  • A Personal Development group runs throughout the course intertwined with modules in Group Counselling Skills, Self Evaluation and Personal Effectiveness to develop your understanding of yourself, your relationships with others, how you understand your past and its impact on who you are today. We also look at self-care and building your robustness in dealing with difficult situations and hearing difficult material in listening sessions.
  • You will also study counselling approaches to Loss, Grief and Bereavement, Counselling Supervision and other subjects relevant to the counselling field.
  • Counselling Skills training continues throughout the full length of the course, working with colleagues in the classroom.
  • There is a compulsory weekend course (Saturday & Sunday) in June 2022.

Placement information

At the HNC level, you do not need to be in placement but it is recommended that you undertake some work in the helping professions relevant to counselling to build up your experience base. A placement is an essential part of the HND (Year 2) where you will be expected to undertake 100 hours of counselling.

How the course is assessed

  • A Graded Unit. This equates to approx. 480 hours of study (or an alternative Unit if directed by the SQA).
  • Practical and experiential work is an essential component of the course and students are assessed on their participation, attendance and ability to reflect on their practice.
  • This course is also assessed through reports, essays, practical sessions and SQA national assessments.

Number of days per week

  • Full-time over one-year: three days per week (Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday/9 am-4 pm) 
  • Part-time over two years: one day per week (Tuesday 1.15 pm-7.45 pm) 
  • Please note the days and times are subject to change and they will be confirmed at the interview  

Entry requirements

  • Completed basic counselling skills training e.g. 'Introduction to Counselling' (available through Edinburgh College) and/or 'Counselling Theory for Practice an Introduction' COSCA Modules 1-4 or any other equivalent course. You are expected to be able to demonstrate an appropriate level of academic ability for this demanding course i.e. to an Advanced Higher level or equivalent.
  • Applicants will need to evidence learning ability through the submission of a short written reflective task that will be set by the college.
  • A high level of emotional maturity, a willingness to develop personally and an ability to reflect on self-awareness are essential. These will be assessed through individual and group exercises at the interview.
  • It is also recommended that you develop your counselling skills practice by participating in a volunteer or work placement.
  • There is no requirement to be in therapy during the course however this is highly recommended. The course is not a substitute for Counselling. HND students will be required to undertake therapy during that course.

English Proficiency Requirements

IELTS 5.5

Progression and Articulation Routes

  • Higher National Diploma level training in Counselling (BACP Registration)
  • University entrance to Mental Health Nursing or Social Sciences or Post-Graduate Counselling Courses
  • Employment in the mental health and voluntary sectors

Career options

  • Employment in the mental health and voluntary sectors 

Study Options

Campus Study mode Start date Duration
Sighthill Campus Full time 29/08/22 41 Weeks
Sighthill Campus Part time 30/08/22 41 Weeks

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