An Introduction to Counselling Skills

An Introductory Course open to anyone interested in:
  • finding out more about what Counselling is
  • using Counselling Skills at work or in private life
  • preparation for the Minster Centre's Foundation Training

Who is the course for?

This is an introductory course, which is open to anyone who is interested in learning how to use counselling skills and who is also interested in learning about themselves. These are skills that can be used at work or in your own personal life. If you are considering a career in counselling this course will also prepare you for taking the Minster Centre's 'Foundation Course in Counselling' or the Fast Track Foundation Course.

If you are an organisation and would like to have a tailored, in-house counselling skills course for your staff, please contact us for further information.

What you will learn

Counselling skills can help you gain insight into how to deal effectively and in a helpful manner with difficult or distressed people. On this course you will learn the basic counselling skills, such as how to accurately reflect back what the person is saying, summarising, and asking open-ended questions. But you will also understand and practice the skill of 'active listening'. This is where you learn to be with the person, and yet at the same time are able to step back, rather than simply responding as you normally would. This involves what are sometimes called the 'core conditions'. Here you will develop the ability to be with the person without introducing your own agenda, to accept on their terms what they are saying, and at the same time to be genuine yourself.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

The skills you will learn on this course can be part of an ongoing CPD programme. In a work situation you are often faced with a problem that does not require just a practical solution. The ability to listen in a skilled way that enables a person to talk about an issue is often an important first step in finding a solution. This Introductory Course will both teach you these skills, and allow you to practice them so you feel confident to use them in the workplace


Each session will be made up of three parts: theory, practice and self development - a structure which reflects a central idea in counselling that you need to understand the concepts, develop your counselling skills, and to become more self-aware
  • In the theory part you will learn about counselling skills and some key ideas in counselling theory.
  • In the practice section you will divide into small groups of three or four where you will practice these skills, with one person in the role of listener, one as client and one or two as observer to give feedback.
  • And finally for personal development, there will be what is called an experiential group. This is an opportunity to explore your own response to the course, your interactions with other people and where appropriate, the process of the group itself. This learning process can happen at any point in the workshop, but the experiential group is a place where in this can be explored in more depth.

Style of learning

The course emphasises an experiential style of learning. Central to counselling skills practice is the idea that to understand the experience of another person you have to first understand our own, and the course is structured so that students learn not only from what is taught, but also by actively engaging in the various exercises. Much of the learning is in small groups and there is an emphasis on students, where appropriate, sharing and reflecting on their own experience.


  • A 750 word essay on what you have learnt from the course
  • Feedback from the counselling skills exercises


On completion of the Course students will be awarded a Certificate in Counselling Skills

Entry requirements

This is an open access course and anyone interested in learning about counselling skills can apply.

Practicing as a counsellor or psychotherapist, and training to be one, is a psychologically, as well as intellectually, demanding process because it requires us to be open to forming and maintaining therapeutic relationships with others, who, at times, may be deeply distressed or confused. Therapists need to be able to do this safely without harming others or ourselves. In order to prepare for this, trainees need to be able to engage in experiential learning, to reflect on their experiences and to be open to feedback from tutors and peers. This requires a degree of psychological robustness and a capacity for self reflection. Having had a mental health diagnosis or problem in the past is not, necessarily, a barrier to training and some people are able to train whilst managing a level of ongoing difficulty; however we do need to consider ,carefully ,whether there is a danger of the training exacerbating mental health problems in applicants. We also need to consider the well-being of any current or future clients. For this reason, we will ask about mental health during the application process, and the Centre reserves the right to refuse admission to applicants who we judge would not, at this time, be able to benefit from our training or for whom it might be too disturbing.

Course Dates

Friday mornings 9.45am - 1.30pm, over 8 weeks from:
  • 6th Oct 2017 until 24th November 2017
  • 19th Jan 2018 until 9th March 2018
  • 4th May 2018 until 22nd June 2018

Thursday evenings, 6pm to 9pm, over 10 weeks from:
  • 27th April 2017 until 6th July 2017 (no class on 1st June)
  • 28th September 2017 until 7th December 2017 (no class on 2nd Nov)
  • 18th January 2018 until 29th March 2018 (no class on 15th Feb)
  • 26th April 2018 until 5th July 2018 (no class on 31st May)

Week long intensive versions:
  • Spring 2017 week long intensive version - Monday 3rd April to Friday 7th April from 11am-6pm
  • Summer 2017 week long intensive version - Monday 24th July to Friday 28th July from 11am-6pm


The course costs 295. The fee is payable by cheque or card and is non-refundable.


The course is being held at the Minster Centre which is a 5 minute walk from Queens Park Tube (Bakerloo line) and Rail Overground Station and Brondesbury Park Station.

Next step

If you have any further questions or would like to apply for one of these courses please email:

You can download the application form for 2016/2017 here in Word.

Only email applications are accepted.

The Minster Centre, founded in 1978, is an independent educational charity, which offers a variety of accredited qualifications in Counselling and Psychotherapy, up to the level of MA in Integrative Psychotherapy and Counselling. Our courses are validated by BACP, UKCP and Middlesex University. The Minster Centre also has a low cost referral service for those in need of counselling, as well as two projects: Families Without Fear which works with victims and perpetrators of domestic violence and The Mapesbury Clinic, which offers counselling and advocacy services to refugees.

20 Lonsdale Road, Queen's Park, London NW6 6RD Tel: 020 7644 6240 email here
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Course Summary
Who is it for?
Continuing Professional Development
What you will learn
Style of Learning
Entry Requirements
Course Dates
Next step & Application Form