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Clinical Placement 2015

Counselling Placement (Internship)

A counselling placement at The Awareness Centre (TAC) will quickly grow your client hours, develop your expertise in short-term and long-term work, and offer you first-class weekly supervision. It’s an exciting, challenging and rewarding placement for counsellors, psychotherapists and counselling psychologists who are starting out with client work, or who are on track towards qualifying and/or becoming accredited.

What’s unique about TAC is that we offer a three-level placement, depending on where you are in your development as a therapist:

  • Level 1 is for trainee therapists who have completed their foundation year and are starting their counselling or psychotherapy diploma, but who have not accumulated many client hours.
  • Level 2 is for trainee therapists who have accumulated 65 supervised client hours.
  • Level 3 is for therapists who are qualified and working towards accreditation and transition into private practice.

Our placement is like an internship where you can graduate to the next level by building your experience and confidence in working with diverse client groups within our three counselling services:

  1. Our Low-Cost Counselling Service offers therapy on an open-ended basis at our counselling centre in Clapham. The amount clients pay depends on their income. A placement in our low-cost service helps you learn about good practice management, including note-taking and handling fees, and allows you to develop long-term therapeutic relationships with your clients. You can see up to four clients per week on daytime slots Monday to Sunday, and on Friday evenings. This is suitable for level 1, 2 and 3 placement therapists.
  1. Our NHS Counselling Service involves seeing up to four patients a week on a short-term basis within GP surgeries in Lambeth. TAC is contracted by the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) and works in partnership with Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) to provide this service. This is suitable for level 2 and 3 placement therapists.
  1. Our Prison Counselling Service involves working short-term with inmates of HMP Brixton for 6 or 12 sessions, depending on client complexity and level of risk. TAC is contracted by NHS England to provide the counselling service in HMP Brixton. You can see up to three clients per week at the prison. This is suitable for level 3 placement therapists.

Here’s what each placement level involves:

Level 1 Counselling Placement

  • You are a student counsellor, psychotherapist or counselling psychologist in the first year of your diploma course.
  • You have a letter from your tutor or college to say you are ready for clinical work on voluntary placement at TAC.
  • You have been in personal therapy for at least a year, and will continue in therapy throughout your placement with TAC.
  • You will join a weekly supervision group, run by Michaela McCarthy, Managing Director of TAC, along with four other Level 1 placement therapists.
  • For the first two weeks of supervision you will not see clients until Michaela feels you are ready with paperwork for good practice management and assessment.
  • For the next four weeks you will work with two clients only and then progressed onto four clients once Michaela feels you are ready.
  • You will move onto the Level 2 placement, and a new supervision group, once you have accumulated 65 client hours.
  • You will complete a TAC training course on managing risk and good practice management.

Level 2 Counselling Placement

  • You are a student counsellor, psychotherapist or counselling psychologist in the second year of your diploma course.
  • You have accumulated 65 face-to-face supervised client hours within another counselling organisation, agency or charity.
  • You have been in personal therapy for at least a year, and will continue in therapy throughout your placement with TAC.
  • You can work within the low-cost counselling service and/or the NHS counselling service, seeing up to eight clients per week.
  • You will be in a weekly or fortnightly supervision group, depending on how many hours you do.
  • You will move onto the Level 3 placement once you have qualified and are working towards accreditation.
  • You will complete a TAC training course on managing risk and good practice management.

Level 3 Counselling Placement

  • You are a student counsellor, psychotherapist or counselling psychologist reaching the end of your training or working towards accreditation.
  • You have accumulated 200+ face-to-face supervised client hours.
  • You are in personal therapy.
  • You can work within the low-cost counselling service, the NHS counselling service, or within HMP Brixton, seeing up to eight clients per week.
  • You will be in a weekly or fortnightly supervision group, depending on how many hours you do.
  • You will complete a TAC training course on how to transition into private practice.
  • We can support you in setting up in private practice at TAC.

Clinical Supervision

One of the highlights of the placement is the quality of group supervision we offer. Your supervision group will sustain and nurture your practice and help you work through issues with challenging clients. Your supervisor will sign off your client hours, and can write a report to your training institute if required.

Training

We also provide a three-day training programme facilitated by experienced psychotherapists and trainers. Training covers clinical assessment, risk assessment, working with clients within the NHS (short term), working with clients within HMP Brixton (short term), working with clients long-term in our Low Cost Counselling Service, good practice management and working towards private practice. You will be awarded a CPD certificate for 18 hours for completing this training. 

The Level 3 training focuses on working towards and completing your accreditation and supporting your transition into private practice. Level 3 is for therapists who are in the last year of clinical training or who are qualified and working towards accreditation and transition into private practice. You will be awarded a CPD for 6 hours for completing this training.

Read what other therapists say about their experience on counselling placement at TAC:

  • How my counselling placement at The Awareness Centre prepared me for private practice

    How my counselling placement at The Awareness Centre prepared me for private practice

    I am a UKCP-registered psychotherapist with a busy private practice in Clapham and Purley. I’m also an NHS clinical team leader. Looking back, I doubt I would have hit the ground running so quickly in my first year in private practice had it not been for my counselling placement at The Awareness Centre. If you’re aRead more →

  • Memoirs of a newbie

    Memoirs of a newbie

    Originally, when I took to writing on this blog, I was asked me to write about my experience as a placement/trainee counsellor – I have slightly digressed in my other blogs, so I thought it was about time I obeyed the boss and gave some attention to this area. So here I am writing inRead more →

  • Ten things to consider when looking for a clinical placement

    Ten things to consider when looking for a clinical placement

    Being a counselling/psychotherapy student can be a lonely and scary world. You have no social life, are up to your eyes in college, counselling, supervision, essays, case studies etc… and on top of that, the pressure to find a clinical placement that provides you with the hours, experience and the satisfaction that you need, canRead more →

How to apply for a counselling placement at TAC

Our application process is swift and straightforward:

  • Apply online. Download the application form by clicking on the ‘Counselling Placement Application form’ button. Complete and return by email to counselling@theawarenesscentre.com
  • If you meet our criteria, the counselling manager will speak to you about slot availability (NHS, HMP Brixton and LCCS)
  • You will be invited to attend a group interview. All group interviews are on Fridays, 12 noon – 1pm.
  • Next available interview dates – 19th February, 18th March, 22nd April, 20th May, 17th June & 15th July 2016.
  • You will receive an offer of a placement via email. Please respond within 24 hours.
  • You will need an enhanced DBS, which TAC can arrange if required.
  • Training and induction will be arranged, where you will learn about paperwork, protocols, and the NHS diary management system.
  • Once accepted onto our placement you will be invited to attend an induction one week after your interview. All inductions are on Thursdays, 9.30am – 11.00am. Next available induction dates – 25th February, 24th March, 28th April, 26th May, 23rd June & 21st July 2016.

Offers of placement are made subject to a three-month probation period, within which you will be monitored, supported and mentored in all aspects of this rigorous but rewarding placement.

What people say

As a volunteer counsellor at Brixton Prison, I would like to urge other counsellors to take up on the unique opportunity available through The Awareness Centre.  I have found supervision there to be excellent providing valuable insight for clinical work as well as personal awareness.  Fellow working colleagues are warm, welcoming and supportive.  If you are up for a challenge and willing to work wit…
D.S, London

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