ABC Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling

Course Overview

This course represents the final stage of counsellor training and focuses on the personal and professional development of the individual to work as a fully functioning practitioner. The course is primarily aimed at those who want to work as counsellors but we recognise that some people want to experience the process and gain an extra string to their bow in their chosen field, e.g. teaching, nursing, medicine, etc.

This course is very challenging both personally and academically and you must be certain, in so far as you can say in that moment, that you are able to commit to the course and can meet the academic level.

Course Requirements

Successful completion of a Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Skills, with a minimum of 145 Guided Learning Hours.
A satisfactory reference from your Level 3 counselling tutor.
A successful interview. (Please note you would need to be available for around 5 hours on the day of interview and be prepared to practice your skills and get involved in group activities.)
You will need to provide evidence that you can work to an Academic Level equivalent to 1st Year Degree standard. You could make available the Level 3 portfolio for observation at interview.
A commitment to the BACP ethical framework.
You will need to have a satisfactory, current DBS check (this can be completed after the start of the course if you do not have one dated within the last year).
Complete student membership with the BACP, at your own cost, after the start of the course.
You need to display a commitment to personal development.
Please note: if you have been in recovery we ask that you have been clear for a minimum of two years before applying for this course.
The course will run subject to minimum numbers being reached.

Course Progression

Successful completion of the course awards qualified status and entitles you to apply for jobs as Counsellors.
You may also progress onto postgraduate and post-qualifying courses in counselling studies that are designed to enhance the practice, skills and knowledge of a practicing counsellor. This can include training in your chosen specialism. Many candidates progress towards national accreditation status with lead bodies such as The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP).

Course Finance

The fees are £3695. This fee covers both years of the programme, registration with the awarding body and the residential.

They can be paid either through an Advanced Learning Loan or by your personal funds. If your employer will be paying your fees you will need to provide a signed letter on headed paper stating this when you come to enrol.

Once you have enrolled you are liable for the full course fee, regardless of whether the full course is completed or not. Please note that an Advanced Learner Loan will cover the first £2,225 of the course fee. The remaining £1470 will need to be paid by your own personal funds. Students have the option of paying the £1470 in full at enrolment or they can pay in four instalments. The instalments would be four payments of £360.50 with the first payment due at enrolment. The remaining payments are made over the following three months e.g. if the student enrols in August the first payment is made then and the remaining payments are made in September, October and November.

Successful applicants will require a DBS check to be completed after enrolment. This will cost £44. When you enrol you will be asked whether you have a current (within the last 12 months) DBS, in which case you will not be asked to apply for another but you MUST bring your certificate in for evidence. Otherwise the cost of £44 will be added to the course fee. If you are on the update service, please let us know and a further DBS check will not be necessary.

Students who do not complete all of their placement hours within the two years of the course may be able to access a further term at the end of the second year, for an additional fee of £500. Please be aware that this is for exceptional circumstances only.

Due to the unique nature of counselling training in addition to the course fees the following will need to be paid:
BACP Student Membership
Professional Indemnity Insurance
Personal therapy
At the time of writing student membership of the BACP costs £82 per year for 2020-2021. Further details can be found at

Professional Indemnity Insurance will need to be paid in both years of the programme. This would be around £35 per year, £117 in total.

Personal therapy would be around £35 per session and you would need 20 sessions, around £700 total.

Supervision would be around £40 per session. You would need a minimum of 13 sessions (1 one-and-a-half hour supervision session is required for every 12 hours of placement work you do), around £520 total.

This is approximately £1340 in additional costs. This would not need to be paid all at once. You would pay for each session as it happens.

These figures are intended as a guide only. Individual prices will vary according to who you contact. Many counsellors and supervisors will negotiate, and some even provide special concessions for trainees. You may fit the criteria for some voluntary agencies that could provide free/low-cost sessions for your personal therapy. This would make a significant difference in terms of cost.

The additional fees cannot be included in an Advanced Learning Loan.

Course Includes

You will study the following units:
Professional Organisational Issues In Counselling
Counselling In A Diverse Society
Counselling Theory
Advanced Counselling Skills
Self-Awareness For Counsellors
Research Methodologies In Counselling
Counselling Placement
The course lasts for two academic years. The programme is taught on a part-time basis and you would be in college from 10.00am to 4.30pm on a Tuesday or Thursday.

You need to be prepared to commit a significant amount of extra time outside these course hours. Although you are only in college for one day per week, the reality is that this programme requires you to commit around two and a half days per week to fulfil all the elements.

You must undertake a minimum of 100 hours supervised practice during the time of the course. You are responsible for finding a placement yourself although you will be supported in this process. This must not be started until the course tutors are satisfied that the all conditions have been met. Once your placement starts, you will need to undertake independent supervision (1 one-and-a-half hour supervision session for every 12 hours of placement work you do), in addition to the 20 hours personal therapy which is a requirement of the course.
The course includes one weekend residential in year one. Attendance on this is mandatory as it forms an important part of the group process and your final portfolio. You will be given the date of the residential at your interview. The cost is included in the course fees.

Progression to the second year is dependent on you meeting specific criteria. These will be discussed with you at interview.
The programme is delivered by experienced counselling practitioners who have many years' experience in practrice and teaching at this level.

Assessment will include informal and continuous feedback from tutors and peers. You will also create a placement portfolio that will be sent to ABC for external assessment.

The programme takes place at our Town Centre campus. The location of your placement, supervisor and personal counsellor are entirely of your own volition but guidance and information will be provided.


Upon successful completion of the course you will be awarded a Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling from ABC Awards. This qualification allows you to practice as a Counsellor and to work towards Registered status with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Quality Assurance

QA systems are embedded throughout the College and the College is regulated by ABC Awards.

Course Additional Information