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FAQs - Placements, Personal Therapy and Supervision


Why do I need to complete placement hours?


Do I have to find my own placement?

How challenging is it to find a placement?

How many placement hours can I complete each week?

Can I undertake my placement work in private practice?

Is the college able to offer internal counselling placements?


Why is personal therapy required?

Why is supervision required?


How do I find a therapist or supervisor?


Why do I need to complete placement hours?

For certain advanced and post qualifying courses, you will be required to complete placement hours. Placements are an extremely important part of qualifying as a counsellor or psychotherapist. They help you to:

  • Gain contextual understanding (ethical, professional, legal, social and organisational) through supervised practice.
  • Apply your learning and gain valuable experience and confidence.

To be a member of a professional body, such as the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) or UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP), you will need to have completed a course which includes a certain number of clinical placement hours.

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Do I have to find my own placement?

For advanced courses where you are required to complete placement hours, yes, you will need to look for a suitable counselling placement of your choice (once you have passed your ‘competence to practice’ assessment).

We have a Placements Coordinator to support you through this process, providing access to the Iron Mill placement database, along with guidance and support with applications and references.

We have many years of experience in building relationships with placement providers and Iron Mill students have a great success rate of gaining placements during their training. However, Iron Mill College cannot guarantee that students will be able to gain a placement, and to maximise opportunities students will need to be positive, confident, pro-active, flexible about the distance they are prepared to travel and flexible with the times of the week they are available for placement work.

We have also now introduced annual Placement Fayres, where students will have the opportunity to network with local placement providers, therapists and supervisors.

It is possible for students to find their own placement within an organisation students have not previously worked within, although it would need to be approved by the Placements Coordinator before starting.

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How challenging is it to find a placement?

Applying for placements can be very competitive and very much like applying for a job. It may take a few applications before you are successful. We therefore advise applying for a number of placements with a view to securing one. To maximise opportunities, students will need to be positive, confident, pro-active, flexible about the distance they are prepared to travel, and flexible with the times of the week they are available for placement work.

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How many placement hours can I complete each week?

It is expected that you would adhere to the recommendations of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) of 3-4 placement hours per week whilst in training.

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Can I undertake my placement work in private practice?

No, we consider it to be unsafe and potentially unethical for unqualified students to work in private practice. It is important that whilst in training you have the support of an organisation, gaining contextual understanding (ethical, professional, legal, social and organisational) through supervised practice.

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Is Iron Mill College able to offer internal counselling placements?

Students on our advanced courses have the opportunity to apply for a placement with the Iron Mill Counselling Service. This is a not-for-profit initiative aiming to increase the accessibility of counselling to the general public, by offering a more affordable alternative to people who might not be otherwise able to access counselling. There are a limited number of placements available with Iron Mill Counselling Service each year.

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Why is personal therapy required?

Therapy is a requirement on most of our advanced training courses (as well as some 
post qualifying courses) and is regarded as an essential part of the learning process, gaining first-hand experience of what it means to be a counselling or psychotherapy client. It also ensures, as much as possible, that trainee counsellors and psychotherapists do not bring their own issues into the therapeutic relationship.

Previous therapy, prior to attending the course, would not count towards personal therapy hours. It is regarded as an emotional support during the process of training and would therefore need to be undertaken during the course.

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Why is supervision required?

Supervision is a requirement on most of our
 advanced and post qualifying courses. Supervision plays an integral part in the development of a competent practitioner. It is within the context of supervision that trainees begin to develop a sense of their professional identity and to examine their own beliefs and attitude regarding clients and therapy. Assuming the role of an independent consultant, a supervisor is a sounding board for the counsellor with the aim of promoting safe, ethical and therapeutic practice.

The supervisor is also in a good position to spot the onset of any symptoms of burnout and to assist the counsellor in dealing with them. It is important that all practitioners have adequate supervision to ensure professional standards are being met at all times. Ongoing supervision after qualifying is also a requirement of the professional bodies of counselling and psychotherapy professions.

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How do I find a therapist or supervisor?

The college provides students with access to the Iron Mill placement database, which includes approved therapists and supervisors who meet course requirements. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) website, t
he Counselling Directory website, the It's Good to Talk websitethe UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) website and the United Kingdom Association for Transactional Analysis (UKATA) website are also useful resources.

Each course has its own set of requirements for therapists and supervisors, so you would need to familiarise yourself with those requirements before starting to work with a practitioner. Please get in touch at 01392 219200 / enquiries@ironmill.co.uk with any specific queries.

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What our Students Say

"The balance of the skills and theory taught and what other students bring to the group provides a rich learning environment, which is great for all types of students!"
Antoinette Buisman - Advanced Transactional Analysis Student

What our Students Say

"Every weekend is full of practical skills to learn with the added theoretical background needed to understand it. The makeup of the group allows us to learn from each others experiences and from people with different therapeutic backgrounds. It's a great course with a supportive and excellent tutor."
Antoinette Davey - Advanced Transactional Analysis Programme
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