TA Psychotherapy Advanced Course (Transactional Analysis)

Part-time | Three Years | UKCP Accredited | Exeter

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A group of students studying at the table together using pens and notepads.Why study with us:

The aim of this course is to provide comprehensive training in TA psychotherapy. We also incorporate theories and work from other modalities, which fit into a coherent, integrative and relational approach to psychotherapy. 

The advanced course is 3 years of formal clinical training after which there is a dissertation year and students complete a dissertation and an oral exam. This together with supervised clinical hours leads to registration with the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP). This is a Masters level course taught and assessed at level 7.  

The tutors on the course are all highly experienced Transactional Analysis psychotherapists and trainers. They are committed to providing creative learning experiences that are based on the experiences and needs of the learning group. 

Iron Mill College Advanced TA Psychotherapy students are entitled to 50% discount on all CPD workshops while they study with us, and 25% discount on completion of their course as IMC Graduates. 

Course Description:

  • The formal 3-year training consists of a rolling programme of modules, which take an in-depth approach to TA and other theories as applied to psychotherapy. It also covers many aspects of the practice of psychotherapy. The emphasis of this course is on a relational approach to TA psychotherapeutic work. 
  • In the first year of the Advanced course, students also start work with clients in voluntary placement, to integrate their theoretical learning on the course with its practical applications. 
  • Completion of the course provides the training requirements for UKCP registration, and completion of the final TA qualifying examination allows graduates to be UKCP registered. 
  • The programme runs between September and July for 10 weekends in total. 
  • The course is run with manageable numbers of students, which allows us to concentrate on individuals and respond to differing students’ needs. 

If you have an enquiry and wish to speak to a member of our team, please contact 01392 219200 or email enquiries@ironmill.co.uk. Meet one our tutors at an open event by clicking here

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Where will this course take you?

During this course, students not only study approaches in depth psychotherapy, but they are also required to undertake supervised work with clients from the beginning of the course. In this way, students are prepared for working as psychotherapists in a variety of settings. This allows students (through the qualification process), to gain UKCP Registration as a psychotherapist. 

Almost all of our graduate students are working as psychotherapists, in private practice and/or in organisations. 

Having qualified as a psychotherapist, students also have the option to continue their studies and professional development within TA, and to gain our international qualifications as psychotherapists supervisors and trainers 

What will you study?

TA psychotherapy aims to allow clients to change in profound ways, to improve their lives, their relational patterns and ways of being in the world. It allows the psychotherapist and client to work at depth, in the long term, with complex psychological problems, including some serious mental illnesses. It has models that provide structure and can describe and shed light on important conscious and non-conscious processes. The theory can be used for reflection and to provide direction for the work. 

TA is an integrative modality, with a depth of theory that has been developed over 60 years and continues to evolve. Because of this, the theoretical concepts link well together and inform thinking about each other and clinical practice. It is an extremely robust theory that allows the psychotherapist to remain grounded, even when working with very complex clients. 

The formal training consists of a 3-year programme of modules, which cover in-depth TA theory, approaches to Relational and Radical psychotherapy and specific ‘issues’ in psychotherapy. These include: 

  • Classical school of TA 
  • Redecision school of TA 
  • Cathexis school of TA 
  • TA as a relational therapy 
  • Socio-political context and its relatedness to mental functioning 
  • Working with an integrating TA theory 
  • Integration of TA theory into practice 
  • Use of supervision 
  • Ethics and professional practice 
  • Working with diversity 
  • Contracting, treatment direction and change 
  • Models of the therapeutic relationship 
  • Transference and countertransference in the therapeutic relationship 
  • Working with the unconscious and intersubjectivity 
  • Impasse and uncertainty in the relationship 
  • Working with narrative 
  • Attachment theory 
  • Endings in therapy 
  • Neuroscience and psychotherapy 
  • Research and psychotherapy 
  • DSM V and psychopharmacology 
  • Working with couples 
  • Working with groups 
  • Sexuality and Gender 
  • Theories and disorders of the self 
  • Working with trauma and abuse 
  • Working with shame 

How will you be taught and assessed?

The learning experience: 

The course consists of experiential exercises, mini-lectures followed by small group and large-group discussions, self-reflective work and clinical discussions. The integrating principle of this course is a relational and radical approach to TA. Therefore we place an emphasis on relationships within context in all their forms and on dialogues between group members within the training. The tutors work within a radical-relational approach to education. So, although there is a curriculum for the course, the approach to individual components is developed as an emergent process, in discussions within the group. 


The programme incorporates a range of assessment methods, in order to avoid over-emphasis on one particular range of skills. We use both formative and summative approaches to assess trainees’ progress throughout the course. 

Summative assessments are: 

  • Two 3000-word assignments, based on students’ clinical work 
  • A 1500-word informal assignment, based on students’ learning journal and reflective practice 
  • A research project in small groups 
  • A presentation at the end of the year on their reflective practice  

Formative assessments are: 

  • Attendance at all training dates – students are expected to attend all the sessions; if they miss any there is a requirement that they attend 80% of the course hours 
  • Participation in experiential exercises, skills practice, self-reflection and the training group process 
  • Participation in individual tutorials 
  • Undertaking supervised clinical practice 
  • Engaging with personal psychotherapy – this is not assessed but the hours of personal therapy are monitored 
  • Meeting our Personal and Professional readiness criteria to enter and/or progress within the course 

Awards and Qualifications: 

Students who complete the requirements of the 4 year course are awarded an Iron Mill Diploma in TA Psychological Studies.  The Iron Mill diploma allows people to register with BACP as a qualified psychotherapeutic counsellor.  However, this is not a qualification to use the title psychotherapist.  This can only be used once you have passed your UKCP dissertation and the viva exam.  The Iron Mill offers a dissertation year after year four to support students through these final stages. 


Course dates

Venue: Exeter 

Start Date:
Starts on the 28th of September 2024, weekend intake in Exeter. Please visit the 'Downloads Tab' to view the full course schedule. 

Duration: 3 years

Application process and fees

How to apply:

  • Please see the 'Application Form' tab to complete and submit your application form online
  • If you require assistance in completing your application, please contact admissions@ironmill.co.uk 

Final application date:
The deadline for applications is 6 weeks before the start of the course. A decision will be made on whether the course will run, based on confirmed and accepted places, 4 weeks before the start date of the course. Any applications received after the 6 week deadline will only be processed at the discretion of the Programmes Lead.

These fees represent the tuition fees for one year of the three-year course only and that tuition fees are reviewed in Autumn each year and are usually increased in line with CPI each January.

Courses commencing between 1st Jan'24 - 31st Dec'24:
Option 1 (Total Payable £2,950.00):
An Enrolment Deposit of £750.00 (Non-Refundable) followed by one instalment of £2,200.00 due on the 1st September.

Option 2 (Total Payable £3,150.00):
An Enrolment Deposit of £750.00 (Non-Refundable) followed by four instalment of £600.00 (payable by direct debit); due on: 1st September, 1st December, 1st March, and the 1st June.

Bespoke Payment Plans (Total Payable £3150.00):
In order to facilitate students, the Iron Mill has introduced Bespoke Payment Plans which can be tailored to meet your specific needs.  Please contact us for more information here.

Tuition Fee Increases:
Tuition fees are reviewed in Autumn each year and are usually increased in line with CPI each January.

Further information on fees: 
Fees listed include VAT.

If you are an organisation looking to book staff members onto this course, then please email admissions@ironmill.co.uk to process your payment. 

Applicants are invited to enrol once they receive an offer of a place on the course,  by paying the Enrolment Deposit (which shall be fully non-refundable in all circumstances) as well as submitting all application documents. The balance of course fees is payable as per the relevant schedule option above.

All applicants should ensure they read and understand the Terms and Conditions of the Student Agreement and the Tuition Fee Contract before applying and paying their Enrolment Deposit (Non-Refundable). These documents can be found in the 'Downloads' tab below. 

How to pay:
For Enrolment Deposit payments,  you can pay online by using the booking form on this web page. You can also pay all fees by credit / debit card, either in person at Iron Mill College in Exeter, or over the phone by calling 01392 219200. Please note that we are unable to accept payments via American Express or Diners Club cards.

We also accept cash paid in person at Iron Mill College in Exeter, as well as cheques, which should be made out to 'Iron Mill College' and dropped in or sent to 'Iron Mill College, Morwenstow, 7 Barnfield Crescent, Exeter, Devon, EX1 1QT'. We can also accept payments by bank transfer and direct debit - please get in touch with us at 01392 219200 / enquiries@ironmill.co.uk for our bank details or a direct debit form. Please use your name and student number as the reference when making such payments.

We will contact you once you have returned your Tuition Fee Contract with information about how to set up direct payments from your bank. This is our preferred method of payment. 

Additional expenses:
This will vary depending on your own circumstances, but all applicants must make sure they fully understand the additional expense requirements they will need to undertake during this course. Iron Mill College is unable to contribute to any of these additional costs; they are met by the student. These costs may include: Travel and boarding costs, Purchase of books. 

Course commencement:
Please note: Iron Mill College makes every effort to avoid altering course times, course commencement and conclusion dates. However, should any changes be necessary, you will be notified at the earliest opportunity. All courses run subject to demand and the formation of a viable class cohort, based on the enrolment of a minimum number of successful applicants. A full refund of course fees paid, including any deposit, will be given to all applicants in the event that a course does not proceed and at least 14 days’ notice (prior to the advertised course start date) will be given to applicants, in the event of a course cancellation or postponement. The college cannot be held liable for any remedy, damages or compensation beyond this.


How long is the course? 
4 years of formal teaching. 1 year foundation course (Certificate in Transactional Analysis Theory and Practice and 3 years of the Advanced TA psychotherapy course. For final qualifications, this is followed by a dissertation year. Some students will need more time to complete all the required hours.  Usually this is one – three years beyond year four. 

Yes, all the course is based around weekends, and at the moment, they are all in Exeter. 

Why is it 4 years? 
The course leads to registration with the UKCP, UK Council for Psychotherapy, and to qualification as a Certified Transactional Analyst through the European Association for Transactional Analysis (EATA). The requirements for numbers of training hours, and duration of training are set out by those organisations. Within the section of the UKCP that TA belongs to (The Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy College), psychotherapy courses must be a minimum of 4 years long, (at least 600 training hours) and at level 7 in terms of academic and professional standards. 

Can I take time out? 
There is a natural break between the Foundation and Advanced course and it is not unusual for some students to ask for a break or for the tutors to discuss this with them. Sometimes, this is about health or family reasons and sometimes there is a need for students to do more personal therapy before continuing.   So, stopping training for a year then re-starting training is manageable, and not unusual. 

How do I qualify? 
Students who complete the requirements of the 4 year course are awarded an Iron Mill Diploma in TA Psychological Studies The Iron Mill diploma allows people to register with BACP as a qualified psychotherapeutic counsellor.  However, this is not a qualification to use the title psychotherapist.  This can only be used once you have passed your UKCP dissertation and the viva exam.  The Iron Mill offer a dissertation year after year four to support students through these final stages. 

How do you complete the CTA? 
To get the second qualification, this course offers, trainees can expand their UKCP dissertation and undertake another Viva that is very similar to the UKCP one. The difference is that the CTA covers couples and/or groups as well as individual hours. Trainees need 50 group hours as well as a further 250 hours of using Transactional Analysis in any relevant professional setting, (such as pastoral care and management. These hours may also be clinical).  This takes time and accounts for the depth and breadth of the work in becoming a psychotherapist and a Certified Transactional Analyst. 

What if I’ve done some TA already, can I skip the Foundation year? 
This is worth discussing with the course leader. However, the requirement for the Advanced course is that students have completed at least 120 hours of training in TA, and this is generally only fulfilled by TA Foundation courses.  

What if I’ve already done a counselling course? 
Each year we have some people on the TA psychotherapy course who have completed a counselling course. Sometimes they want to learn about TA on the Foundation course, sometimes they want to develop their practice and become qualified as a psychotherapist. This is therefore a common path for TA trainees, and we welcome trainees who already have had these experiences.  

 What are the course requirements of the Advanced course? 

  • Attendance of at least 80% of the course. (The expectation is that students will attend all of the course, so they also need to make up any time they do miss.) 
  • Two written assignments of 3000 words each, one of 1500 words 
  • A research project 
  • A presentation at the end of the year 
  • We recommend that people keep a learning journal, as the 1500 word assignment is based on the learning journal 
  • Students need to be in weekly therapy 
  • During the first year of the Advanced course students need to find a placement and start clinical practice. 
  • They also need supervision every other week, and at least monthly supervision with a TA supervisor. (So many students have monthly supervision with their TA supervisor and monthly supervision in their placement.) 
  • What are the course requirements for the CTA? 
  • In addition to the training hours, therapy hours, supervision hours etc. students need to undertake a mental-health familiarisation placement in their local area so they have an understanding of how patients with mental health problems can be assessed and treated. At the end of their training period, trainees then complete a dissertation and a viva. 

Who can be my psychotherapist during training? 
Therapists need to be UKCP-registered psychotherapists, preferably in the Humanistic and Integrative College, although psychodynamic and psychoanalytical psychotherapists are also relevant. They do not need to be TA psychotherapists.  

Who can be my supervisor during training? 
TA supervisors need to be a Provisional Teaching and Supervising Transactional Analyst, or Teaching and Supervising Transactional Analyst with a psychotherapy speciality.   

What are the differences between TA and an integrative course? 
TA is itself an integrative model, that has been developed over the last 60 years, and incorporates elements of both psychoanalytic and humanistic models. As the theory was all developed under the ‘umbrella’ of TA, the models integrate very well, different parts of the theory fit well together and can communicate well with each other. This makes the theory very robust. The challenge of an integrative course is to make your own integration from different pieces of theory that did not develop together so may not fit together so easily. 

Is TA too limiting as a model compared with an integrative course? 
TA is used across the spectrum of practices, from cognitive–behavioural work to a relational psychoanalytic approach and is highly adaptable to different practitioners and contexts. TA theory is deceptively simple at a first look, but has great depth, so it allows us to work with people with complex mental health problems, problems related to their development, and to do depth psychotherapeutic work. 

Clients are not generally interested in the model of counselling or psychotherapy a practitioner uses, but simply in whether they believe they can work with that person. This is appropriate as it’s the therapeutic relationship that is a key factor in the success of the work.  

Why psychotherapy? What is the difference between psychotherapy and counselling? 
This is a complex and political question, and you would get a different answer from different practitioners. However, the qualifying process for psychotherapy is longer and generally practitioners would be trained to work for longer periods with people. One way of thinking about it is that counselling often works with the person in their situation to deal with current problems and increase their strengths, resources and functioning in their professional, social and cultural context. In TA terms, this is work with the Adult, here and now, Ego state. Psychotherapy aims to address and heal fundamental, developmental and relational issues for a person that are limiting them – ‘to deal with the past in the present, so they are free to live their lives in the future’. In TA terms, this is work not only with the Adult, but also the Child and Parent Ego states. At its best, the aim is to develop more radically people’s personality structure. This would often be in the context of long-term work. 

What clients could I work with? 
The psychotherapy training (its length, level of study and requirement for personal therapy and a mental-health familiarisation placement), equips graduates to work with clients with a wide spectrum of problems, including mental-health disorders (though some are still best worked with in hospitals). This may mean that psychotherapists are able to work within the healthcare system, and that they have competence to work with a variety of clients (under supervision) in private practice. 



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"I thoroughly enjoyed my advanced diploma course at Poole. Throughout the process we were encouraged to develop our own philosophy of counselling. I valued this chance to develop my own autonomy around what counselling meant to me. The group was motivated, supportive and fun! We became very close. Our tutor was very knowledgeable, experienced, supportive and inspiring. My journey was challenging and rewarding, the ethos of Iron Mill felt right to me prior to my enrolment, and this feeling has continued throughout my journey. It was worth the extra miles of travel to a place where I felt really at home..."
Bel G, Advanced Diploma Integrative Counselling Graduate

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