036 – Using Counselling Qualifications Overseas and in Other Roles – Congruence – Funding for Counselling Training

036 – Using Counselling Qualifications Overseas and in Other Roles – Congruence – Funding for Counselling Training

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In episode 36 of the Counselling Tutor Podcast, Rory Lees-Oakes and Ken Kelly discuss the viability of using counselling qualifications in other countries and in other areas of work. ‘Theory with Rory’ looks at congruence, and then the presenters talk about funding for counselling training.

Using Counselling Qualifications Overseas and in Other Roles (starts at 3.05 mins)

Are counselling qualifications gained in the UK portable to other countries? Rory reports that the set-up in the USA is very different from the UK, with a master’s degree required, as well as passing an exam to gain entrance to the professional body there. Therapists in the USA have much more of a diagnostic role, and need to understand how to claim payment from insurance companies, given that most healthcare (including counselling and psychotherapy) is funded in this way. Ken notes that South Africa too has an insurance-based healthcare system.

In short, each country has its own unique set-up in terms of how therapy works there. The main tip is to contact the professional body for counselling and psychotherapy in the country you are interested in, and ask whether your qualification would be accepted there, and whether any bridging courses or arrangements would be needed. Don’t forget too to check out whether you would need a work permit to be allowed to work there.

Counselling skills are potentially portable not only to other countries but also to other areas of work in the UK, for example nursing and teaching. Rory describes counselling qualifications as ‘CV gold’, given that they demonstrate a range of aptitudes and attitudes:

  • interpersonal skills
  • understanding of standards and ethics
  • self-awareness
  • commitment to learning, and to personal and professional development
  • mental toughness and perseverance

Have you experience of using your counselling qualification abroad or in another profession? If so, do share your experiences and views on our Facebook group.


Congruence (starts at 12.55 mins)

Rory models congruence by explaining that he usually reads from a script for his theory slot, but this time is not doing: which do you prefer? Rory talks about congruence, one of the six conditions described by Carl Rogers in a paper, ‘The Necessary and Sufficient Conditions of Therapeutic Personality Change’, published by the Journal of Consulting Psychology in the 1950s.

Congruence is all about being genuine and real. After the strong influence of the psychoanalytical approach in the 1940s, in which the therapist specifically avoided connecting with the emotions of the ‘analysand’ (as the client was known), Rogers’ approach represented a sea change.

Rory provides several examples of where he has used congruence in his practice and found this to be effective. He believes that when he is real with a client, this helps build and deepen the therapeutic relationship, enable the client see him as real, and become real themselves.

However, being real can be easier said than done. Rory offers some observations on how to achieve this, based on his own experience:

  • Be yourself – in the words of the band Oasis, in their song ‘Supersonic, ‘I need to be myself; I can't be no-one else.
  • Don’t hide behind a professional façade and/or become defensive.
  • If you’re wrong, own it – this models the idea that it is OK to make mistakes. The Ethical Framework for the Counselling Professions, published by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, states (2015, page 10): ‘We will ensure candour by promptly informing our clients of anything important that has gone wrong in our work together, and … offer an apology when this is appropriate.’
  • If you don’t know the answer to a question asked by the client, admit it.


Funding for Counselling Training (starts at 28.12 mins)

Counselling and psychotherapy training is expensive. Many UK public-sector colleges offer access to government-supported loan schemes, though these can change from year to year. Currently, Advanced Learning Loans are available to those aged 19 or over who are studying at Level 3 to 6. These tend not to be available in private colleges, but they may well allow you to pay in installments. If you don’t finish the course, you may have to repay the course fees straight away. Also, it is not always possible to transfer to a different college partway through a course.

Before you start a course, it is worth adding up the costs of the various different elements that may be required to complete it, for example:

  • course fees
  • supervision
  • insurance
  • membership of professional body
  • travel
  • personal therapy
  • residentials
  • time away from paid work