Counselling Theory

If you are looking to pursue a career in counselling, or if you are already practising and want to make the most of your experience, a good overall understanding of counselling theory is an invaluable asset. This course provides a clear, thorough grounding in all the main counselling theories, plus full guidance on how to apply theory in your practical work. Completing this course will prepare you for further training or a professional qualification.



Course requirements

You should be a practising or trainee counsellor, or have a good general understanding of counselling practice, to fully benefit from this course. This is an online course so you will also need access to the internet.

Duration of study

As a guideline, you should allow for approximately 30 hours' study time, plus additional time for completing assignments. You will have tutor support for a period of up to 12 months from the date of enrolment.


'Counselling Theory' units:
  • An introduction to your course
  • Freud and the psychodynamic approach
  • Development in psychodynamic theory
  • Behavioural theory
  • Humanistic theory
  • Cognitive theory and cognitive behavioural theory
  • An introduction to transactional analysis
  • Early years
  • Some theories of loss and grief
  • Gestalt theory and therapy
  • Roberto Assagioli and the transpersonal approach


This course has:
  • 10 assignments

You will also be required to complete:
  • A reflective learning journal, which you need to keep as the course progresses
  • A case study

Set texts and resources

There are no additional set texts.

Using learn@nec

Your course is delivered online through learn@nec, so it’s important that you have access to a computer and the internet. We recommend that your computer is using one of the following operating systems and browsers to improve your experience of using learn@nec:

Operating systems:
  • Windows 7 or later
  • Mac OSX 10.7 or later
  • Google Chrome OS
  • Android 4.4 or later, using the Chrome browser
  • iOS 6 or later, using the Safari browser

  • Google Chrome (latest version)
  • Mozilla Firefox (latest version)
  • Safari 6 or later
  • Internet Explorer 10 or later (excluding IE11)

learn@nec may work on other operating systems and browsers with some restrictions. You can see full details of the system requirements by clicking here.

How to enrol

There are several ways to enrol with NEC:
  • Click the ‘Enrol now’ button above.
  • Telephone us on 0800 389 2839 or +44(0)1223 400200 and speak to our course advice team.
  • Ask us to send you an enrolment form which you can complete and return by post.

Paying in instalments

It’s your choice: you can pay in full at the point of enrolment, or you can spread the cost over monthly instalments with our finance offer. To pay in instalments you will need to enrol by telephone.

Representative example:
Course fee:  
Amount of credit:  
Monthly payment:  
Duration of agreement:  
Total repayable:  
Rate of interest:  
0% APR representative.  
  6 months

The National Extension College (NEC) is the trading name of the Open School Trust, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (register number 676788). Finance is provided through the Deko platform by a number of lenders. You will be offered the best rate available based on your credit history and the lenders’ credit decision policies.

Deko is a trading name of Pay4Later Ltd who act as a credit intermediary. They are registered in England and Wales (company number 06447333) and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (register number 728646). For more information please go to or visit
Including area code and country code (if outside of UK)

Counselling Theory Course Sample

Thank you for your interest in this course.

Please fill out your details below, and you will receive an email containing a link to download the course sample.

What our students say...

"Studying has enabled me to gain confidence and knowledge of a subject I am most interested in."
— Astero O’Sullivan