The Master’s in Counselling at Abertay University was a front runner in the development of counselling training using a pluralistic approach. Based on a curriculum developed by John and Julia McLeod, the programme has evolved to develop practitioners who can work with a range of methodological approaches within a collaborative therapeutic relationship. The programme prides itself in ensuring that practitioners develop their own ways of working with clients, and empowers them to respond to client needs. Teaching is carried out largely in small discursive groups and through experiential learning and deliberate practice.
The programme runs over three years. In year one, students learn key counselling skills used in pluralistic practice, for example, working collaboratively and identifying client preference through meta communication, this occurs in parallel to a period of significant personal development. In the second year, students enter practice and, while personal development groups continue, the focus shifts to case-load work and more advanced learning in a range of therapeutic modalities: for example, person-centred and experiential counselling, psychodynamic approaches, cognitive behaviour therapy, Gestalt therapy, and narrative therapy. In doing this, students are encouraged to develop their practice in ways which respond to their own abilities, and the needs of their clients. In the final year students are encouraged to conceptualise their practice within an increasingly applied frame, learning from research, and engaging in independent work around meaningful cultural resources and therapeutic activities beyond ‘just talking.’
Developed in conjunction with Visiting Professor John McLeod, this part-time programme consisting of ten modules over two years, aims to enable existing professionals working within the field of counselling and psychotherapy to achieve a Master of Arts in Pluralistic Counselling and Psychotherapy. We hold that it is not enough to simply teach the skills of counselling and psychotherapy. Learners are given the space to learn, practice and be supported as they develop for themselves a style and model of counselling which is both personal and effective.
A pluralistic perspective is an integrative approach to Counselling and Psychotherapy that embraces and considers multiple causes and responses to psychological distress. The aim of the programme is to equip practitioners with an up-to-date, cutting edge training to meet the needs of contemporary society. It also aims to identify and develop leadership and collaborative qualities in those involved in therapeutic practice. With a strong research focus, graduates from this programme will have the necessary knowledge, skills and competence to act as research-practitioners. The programme aims to enable graduates to analyse their own practice and the profession as a whole. We strive to facilitate learners in the creation of evidence-based solutions to the current problems they face as individual practitioners and dilemmas that exist within the profession. As pluralism is the unifying theme in the programme, the programme will foster a spirit of enquiry where learners will engage in the pursuit of multiple truths, drawing from diverse disciples, approaches and orientations