Course information

Person-centred therapy can be seen as an umbrella term referring to the variety of approaches grounded in the theoretical views of human nature and interaction originally developed by Carl Rogers, and others, in the 1940’s and 1950’s. This programme combines a dynamic mix of philosophical, theoretical, research and clinical based learning. The idea that no one model of therapy is superior informs a central view underpinning the programme which reflects the value of both single-orientation and pluralistic therapeutic practices for both therapist and client. Students can expect to actively engage with key elements of approaches such as classic client-centred, experiential process, existentially informed, focus-orientated, integrated and pre-therapy whilst holding at their core a continuing critical examination of the impact of their ‘way of being’ in relationships.

Professional Bodies

On successful completion of the programme, students will be awarded a MSc Person-Centred and Experiential Psychotherapy degree by Staffordshire University. The course is also professionally accredited by the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).


As part of training, students are required to secure suitable placements. SPTI works with many regional and national employers to provide placement opportunities for students. Through our Placement Co-ordinator, SPTI holds and develops a database of placement providers, and we’ll actively support you in your search. Each year, SPTI holds a placement fair where students are able to meet and make valuable contacts with placement providers as well as attending workshops on the day. Placement opportunities are posted on our student VLE, Moodle.

Start date

The course starts in October 2024.


The duration of the course is 4 years. The first year has a clinical focus and is the preparatory year, required by UKCP which will be covered in 7 workshops (4 x 3 day, Friday to Sunday and 3 x day, Thursday to Sunday). During years 2, 3 and 4 students will study a total of 180 credits; 60 credits over 3 years. Years 2 and 3 consists of 7 workshops (4 x 3 day, Friday to Sunday and 3 x day, Thursday to Sunday). Year 4 consists of 6 single study days (Wednesdays) and 3 weekend workshops (Friday to Sunday)


The workshops are delivered in our training facilities at 2 Castle Quay, Castle Boulevard (NG7 1FW) or 30 Park Row (NG1 6GR).

Course content

This programme exposes students to new developments within the person-centred and experiential therapies framework. There will be opportunities to explore person-centred expressive arts therapy, pre-therapy and contact work, relational depth in person-centred therapy and counselling with a range of client groups (including, although not restricted to, those experiencing depression, anxiety and panic, trauma, critical incident or Post Traumatic Stress, loss and bereavement, alcohol and drug issues, eating problems, self-injury, issues with gender and/or sexual identity). This will involve on-going critical reflection based within the person-centred model of integration which invites the testing out of ideas and/or therapeutic technique against the core concepts of person-centred philosophy and theory.

The basis is primarily humanistic and students are highly likely to share key values and beliefs from this strand of psychology. The humanistic framework developed in reaction to the behavioural and analytic emphasis of the time, incorporating and advancing aspects of these earlier traditions; emphasising ideas such as:

  • A belief in the worth of persons and the dedication to the development of human potential
  • An understanding of life as a process and that change is inevitable
  • An appreciation of the creative, spiritual, and intuitive

Ample opportunity will be given to consideration of ideas central to each of the main psychotherapy traditions (for instance, Psychoanalytic, Cognitive-behavioural, Transpersonal and other Humanistic models such as Gestalt and Transactional Analysis) as well as to contemporary views emerging within the field. Thus enabling critical contemplation in regard to compatibility and/or complementarity of theories and practice to that of person-centred and experiential approaches.


All modules are compulsory to complete the academic qualification of MSc and professional accreditation with UKCP. All modules are taught in class sizes no larger than 18. Each credit taken equates to a total study time of around 10 hours. Total study time includes scheduled teaching, independent study and assessment activity.

Year One (UKCP Preparatory Year)

Module 1  The Foundations of Person-Centred and Experiential Psychotherapies
Module 2  Professional Context and Practice

Year Two (Registration with Staffordshire University)

Module 1  Development of the Person – Theory and Practice  20 credits
Module 2  Psychopathology: Person-Centred Perspectives  20 credits
Module 3  Therapeutic Relating and Change  20 credits

Year Three

Module 1  Therapeutic Presence and Use of Self  20 credits
Module 2  Approaches to Research and Reflexivity  20 credits
Module 3  Advancing Practitioner Research in
Person-Centred and Experiential Psychotherapies
20 credits

Year Four

Module 1Clinical and Research Competency60 credits

Clinical obligations

Year One40 hours of
personal therapy
Year Two40 hours of
personal therapy
120 hours (minimum)
of supervised placement
30 hours (minimum)
of supervision**
Year Three*40 hours of
personal therapy
120 hours (minimum)
of supervised placement
22.5 hours (minimum)
of supervision**
Year Four*40 hours of
personal therapy
120 hours (minimum)
of supervised placement
20 hours (minimum)
of supervision**

*The Mental Health Workshop must be completed during years three or four.

** Supervision hours are completed prior to qualification at a ratio 1:4, changing to 1:6 with agreement from the supervisor, after completion of 105 placement hours. A minimum of 87.5 hours supervision required for the MSc. Ratio of 1:6 required within the first post-qualification year.

Entry requirements

Entry is through submission of an application form, evidence of qualifications, 2 suitable references, a satisfactory criminal records check and a personal interview. The following requirements comply with both QAA and UKCP’s standards for training in psychotherapy:

  • An undergraduate degree in psychology or a related discipline (for example, sociology, education, theology, philosophy), or
  • A non-relevant undergraduate degree with appropriate training or experience, or
  • A qualification or professional training/work-based portfolio in the helping professions evidencing study level equivalent to level 6 (for example, social work, psychiatric nursing, general nursing, teaching)
  • A counselling diploma or equivalent qualification plus evidence of ability to study at level 6
  • Relevant work and/or life experience plus evidence of ability to study at level 6

Applicants who do not meet the academic requirements for entry but satisfy criteria relating to ‘relevant work and/or life experience’, may be asked to complete a short essay in order to demonstrate their capacity to study at postgraduate level.

Where English is not your first language, you must demonstrate a pass in either:

  • IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.5 in any element)
  • TOEFL iBT 87 (no less than 21 in listening and writing, 22 in reading and 23 in speaking), or
  • CELE pre-sessional course

International Students: SPTI is not a UK Home Office Registered Sponsor with approval to admit overseas students. We can only consider applications from applicants who satisfy HOME fee residential status criteria. For more information, visit–Advice/Fees-and-Money/England-HE-fee-status

EU students from 2021: Following the UK’s exit from the EU, the UK government has made changes to eligibility for Student Finance where students are beginning their training in 2021 entry. EU students will not be treated as home students and will require student visas. Therefore, we will not be able to accept applications from EU applicants for 2021 entry onwards.

If you are already a qualified counsellor or psychotherapist wishing to further your career by undertaking additional study/research, you may be eligible to join either year 2 or 3 of the MSc programme via an Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) application process. In this instance, the length of training will be determined by the point of entry. For more information, please click here.

The nature of psychotherapy training is primarily relational and as such it is important for applicants to disclose any pre-existing relationships with SPTI staff and/or members (and other applicants where known) at the point of application. This provides the opportunity to address potential implications for this at the interview stage thereby ensuring professional standards when attending to dual relationships, which Professional Bodies (for example, BACP and UKCP) recommend be avoided to prevent detrimental effects and promote professional accountability at all stages of training and practice. We aim to ensure that this does not provide an unnecessary barrier to recruitment. Therefore, in cases of pre-existing relationships with current students and/or training staff, adjustments may be suggested; this could include an alternative entry point or in some cases an alternative programme of study.


Interviews are conducted with the Programme Leader or an experienced team member who is a professional counsellor/psychotherapist and likely to be for a minimum of 30 minutes duration. At interview, you will need to demonstrate that you have, or have the potential to develop, the following attributes and skills:

  • Self-awareness, maturity, and stability
  • Ability to reflect on life experiences and utilise constructive feedback
  • Capacity to cope with the emotional and intellectual demands of the programme
  • Ability to form a helping relationship
  • Awareness of issues of diversity and equality, prejudice, and oppression
  • Ability to recognise the need for personal and professional support
  • The generic professional skills of literacy, numeracy, information technology, administrative skills, self-management skills, communication, and interpersonal skills

Teaching and Assessment

You will be taught by experienced practitioners through a combination of lectures, workshops, small group, and practical sessions. Small group sessions enable you to discuss and develop your understanding of topics covered in lectures. In addition, you will have timetabled meetings with your Personal Tutor twice a year


For the course starting October 2024, the part-time tuition fees are: £5,655 (per academic year). In addition, a non-refundable deposit of £360 (first year only) is required to secure a place.

Additional Costs

The following costs are in addition to the tuition fees, and you are expected to pay these yourself. You must continue in personal therapy and clinical supervision throughout the duration of the course.

  • DBS checks including being registered on the update service
  • Personal therapy (weekly, usually around £30.00 – £60.00 per hour)
  • Clinical Supervision (around £40.00 – £65.00 per hour)
  • Where students are working with clients, Professional Indemnity Insurance should be taken out
  • Any placement related expenses

Financial Support

Tuition fee loans are available for year 2 onwards from Student Finance England. Tuition fee loans are paid directly to the student. Details can be obtained by visiting: Students in years 1, 2 3 & 4 can apply for Disability Support Allowance which can provide equipment, mentoring and other support depending upon the needs of the student. Details can be obtained by visiting: Students on low incomes or with a disability can apply for an SPTI Bursary of up to 10% reduction in tuition fees. This is a discretionary bursary which is subject to the availability of funds. For more information and an application form for an SPTI Bursary click here for the Finance and Bursaries page.

How to apply

To apply for this course, click here.