Counselling placements

  • NOTICE: Applications for September 2022 academic year are now closed but we will be recruiting again next summer.

    Since March 2020, the counselling service has been working off campus providing Solution Focused Brief Therapy to students through telephone assessments and Google Meet therapy sessions. The service made the decision to suspend recruitment for placement therapists at this time of a change in service delivery, and within the uncertainty of Covid-19 lockdowns.

    The counselling service will continue to work remotely, providing online support and therapy to students, for the foreseeable future and the next academic year. However, having now had over two years’ experience working remotely, the service feels very confident in its policies and practice, and the delivery of online therapy. The service now feels that it is in a strong position to provide the standard of training, supervision and support to placement therapists under such conditions.

    • Experience of working within a university context with undergraduate and postgraduate students
    • Experience of working within a dynamic established counselling service within a higher education context
    • Experience of working within a wellbeing service, with appropriate liaison with the different teams, e.g. inclusion and dyslexia/special learning difficulties teams
    • Experience of working within a Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) model
    • Training in SFBT therapy.
    • Ultimately, depending on experience, the possibility to do clinical assessments, and risk assessment & risk management
    • Training and experience of using Clinical Evaluation Measures - GAD-7 and PHQ-9.
    • Participation in reflective practice meetings within a team of staff and placement therapists. This will provide and count towards valid CPD.
    • The possibility of shadowing or co-working with staff therapists running training/psychoeducation workshops for students on various topics
    • Experience of clinical management software (PCMIS)
    • Supervision of university clients for two hours per month with another placement therapist (2:1 basis) (see next section)
    • The university is unable to provide any remuneration or cover any expenses related to this placement 

    Supervision of the clinical work at the university will be provided in-house and in person by an experienced staff therapist, on a two hour fortnightly basis with another placement therapist, on a 2:1 basis. (We envisage this will be arranged on Wednesday mornings to link in with relevant team meetings).

    All clients seen in this placement are the responsibility of the Oxford Brookes University Counselling Service. All clinical work at the university needs to be brought to the counselling service's supervision. If you require additional supervision to meet your course requirements, this needs to be your own personal responsibility. The Oxford Brookes University supervisor maintains full responsibility for the overview and management of the placement therapist's clinical practice at the university, under the authority of the Counselling Service Manager.

    Whilst at Oxford Brookes University, placement therapists are covered by the University's professional indemnity insurance. Prior to starting work, all placement therapists are obliged to complete a DBS form for Brookes. 

    Training/induction period 

    The counselling service will provide a two day training/induction period in the first or second week of September (date to be confirmed) to ensure placement therapists are familiar with the counselling service’s policies and practices relating to SFBT and the clinical management system. Support will be provided, if needed, over the coming weeks once therapy has commenced. A detailed manual on the service’s policies and practices will be available for all recruited placement therapists.

    • Placement therapists are expected to see a minimum of four clients per week throughout the semester dates of the academic year. (Semester 1 runs from mid-September to late December. Semester 2 runs from late January to mid-May, with a short break at Easter)
    • To gain more clinical hours a placement therapist can discuss with the supervisor and Counselling Service Manager if they can continue to work in the periods outside the academic semester, i.e. January and from May to September. Students on vocational courses (nurses, paramedics, occupational therapists, teachers, have a longer academic year, finishing around July/August. Postgraduate students work throughout the year.)
    • Attend a fortnightly two-hour in-house supervision session along with another placement therapist
    • Work in accordance with the policies and procedures of Oxford Brookes University Counselling Service
    • Attend the counselling service team meetings on reflective practice and peer supervision, held on Wednesday mornings throughout the academic year. Placement therapists will not attend the business meetings of the Team. It is envisaged that these meetings will be held in person at Headington in the next academic year 
    • Observe the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy and Professional Conduct Procedure of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). Oxford Brookes University counselling service is run in accordance with BACP principles. Placement therapists are required to familiarise themselves with this document while on placement, as well as the counselling service's own policies and procedures

    You may use your clinical work at the university in written case studies or essays required by your course. All clinical work used for these purposes must be sufficiently disguised to ensure non-identification of, or by, a student or others. Audio recording of sessions may be permitted with the client's written consent with strict confidentiality procedures observed. The agreement must first be discussed and agreed by your supervisor at Brookes and have the approval of the Counselling Service Manager. Handling and storage of client material (written or recorded) must be accordance with the requirements of data protection legislation.

    Download the placement person specification.

    Oxford Brookes University Counselling Service prides itself in offering an excellent professional well-supported placement opportunity, within a team culture of continuous supportive learning. There are a limited number of placements each year and demand is very high.

    Successful applicants will currently be studying at Diploma, Master’s or equivalent level on a recognised counselling, psychotherapy or counselling psychology training, with an orientation compatible with the Oxford Brookes University counselling service. 

    They will already have:
    • a first degree or equivalent qualification
    • a minimum of 25 hours of recent clinical experience of individual counselling or psychotherapy relevant to the current training programme and supervised within that modality. (Peer-to-peer counselling or practice/role play sessions from your training course are not counted as part of the 25 clinical hours requirement) 
    • awareness of ethical and boundary issues in counselling
    • membership of a professional counselling or psychotherapy body e.g. BACP, UKCP or BPS
    • excellent communication skills
    • a commitment to undertake Solution Focused Brief Therapy (within a model of up to a maximum of 6 sessions)
    • some experience or training in online therapy
    • availability to attend in person the two clinical team meetings on Wednesday mornings, but not the business meetings, which are on a rota of 2/3 meetings.
    • availability to work online with four clients per week throughout the semester dates of the academic year
    • availability to attend in person two hours supervision per month, probably arranged on Wednesday mornings
    • experience of personal therapy

    Some of the following would also be desirable:
    • experience of/awareness of the higher education context
    • experience of working with adolescents or young adults
    • experience of working with diversity
    • experience of working in a team
    • experience of brief therapy
    • knowledge of, and experience in, the Solution Focused Brief Therapy model

    Applications are shortlisted by the Counselling Service Manager and the Placement Coordinator. Shortlisted candidates are then invited for interview. 

    • Please complete the placement application form.
    • The closing date for consideration of forms is 24 June 2022
    • Successful candidates will be invited for an interview on Tuesday 5 July 2022. Candidates will hear if they have been successful or not within four working days of the interview
    • If you experience any difficulty with the online form and/or require it in another format, please telephone the Wellbeing Reception team on 01865 484650 or email
    • Training/Induction period: Brookes Counselling Service will provide a two day training/induction period in the first or second week of September to ensure placement therapists are familiar with the counselling service’s policies and practices relating to SFBT and the clinical management system. Support will be provided, if needed, over the coming weeks once therapy has commenced. A detailed manual on the service’s policies and practices will be available for all recruited placement therapists.

    Feedback extracted from our placement evaluation interviews with previous placement therapists:

    1. "My placement at Brookes has been an essential part of my professional training and development. Working within a highly efficient and effective service has given me an insight into various key features of the clinical setting, including risk management, the ability to manage caseloads effectively and how best to utilise a short-term therapy model in a university setting. The supervision and team meetings have been rich sources of learning and discussion, and as well as feeling appropriately challenged when necessary, I've also felt supported by the positive atmosphere and encouragement of the team, whether other placement counsellor, staff counsellor, supervisor or head of service. I would highly recommend this placement as an opportunity to facilitate significant professional and clinical development."
    2. "My placement at Oxford Brookes has offered me a broad array of rich learning opportunities. Firstly, the chance to join a highly supportive and well run counselling team working in a busy setting; offering an insight into how such a service is run from the inside. Secondly the scope to work in a brief-therapy model with a diverse range of clients who come with an equally diverse set of presenting issues. Thirdly high quality supervision and staff development opportunities that have both broadened and deepened my clinical experience and knowledge."
    3. "Placement at Oxford Brookes offers the opportunity to work with a truly diverse range of presenting issues and with people from many walks of life. It offers the chance to develop the skills necessary for effective brief work and provides a contained environment in which to manage risk. Counsellors on placement work collaboratively with the core team in an open and authentic environment. Alongside the varied client work, regular clinical meetings and peer supervision sessions facilitate your own personal development and guest speakers provide valuable insight and knowledge. I have found the team at Brookes to be enormously welcoming and have felt encouraged to share my ideas and my clinical concerns. I've benefited from excellent supervision and have had the opportunity to suggest future developments within the department."
    4. "I spent two academic years on placement at Brookes doing a mixture of short-term and long-term work. As my training was in long-term work it was extremely helpful to learn how to work in a brief fashion as this was not covered by my course. What I thought was particularly good about this Placement was the way in which counsellors on placement were very much treated as part of the team - we were exposed to dilemmas, successes, difficulties and challenges and encouraged to problem-solve and participate as much as possible. Not only was this very enjoyable, but was a terrific insight into the ins and outs of running a service. I also found the team at Brookes to be extremely personally and professionally supportive when it came to me making decisions about my future career as a counsellor. When I moved on to paid work in another university service I felt very well-equipped and well-versed in what would be required of me, and I have no doubt that without my time at Brookes that professional opportunity would not have been open to me. I feel very grateful for the time I have spent there."
    5. "How brilliant this placement has been".
      "My placement at Oxford Brookes has been pivotal in my development as a counsellor. The diversity of the client population, and their range of presenting issues, has meant that every new student has broadened my therapeutic frame of reference. Two stand-out learning experiences have been how to work in a short-term brief therapy model and how to effectively and empathically manage risk.
      From the very outset the multi-modality team have been inclusive, supportive, and willing to share their insight and knowledge. The opportunity to learn with and from the team - both formally and informally - has been a consistent part of this placement. The supervision has been outstanding, and the access to group development has been invaluable."