Placements for counsellors

  • NOTICE: Placements Temporarily Suspended

    Since March 2020, the Counselling Service has been working off campus providing Solution Focused Brief Therapy to students through telephone and Google Meet sessions. We, therefore, made the decision to suspend recruitment for placement therapists as we were not in a position to provide the standard of training, supervision and support under such conditions.

    Although recent Government guidance has made it possible for students to return to University campus in September, the situation on the return for non-teaching staff and services is still not clear. It will also prove to be a period of further transition and adaptation, in terms of office space and diary/client management. 

    Brookes Counselling Service has, therefore, decided to extend its position of not recruiting for placement therapist until Semester 2, January 2022, when hopefully the situation will be come clearer and more settled.

  • A Counselling Placement at Brookes will provide:

    • 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 Wellbeing, and appropriate liaison with the different teams, e.g. Disability and Dyslexia Special Learning Teams
    • Experience of working within a brief therapy model
    • Training on brief therapy, assessments and risk assessment & management
    • Training and experience of using clinical outcome measures - GAD-7, PHQ-9 etc.
    • Experience of participating in reflective practice meetings with a team of Staff and Placement Counsellors
    • Support from an external Psychiatric/Psychotherapist Consultant
    • The possibility of shadowing or co-working with Staff Counsellors running training/psychoeducation workshops for students on various topics
    • An induction to the Service's policies and procedures before you start your Placement

    Supervision of Oxford Brookes' clinical work is provided by an in-house experienced Staff Counsellor, normally on a 2 hour fortnightly basis and normally with another Counsellor on Placement. Whilst every attempt is made to link the modality of the Counsellor on Placement with a staff Supervisor of that modality, this may not always be possible due to time availability and room constraints. Counsellors on Placement may need to find additional, external supervision if there are specific supervision requirements required by their training institution. Staff Counsellors work in a Solution-Focused way and were trained in a variety of backgrounds, including Psychodynamic, Integrative, Person-Centred, Music Therapy, Transactional Analysis and Cognitive Behaviour Therapy.

    All clients seen in this Placement are the responsibility of Oxford Brookes Counselling Service, and, therefore all clinical work at Brookes needs to be brought to the supervision at Brookes. Your Supervisor maintains full responsibility for the overview and management of clinical practice, under the authority of the Head of Counselling.

    Whilst at Oxford Brookes, Counsellors on Placement are covered by the University's professional indemnity insurance.

    • Counsellors on Placement are expected to see a minimum of 4 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)
    • Attend a fortnightly 2-hour supervision session with another Counsellor on Placement
    • Work in accordance with the policies and procedures of Oxford Brookes Counselling
    • Attend the Counselling team meetings on Wednesdays throughout the academic year from 9.00-10.30am except the ones for the staff Counselling team only. The full team of the Service, which includes Staff Counsellors and Counsellors on Placement, attend Clinical Reflective Practice meetings and Peer Supervision meetings. Attendance at these meeting is a requirement of the Placement. Certain meetings are for the Staff Counselling team only, and Counsellors on Placement are therefore not required to attend.
    • Oxford Brookes Counselling Service is run in accordance with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy and Professional Conduct Procedure. Counsellors on Placement are required to familiarise themselves with this document while on Placement, as well as the Counselling Service's own Policies and Procedures
    • To apply for a Placement, you must have already gained a minimum of 50 - 70 hours recent clinical experience of Face to Face 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 70 hour requirement
    You may use your clinical work at Brookes in written case studies or your 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 Head of Counselling. Handling and storage of client material (written or recorded) must be accordance with the requirement of the Data Protection Act (1998).

    Unfortunately, due to the impact of COVID-19 we will not be able to offer placements to Counsellors in training from September 2020 to January 2021. During this period we are offering counselling remotely and are not in a position to offer placements for this mode of delivery. The situation may change in January if we are in a position to offer face to face counselling. When we re-open applications the process for application is set out below

    You can apply for a Counselling Placement at any time during the Academic year. However, if you apply during the summer vacation period, your Placement will not start until the beginning of the Academic Year. Download the Placement Person Specification. To be considered for a Placement, please complete the Placement Application Form.

    All applications will be reviewed by the Head of Counselling and the Placement Coordinator. Applicants will hear within 3 weeks if they are to be invited for interview or not. All interview candidates will hear if they have been successful or not within 3 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

    Feedback extracted from our Placement evaluation interviews with previous trainee counsellors:

    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 CoPs 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".