Image: Student case study online counselling diploma

What do you do now?

I work in Safeguarding for vulnerable adults and children.

Has the University of Derby Online Counselling Studies and Skills Diploma programme been useful for you and your career?

This course helped me to secure volunteering work with victim support (victim of crimes), leading me to my current position. Several things I learnt during the programme were useful in my volunteering role, for example an understanding of the importance of non-verbal communication, and asking open questions when working with victims. The combination of skills and knowledge was extremely useful for me to support victims, especially in developing their resilience.

I’m currently studying for a master’s programme, while continuing to work in my safeguarding role. The knowledge I gained from the University of Derby Counselling Studies and Skills course has been extremely helpful. For example, the Counselling in Contexts module taught me a lot about organisational cultures, which I have extended and implemented into my master’s dissertation.

Some of the most useful skills I developed have been around listening and communication which are crucial when working as part of a team.

I also found the reflection skills extremely beneficial. During the course, we were given many opportunities to reflect on our previous academic work, skills and communication. This process trained me to reflect on myself regularly which has been highly useful to my personal and professional life and what led me to change my career, leading me to my current role.

Communication and reflection skills are essential not only to counselling, but also to many other jobs and aspects of life. The University of Derby Counselling Studies and Skills programme taught me how to use these effectively.

What were your motivations for under-taking the UD Counselling Studies and Skills programme?

Originally, I wanted to further my studies with the aim of becoming a psychotherapist. I studied this course to learn more about the field of counselling and psychotherapy. When I was taking the Theories of Therapeutic Interventions module, I was introduced to a range of counselling approaches. I then became more interested in person-centred counselling. Due to the exposure to different types of counselling, I was then able to consider the most suitable counselling approach and what kind of context would suit me and my practice the best. By the time I completed the module, I felt I wanted to pursue Safeguarding.

Have you noticed any changes within yourself, when you reflect on before and after you completed this programme?

Day-to-day I regularly communicate with people in my job. When I am talking to somebody, I am more thoughtful about the way in which I express myself, including my body language. As a result of the Counselling Skills module, I understand the importance of non-verbal communication and am now far more aware of how I relate and interact with different people and how this might affect them.

I also became more reflective; I now reflect on my learning, how I have applied it in practice, and what the result was. I am finding this extremely helpful now that I’m studying a master’s degree and through my experience on the counselling course, I find it easier to verbalise my learning experiences and how I felt about them. I’ve already had positive feedback from my tutor about one of my assignments. He said that I was able to show clearly how my thought process progressed and how I came to the conclusion. I really enjoyed this assignment!

It’s been a theme of this interview, hasn’t it? That I am really thankful to the University Diploma Counselling Studies and Skills programme that my reflection and communication skills have developed a lot.

What did you enjoy the most about the programme?

It may sound strange but I enjoyed the role play exercise, where students film their counselling role play and view it with peers and tutor. It was very useful. First of all, it gave me a chance to practice. It’s important to put knowledge into practice, and watching the video replay, and critiquing my performance was really insightful: consider what you’ve done well and reflect on what you need to improve it. This was extremely useful when I applied to a master’s programme in counselling. They asked us to do the role play too!! For most of the applicants, it might have been their first time experiencing such activity, but because I had done it before, I was prepared for it. Fortunately I got accepted into the master’s programme. I believe that if I hadn’t done the exercise as part of my counselling course, I wouldn’t have been accepted.

What was the most challenging aspect of the programme?

Again, it was the role play. It was something new to me to sit with someone and film my counselling, I felt scared. But this gave me a push to practice what I had learnt in a safe environment. Also, I received useful feedback from my tutor. This exercise really gave me confidence to use the skills I learnt.

Who would you recommend this programme to?

Most people would get something out of this programme. If you want a career in counselling, it’s a great place to start. It gives you an introduction to theories and skills, as well as an insight into counselling in different contexts. If you’re thinking about a career in counselling, it is definitely the place to start. It would be an incredibly useful starting point to find out if counselling is for you. But even if not, this programme is still useful, because it teaches you reflection and communication skills, which you will need in many other areas: I am one of those. Many employers want someone with great communication skills. Completing this programme demonstrates that you have practiced and considered these types of skills. I would say this programme is useful to anybody working with other people.

Anything else you would like to add?

The reflection and communication skills I learned from this programme have been extremely useful to my professional, academic, and personal life. It was a brilliant programme, I loved it!

Thank you Jordan for taking the time for the interview!