Case study

Finally taking the plunge pays off for Tania

After ten years of considering applying to university, mature student Tania Wilson finally took the plunge and applied to the University of Derby to study Counselling and Psychotherapy. She has now graduated and is ready for the next stage of her academic career.

Finding courage

Tania had always wanted to study Counselling. She just never felt quite ready. She explains: “I attended a few open days times and enquired about finances and the duration of study, but it never felt like the right time, so I put it off time and time again. At 39, I was in a job I hated, and I knew I had to take that leap, so I pulled some courage from somewhere and I applied to the University of Derby.” 

Tailored support from the University

Tania enrolled in the BSc Counselling and Psychotherapy Principles and Practices programme. During her first year, she was diagnosed with several learning differences and the University offered her the tailored support she needed.

She says: “The university has been amazing at supporting me, helping me to identify areas of need and putting that support into place throughout my studies. I’ve received one-to-one specialist help, IT resources, and additional time for assignments. If I did not have these things implemented, then I would not be where I am today.”

 A chance to grow

Tania is now well on her way to achieving her goals - with the encouragement from the academic team. “The staff are so supportive, understanding, and caring, it really does feel like one big family, and they have impacted my life in such a positive way. My course was very personal, but there was never any judgement, just unconditional support from lecturers and peers, even when going through Covid, when I was having to home-school my children, work and attend lectures, the staff gave so much support that I didn’t feel alone. When I felt lost, they were there to guide me, they were always friendly and never turned me away.”

 “To say I have grown would be an understatement, I have gone from having no qualifications and no understanding of the basic principles of academic life to finishing my degree in four years. I am now moving on to the masters in Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy, something that I thought was unachievable for someone like me. The academic teaching team believed in me and gave me belief in myself, something I have never had before.”

Making vital connections

During her course Tania made many industry connections, and one guest lecture led to a placement opportunity: “In the second year, as a part of the Professional Development module, there was a guest speaker who was the Head of the Psychology department for two different prisons. Due to this lecture, I was able to make professional contacts within the prison service and obtain a placement which will support my development and academic progress within the masters programme I am moving on to.”

Tania is now working as a Student Counsellor where she supports clients with psychological and mental health issues: “I complete assessments and I have my own client base, doing one-to-one work and co-facilitating group sessions. The knowledge and skills I have gained from this degree has enabled me to support complex clients with severe mental health disorders. As a Counselling graduate I have been able to deliver different therapeutic approaches, such as person-centred approaches. Once I finish my masters, I will be looking for a therapeutic role working with people who suffer from mental health disorders.”

Tania Wilson

Don’t let any insecurities or worries stop you from achieving as the University will support you in any way they can. With determination and a lot of hard work, your experience can be as positive as mine.

Tania Wilson
BSc (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy Principles and Practices