Who is the course for?

The course is suitable for individuals aged 19 and over, and we welcome applications from people from all walks of life, including faith and non-faith backgrounds. Level 4 is a practitioner qualifying course which means that you will be expected to have a supervised adult work placement in a counselling agency and after completion you will be able to become a full member of counselling professional membership body.



The level 4 course at Spurgeon’s teaches an integrative approach to counselling and prepares students for working in a counselling agency in line with the CPCAB model. It provides 420hrs of guided learning over two years.

Level 4 builds on the skills and theory learnt at Levels 2 and 3, and students will gain a working knowledge of aspects of psychodynamic and humanistic (person-centred, TA, existential and gestalt) therapies. In addition, we also introduce concepts from cognitive-behavioural therapies at various points in the course. Students are taught the Clarkson Five Relationship model as an example framework for integration. They are then encouraged to form their integrative model over the two years of the course to enable them to work with a variety of clients.

Level 4 challenges students to develop high levels of self-awareness around their understanding of their self, their personal history and their patterns of relating. Additionally, students can expect to learn of variety of counselling theory, counselling skills, and knowledge about ethical / professional. Students will be encouraged to reflect on their approach to working with difference and diversity in the counselling relationship. Over the two years of the Level 4 course students will also covers some specialist topics in counselling:

    • Loss and Grief

    • Working with religion and spirituality

    • Brief therapy

    • An introduction to counselling on the telephone / online

    • Mental health awareness

    • Suicide and self-harm

    • Depression

    • Anxiety

    • PTSD and Trauma

    • Sexual Abuse

    • Addictions awareness

    • Eating disorder awareness

    • Walk and talk therapy


As part of the Level 4 course students will also be expected to receive 30hrs of personal counselling and complete 100hrs supervised work experience in a counselling placement in an agency setting with adult clients*. Students will be encouraged to begin considering potential placements in year 1 of the course and a placement must have begun by the start of year two to enable progression into the second year. Before students can begin in placement they will be required to successfully pass a readiness to practice assessment.

*A proportion of the supervised work experience hours can be counselling children and adolescents in certain circumstances.



Assessment of this course is made up of two parts: an internal assessment and an external assessment.

Internal Assessment – Over the two years student build a portfolio of work to demonstrate they have met the criteria laid out by CPCAB for completing the qualification. Examples of work which will be completed to form the internal assessment are: weekly written learning reviews, essays, case studies, reflections on audio recorded skills practices, self-reviews, logs of placement work etc.

External Assessment – In year two of the course you will be required to complete the external assessment as set by CPCAB. This is currently a written case study based on one the clients that have been worked with in the supervised work placement.

Students must pass the internal and external assessments, and successfully finish their placement hours to be awarded the diploma.


Entry requirements

To be considered for entry to the Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling (TC-L4) a candidates must be:

    • Aged 19 years or over

    • Able to identify reasons for training beyond just personal development

    • Able to provide references

    • Academically and emotionally able to cope with this level of training

    • Able to work with difference and diversity

    • Possess personal qualities of imagination, intuition, openness and ability to benefit from self-development

    • Able to form a therapeutic relationship

    • Self-aware, and have insight, honesty and integrity

    • Emotionally stable and the absence of personality disturbance

    • Able to challenge and be challenged

    • Able to respond sensitively and empathically to others

    • Capable to begin working with clients within an agency setting

    • Intending (and actively seeking) to begin work with clients during year 1 of the programme

In addition, applicants for the Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling must have obtained both the CPCAB Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills (online, face-to-face or blended delivery format) and the CPCAB Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Studies (online, face-to-face or blended delivery format), or their equivalent.

Applicants will normally require at least a GCSE English Grade 4 (previously GCSE English Grade C), or the equivalent, in order to study a counselling course at Spurgeon’s College. Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to meet specific English language requirements, normally at IELTS level 6.5, in order to be able to study at Spurgeon’s College

Entry to the first year of the CPCAB Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling Course will be possible for applicants who have not yet completed their external assessment for CPCAB Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Studies. However, such applicants must successfully complete CPCAB Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Studies prior to entry into the 2nd year of CPCAB Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling Course.

Recognition of prior learning

Applicants without both the CPCAB Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills and the CPCAB Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Studies, can apply for recognition of prior learning if they have completed formal training equivalent to the Level 2 and Level 3 courses. A Recognition of Prior Learning Form (PRL) will need to be filled out. Recognition of Prior Learning will take into account that the CPCAB Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills and the CPCAB Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Studies are offered (whether delivered face-to-face, online or in blended format) with significant synchronous interaction between students and tutors. Level 2 and Level 3 distance learning courses which consist solely of asynchronous delivery cannot be considered for recognition of prior learning for entry to the College’s CPCAB counselling courses.


When does it take place?

The Diploma is normally taught for one day 8.30am – 4.15pm between September and June. Classes may be on a Thursday or a Friday, however if the class is taught on a Thursday in your first year then it will also be taught on a Thursday in your second year. Our admissions department will be able to confirm which day you will be in college. In addition to the weekday teaching, there are five teaching Saturdays (8.30am–4pm) in a year. Year 2 of the course will always be taught on the same day as year 1 of the course.


How much does it cost?

You can find a breakdown of current fees by course type here.

The college course fees include your registration fee with CPCAB and one sitting of the external assessment with CPCAB.

Additional costs to the course fees are approximately:

Travel to supervised work experienceApprox. £5 per week
Bi-weekly clinical supervision if not provided by placementApprox. £50-60 per hour (minimum of 1.5hrs a month and at least 1hr supervision to 8hrs client work)
Books (optional)Approx. £200 over two years
Two Supervisor reportsApprox. £200 over two years
Two Supervisor reportsApprox. £40 each
Student membership of a professional membershipApprox. £90 per year
Printing costs (course handouts / portfolio of work)Approx. £80
Indemnity insuranceApprox. £90 per year
External Assessment Resit fees (if first attempt is failed)Approx. £240



With over 60 placements across 11 years, the 96 Harley St practice has valued the relationship with Spurgeon’s and the high calibre teaching they provide. It is clear that the courses are robust and prepare students well to fulfil their potential as excellent counsellors. Many of the placement students have stayed on with us after they have qualified, and they continue to support each other with their own practice.

Kay Lawrence, 96 Harley Street Practice

How to apply

You can apply by completing an online application form using the link below.

There is an equal consideration date for all applications received by the 15 April. Counselling staff will consider these applications on that date and applicants will be notified within 10 working days if they have been invited for an interview. Any applications that are received after this date will be considered on a first come first serve basis if there are still places available on the course. The closing date for applications is the 24 August.


Please contact the admissions department for more information.

Email: admissions@spurgeons.ac.uk

Telephone: 07425 716696