The Gibraltar College is offering a full programme of courses that lead right up to the Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling as approved by the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy.
On successful completion, which includes 100 hours of community based supervised counselling as a trainee, students are able to practise. Should they wish to continue studying they can specialise further by taking two Open University Modules, which together with the Level 4 qualification will give them a Foundation degree.
The College is currently running a Level 2 course, which in its own right, prepares any professional to use interpersonal skills to support their primary role. Teachers, social workers, youth workers, nurses, learning support assistants, managers and technically anyone working with potentially vulnerable groups, often take this on as a stand-alone programme.
Those wishing to take on this line of work progress on to Level 3 which is much more theoretical. This September saw another intake of students at this level. The Level 4 course is currently towards the end of the first year and it is in the second year that they need to complete 100 hours of supervised work in an agency.
The courses are accredited by Counselling and Psychotherapy Central Awarding Body (CPCAB), a mayor awarding body in the UK, and the scheme of work with much of the content has been developed by local tutors keeping to high standards but also ensuring that it meets local needs and culture. There are currently 16 students at level 2, 8 at level 3 and 11 at level 4.
Short courses on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Supervision at Level 3, written by local tutor Mark Montovio have been accredited by CPCAB, and other short courses can be designed and sent off for accreditation to meet local needs such as working with drugs and alcohol, bereavement, CBT, suicide, anxiety and depression and working with young children, for example.
A presentation was hosted this week by the Gibraltar College, with the participation of agencies including the GHA, Department of Education and the Citizens’ Advice Bureau. This is a first for Gibraltar and the possibility of other professionals getting involved in the training looking at specific areas has huge potential.
Minister for Education John Cortes said, “It is wonderful to see the Gibraltar College carrying out this training, which will provide a good number of locally-qualified professional Counsellors. With mental health being such a concern in today’s society, it is particularly important that counsellors be available to support those who need them. The fact that they are home grown is even more welcome”.