First Psychology Training

Professional training

We are delighted to be launching our diploma in integrative counselling and psychological therapy in October 2024. This high-quality, professional training is designed to provide a contemporary and practice-based pathway for those who wish to become professional practitioners in the counselling and psychological therapy field. Delivered by expert practitioners, it will offer a solid grounding in person-centred counselling/psychotherapy with an emphasis on the integration of contemporary CBT models focusing on compassion-focused therapy (CFT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). It will offer participants the ability to work in a range of ways with different client difficulties and experiences. It is based on a pluralistic perspective informing much contemporary research and practice in the area of mental health. The programme will be informed by both counselling and applied psychology traditions in theory, knowledge and research.

The programme has evolved from practice and  focuses on developing skills and competences relevant to being and working as a professional practitioner in an active therapeutic context.  

Programme modules

Year 1 Therapeutic Skills 1 | Managing Therapeutic Relationships | Defining Counselling and Psychological Therapy | Approaches in Person-Centred Therapy | Knowledge, Evidence and Research in Practice 1 | Context, Diversity and Difference in Mental Health 1 | Personal Development 1 | Becoming a Professional 1.

Year 2 Therapeutic Skills 2 | Managing Therapeutic Relationships 2 | Perspectives on Integration in Counselling and Psychological Therapy 2 | Approaches in Contemporary CBT | Knowledge, Evidence and Research in Practice 2 | Context, Diversity and Difference in Mental Health 2 | Personal Development 2 | Becoming a Professional 2.

Length and structure

The programme is offered on a part-time basis over two years starting in October 2024. It will be delivered via eight weekends (Sat/Sun) of in-person teaching/learning over the year, located in our Hill Street training venue in Edinburgh. This will be supplemented by a weekly online workshop (Thursdays) and an intensive personal development retreat week each year (venues tbc).


The programme requires students to undertake a minimum of 100 hours clinical practice in placement settings over the two years. A number of placement opportunities will be made available via First Psychology, with a guaranteed placement available to all students who wish this and who meet the ‘competent to practice’ requirements. 

Professional registration

The programme has been designed to meet the requirements of British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) programme accreditation, which would allow all graduates to become BACP registered. An application will be made towards this once the first cohort of student has completed all elements of the programme, in line with BACP requirements. In the meantime the programme will offer a certificate of proficiency  in integrative counselling and psychological therapy that has been designed to support graduates meet the requirements for individual registration with the BACP where a course does not have formal accreditation. This is in line with current BACP process (see


Upon completion of the programme, students will be eligible to apply for employment opportunities in the third sector, the NHS and occupational health services, or to work as an independent practitioner. Opportunities will also be available to apply to join the First Psychology Training Academy in an employed practitioner role or to apply to become a partner practitioner with First Psychology.

Graduate associateship

All graduates from the programme will be eligible to become a graduate associate with First Psychology Training, gaining access to free CPD,  networking events and conferences delivered by First Psychology alongside mentoring and support relating to career development. This will apply for three years following the date of completion of the programme.

Who should apply and entrance requirements

The programme is suitable for graduates in a relevant discipline ( psychology, healthcare, social science etc,) with some experience in a caring/supportive role and a keen interest in working in the mental health field 

The programme is also suitable for those with considerable work experience/professional skills wishing to move toward  establishing a new career in counselling and psychological therapy.

In order to meet the academic components of the programme we would expect all applicants to have undertaken previous study, ideally at graduate or masters level or via a significant number of professional development courses alongside significant work experience. Some previous training in counselling/listening skills will be expected along with a clear and demonstrable rationale for undertaking a professional training in integrative counselling and psychological therapy at this time. We would normally expect an applicant to have undertaken some personal development work or therapeutic activity at some point prior to applying.

Number of places

There are 16 places available in 2024.


The programme will cost £4500 per year(including VAT, where applicable), including all teaching, assessment and administration. Clinical supervision for placements is also included. Additional costs will be: personal therapy (can be undertaken at a subsidised rate with First Psychology), books/study materials, travel/accommodation to week-long retreat each year (budget around £500).

Fees  can be paid in advance or as part of a payment plan. Bursaries and subsidies may be available. Please ask for further information. 

***  special launch offer *** 

We  are offering a discount of 33% on the programme fee for our first students. This is a unique opportunity to undertake this programme for a fee of £3000 per year (including VAT, where applicable).

Thinking of applying for our diploma course?

To find out more about our Diploma in Integrative Counselling and Psychological Therapy, download our prospectus or watch the recording of our 'open day' webinar, (passcode xM$UJ*b8)

Professional Training