As we move towards the start of the third group of students on the MA in Pluralistic Counselling and Psychotherapy, I would like to use this blog to share some of my experiences of working on this programme. The aim of the MA is to enable qualified and experienced therapists to develop professional leadership in the areas of both research and practice. Course members learn about how to work with clients in ways that are flexible, resourceful and collaborative, and informed by current research. They also complete a research portfolio and other pieces of writing that can be disseminated to professional audiences, for example through journal articles, conference presentations, and reports.
I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the students on this programme. I have learned a huge amount from them, in terms of their knowledge of different client groups and ways of working. It has been hard work, but also a lot of fun. I see myself as taking a role of something like a coach, tuning into where the student has got to in relation to a task, and then trying to push them a little bit further.
As someone who has worked in universities and colleges for many years, I am not all that interested in academic learning that is just focused on getting a qualification. In the field of counselling and psychotherapy, there are many ways in which we need work together to learn how to devise more effective and more accessible services, and we need to use research and scholarship as a means of making this happen. I encourage the students on the MA to think about their studies in terms of tangible ‘products’, such as new ways of working with particular client problems, research studies that colleagues can read and then use to enrich their practice, and research that can feed in to policy-making, training, supervision and management in counselling and psychotherapy organisations.
Professor of Counselling
John McLeod with the IICP Masters Year 1 and Year 2 Students (May 2016)