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Clinical Trainee Placement

The Counselling Service at Warwick University has offered placements for counsellors-in-training for over 15 years. The clinical professional placement is aimed at those trainees who want experience of counselling contact hours with clients as part of their training:

What the University Counselling Service offers to trainees on placement:

  • The experience of working as part of an established Counselling Service
  • An opportunity to work with a range of clients within the Higher Education Sector
  • In-house supervision for one hour per week with a qualified casework supervisor
  • The chance to work as part of a multi-model team including 9 counsellors and dedicated Administrative support
  • A commitment to support trainee needs including invitations to a range of CPD events
  • A chance to develop the range of skills required of a counsellor working in an education context

 What does the University Counselling Service require from trainees on placement? 

  • A proven* capacity to work face-to-face with individual adult clients in a counselling context (other than co-students on your counselling course)
  • Appropriate competence and confidence to work with clients who are not **pre-assessed
  • A desire to develop professional counselling skills and competencies such as engaging in dynamic, effective working alliances; creating appropriate therapeutic contracts, including predominantly focussed, brief work***
  • Ongoing registration and regular attendance at a reputable counselling training course at the minimum level of 2nd year Diploma or equivalent
  • A commitment to offer one day per week during University academic term times**** (to include up to 4 client-contact hours, an hour for administration and one hour of supervision*****)
  • A willingness to work within a team
  • A disclosure of any affiliation with the University of Warwick (to minimise conflicting boundary issues)

The Counselling Service is looking for enthusiastic, bright and psychologically robust trainees who are keen to develop their counselling competence to join the team.

*Experience: To be eligible to apply, you MUST have some experience of counselling adult clients face-to-face (ie not telephone counselling or email counselling) and one-to-one (ie not group counselling). We do not stipulate a minimum number of hours. Counselling students on your course cannot count as your counselling hours experience.

**Pre-assessed clients: Some courses insist that their trainees are only allowed to work with clients who have been assessed by an experienced counsellor and deemed appropriate for a trainee to counsel. However, it is the Counselling Service policy that no clients are pre-assessed in our service. Trainees who have worked with us have found it an invaluable aspect of their learning experience but, do check that this practice meets with your course requirements to ensure you are eligible to apply (this is why we ask that you have some experience before being eligible to apply - see above)

*** See details of our service delivery model

****During academic term times: you can also work one day per week during the university vacation times in negotiation with your supervisor.

*****Supervision: it is essential to check with your particular course about the requirements of supervision and supervisors. With this placement, supervision will be in-house and as such, to avoid confusion, cases should not be co-supervised by, for example, a course tutor. Our current supervisors work with a range of theoretical orientations - check your course requirements for supervisors' qualifications, core training requirements, etc.

We welcome approaches from Course Directors/Tutors to discuss the placement opportunities on offer and the eligibility criteria and we are happy to arrange pre-placement visits to the Counselling Service.

Interested? For more details, to discuss your suitability and to request an application form (from May onwards), telephone the Counselling Service and ask to speak to Monique Wearden (placement co-ordinator) on 024 765 23761 or email

Once you have checked with your course that we, as the placement provider, meet ALL the course requirements, and that you meet the criteria to be eligible (you will need to phone the Counselling Service for an informal discussion to check), then you can begin the application process:

  • Request an application form - from May onwards (see above)
  • Complete and submit your form by the closing date. NB every application will be acknowledged by email when received but applications are not considered for official shortlisting before the closing date
  • Short-listing will take place in mid June
  • Interviews will follow if you are shortlisted
  • References will be taken up
  • Induction takes place in September
  • Placements commence at the start of the academic year in early October (or occasionally late September)

Q: How do I know if working as a trainee in HE is right for me?

A: Read through the personal reflections of other trainees to get a clearer understanding of what to expect. The HE context is unique in that it means you will be required to 'think university support' rather than solely 'think individual client' and you may have to liaise with other support services across the university. You will be asked to consider your suitability in the application form and also at the interview which we see as a mutual process of assessing that the placement is right for you. We strongly recommend an informal discussion with Monique, the Deputy Head of Counselling who is responsible for the placement programme, before submitting an application. You will also need to ensure the placement matches your course requirements.

Q: Is there anything I can do to understand the context of the work at the Counselling Service?

A: Short-term Counselling in Higher Education: Context, Theory and Practice edited by David Mair (Publisher:Taylor & Francis Ltd; ISBN: 9781138794139) published November 2015 is recommended by current associates/placements.

Q: What does a typical day's schedule look like for a trainee on placement?

A: The day is very structured which helps the containment of the varied and full client contact. Each day everyone will be scheduled with one new client, so case management skills are developed quickly, but there's plenty of support with this from the whole team. As a trainee you will build up to this schedule:

9.00am Arrive

9.15am Client 1

10.15am Client 2

11.15am Coffee break

11.30am Client 3

12.30pm Lunch

1.30pm Client 4

2.30pm Coffee break

2.45pm Admin

3.45pm Supervision


We are not recruiting at the moment.

The recruitment round for trainee counselling placements is now closed for placements to start in October 2018. If you are interested in placements starting October 2019, please get in touch in May 2019. Thank you. Alternatively, complete the registration of interest form, or ask to speak to Monique Wearden (placement co-ordinator) on 024 765 23761 or email


structured service arrangements and procedures in place and the support from
colleagues has been a great experience and really helped me to improve my
practice and to gain an understanding of the importance of well-being for all.

An aspect of the work at UCS which I have found particularly rewarding to experience as a trainee was the brief short term work.

It has given me an insight to how a counselling organisation can run in accordance to the B.A.C.P ethical framework, and I have enjoyed my placement here.

Click for full personal reflections