Counselling and psychotherapy
These are professions that value age, life skills and experience in practitioners. But that’s not enough to qualify you (although it is still true that anyone can set themselves up as a therapist – for the time being at least).
If you’re thinking about training, bear in mind that it can be a demanding process and may require a high degree of soul-searching and self-examination, which isn’t for everyone. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy advises people to start with a short taster course before committing themselves to a longer and more costly training. The Association’s site is the essential first stop, with excellent student pages and info on accredited courses, entry requirements and the kinds of qualities course tutors are looking for in applicants.
UK Council for Psychotherapy has a list of member organisations that provide training as well as useful explanations of the many different kinds of therapy.
The Relate Institute runs a variety of courses in relationship counselling, and you don’t have to work with Relate once you’re qualified. Many courses are run in collaboration with the University of Hull, and take place at five locations across the country. They include a one-year Introduction to Couple Counselling for people with no previous experience. The course includes traditional teaching plus 50 hours of supervised clinical practice, usually at a Relate Centre.
Mediation is one of the country’s few booming services, not least because the government has invested £25 million to support it. Last November, the Family Justice Review recommended that all couples applying for divorce should first seek mediation, and this could massively increase demand for family mediation. Other types of mediation deal with workplace and neighbourhood disputes. The following two sites specialise in family mediation:
National Family Mediation, the UK’s largest family mediator service, holds nine-day training courses three times a year in Birmingham, York and London. This site tells you everything you need to know about what mediation, and training to be a mediator, involve.
The Family Mediators’ Association, one of the longest established mediation training providers , offers a first-step foundation training programme. The site has a comprehensive Q&A, which is worth a good look, and straightforward advice on eligibility.