Can I train to be a counsellor via distance learning?

Good counselling training has at its core a solid relational foundation and it is CPCAB’s view that this cannot be fully achieved via online or distance learning. All our qualifications are classroom-based and use the benefits of an experiential shared environment to build counselling competence which is refined at every subsequent level.

CPCAB recommend that learners seek classroom based training and advise centres that acceptance of online or distance learning as entry to our qualifications be carefully considered in terms of appropriate prior learning.

In the currently unregulated world of counselling, there is a wide range of training available, some of better quality than others and there is undoubtedly a place for distance learning as CPD or when combined with high-quality classroom based learning. Indeed, CPCAB’s joint Foundation Degree with the Open University came to be for this very reason. The choice of OU modules add a solid layer of academic study to the existing CPCAB classroom-based practitioner qualifications but it is CPCAB’s view that those initial vital interpersonal skills can only be learned in the presence of other individuals.   

Professional Associations for counselling registered as Approved Voluntary Registers by the Professional Standards Authority insist on a proportion of the applicant’s training being classroom-based, although some membership associations accept distance learning equivalents. BACP’s own website states that …

“We believe that practising counselling skills under supervision, and with feedback from staff and fellow students, is an important aspect of training. Online and distant learning courses can offer an introduction to the use of counselling skills and theory, but do not have this relationship with staff and other students.

Any courses you take through online or distance learning will not count towards the training hours you require for BACP membership or accreditation.”