Person-Centred and Experiential Psychotherapy

at Sherwood Psychotherapy Training Institute

Study options



Key facts

Sherwood Psychotherapy Training Institute
Study option:
3 Years

Experiential psychotherapy training

A dynamic and experiential programme; developing an integration of personal, professional and theoretical training

Professional & academic recognition

Leading to registration with UKCP, students will undertake placement with clients, engage in research and theory

Study with the experts

Tutors are at the forefront of their profession, active clinicians, authors and researchers

Person-centred therapy can be seen as an umbrella term referring to the variety of approaches grounded in the theoretical views of human nature and interaction originally developed by Carl Rogers, and others, in the 1940’s and 1950’s. This programme combines a dynamic mix of philosophical, theoretical, research and clinical based learning.

This programme exposes students to new developments within the person-centred and experiential therapies framework. There will be opportunities to explore person-centred expressive arts therapy, pre-therapy and contact work, relational depth in person-centred therapy and counselling with a range of client groups (including, although not restricted to, those experiencing depression, anxiety and panic, trauma, critical incident or Post Traumatic Stress, loss and bereavement, alcohol and drug issues, eating problems, self-injury, issues with gender and/or sexual identity). This will involve on-going critical reflection based within the person-centred model of integration which invites the testing out of ideas and/or therapeutic technique against the core concepts of person-centred philosophy and theory.

On successful completion of study, we will issue the following award: MSc Person-Centred and Experiential Psychotherapy

Part-time study

Studied part-time, all modules are compulsory to complete the academic qualification of MSc and professional accreditation with UKCP. All modules are taught in class sizes no larger than 18. Each credit taken equates to a total study time of around 10 hours. Total study time includes scheduled teaching, independent study and assessment activity.

Course content

The idea that no one model of therapy is superior informs a central view underpinning the programme which reflects the value of both single-orientation and pluralistic therapeutic practices for both therapist and client. Students can expect to actively engage with key elements of approaches such as classic client-centred, experiential process, existentially informed, focus-orientated, integrated and pre-therapy whilst holding at their core a continuing critical examination of the impact of their ‘way of being’ in relationships.

The basis is primarily humanistic and students are highly likely to share key values and beliefs from this strand of psychology. The humanistic framework developed in reaction to the behavioural and analytic emphasis of the time, incorporating and advancing aspects of these earlier traditions; emphasising ideas such as:

  • A belief in the worth of persons and the dedication to the development of human potential
  • An understanding of life as a process and that change is inevitable
  • An appreciation of the creative, spiritual and intuitive

Ample opportunity will be given to consideration of ideas central to each of the main psychotherapy traditions (for instance, Psychoanalytic, Cognitive-behavioural, Transpersonal and other Humanistic models such as Gestalt and Transactional Analysis) as well as to contemporary views emerging within the field. Thus enabling critical contemplation in regard to compatibility and/or complementarity of theories and practice to that of person-centred and experiential approaches.

Professional body accreditation

Accredited by the UK Council for Psycotherapy (UKCP)

Entry requirements

Entry is through submission of an application form, evidence of qualifications, 2 suitable references, a satisfactory criminal records check and a personal interview. The following requirements comply with both QAA and UKCP’s standards for training in psychotherapy:

  • An undergraduate degree in psychology or a related discipline (for example, sociology, education, theology, philosophy), or
  • A non-relevant undergraduate degree with appropriate training or experience, or
  • A qualification or professional training/work-based portfolio in the helping professions evidencing study level equivalent to level 6 (for example, social work, psychiatric nursing, general nursing, teaching)
  • A counselling diploma or equivalent qualification plus evidence of ability to study at level 6
  • Relevant work and/or life experience plus evidence of ability to study at level 6

Applicants who do not meet the academic requirements for entry, but satisfy criteria relating to ‘relevant work and/or life experience’, may be asked to complete a short essay in order to demonstrate their capacity to study at postgraduate level.

Where English is not your first language, you must demonstrate a pass in either:

  • IELTS 7.0 (no less than 6.5 in any element)
  • TOEFL iBT 87 (no less than 21 in listening and writing, 22 in reading and 23 in speaking), or
  • CELE pre-sessional course

SPTI can only consider applications from applicants who satisfy HOME fee residential status criteria e.g. UK/EU/EEA including Switzerland. SPTI is not a UK Home Office registered sponsor and we are unable to admit international students.

If you are already a qualified counsellor or psychotherapist wishing to further your career by undertaking additional study/research, you may be eligible to join either year 2 or 3 of the MSc programme via an Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) application process. In this instance, the length of training will be determined by the point of entry.

The nature of psychotherapy training is primarily relational and as such it is important for applicants to disclose any pre-existing relationships with SPTI staff and/or members (and other applicants where known) at the point of application. This provides the opportunity to address potential implications for this at the interview stage thereby ensuring professional standards when attending to dual relationships, which Professional Bodies (for example, BACP and UKCP) recommend be avoided to prevent detrimental effects and promote professional accountability at all stages of training and practice. We aim to ensure that this does not provide an unnecessary barrier to recruitment. Therefore, in cases of pre-existing relationships with current students and/or training staff, adjustments may be suggested; this could include an alternative entry point or in some cases an alternative programme of study.


Interviews are conducted with the Programme Leader or an experienced team member who is a professional counsellor/psychotherapist and likely to be for a minimum of 30 minutes duration. At interview, you will need to demonstrate that you have, or have the potential to develop, the following attributes and skills:

  • Self-awareness, maturity and stability
  • Ability to reflect on life experiences and utilise constructive feedback
  • Capacity to cope with the emotional and intellectual demands of the programme
  • Ability to form a helping relationship
  • Awareness of issues of diversity and equality, prejudice and oppression
  • Ability to recognise the need for personal and professional support
  • The generic professional skills of literacy, numeracy, information technology, administrative skills, self-management skills, communication and interpersonal skills

Registration with UKCP enables many graduates to progress into employment within the field or develop their own practice. Further supervision training is available for those wishing to develop their skills

Teaching and assessment


We know that our students learn in different ways. To help everyone get the most out of their studies, we teach through a combination of lectures, workshops, and practical sessions. In addition, you will have timetabled meetings with your personal tutor (or equivalent) at least twice a year to help support you in your studies. You will be taught in high-quality learning spaces throughout your course, and of course will have access to virtual learning environments to enhance your learning opportunities. Many of our courses are accredited or recognised by professional, statutory or regulatory bodies.


Your course will provide you with opportunities to test your understanding of your subject informally before you complete the formal assessments that count towards your final mark. Each module will give you a variety of opportunities to receive informal feedback from your tutor. These may include classroom discussions, discussions in the virtual learning environment, presentations, milestone assessments, and practice assessments. Informal feedback is developmental and any grades you may receive for these do not count towards your module mark. There is a formal or ‘summative’ assessment at the end of each module. This includes a range of coursework assessments, such as essays, reports, portfolios, performance, presentations, final year, independent project and written examinations. The grades from formal assessments count towards your module mark.


You will normally receive feedback on formal coursework assessments within 20 working days following the date of submission. Examination feedback may take a variety of formats, including one-to-one discussions with your tutor. However, as a minimum, generic feedback will be made available to all students who take written examinations.


Addison Raven - Programme Leader

Ambika Connelly - Tutor

Anissa Chung - Tutor

Richard Kettley - Tutor

Emma Harrison - Tutor


For fee information, visit the Sherwood Psychotherapy Training Institute website.

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