CPCAB Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling

This page provides all the necessary information that you may need to support and guide you in your application for the Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling.


York Learning has been delivering the CPCAB Counselling Training Courses since 2013 and in that time we have grown to become one of the biggest training centres for CPCAB in the whole of Yorkshire.

All members of the Counselling tutor team are fully qualified counsellors as well as qualified teachers with an extensive amount of knowledge and experience that they bring to the classroom.  We are very passionate about providing the highest quality training from Level 2 to Level 4 and we put our learners at the centre of everything we do.

Here at York Learning we pride ourselves on being aware of and responsive to the specific needs of adult learners.  We respect and appreciate that on most occasions our learners will be balancing their counselling training with other commitments and priorities such as work, family and child care; often our learners also travel from out of the local area to attend weekly sessions.

With this in mind, all of our courses are delivered through a blended learning model so that we can continue to offer our learners an inclusive and engaging learning environment.  The courses combine high quality, interactive online teaching (via Zoom) with more traditional face to face learning from our premises at The Centre @ Burnholme.

We look forward to welcoming you onto the Level 4 Diploma ( subject to the application and interview selection process) as you continue your journey of counselling training with York Learning.

Warm Regards

Anna-Marie Gillman
Programme Lead: York Learning Counselling

All you need to know about the Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling

What Does the Course Provide?

This professional qualification will provide you with the knowledge, skills and competencies to work as a therapeutic counsellor within an agency context (initially) but with additional experience and support from a clinical supervisor you may also progress to independent private practice.

The course is BACP recognised which means that during your training you are eligible to apply for student membership to the BACP.   On completion of the course you will be eligible to become a full member of BACP and work towards accreditation if desired.


Duration of Course

This course is run over a period of 2 years.  During the 2 years you will meet on a weekly basis either in person or on line for 7 hours per week (excluding the usual academic holidays such as half term holidays, Easter and Christmas).

You are expected to attend each session to ensure that you get the most out of the course and absence from sessions will only be accepted due to unforeseen circumstances such as sickness or other work commitments.


Course Requirements

There are a number of course requirements for the Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling.  We have categorised them into the following: ‘financial’, ‘time’, ‘personal’ and ‘academic’.  Please see appendix [A] for a detailed breakdown of these requirements.  There may be other course requirements as your training gets underway but in essence these are the main ones to consider at this stage.

Entry Requirements

You are required to have completed the CPCAB Level 2 Certificate in Counselling Skills (or equivalent) and the CPCAB Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Studies (or equivalent) to be eligible to apply for the course.    Special consideration may be given to those who do not hold a Level 2 and Level 3 qualifications in Counselling Skills and Studies if they are able to evidence that they have recognised prior learning (RPL).  RPL will be awarded to those who have qualifications in other related fields and / or actual practical experience within the counselling profession.

The Application Process

The first step is to complete the application form along with your personal statement outlining your reasons for wanting to do the course.  We strongly advise that you attend one of the Level 4 Information events that are being offered remotely in the summer before completing the personal statement. 

Once we have received your application form, personal statement and reference you will be notified if you have made it to the second stage of the application process which is the Level 4 interview.

At the second stage, all applicants will be required to attend an interview with the Programme Lead and a Level 4 Co-Tutor where you will be required to enter into a dialogue around your reasons and motivations for wanting to do the course.   At this stage we are really looking for your openness to the process of counselling training at this level and how well you feel you will manage the demands and requirements of the course.  The core theoretical modality of our Level 4 Diploma is Person Centred and the style of the interview will reflect this.    Interviews will take place during the summer and specific methods for interview along with dates and times will be confirmed at the information events.

The third stage is to be notified if you have been successful in securing a place on the course.  If you have not been successful then you can request feedback that might support you to make an application again in the future.

Important to Note

This qualification is not suitable for those who are currently in a state of severe emotional difficulty and /or severe psychological confusion. The course involves experiential elements that will involve personal disclosure and self reflection through associated personal developmental activities.  The emotional demands of this course require applicants to be open to personal growth and development therefore it is essential that you have a good level of self awareness around your personality, your personal history and how you form relationships with others.


£4795 (self funded or via advanced learner loan).  If you are self funding then you can pay the full £4795 at the start of the course or in a number of agreed instalments. If you are loan funding, you are required to pay a non refundable £125 registration fee to secure your place and then apply to the advanced learner loan company for the remaining balance of £4670.


There are 2 elements to the course and both are required to be passed in order to gain the qualification

  1. Internal assessment: tutor assessment of candidate portfolio evidencing minimum assessment requirements, and verified by CPCAB
  2. External assessment: externally assessed audio recording of a counselling session with a peer, plus an associated written paper taken under exam conditions and assessed by CPCAB. This is usually during May/June of year 2.

The assessment strategy maintains a focus on practitioner skills and qualities as well as on written evidence. The combination of tutor assessment and separate external assessment by CPCAB values both objective independent assessments and the relational knowledge of the candidate and their work.


  • Level 5 Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling (PC-L5)
  • Level 5 Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapeutic Skills & Theory (CBT-L5)
  • Level 6 Certificate in Therapeutic Counselling Supervision (TCSU-L6)
  • Open University Foundation Degree in Counselling

This qualification has been designed to take account of the latest research findings on what makes counselling effective and is underpinned by the CPCAB model of practitioner development.

The qualification currently offers routes on to the following professional body registers accredited by the Professional Standards Authority (PSA):

  • BACP – British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy
  • NCS – National Counselling Society
  • UKCP – United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (Standards for Psychotherapeutic Counselling). Learners applying to UKCP must also acquire CPCAB Level 5 diploma in psychotherapeutic counselling.
  • COSCA – Counselling and Psychotherapy in Scotland
  • ACC – Association of Christian Counsellors

Areas and Topics Studied

This qualification has 7 Learning Processes that will be covered in a range of ways as follows:

  1. Working ethically, safely and professionally as a person centred counsellor
  2. Working within a counselling relationship as a person centred counsellor
  3. Working with client diversity in counselling work as a person centred counsellor
  4. Working within a user-centred approach to counselling as a person centred counsellor
  5. Working with self-awareness in the counselling process as a person centred counsellor
  6. Working within a coherent framework of person centred counselling theory and skills
  7. Working self-reflectively as a person centred counsellor

For more information about the Level 4 Diploma why not down load the Level 4 Candidate Learning Guide.

Financial Commitment

  • Cost for the 2 year course is £4795 (self-funded or via advanced learner loan). If loan funding you are required to pay £125 deposit to secure your place and then apply to the advanced learner loan company for the remaining balance of £4670)
  • Costs of personal therapy on average £35 – £45 per hour (you are required to have a minimum of 20 hours personal therapy over the 2 years)
  • Cost of clinical supervision on average £60 – £70 per month once you are in placement. You must attend clinical supervision for a minimum of 1.5 hours per month once you have started in placement.
  • Cost of BACP student membership is approx £50 per year (monthly instalments)
  • Cost of Professional Indemnity Insurance is approx £50 per year (monthly instalments)
  • General costs for textbooks and other learning materials approx. £150 over the 2 years.

Time Commitment

  • There will be a weekly session delivered either in person at The Centre @Burnholme or via Zoom. You are required to attend each session unless due to illness or unforeseen circumstances.  The specific dates for in person sessions will be shared with you once your place on the course has been confirmed.
  • On average, you will be required to carry out 4- 8 hours of private/self study each week on top of the taught session time. This time will increase when you are in placement up to 12 – 16 hours per week to factor in client work and clinical supervision.
  • You are required to have carried out a minimum of 100 counselling hours within an agency by the end of year 2 (you may need to be prepared to travel to secure your placement). You are not permitted to work privately as a counsellor while you are in training with us.
  • You are required to have secured your counselling placement by the start of year 2. Most candidates are ‘placement ready’ by the spring term of year 1 – usually around Easter time.

Personal Commitment

  • You will be required to openly process and share aspects of yourself with the group through skills practice sessions and the personal development group work
  • You will be required to openly give and receive constructive / developmental feedback from your peers and tutors throughout the course
  • You will be required to evidence personal growth and development through your personal therapy and clinical supervision
  • You may be advised by the tutors to have more than the minimum amount of personal therapy if we agree that your personal processes are interrupting your learning and growth as a developing counsellor
  • Embarking on this course will be like the client journey in counselling – one of change and discovery

Academic Requirements

  • The course requires you to build an electronic portfolio of evidence of skills, knowledge and experience using Google Classroom.
  • In year 1 the learning will mainly be evidenced through learning reviews, essays, individual and small group presentations, personal journaling and skills practice self-reflections
  • In year 2 the learning will mainly be evidenced through your own placement through case studies, group supervision case presentations, personal journaling and clinical supervision
  • You cannot progress to year 2 unless you have secured a placement and completed all the written work and personal development work to the required standard of a trainee counsellor.