Counselling Psychologist

This role description is currently under review.

As a Counselling Psychologist, you would work with individuals or groups who are experiencing life issues or mental health problems such as

  • bereavement
  • relationship problems
  • domestic violence
  • sexual abuse
  • eating disorders
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • psychosis

 After an assessment to determine the clients’ mental health needs, you would explore the underlying issues and provide a psychological explanation for their problems. Your assessment would also be used to plan and implement therapy sessions.

 In NHSScotland, Counselling Psychologists may be based in the following healthcare settings:

  • general and psychiatric hospitals
  • clinics and health centres
  • rehabilitation units
  • GP surgeries
  • schools
  • prisons

As a Counselling Psychologist, you will need to be:

  • resourceful
  • an excellent communicator
  • able to work in a team environment
  • able to handle sensitive and difficult issues
  • confident working with individuals and groups
  • positive and enthusiastic
  • good at problem solving and decision making

 Useful abilities include:

  • being patient and understanding
  • being able to gain clients’ trust
  • good observation an listening skills
  • able to explore traumatic or emotional issues with clients
  • the ability to remain calm in difficult or challenging situations





In Scotland, you can study for a doctorate in counseling psychology at Glasgow Caledonian University (CPsych). This programme is approved by the Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC) and usually take 3 years to complete. To gain access to the course, you are likely to need:

 To practise as a Counselling Psychologist in NHSScotland, you must register with the HCPC after completing an approved postgraduate programme.

Counselling psychologists working in NHSScotland are required to become members of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) scheme in respect of regulated work protected adults and children. This scheme is managed by Disclosure Scotland.




Once you have graduated, you will be eligible to apply for registration with the HCPC and apply to become a chartered member (CPsychol) of the British Psychological Society (BPS).

 Continuing Professional Development (CPD) allows Counselling psychologists to keep their knowledge and skills up to date and is essential to maintaining registration with the HCPC. The BPS offers a variety of courses and CPD opportunities, as well as conferences and seminars where Counselling psychologists can exchange ideas and update their skills.

 Some Counselling Psychologists choose to become a specialist in a particular area or work with specific client groups. As an experienced practitioner, you could become a Senior or Consultant counselling psychologist, working in NHSScotland while running a private practice and teaching.



Health & Care Professions Council (HCPC)

The HCPC is an independent, UK-wide regulatory body responsible for setting and maintaining standards for health, psychological, and in England; social work professionals. It maintains a public register of qualified professionals and works to improve industry standards and education. Visit the HCPC website to find out more.


The British Psychological Society (BPS)

The BPS is the representative body for psychology and psychologists practicing in the UK. It promotes excellence and ethical practice in the science, education and practical applications of pure and applied psychology. Find out more on the BPS website.