Professional Masters Programme in Counselling Psychology

The Masters Courses in Counselling Psychology at Rhodes University is a professional training programme that provides the foundation that will lead to registration as a Counselling Psychologist with the Professional Board for Psychology of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). To achieve registration you are required to complete the following components to a satisfactory standard:

  • One year of academic and practical training;
  • A research dissertation;
  • A one year internship at an accredited training site;
  • The national examination set by the Professional Board for Psychology.

Professional training at Rhodes was first offered in 1975 — to a single clinical psychology student — under the direction of Professor Dreyer Kruger. At that time, it was one of only two such programmes offered by English-medium universities. Counselling Psychology came some years later. Today we train twelve student psychologists annually, six in Clinical Psychology and six in Counselling Psychology.

Definition of Counselling Psychology

For us, counselling psychology is a progressive, value-based specialty that has a unique and invaluable role to play in the provision of mental health services to and the development of the people of South Africa and elsewhere.

The definition that we follow is the one developed by the Professional Board for Psychology that draws on some of our own research:

Counselling psychology is a specialist category within professional psychology that promotes the personal, social, educational and career functioning and well-being of individuals, couples, families, groups, organisations and communities. Counselling psychologists assist people with normal developmental issues, and also prevent and alleviate psychological and mental health disorders that range from mild to moderate severity. Psychological assessment, diagnosis, and formulation draw on a holistic appreciation of people’s lived experiences and their sociocultural contexts. Counselling psychologists deliver a range of high-intensity psychological interventions that take into account the therapeutic potential of positive relationships, and people’s strengths and resources.

The Academic Programme

The academic programme comprises four modules:

  1. Counselling Psychology Assessment: This module comprises 50 seminars on the psychological assessment and diagnosis of children and adults.
  2. Counselling Psychology Interventions: This module comprises 50 seminars on the range of interventions to enhance psychological functioning and well-being, and address psychological problems, which include typical life stresses and more severe issues, including developmental and adjustment problems, psychological crises and trauma, as well as mild-to-moderate mental and behavioural disorders.
  3. Counselling Psychology Professional practice: This module includes 50 seminars that cover the theoretical, contextual and ethical topics necessary to practice as a counselling psychologist in South Africa.
  4. Research in Counselling Psychology:This module includes the research workshops offered by the Centre for Postgraduate Studies, and the completion, under supervision, of a 60-credit research dissertation.  

The current course booklet is available to give you a sense of the academic programme: 2020 Counselling Psychology Masters booklet

The course coordinator is Professor Megan Campbell

Applications for the Counselling Psychology Programme starting in 2021

Please note that the Application process for the 2021 Programme in Counselling Psychology is now open. 

Each year we select six student counselling psychologists.  There is a great deal of competition for these places and applicants are advised to prepare their applications well in advance of the closing date.

The closing date for applications is 19 JUNE 2020. No late applications will be considered.

The provisional dates, should you be shortlisted, of the selection week in Makhanda (Grahamstown) will be on 17 to 21 August 2020. However, with the global COVID-19 pandemic, the selection dates and process are subject to change.

This year the application form should be completed online. Please read the Application Letter for the Professional Programme in Counselling Psychology 2021 and complete the initial application form by following the link below.

Good luck.

Further Reading

  • Bantjes, J., Kagee, A., & Young, C. (2016). Counselling Psychology in South Africa. Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 29(2), 171-183.
  • Packard, T. (2009). The 2008 Leona Tyler award address: Core values that distinguish counseling Psychology: Personal and professional perspectives. Counseling Psychologist, 37, 610–624.
  • Young, C. (2013). South African Counselling Psychology at the crossroads: Lessons to be learned from around the world. South African Journal of Psychology, 43(4), 422-433.
  • Young, C., Bantjes, J., Kagee, A. (2016). Professional boundaries and the identity of Counselling Psychology in SA. South African Journal of Psychology, 41(1), 3-8.

Last Modified: Mon, 25 May 2020 16:26:44 SAST