COSCA Further Steps in Counselling Skills


Counselling and Psychotherapy in Scotland (COSCA) is Scotland’s professional body for counselling and psychotherapy.

They are a registered charity and a voluntary organisation committed to the promotion of not only counselling and psychotherapy but also the use of counselling skills in a variety of settings.

What is the COSCA Further Steps in Counselling Skills Certificate?

This course, which follows on from the COSCA Certificate in Counselling Skills, provides individuals with many opportunities to further develop their skills, knowledge and self-awareness and will reconnect with their previous learning and extend their practice and understanding of counselling skills through active participation and regular practice sessions.

What is the Purpose of the Course?

This course will benefit a wide variety of people working in business, industry, and the public sector, including:

  • Nursing, teaching and social work contexts.
  • Personnel work.
  • Welfare services.
  • Staff development appraisal.
  • Management relations.
  • Residential and non-residential care.

It is also suitable for people looking for personal or career development.

The course helps individuals, who successfully complete the course, to develop and apply counselling skills to non-counselling settings and gives a professionally recognised qualification in counselling skills.

What Does the Course Not Do?

This is a further progression from the Certificate in Counselling Skills and is used by participants to increase the scope of their knowledge and further enhance their work performance; it is not a licence to practice as a counsellor.

Who Can Attend the Course?

Anyone who has an interest in learning counselling skills, and who has an opportunity to practice the skills learned on the course, can apply for a place.

However, individuals will be selected on their emotional readiness to undertake such a programme.

Successful completion of the COSCA Certificate in Counselling Skills (or equivalent) is a requirement.

Course Format

The overall format and layout is similar to that of the COSCA Counselling Skills Certificate.

The core learning in this course comes from individuals:

  • Participating in groupwork;
  • Enhancing their counselling skills in practice sessions;
  • Exploring their own life experiences when in Speaker role; and
  • Deepening their knowledge through additional study and reflection.

This 30-hour course consists of 12 sessions of approximately 2.5 hours duration.

In addition to the time spent in class, students should allow themselves an additional 3 hours per week for private study and reflection.

Course Content

The course comprises twelve units and each unit has been designed to enable individuals to evidence two core competencies whilst they are engaged in large and small group discussions and listening practice sessions.

  • Competence 1: Establish, maintain and bring to an end a supportive interaction.
  • Competence 2: Self-Monitoring.

With this in mind, the course consists of:

  • Attitudes and Beliefs about Human Development.
  • Gender and Sexual identity.
  • Counselling Models and Process of Change.
  • Understanding Trauma.
  • Understanding and working with Addictions/Dependency.
  • Transpersonal Perspective and Psychosynthesis.
  • Working with Conflict.
  • Working Creatively.
  • Integration of counselling skills and recorded practice.
  • Transcript, analysis and presentation of a recorded session.
  • Formal instruction may be further enhanced by a guest speaker, who will be a counselling practitioner.


Assessment of (the above) competencies is through:

  • Continuous assessment of skills practice and class participation,
  • A transcript (audio recording) of a counselling skills practice and reflective analysis, followed by,
  • A presentation to the group.

This process is similar to the work carried out in module 03 of the COSCA Certificate in Counselling Skills by observation of competence in skills practice.

Audio recordings are used to decide whether participants have reached the competence in Further Steps laid down in the performance criteria set by COSCA.


Successful participants will be awarded a COSCA Further Steps in Counselling Skills certificate.


If an individual wishes to train as a professional counsellor, Further Steps in Counselling Skills is not an essential requirement to lead on to a Diploma or MSc in Counselling but complements the Certificate in Counselling Skills and reinforces foundation study.

It is also a desirable addition for those who do not wish to practise as a counsellor but for whom their career or volunteering role involves using counselling skills in working with vulnerable people.

Some institutions, for example the University of Strathclyde, now offer a MSc in Counselling and Psychotherapy for which this course is NOT one of the requirements for entry.