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First doctors in counselling psychology graduate from York St John University

Published: 07 February 2022

  •   Academic Success
  •    Students
Group of graduates in gown in front on York Minster

A group of 12 students have qualified as the first ever counselling psychologists to graduate from York St John University.  

They are among the 2,000 graduates being awarded their degree by the University’s Chancellor Reeta Chakrabarti at graduation ceremonies taking place this week at York Minster.  The highly skilled psychologists will be qualified to work in a wide range of health and social care services. Many have already secured positions across different NHS Trusts, supporting the provision of much needed mental health services in our region. 

The UK’s Centre for Mental Health has predicted that up to 20% of the population will need mental health support as we deal with the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. They say it is crucial that we prepare for an increase in demand to protect people’s wellbeing. 

Graduate Karla Headon, now a counselling psychologist in neurodevelopmental services for adults, said of her time on the course: 

“The Psychology department at York St John has a knowledgeable, personable and supportive teaching team who I knew were fully invested in my development and success. Their links with various NHS and 3rd sector services meant that I secured a placement that suited my interests, and this led to me getting a permanent position at the end of my training”  

For Lucy Rymer, the course has led to a role in child and adolescent mental health services:  

“I thoroughly enjoyed my 3 years training to be a Counselling Psychologist at York St John. The course definitely challenged me, but it was also very supportive and rewarding. It prepared me well for my current role working as a Counselling Psychologist for the Child and Adolescent mental health (CAMHS) team in York. I was offered this role straight after completing my placement with the CAMHS team. The links York St John has with services both in and out of York made this transition from student to employee much easier.” 

Students on the course have been supervised by Professor Divine Charura, who has developed important links between York St John and regional placement providers. Local organisations, charities and the newly opened Foss Park mental health hospital have all provided valuable placement experience to the trainee counselling psychologists. 

International partnerships with institutions in Cambodia and the USA have enhanced students’ understanding of a trauma-informed, compassionate approach to clinical practice.  

Professor Charura congratulated the recent graduates, saying:  

“Our trainees worked extremely hard to achieve the title of Doctor of Counselling Psychology and, since qualifying, have been offered practitioner psychologist posts across several NHS trusts and other specialist services in and around York. They will contribute to a much-needed workforce making a positive difference to the lives of many within our communities.” 

Associate Professor Dr Lorna Hamilton added: 

“There is growing demand for our Psychology courses at York St John and the need for trained counselling psychologists is rising.  We’re very proud to see these new psychologists enter careers to reduce psychological distress and promote wellbeing of individuals and families in our region. Their expertise is underpinned by the social justice values of the Counselling Psychology profession and York St John University as an institution.” 

Accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and approved by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), the Doctorate of Counselling Psychology provides essential theoretical, clinical and research training. The course takes a humanistic approach to reducing psychological distress and promoting the wellbeing of children, adolescents, adults, couples and families. 

The Doctorate of Counselling Psychology (DCounPsy) is one of three postgraduate courses in Psychology available at York St John University Find out more on our website . 

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