Diploma in Attachment-based Counselling

2-year course held over 24 Saturdays

October 2016 – July 2018

Venue: Drake House, 44 St George’s Rd, Wimbledon, SW19 4EF

Fees: £2500 


Wimbledon Guild’s Diploma in Attachment-based Counselling1 is intended for those students who have not previously studied counselling to Diploma level. The course will provide students with an in-depth knowledge of counselling skills and theory, with a specific focus on attachment theory. This course is relatively unique in adopting a specific focus on attachment theory at Diploma level.

Attachment-based counselling is based on the work of John Bowlby, who identified how our early childhood attachments to our primary caregivers shape the way we relate to others, the world and ourselves. Throughout life we are confronted with new challenges and anxieties, and our attachment styles often shape the way in which we respond to these. This Diploma draws on theory and research to provide participants with an understanding of attachment themes. It uses this framework to help participants to develop the skills necessary to take up a counselling role in a voluntary or workplace setting.

The course is taught on a part-time basis over 2 years, and participants are expected to undertake a supervised 100-hour placement in a counselling setting working with adults.

On successful completion of the course, students will be eligible to register with the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP) as Individual Members. They will also be eligible to sit the Certificate of Proficiency in order to join the new BACP Register of Counsellors and Psychotherapists, approved by the Professional Standards Authority for Health and Social Care.

Learning Outcomes:

As a result of completing this course students should:

  • Acquire a comprehensive knowledge of counselling skills and theory
  • Acquire a specialist understanding of attachment-based approaches to counselling
  • Be able to utilise counselling skills in a work-based setting
  • Attain the standard necessary to apply to become a Registered Member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy

Course Structure:

The course takes place over a two-year period, and consists of a taught course and a placement. It incorporates 3 modules on attachment theory, as well as the teaching and practice of counselling skills. There are a total of 144 teaching hours. Each day of teaching comprises both theoretical input and experiential learning, with skills practice playing an important role from the outset. The morning sessions will consists of teaching about attachment theory, followed by a time for processing within the group. In the afternoon, there will be training in counselling skills, followed by some time for skills practice. There will be a short check-out at the end of each day. In addition to the training days, students will also be required to undertake a placement during the second year of their course.

Course Content:

The course is divided into three modules of 8 training days each. Each module will include teaching on attachment theory and skills practice. Below is an overview of the course content:

Module 1: Introduction to Attachment Theory (October 2016 – March 2017)

Attachment Theory

Module 1 begins with an introduction to counselling in general and attachment-based counselling in particular. Students will become acquainted with the work of John Bowlby and the context for his ideas. They will learn the main principles of attachment theory: the fundamental human need for an attachment figure from cradle to grave, the ‘secure base’, attachment types and their clinical classification in both children and adults, the effects of maternal deprivation, separation-anxiety and loss, and how our earliest experiences with our caregivers form blueprints for how we form relationships in later life. Students will learn about recent developments in attachment theory and neuroscience.

Skills Practice

In the afternoon sessions students will be introduced to basic counselling skills focused on helping a client elaborate on their own subjective experience. They will first practice basic skills in pairs, moving into threes, with an observer. Skills will include active listening, prioritising and empathising with the client’s subjective experience, reflecting the content of the client’s narrative and feelings (both explicit and implicit), working with silences, starting and ending sessions, time management, observation and feedback.

Module 2: Attachment Theory in Practice (April 2017 – December 2017)

Attachment Theory

In Module 2, students will deepen their understanding of attachment theory, and how it informs work in the consulting room. We will begin to explore the aims of counselling, the therapeutic relationship,assessment, the problems that clients may present with, and howthese issues can be understood in the light of their early experiences. We will learn how to recognize the three forms of insecure attachment styles in our clients, and how to work most effectively with each. We will look at the concepts of creating a narrative and ‘earned security’. We will also explore our own attachment histories and styles and consider how they may impact our work as counsellors.

Skills Practice

In this module, students will start to develop skills to explore the deeper, implicit material, making connections with the client’s past and attachment styles, exploring how things can sometimes symbolise other things (unconscious dynamics), the pattern of the relationship between the client and counsellor (transference and countertransference), how a client can unconsciously recreate and re-enact earlier relationships and attachment styles in the counselling, body language (both the client's and the counsellor's), and how the client (and counsellor) manages or regulates anxiety, conflict and affect. Resistance, defences and ambivalence will also be explored.

Module 3: Clinical Applications of Attachment Theory (January 2018 – July 2018)

Attachment Theory

In Module 3, students will look at clinical applications of attachment theory. This will include: establishing a secure base for our clients, deepening the working attachment relationship between counsellor and client, the role of mourning in the clinical setting, working with trauma, unconscious material and dreams, and working with clients to develop an understanding of how current patterns of relating are shaped by early attachment relationships, with particular emphasis on the therapy relationship. Issues of identity and diversity will be explored, and we will consider how to work with these in the counsellor-client relationship.

Skills Practice

Skills practice will focus on areas related to preparing students for their placements and will include record keeping, risk management, working with a client’s ambivalence about counselling, boundaries, ethical dilemmas, and endings. BACP guidance and the BACP Ethical Framework will be integral into many aspects of this module.

This module will also help students in preparing a case study of supervised practice.


Students will be required to undertake a 100-hour placement in a counselling setting, in which they can work using an attachment model. Student’s readiness to commence a counselling placement is considered at the start of module 2 (April 2017) with the aim that all placements have commenced by half way through module 2 (September 2017). A limited number of placements may be available within Wimbledon Guild Counselling Services.

Students who have not previously undertaken voluntary work or used counselling skills in another capacity recently, will be encouraged to take up other voluntary work prior to the counselling placement in order to support their ongoing development.

Once they have commenced their placement, all students must be in supervision with a supervisor who works using an attachment-based model. At the end of the placement, the students will need to submit a 2,500 word study of supervised practice, which will critically evaluate their work in at least 10 sessions with an individual placement client.


In addition to the study of supervised practice, the student will be required to submit an essay of 2,500 words for each of the three modules. There will also be an assessment of skills at the end of each module.

Students need to attend a minimum of 7 days of each module and need to achieve at least a pass in all of their written assignments. Candidates can be awarded a pass, distinction or referral. If referred, they will have the opportunity to submit their work a second time. If it is still not of an adequate standard, they will fail the module and will need to re-take it the following year at their own expense. Candidates will also need to pass the skills assessment for each module; there will be a second opportunity provided in each module, in cases where the required standard is not met.

Students will be required to keep a personal journal throughout the whole course, in order to promote self- awareness and reflection. This will be submitted at the end of each year, but will not be assessed.

This course requires students to undertake a substantial amount of self-study. They will be provided with a reading list and will be expected to undertake 2-3 hours reading per week in preparation for each module.

Course Dates:

This course will be held on Saturdays, beginning in September 2016. Each day will run from 10am-5pm, with an hour’s lunch break from 1-2pm. Course dates for 2016 - 2018 are as follows:

Module 1:

Oct 1st 2016, Oct 15th 2016, Nov 5th 2016, Dec 3rd 2016, Jan 7th 2017, Feb 4th 2017, March 25th 2017 Module 2:

April 29th 2017, May 20th 2017, June 17th 2017, July 15th 2017, Sep 16th 2017, Oct 7th 2017, Nov 4th 2017, Dec 2nd 2017

Module 3:

Jan 20th 2018, Feb 17th 2018, March 17th 2018, April 7th 2018, April 28th 2018, May 19th 2018, June 23rd 2018, July 14th 2018

Entrance Requirements:

Students are required to have completed a minimum of one year counselling skills or foundation course in order to be eligible to apply for this diploma. Additionally we welcome students to have already undertaken other voluntary work, or roles that include the application of counselling skills in another capacity.

All students will need to be proficient in written and spoken English in order to undertake this course. Students must be able to produce written academic work of Diploma standard.

Students are required to be in weekly counselling themselves throughout the course and must have commenced this within one month of starting the course. The counsellor must be accredited, ideally trained at the Bowlby Centre, and with a substantial training in attachment theory.

The BACP Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy is observed throughout the course and students are expected to join the BACP as student members by the beginning of the second module.

Course Tutors:

Stephen Callus is a UKCP registered psychotherapist, trained in integrative/body psychotherapy at the Chiron Centre and the Minster Centre London. He has a private practice in central London. Stephen also teaches the Foundation Year at The Minster Centre, London, and supervises students there. He also teaches on the Certificate in Counselling at Birkbeck College. He supervises counsellors and therapists and has supervised students on placements in various community and hospice-based counselling services. Stephen has been teaching on WG Counselling training diploma for two years.

Tutor in Attachment based Psychotherapy Theory for the 2016-18 course to be confirmed in due course.

Application Process:

If you are interested in applying for this course, please complete the attached application form and send it to the address indicated. If shortlisted, you will be invited for a short interview. A maximum of 15 students will be accepted onto the course each year.

If you are offered a place on the Diploma course, you will be required to pay a deposit of £200 to secure your participation. The remainder of the fee must be paid by cheque or bank transfer before the 1 August 2016. Alternatively, you may set up a Standing Order to pay for the course on a monthly basis. You will be liable for full payment even if you do not complete the course.

If, having accepted a place, you find that you are unable to participate in the course, refunds (less the £200 non-refundable deposit) can be requested up to and including 1 August 2016. No refunds will be possible after this date.

Further Information:

If you have any questions or require any additional information about this course, please contact:

Mark Morgenroth

Counselling Training Co-ordinator, WG Counselling Training, Wimbledon Guild,

30/32 W orple Road,

London, SW19 4EF

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Telephone: 0208 296 0030


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