Course at a glance


This Level 3 Course in Counselling is designed to introduce those students who may be considering a career in Counselling. Counsellors work in many settings and environments such as the Health Service and Schools and set up their own private practice. On completion of the Course, you may decide to take your studies further and consider a higher-level qualification in this topic. The College will provide you with the resources necessary to complete the course and will also provide you with tutor support. Tutors have all been specially selected for their knowledge and understanding of your area of study and have experience in Distance Learning support.

The Course will combine practical understanding of the theory and practice of counselling and will help you develop the basic skills and techniques used by Counsellors. Students are encouraged to develop self-reflection and understanding during their Course of study and the course may be invaluable in assisting you to develop knowledge and understanding of your own life path.

Students are required to pass two marked assignments, and this will determine the award of the Level 3 Diploma in Counselling. The Assignments will be expected to be approximately 3000 words in total, and one will be completed by the midpoint of the Course and one at the end of the Course. The assignments will be a combination of short answer questions and longer written answers.

Assignments must be written by the student themselves and work that has been copied and pasted into the assignment will not be accepted as all work has to be screened for Plagiarism. The completed assignments will be marked online by a course tutor and the assignment will either be graded pass or fail and feedback on performance will be provided. Tutor support will be provided throughout your Course of study, and you are encouraged to contact your Tutor at the earliest possible opportunity as this will assist you develop your understanding and knowledge of the topic.

Accredited Level 3 Counselling Diploma Entry Requirement

Entry to this Accredited Level 3 Counselling Diploma requires that potential students have gained GCSE/IGCSE or equivalent qualifications and have, good English oral, reading and writing skills.

Advice on enrolment and guidance of prior learning (APL) can be obtained through out contact centre. The course is a rolling programme and can be started at any point in the year. Successful students can go on to Higher Education, including remaining as students at OLC to complete courses in our portfolio of higher awards.

All students must be aged 16 or over.


The coursework is assessed through continuous assessment with no formal exit examinations.

Study Hours

Approximately: 200 hours of personal study time for the entire course is recommended. All of which is supported by the OLC Course Tutor, who we greatly encourage students to access support from throughout their course.

Quality Assurance

This course has been developed by the College’s professional team of tutors to meet the needs of sector based employers and employees. It is also part of the College’s validated level three Diplomas’, recognised internationally, as verified and moderated by awarding body. Further details of our accreditations are provided on our website.

Accredited Level 3 Counselling Diploma Course Length

1 Year.

Awarding Body


Accredited Level 3 Counselling Diploma Course Content

Accredited Level 3 Unit 1: Introduction to Counselling

This unit provides the foundations for the rest of the course and gives the student an idea of the kind of work they will be doing as a counsellor if they choose to work in the profession. This unit will also focus upon the qualities a counsellor must demonstrate to help their clients successfully and professionally. Confidentiality is discussed along with breaking confidentiality. Genuineness, unconditional regard, and empathy are examined along with the need for the counsellor to offer a non-judgemental atmosphere.


Accredited Level 3 Unit 2: Individuals and Groups

This unit discusses how to build key client relationships, maintaining confidence and trust of clients, delivering quality services, and managing client expectations. It details the counsellor’s office and placement of furniture, how to use open questions and how to summarise the client’s answers to show a high level of understanding. It continues on to examine non-verbal communications, challenging, confronting, and the understanding of what a client may not be saying.

This unit will focus on how to build client relationships, maintaining confidence and trust of clients, delivering quality services, managing client expectations, and achieving value-added contribution raising client satisfaction.

Objectives of unit:

  • Building the client / consultant relationship
  • Understanding the client
  • Building trust and confidence
  • Phases of the relationship
  • Understanding problems
  • The meaning and importance of quality

Groups are very complex entities, requiring special skills and interactions. This unit will look at group behaviour in depth and study some of the most influential theories. Working as part of a group requires individuals to set aside their own personal desires and take on those of the whole group; within this there is room for a subsection of ‘personal goals’.

This unit will specifically examine cohesion and leadership. In any group, there has to be a leader, or ‘leaders’. This can pose problems of poor relationship building, lack of respect, hierarchical issues, and some basic clashes or resentments. In this unit these elements will be discussed and some strategies presented, which can be used to overcome these potentially difficult situations.


Accredited Level 3 Unit 3: Reappraisal, Functions, and Theories; The Five Approaches

This unit looks in detail at the five theories which have been adopted as approaches in counselling. In this unit the work of Freud, Rogers, Skinner, Ellis, Jung and Eagan will be looked at in brief, and the corresponding counselling approaches examined.


Accredited Level 3 Unit 4: The Psychodynamic Approach Relevant to Counselling

This unit will study the Psychodynamic approach to counselling will look at how it applies to the counselling situation. Specific examples will give the student indications as to which particular set of client circumstances benefits most from this approach.


Accredited Level 3 Unit 5: The Cognitive Behavioural  Approach relevant to Counselling

This unit will study the Cognitive Behavioural approach to counselling will look at how it applies to the counselling situation. Specific examples will give the student indications as to which particular set of client circumstances benefits most from this approach.


Accredited Level 3 Unit 6: The Person Centred Approach Relevant to Counselling

This unit will study the Person Centred approach to counselling will look at how it applies to the counselling situation. Specific examples will give the student indications as to which particular set of client circumstances benefits most from this approach.


Accredited Level 3 Unit 7: Various Outlines: Part 1

This unit of the course offers the student information highlighting various situations that they may come across in their work as a counsellor.  Being able to discuss different feelings and record signs is paramount to the effective counsellor. The signs and symptoms are discussed separately along with different ways to draw information out of the client.

Having a working understanding of different symptoms allows the counsellor to understand what the client may be feeling and guide them towards seeing their problem, understanding it, and working through the feelings.  Depression, Stress, and Suicide are all discussed in this unit.

Relationships may be the leading cause of a person’s loss of confidence and as a counsellor may come up against this problem with numerous clients, an understanding of how human beings relate to each other is crucial. This unit explores relationships, how important they may be in a person’s life, and what kinds of problems may occur.

As ‘sexuality’ describes the way in which a person expresses themselves as a sexual being, it is important that the counsellor understand sexuality and how important it is for a human to understand and be comfortable with theirs. This unit explores sexuality and the importance of a counsellor’s non-judgemental approach to their client.


Accredited Level 3 Unit 8: Various Outlines: Part 2

Death and bereavement are explored here starting with the stages of dying and the tasks of mourning.

Those who are bereaved need their own time to pass through denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The counsellor must understand these steps in order to counsel a bereaved client and gaining understanding aids in the counsellor’s ability to empathise. This unit also offers the student the ‘counselling principles and procedures’ when dealing with a client with these problems.

Drugs and alcohol are explored in this unit from their descriptions to the effects they have on humans. Long term and short term effects are discussed along with support counselling for drug dependency.

The student will absorb information on:

  • Alcohol
  • Inhalants
  • Cannabis
  • Depressants
  • Cocaine
  • Narcotics
  • Designer drugs

Financial problems can arise for a number of reasons and can be devastating for anyone. This part of the unit discusses the counsellor’s objectives and how the counsellor sets the client a series of homework objectives.


Accredited Level 3 Unit 9: Counselling Ethics

A counsellor must adhere to a strict code of ethics when dealing with the vulnerable and the student will gain the knowledge of what is expected of them if they choose to take on this role.

This unit will discuss boundaries or limitations and will look at how to recognise and deal with these. It will also look at what types of consent and responsibilities the counsellor must seek when building up a trusting and communicative relationship with clients.


Accredited Level 3 Unit 10: Counselling Administration and Personal Development

 The responsibilities of the Counsellor are many but can be broken down into sections for ease of understanding.  These stand as:

  • General Responsibilities and Obligations
  • Counsellor Support and Competence
  • Client Safety and Autonomy
  • Permissions and Boundaries
  • Confidentiality Requirements and Management

 The last part of this course is six modules based on the counsellor’s ‘Self Development’.  This part of the course is for the student alone, and the student will not be assessed on this information.  There is ‘Action Learning’ throughout the course which prompts the student to examine their own feelings and discuss what they believe to be their goals. Their present abilities are questioned, and they are asked to focus on their inner feeling and examine past situations in their lives. This coaching course is for the student personally and is a full course in its own merit.




This Accredited Level 3 Counselling Diploma can be used to gain entry to a Level 4 Diploma or higher.