Northern Guild creates counsellors and therapists of the future

Northern Guild for Psychotherapy, Thornaby for Tees Business. 15-5-17 Pic Doug Moody Photography

The North-East’s leading counselling and psychotherapy training organisation, Northern Guild, is recruiting students for the new academic year after making a successful return “home” to Teesside.

Although it held its first training courses in Thornaby more than 30 years ago, Northern Guild has been headquartered in Jesmond on Tyneside since 1998 and, until two years ago, had not run its courses on Teesside since 2008.

But the long-established training institute successfully relaunched its Teesside scheme for an accredited Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling from its original training centre on Acklam Road, Thornaby.

And, following a highly successful first year back on Teesside, Northern Guild is now receiving applications for the new academic year’s Diploma course

Launched in 1983 as Cleveland Counselling, Northern Guild now employs a team of 14, whilst working with 30 local therapists and trainers.

Jennie McNamara, who runs Northern Guild with fellow directors Christine Lister-Ford and Andy McNamara, said: “Once again, there’s already very significant interest in the Teesside course so we are expecting great demand for the limited places available for the courses starting in October.”

Students completing the Northern Guild courses will graduate with a professional qualification that enables them to be entered on to the professional register and can also complete the university-validated Masters degree, giving them both an academic and a professional qualification. Unsurprisingly, most quickly find employment within their chosen area.

“At least 95% of our graduates get a job,” said Jennie. “Our principle aims and reasons for existing are to help people and to train people for a career in counselling or psychotherapy and to make sure they have a rewarding career at the end of it.

“Organisations are looking for nationally recognised qualifications. And yet students are going to university with the aim of becoming, say, a clinical psychologist, so they take a three-year psychology degree that leaves them unqualified to get a job as a psychologist. They then have to go through full professional training that they have to be selected for and pay for.

“Equally, whilst training with us, to get work experience our students become interns within a GP practice, school or other similar statutory or voluntary setting.

“Universities don’t always carry out training on a practical, professional level and, as a result of that and the lack of a recognised professional qualification, sadly there are lots of university graduates carrying out menial jobs despite having studied at a high academic level.”

In addition to the practical advantages of studying with Northern Guild, the cost of the training organisation’s courses also compare very favourably with university degrees.

With the continued growth in the popularity of counselling and psychotherapy, Northern Guild is increasingly attracting younger students, but many others are experienced individuals looking for a career change.

“The ages of our students range from 19 to 60, but quite a number do join us as a way of accessing a whole new life. People who retire early from their original careers see it as a really good career move, others fund their training via part of a redundancy payment and find they can move into a career in which they can work as long as they are able.”

Having taken a choice of two training routes – to work with teenagers and children or with adults – Northern Guild graduates move into a wide range of careers.

“We pride ourselves on turning out some of the very best professionals,” adds Jennie. “And there are great career opportunities as long as you have vision.”

• Applications are now being taken for the 14 places available for Northern Guild’s 2017-18 intake, which has been capped at 14 places on Teesside, though more are available at their Tyneside base. An open evening is being held on September 14, whilst a prospectus can be downloaded from


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