Stock image depicting a group of people indoors engaged in discussion.
Stock image depicting a group of people engaged in outdoor activity and discussion. This emphasises that some of our classes take place outdoors when good weather permits.

Now recruiting for 2024 

Level 4 Diploma in Counselling for Psychedelic Integration Therapies (1 year fast track, day)

Duration: 10 Months; Sept 2024 - December 2025 (75% in-person, 25% via Zoom)

Cost: £5,000 (payment options include full cost up front, or as set amounts in instalments to spread the cost)

Entry Requirements: Must be aged 25+ and have completed a Level 3 certificate in counselling skills or equivalent

Venue: Abington Barn, 52 North Rd, Little Abington, Cambridge CB21 6AS

Times: Tuesday 9:30am - 4:30pm (also some Saturdays at the same time and venue)

Deadline for applications  Oct 2024. Please book early to secure your place.

Course Description

The Level 4 Diploma in Counselling for Psychedelic integration therapies provides entry into professional practice as a counsellor. The course is specifically aimed at those with an interest in psychedelic Integration therapies, which involve assisting clients to process their experience of altered states  of consciousness as a result of ingesting psychedelic substances (or sacraments) as part of a psychotherapeutic/psychospiritual process. More broadly, the course is also useful for any student of counselling and psychotherapy who is interested in working with transpersonal states and content. 

At Level 4 you will gain a broad introduction to the theory, practices, skills, and techniques used by integration therapists to help clients process experiences of altered states of consciousness. This includes exploring models of Integration therapy which aim to maximise the benefits of a psychedelic experience, and deal with any adverse effects. In addition, you will learn how psychedelic substances have been used by Indigenous communities for centuries in therapeutic and religious settings, and more recently in Western clinical and psychotherapeutic contexts as psychedelic therapy. You will also gain an understanding how psychedelic substances impact brain function. 

A central part of training at Level 4 will involve skills practice. This practice is invaluable in helping you develop professional competences as a counsellor and integration therapist. Skills practice occurs within a professional ethical framework specific to working with altered states of consciousness, and will often involve working in ‘triads’, with the three roles of speaker/client, listener/therapist, and observer. As part of skills training, you will also learn how to use sober (non-drug) methods for exploring psychotherapeutic, and/or psychospiritual process, and how to be a sober sitter (or co-pilot) for others in this context. This kind of counselling can be intense, and requires practitioners to hold and work with a rich range of human experience, as well as work with difference and diversity. Skills practice is complemented and enhanced by the inclusion of real-world examples that enable you to engage more deeply with the course material. 

This Level 4 course provides you with an excellent grounding in the knowledge, skills, and competencies required to work as a counsellor and Integration therapist in an agency context, health care, and non-medical settings, although some may also choose to enter private practice. To qualify for the full level 4 award, learners must successfully complete all units and commit to attending at least 10 hrs personal therapy. Students will also need to undertake a supervised counselling placement of 100 hours. 

Total: 490 hours

Follow on study: Psychedelic-assisted therapy training

Following successful completion of the Level 4 training, students will be eligible to pursue our Level 5 Diploma in Counselling for Psychedelic Therapies (details and cost to be announced)*. 

*Students who wish to gain entry onto our Level 5 course who have completed other kinds of counsellor/psychotherapy training at level 4 and above, may need to complete our Level 4 Certificate in Counselling for Psychedelic integration therapies, which can be gained by studying specific components of our Level 4 Diploma. This is to ensure practitioners have sufficient knowledge and skills for undertaking our level 5 training in Counselling for Psychedelic-assisted therapies.  However, on a case-by-case basis, we will also consider any other relevant experience and professional training a practitioner has undertaken.


Some experiential exercises used in our courses can result in intense physical and emotional release. Particular practices such as breathwork, shamanic journeying, meditation and guided visualisation are used within the course to occasion temporary altered states of consciousness. 

As certain practices such as particular kinds of breathwork are not advised for persons with a history of cardiovascular disease (including angina or heart attack), high blood pressure, glaucoma, retinal detachment, osteoporosis, significant recent physical injuries, surgery, psychological trauma, and anyone with a personal or family history of aneurysms, you are advised to seek medical counsel prior to attending this course. 

Persons with asthma should bring their inhaler and seek medical counsel. If you are on any medications, and/or are pregnant, you are also advised to seek medical counsel prior to attending this course. Please let us know if any of the above conditions apply to you as we would be happy to explore if a safe alternative can be found which will enable you to participate in experiential sessions.

This course is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for personal therapy. Whilst many people experience of the exercises used is positive, difficult thoughts, emotions and physical sensations can sometimes arise. This can include but is not limited to, a surfacing of past memories of trauma. 

If you do not feel ready for the possibility of difficult thoughts, emotions and physical sensations arising, you are advised not to participate in this course. Whilst group integration of experiences is an important part of the training process for students, the surfacing of difficult and challenging experiences can take longer to process, and may require you to seek additional support from a fully trained counsellor whilst you progress with the course. 

If you have been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and/or a psychiatric condition such as Bipolar or Schizophrenia, you are advised to seek medical counsel prior to attending this course. Finally, due to the nature of some exercises, you are advised not drive, operate heavy machinery, work with sharp objects, or partake in any other potentially hazardous activities until you feel fully grounded. This may take time, so please plan accordingly.

Why study a Diploma?

Vocational diploma qualifications can be used to advance to degree programmes, or as an alternative to degree programmes. A diploma level course offers a more in-depth study as compared to a certificate course. Studying a diploma course has four main advantages over studying for a bachelor’s degree. First, on average, diploma courses require 12 months of study time to complete with study taking place on one full day per week, or over 2 years part-time evenings. A degree is at minimum, a three-year commitment. This means that by studying for a Diploma, you will be able to enter the profession as a counsellor or psychotherapist sooner, and start earning a salary than you would if you studied for a Degree. Second, as vocational courses, Diplomas provide you with practical, usable and most importantly, employable skills. This means a person is more job-ready than a degree-holder after qualifying, and a company won’t necessarily need to invest as many resources in up-skilling you. Third, Diplomas are more affordable than Degrees. Affordability also means job flexibility. The lower cost of Diplomas allows you to master more than one set of skills which improves your chances of finding a job or making a career change. Forth, Diplomas are lower maintenance and often have less contact teaching hours and more practical application. This makes it easier to juggle studying for a Diploma with practical work experience, which is particularly valuable in the helping professions. 

Are courses Accredited?

An accredited course simply means one that has been approved by a professional body (i.e. meets the requirements of that professional body). We are currently working with a number of organisations to establish an accrediting body for psychospiritual counselling appropriate for the nature and depth of training covered on our courses. Where legal, we support working with non-sober practices for generating altered states of consciousness. Established professional bodies which govern therapists and accredit counselling and psychotherapy courses (e.g. such as NCS, and BACP), are currently unsuitable for our needs in this regard. In part this is because existing organisations prohibit implementation of a progressive stance on drug policy that would support appropriately qualified practitioners  from working with non-sober methods to generate altered-states of consciousness in legal settings. In addition, existing organisations for counselling and psychotherapy currently lack ethical codes of practice that specifically address the challenges and complexities of working with altered states of consciousness through sober and where legal, non-sober means. This is why as an Institute, we adopt and are compliant with the SPRG ethical framework. 

We would like to assure prospective students that we stick to the same rigorous standards as accredited courses in relation to the counsellor training we provide. Qualifying as a counsellor on a course that is not accredited means you will need to meet the requirements of your chosen professional body when you apply to join them. Potentially this may involve doing a short test such as the BACP’s Certificate of Proficiency. However, we would like to draw attention to the Independent Practitioners Network as a possible alternative solution. 

Once qualified, can I apply for practitioner accreditation?

Yes, although the process and requirements for gaining practitioner accreditation may differ depending on which organisation or governing body you wish to join. Many of the established governing bodies for counselling and psychotherapy have adopted the Scope of Practice and Education (SCoPEd) framework which has been developed by six Professional Standards Authority accredited bodies, including BACP. If you wish to apply for practitioner accreditation with an organisation or governing body that has adopted SCoPEd, you will need to demonstrate how your qualification meets the core training, practice and competence requirements of the SCoPEd framework. To help make this easier, we are harmonising our unit titles and criteria to enable better mapping to core training, practice and competence requirements within the SCoPEd framework. Consequently, prior to the start of the course, some unit titles may change from those currently displayed. Once the course starts we will provide all students with a document which summarises the mapping between our units and the relevant SCoPEd criteria. For our Level 4 Diploma, this will demonstrate that in addition to meeting the core training, practice and competence requirements deemed essential at Level 4, you will also meet some of the requirements needed to access additional categories of accreditation. These requirements within the SCoPEd framework constitute specific transition points by which therapists entering the profession can normally evidence progression in their work through further training, experience or CPD if they choose to do so.

© Institute of Psychospiritual Therapy (2023)