ELOP Launches new Foundation Level Training in LGBT+ Affirmative Counselling Skills

London’s LGBT+ mental health & wellbeing charity, elop, launches new LGBT+ Affirmative Counselling Training Programme


elop is excited to announce the launch of its new counselling course in LGBT+ Affirmative Counselling Skills commencing this autumn, the first of its kind in the UK.

This level three equivalent Foundation course is open to all LGBTQ+ community members and allies and is suitable for people interested in starting the journey to a future career in counselling and psychotherapy, as well as those who want to develop or advance their skills for working affirmatively with, and supporting LGBT+ clients, or staff, such as social care professionals and HR personnel.

Coming out, internalised shame, and relationship and gender diversity are integral to LGBTQ+ experience, yet they are not explored with consistency or sufficient depth in current counselling training.  elop has uniquely embedded these experiences at the heart of this new course to equip learners to demonstrate inclusivity in practice.  Kirsty Annable, a member of elop’s Training & Education team, said: “We have a passion for training people to feel comfortable and confident to work with anyone.  Our main focus is making sure that diversity and inclusion is not a bolt-on: affirmative practice is at the core of our philosophy.  By learning through an affirmative, intersectional & inclusive lens, people will be in a better position to understand their clients and support them with genuine care, understanding and compassion.”

elop is in a unique position to be a front-runner in this field.  The charity has delivered high quality professional low-cost counselling & therapy services to the LGBTQ+ community across London and surrounds for over 25 years and its services are in ever increasing high demand.  LGBTQ+ individuals are at higher risk of poor mental health and are at greater risk of suicide.  According to LGBT Foundation’s 2020 Covid-19 community survey, 42% of LGBTQ+ people want mental health support.  Now more than ever, we need counsellors who are trained to understand lived LGBT+ experiences.

In 2019, the BACP published Good Practice across the Counselling Professions: Gender, sexual, and relationship diversity (GSRD).  Author Meg-John Barker writes: “It is important that we work towards a truly GSRD curriculum.  This involves separating out and letting go of the elements of our therapeutic approaches that pathologised or excluded certain GSRD experiences.”  Barker called for a shift towards GSRD-oriented curriculums, and elop has risen to the challenge.

This experiential course is uniquely delivered from an LGBT+ affirmative and inclusive perspective throughout and will include associated theory; practical counselling skills; personal development; and reflection.  elopClinical Supervisor and Course Adviser, Dr Nikolaos Souvlakis, said: “It starts with you as an individual: what it means to be you, to position yourself in a community, and looks at how to co-create a dialogue to provide a space for everyone to be heard.”

The course, suitable for newcomers to the counselling field, marks the beginning of elop’s future training in LGBT+ affirmative, inclusive, and integrative counselling programme and serves as a potential pathway to their forthcoming professional Diploma and Degree qualification in LGBT+ Affirmative and Integrative Counselling.

The Level 3 equivalent Foundation programme begins 19th October 2021, and the deadline to apply is 1stOctober.  Contact elop’s Training and Education Team at [email protected] for further details.

About elop

elop is a thriving LGBT+ mental health & wellbeing charity that delivers support and wellbeing services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans communities as well as those questioning or exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity.  Since its inception, elop has grown to incorporate a wide variety of services including counselling, various support and social groups, workshops, activities and events, youth, school, asylum, and family sessions, plus training and education programmes.

elop is a member of the National LGB&T Partnership and LGBT Consortium and works in partnership with other LGBT organisations, colleges, and universities.

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