Placements and Job Opportunities

Opportunities for Placements and Volunteer Counselling Opportunities in South Oxfordshire

We are currently open for new applications


“Riverside is one of the best Counselling Services and Placement contexts I have ever come across. Highly professional, thoughtful and supportive, it offers a unique resource for clients and trainees. The support for trainees is outstanding, offering a buddy scheme, first-rate supervision, weekly CPD and clinical discussion groups. Riverside provides many opportunities for professional development with different client groups, as well as assessment experience for trainees developing their competence.”

Alistair Ross, Associate Professor and Course Director of Psychodynamic Studies, Oxford University.

Are you looking for a placement at a dynamic, well-established counselling service, where you will be supported and encouraged to develop your skills? Are you on a BACP/UKCP/BPS/BABCP/BPC accredited training?

Our requirements:

Placement counsellors and counsellors will have attended 1 year of an academic course or  foundation/certificate year and had experience of working in a helping capacity prior to beginning clinical work.  The duration of their entire training should be a minimum of 3 years and they should be in therapy throughout the duration of their training and for a minimum of 3 years in total.  We accept placement students who are on  post graduate training courses (level 6/ 7).

Apply for a Placement

Riverside has been providing affordable counselling in Henley-on-Thames and the surrounding areas for over 30 years. Riverside also has thriving hubs in Wallingford, Didcot and Berinsfield. There is a diverse group of individuals who engage with the service and the work we offer is primarily longer term, although time limited so that we can remain accessible to the communities in which we work. Our clients self-refer, but often on the recommendation of their GPs, with whom we have good relations. We are a vibrant, growing organisation that ‘thinks’ psychodynamically, but offers placements to those undertaking accredited trainings in psychodynamic and other modalities that are in line with our ethos. As well as adult client work, we also provide a Young People’s service for 12-18 years and we offer those on adult trainings the opportunity to gain clinical experience by offering a “Young People’s Stage 1 Training” that meets BACP guidelines to work with this age group. Students are based in one of our hubs depending on client numbers and accessibility. We currently have over 50 counsellors volunteering their time, of which approximately 50% are placement students.

Allocation of clients to counsellors depends on matching complexity of client presentation to counsellor experience and competence.   With this is mind, it is estimated that the maximum number of client hours that can be accrued in the first year of placement is approximately 100 hours and placement counsellors need to be prepared for this to be less and take this into consideration when accepting a placement at RCS. Once counsellors are up and running with 5 clients in their second year, they accrue clinical hours at a steady pace.  Should counsellors require more than 100 hours in their first year, they should raise this in their application and at interview.

So that you are aware of the time you will need to commit if you take up a placement with us, we ask that you:

  • Gradually build up to working with 5 clients a week, half of which you would expect to see after 5pm (we do our best to enable counsellors to see clients concurrently, but this may not always be possible).
  • Attend one monthly Team Meeting, held in the morning on the first Monday of each month in Henley, or the second Monday in Didcot. Qualified counsellors can attend an online meeting.
  • Attend either individual or a supervision group every 2 weeks, to meet BACP and course requirements for 1-1 1/2 hrs.
  • Take responsibility for and engage with, by completing in a timely way, the administrative tasks that relate to the client work. Training will be provided to work using our IT and cloud-based client management system.
  • Make a commitment for the duration of your training, or two years minimum, if you become qualified while on placement with us.
  • Complete a safeguarding training, the level of which will depend on whether you will be working with young people and/or adults.
  • All trainees on placement with us need to be in personal therapy for the duration of their training and for a minimum of two years.
  • To enable us to continue to offer high quality clinical support we ask for a small contribution towards supervision of £50 per month while counsellors are in training and once they have qualified.

In return, we offer our counsellors a wide-ranging comprehensive programme of CPD events, a monthly Team Meeting, which is primarily a ‘Team Development & Reflective Practice Group’ and therefore a place to think as well as meet with colleagues, and optional monthly Clinical Discussion Groups and Clinical Review Workshops. As well as an in-house supervisor, all counsellors will have a designated clinical manager to support them in their placement, along with a counsellor colleague to act as a ‘mentor’ to help placement students integrate into the team.

If working with young people, counsellors will have the opportunity to join a monthly workshop, which will complement their regular supervision. Psychodynamic and Integrative supervision is available in-house.

We offer experienced counsellors the opportunity to join our Assessment and Allocation team so they can develop their skills, and there are opportunities for professional development in group work by co-facilitating groups with experienced members of the senior team.

Our service is BACP Accredited and therefore highly professional, but also innovative, dynamic and supportive. We value our students and believe in preparing them well for future employment. Feedback from our placement students is very positive, so please feel free to speak to counsellors from previous cohorts to find out more.

“I have found Riverside colleagues to be extremely professional and dedicated, providing a wonderful collective experience of learning and growing with peers.”

(Placement Student)

“I have found Riverside to be consistently supportive of me and my practice…as a consequence of all of this and much more, I have chosen to extend my work with Riverside beyond my qualification.”  (Placement Student)

“My placement at Riverside really helped me find my feet as a trainee psychotherapist. I was offered a mix of carefully matched clients at times to suit me, excellent supervision, CPD events, and discussion groups with senior practitioners on clinical issues.  Perhaps even more important were the relationships: a team of peers from a range of training institutions and modalities, all going through it together, supported by a leadership team who care passionately about the service.  I can thoroughly recommend it.“ (Placement Student)

Click here to read about one of our Placement Counsellors experience as a new therapist on placement at Riverside counselling service.

If you would like to apply for a placement with Riverside, we will require a CV and a brief personal statement. The task of this statement is to demonstrate what you feel you would bring to the role of Placement Counsellor from your previous experience and your training. It is also helpful to reflect on what you have learned about yourself through psychodynamic thinking or theoretical learning, and opportunities for self-reflective work. This would include how your early life experiences and personal history have shaped your development and ways of relating. In what ways might a psychodynamic point of view or your theoretical and therapeutic learning be influencing your current personal development and professional working life? To what extent does it help you towards increasing self-awareness and a growing understanding of experiences of your own and that of others? This need not be very long, just a page or two.

Prospective candidates will be invited to attend an informal interview with two of our Clinical Leads. A DBS check will be needed for all successful applicants and we will take up two references.

If you would like to apply for a placement with Riverside or have any other questions, please contact:

For Qualified therapists

We also welcome applications from BACP, UKCP or equivalent qualified counsellors and therapists who would like to volunteer their time to provide affordable counselling to the community. We value the expertise experienced practitioners bring to the service and so in return we offer CPD, supervision and professional development opportunities, as well as peer support through being part of a vibrant and reflective team.  We would also welcome applications from newly qualified practitioners, who are working towards accreditation or registration, who could benefit from the support of a strong clinical team.