Placements and Job Opportunities

Applications will open in spring 2022 and will be announced on this website.

 Opportunities for Placements and Volunteer Counselling Opportunities in South Oxfordshire

We do not currently have availability for placement counsellors working with adults, however we are still accepting applications from placement counsellors working with young people. 

“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).

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 Essential Skills’ 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 40 counsellors volunteering their time, of which approximately 50% are placement students.

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 4 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).  CBT students to build up to working with 3 clients.
  • Attend one monthly Team Meeting, held in the morning on the first Monday of each month in Henley, or the second Monday in Didcot.
  • Attend either individual or a supervision group every 2 weeks, to meet BACP and course requirements for 1-1 1/2 hrs. CBT students would need to make their own supervision arrangements.
  • 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.  CBT students need to make a commitment of one year.
  • 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.
  • For placements starting from September 2020, to enable us to continue to offer high quality clinical support, we will be asking for a small contribution towards supervision costs. This will amount to £35 per month for the first 10 months of the placement. At this point if a counsellor is seeing the required 4 clients on a regular basis, as per our agreement, any further supervision costs will be covered by the service for the remainder of your time with us.

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 run by the Clinical Co-ordinator for our work with YP, who is a Birkbeck trained Child & Adolescent Psychotherapist, which will complement their regular supervision. Psychodynamic and Integrative supervision is available in-house, however those undertaking CBT training will need to find an external supervisor.

We offer qualified 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 or if wanting to work specifically with adolescents, then with our Young people’s Clinical Coordinator and the Clinical Lead. 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.

Current Vacancies

Clinical Lead for Young People

Deadline for applications and interview date:

Deadline: 12:00 on the 20th May
Interviews:  to take place week beginning 24th May.

Short listed candidates will be asked to present their ideas on how they would develop the young people’s work at RCS.

Start Date:

It would be helpful if the successful candidate is able to start as soon as possible although we fully appreciate that strong candidates may be required to give notice.

How to apply:

A letter of application stating how you meet each of the job specification criteria and a CV emailed to:


Riverside Counselling Service (RCS) is a BACP accredited service and a registered charity that has been providing affordable counselling to the local community since 1989 based in South Oxfordshire.   RCS offers counselling to adults, and young people from the age of 12.  We currently have 50 volunteer counsellors who are either fully qualified or on placement with us from reputable training institutions, offering approximately 200 sessions of counselling in Henley, Didcot, Berinsfield and Wallingford each week.  The young people’s part of the service provides a high quality and accessible counselling service for young people aged 12-18 in the local community, who may otherwise be unable to access support due to lack of provision, or due to socio-economic circumstances.  We are a psychodynamically informed service but welcome counsellors and psychotherapists from a variety of modalities. For more information about RCS please visit our website:

Overall Objectives for the Young People’s work at RCS:

  • To provide a psychodynamically informed counselling service for young people primarily between the ages of 12 and 18 years, but also supporting young adults up to the age of 25 years.
  • To meet clinical need through the provision of high quality, therapeutic interventions including offering regular weekly 1:1 sessions to young people.
  • To liaise with community and statutory services working with young people to increase community engagement and accessibility.
  • To increase the reach of services, such as through the provision of groups for young people and parents.
  • To build resilience in families through support for parents of young people.
  • To support the development of necessary skills and competencies and build capacity of counsellors specialising in working with young people through developing professional relationships and networks and in the provision of training and continuing professional development.

Overview of job role:  

The role of the Clinical Lead for Young People at RCS is to hold clinical responsibility for the young people’s part of the service and oversee the delivery of clinical services for young people age 12 -18 with some direct clinical work with individuals and groups.  They will work closely with the RCS Director & Clinical Lead to ensure sustainable growth and development of the young people’s part of the service.  They will co-ordinate trainings, with support, to meet competences to work with young people.  They will ensure the implementation of the service’s policies and procedures that are required for the delivery of an ethical, safe, efficient and professional service.  RCS actively encourages creativity and autonomy within the service.

Accountable to:
The Director & Clinical Lead for RCS and the Trustees

Hours:  Up to 15 hours weekly on a flexible basis (there may be the opportunity to increase hours when further funding is secured)

Rate: £30 per hour.  To support the wellbeing of our clinical team we advocate 8 weeks holiday a year.

 Job specification: Affiliation to: BACP (Accred) UKCP, ACP or BPC.

Essential Criteria:

  1. To have a demonstrable depth and breadth of training at post-graduate level or equivalent and have substantial specialist knowledge of adolescent development and experience of working with 12 – 18-year-olds in a statutory or voluntary sector setting.
  2. To have a rigorous commitment to the core principles and practices of working with young people, maintaining, and supporting the development of high standards of clinical practice.
  3. To have a vision for the young people’s part of the service and the ability to think and plan strategically.
  4. The ability to fulfil a leadership and management role within an organisation which supports both placement and qualified counsellors.
  5. Training or experience in thinking psychodynamically about an organisation.
  6. Substantial experience of assessing a diverse client group for counselling and an awareness of the criteria for suitability to work with young people in a community-based counselling provision.
  7. Substantial experience of working with safeguarding issues and an awareness of relevant policies and procedures in relation to Safeguarding and Child Protection.
  8. Experience of supervising clinicians working therapeutically with young people.
  9. An interest in and willingness to develop skills in teaching/training.
  10. Car driver/ability to travel between venues in South Oxfordshire.

Desirable Criteria:

  1. Experience of teaching and/or offering training and consultation to a range of organisations and professionals working with young people.
  2. Broad awareness of differing clinical modalities.