Strange goings-on at counselling training provider

In August 2014 the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy withdrew the membership of Chrysalis Courses Ltd, which provided training in counselling and hypnotherapy. Allegations were upheld over failure to provide appropriate feedback to coursework, and the company was heavily criticised for failing to respond to the allegations or to engage with the complaints process. According to the BACP the company was dissolved in May 2014.

However, there’s still a website up and running for Chrysalis Courses, advertising training in counselling and hypnotherapy. So what’s going on here?

I e-mailed Chrysalis to ask if they were still trading. I got the following reply.

Dear Mr Dore;

We are Chrysalis Not For Profit Limited. The complaint to which you refer was against Chrysalis Courses Limited and we cannot comment on it.

A quick search on Company Check reveals that Chrysalis Courses Limited has indeed been dissolved. Their business address was 30 Angel Crescent in Bridgwater, Somerset.

Company Check also reveals that there is indeed an entirely different company called Chrysalis Courses. Their business address is…er…30 Angel Crescent in Bridgwater.

Chrysalis have received some glowing feedback online. They have six reviews on Yell and seven reviews on Yelp. Impressively all thirteen of these reviews give them five stars.

Even more impressively, all thirteen of the reviews were posted on 10th August 2012. I presume these thirteen people must have been fired up with passion by Chrysalis because, not only did they all post on the same day, but for each username it’s the only review they’ve ever posted.

Not everyone has been so impressed by Chrysalis. The Advertising Standards Authority, for a start. On 20th August 2014 they published a ruling that a radio advert by Chrysalis Not For Profit had been potentially misleading in suggesting people who do their courses can expect to earn £45 an hour. The ASA stated that Chrysalis would need to provide more robust evidence that this is the case.

Whereas Chrysalis Courses Ltd has had its membership withdrawn by the BACP, Chrysalis Not For Profit is accredited by the National Counselling Society and National Hypnotherapy Society, a cluster organisation with two branches. The BACP, NCS and NHS are all accredited voluntary registers (AVRs) with the Professional Standards Authority.

I e-mailed the National Counselling Society for comment. They told me,

NCS strongly supports the PSA/AVR approach to the protection of clients and the public. The applicable standard for an Accredited Voluntary Register, we believe, is Standard 10e which requires registers to recognise the decisions of other registers when making its own registration decisions.

Regarding the individual case you mention, we understand it may now be the subject of a complaint to the PSA and perhaps also legal action. We regret, therefore, that we are currently unable to comment further.

The Professional Standards Authority said,

The Professional Standards Authority has not received a complaint in relation to this matter. We have not been informed of any decision by BACP in respect of Chrysalis Courses Ltd.

The Authority accredits voluntary registers of individual health and care practitioners. Chrysalis Courses Ltd is a training provider, not an accredited register nor an individual registrant on an accredited register.

The Authority is aware that the National Counselling Society and the National Hypnotherapy Society accredit some Chrysalis Not for Profit Ltd training courses. Both Societies hold accredited registers and are responsible for approving courses that equip students to meet the educational standards required for registration. If someone is concerned that an accredited register is failing to meet any accreditation standards they can raise their concern with the Authority.

When deciding whether a person should be admitted, kept on or removed from an accredited register, organisations must recognise decisions regarding professional conduct by other accredited registers or regulatory bodies. This relates to decisions about individual registrants, not organisational members.

The Professional Standards Authority accreditation panel issued a call for information when the NCS applied for its register to be accredited in 2013, and again when it applied for renewal of accreditation in 2014. In response to both of these calls for information, concerns were raised about a potential conflict of interest pertaining to Chrysalis Not for Profit Ltd. The Panel was satisfied with NCS’s procedures for managing conflicts of interest.

All rather curious.


79 thoughts on “Strange goings-on at counselling training provider

  1. “Whilst the Panel accepted that for the purposes of the Professional Conduct Procedure, Chrysalis Courses Ltd would still be regarded as a member of BACP, it noted that Chrysalis Courses Ltd was dissolved on 20 May 2014, and therefore no longer existed as a legal entity. The
    Panel was also concerned to note that whilst it was still a member of BACP, Chrysalis Courses Ltd failed to respond to the allegations or engage in the Professional Conduct Procedure as required of it as an organisational member of BACP. Having regard to Chrysalis Courses Ltd serious failure to take part in the Professional Conduct Procedure and the dissolution of the organisation, the Panel was unanimous that the only option was that Chrysalis Courses Ltd’s membership of BACP should be withdrawn. ”

    They took an action against an organisation that doesn’t exist. I wonder if the BACP need to rethink how it deals with Institutional members and hearings. In particular, it seems to me that it ought to have a condition of membership that its board has a responsible BACP member on it, who can answer such issues. It also needs much better clarity of what constitutes misconduct for an organisation. It seems to have no understanding of what organisations are like.

    If Chrysalis has phoenixed, it won’t be because of a BACP complaint. It must have gone under financially.

    What a curious business.

  2. I tutored for the first company for 3 years and Chrysalis Not For Profit for 2. The change happened 4 years ago when they wanted to turn the thing into a not for profit, long term into a charity. The only way you can do that legally is to start a new company. I remember being offered a new contract in 2011 when the old company stopped trading and they told everyone what was happening then. It wasn’t about financial problems I think one of them was retiring.

    I read the BACP complaint – weird. Most stuff “not upheld” – the only thing upheld was about essay feedback and the tutor not giving the student enough time? They were removed for “not cooperating” not for this kind of slap on the wrist stuff, or am I missing something?

    Chrysalis is big and their students join the NCS. The NCS is now recognised by the PSA so has a seat at the table next to BACP. Bet they’re not happy about that. I don’t doubt Chrysalis didn’t “cooperate” with BACP. Maybe they thought it was going to be a witch hunt?

    I hear it was someone high up in BACP who made the conflict of interest complaint to PSA about Chrysalis …. …. Draw your own conclusions. I personally don’t think BACP would have even bothered to publish a “bad essay feedback” complaint in amongst all the serious misconduct cases if it wasn’t about Chrysalis.

    Yeah, I don’t like their ad – but I’d bet money it was BACP that complained about it, not the people who took the course.

    Anyway I now hear Chrysalis is taking it all to the PSA –and they’re not the only ones.

    BACP using complaints for politics?

    • Hi, and thanks for your feedback, though I do have to say there’s rather a lot of conjecture in your comment.

    • ‘Maybe they thought it was going to be a witch hunt’

      Why be an organisational member to then ignore any complaints even before they go to a hearing? This is the part that concerns me. How a complaint is handled is a good measure of integrity in my opinion.

    • they provide very poor training for Hypnotherapy, I run my own college of hypnotherapy and Nlp and I have had many students from this company commimng to me to be retrained so hope this company keeps
      up the good work

  3. True, but I’m a little unconvinced that Chrysalis Ltd at 30 Angel Crescent are a totally different organisation from Chrysalis (Not For Profit) Ltd at 30 Angel Crescent.

    To be honest though, I’m increasingly unconvinced that this is a topic that I’ll be blogging about much. S McDonald’s comment above carries a whiff of inter-organisational politics, and this is a blog about public protection, not about which dog has the loudest bark.

    Whatever is going on here, I’ve got the feeling I’m going to be not angry, just disappointed.

  4. I appreciate it seems like conjecture, but from what I understood (what was said in passing after a tutor get together) if true would be interesting……basically Chrysalis did respond with detailed evidence but the BACP complaints people refused to let their panel see any of it. This included 3 independent reports on the tutor and proof that the complainant was vexatious and after money – Chrysalis had already offered him a full refund which he accepted but then told them he wanted to go to BACP to get more money so he turned it down.

    Then it turned out that senior people in the BACP who were involved with running the complaint had themselves previously written negatively about Chrysalis, e.g. in a book, and one of them personally had made the conflict of interest complaint about Chrysalis to the PSA (this is public record.) – Chrysalis tried to tell the panel there were conflicts of interest in BACP complaints department but again the BACP wouldn’t let their own panel see any of the evidence. Solicitors advised Chrysalis there was no point going further as it was obviously an unfair process – they should just sue when the complaint came out and take it to PSA.

    Really the picture is of a clean, independent panel and a complaints department with an axe to grind, hiding its conflicts of interest and not letting the panel see the evidence. BACP is usually very robust against individuals with a clean process, but this complaint is as you say about organisational politics.

    It’s important though for talking about regulation. Think of it this way: if it comes out that BACP’s process is sometimes unfair to complainants because of politics, they’ve handed ammunition to all those guys like Palace Gate who will say “told you so, the process is unfair” It will sow seeds of doubt about whether those found guilty of abuse by BACP really did anything – and will hurt the victims of the abuse.

  5. I’ve got a feeling that the Palace Gate case might be being pawned here for the sake of inter organisational politics, which, quite frankly, disgusts me and I find distasteful as well as highly unethical.

    As far as I’m concerned, this profession is about helping people. Like individuals, organisations can lose sight of this when money/power/ego suffocate what may have originally (but not necessarily) have been benign intentions.

    I have a suspicion as to who S McDonald is. I don’t want anything more to do with this incredibly fishy and unsettling business.

    • I too think I now know who “S MacDonald” is.
      Man, the bullshit in this industry gets so deep they should be handing out snorkels to new registrants.

      • can someone tell me who they think s macdonald might be? I am looking into chrysalis myself and dont want to get screwed over

  6. I am just about to sign up for a 3 year advanced diploma in psychotherapeutic counselling course with Chrysalis – which I was really excited about – but having read this I’m really concerned. Am I making a mistake?

    • I have no idea, to be honest. Maybe see if you can speak to some previous students and get some feedback?

    • I did that course and while I loved it I didn’t realise at the time that I wouldn’t be able to work for the NHS or join the BCP which is a major problem unless you want to be self employed which is a hard slog at times if you have bills to pay. I wish I had known that before I chose the course.

      • Given the link between Chrysalis and the National Counselling Society, I noticed something interesting the other day. I was idly pondering doing EMDR training, and I looked at this training provider.

        Psychotherapists and counsellors must hold accreditation or submit proof that they they have submitted their application for accreditation for one of these professional bodies: UKCP, BACP, BABCP, IACT/IACP, BSCH, ACC (Higher level), NCP (Mental Heralth Practitioner). IAHIP.or Counselling Society practitioners may be asked for references.

        Doesn’t seem to bode well for the National Counselling Society’s reputation that the trainer wanted extra references for people registered with this organisation.

      • Why can’t you work for the NHS?!

      • Chrysalis is now recognized by the NHS and the NHS accept students trained by them.

    • Tracy, I am in the same position now as you were back in September-what did you end up doing/going for, I need advice!

    • what did you end up doing tracy?

      • uh, its going to seem weird I asked the same question twice in different ways-I wasn’t sure if the first had posted properly, sorry!

  7. I’ve trained with Chrysalis in the past taking a Hypnotherapy Diploma and I can’t fault them. They were professional and boundaried. The course was interesting and quite challenging.

    I’m really not clear what the issue is.

  8. The findings can be seen in full on the bacp website as to why chrysalis counselling courses whatever ther legal title was removed from their board of membership. See the August hearing notes on the link below to find out why chrysalis has been kicked out of bacp. Malpractice and incompetence feature in the review of chrysalis.

    The fact chrysalis has simply changed the company name, dissolved the old one to remove the allegation wreaks of further worrying practice.

    Incredibly concerning for the students of chrysalis courses.

  9. S, McDonald,

    A tutor friend tells me that Chrysalis don’t have get-togethers. So where did you really get this information?

    They have tried to avoid the ruling and other allegations from damaging them – so it’s difficult to believe that the name change had nothing to do with this!

    They lost the endorsement of the Royal College of Nursing a long time ago. So is everyone playing ‘politics’? Really?

    They do have the endorsement of the Nat. Hyp. Society and the N C S. Sounds good except they and Chrysalis are all in the same room!!! (Check the address – it’s a building in Steyning, Sussex).

    Something fishy?????

    My tutor friend says that no tutor would have access to the information you claim to have. So who are you?

    Chrysalis students need to be told the truth.

    Here’s part of the ruling that shows you are wrong:

    ‘…the Panel was satisfied that paragraphs 1, 26, 46 and 60 and the ethical principles of Being Trustworthy and Autonomy of the Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy (2013 edition) had been breached. It also found that Chrysalis Courses Ltd lacked the personal moral qualities of Respect, Competence, Sincerity and Wisdom to which all practitioners are strongly urged to aspire.’

    • It does look bad that the same people are behind Chrysalis, the National Hypnotherapy Society (NHS) and the National Counselling Society (NCS). However there is another body involved now, the Professional Standards Authority (PSA), and they are an independent government organisation. They have assessed the registers of the NHS and NCS twice and here’s what they had to say about the potential conflict of interest in May 2014:

      “The Panel noted two concerns that were sent to the Authority during the year of accreditation. The first concern was related to a possible conflict of interest between an accredited training provider and the Societies… The Panel noted that the issue regarding a possible conflict of interest was addressed through the original assessment’s Call for Information. The Panel had accepted that the Societies have mechanisms in place to manage any actual conflict of interest which might arise…. The Panel noted that concerns had been addressed and would not impact on the Societies’ ability to comply with the Accreditation Standards.”

      The NCS’s register has been independently accredited by the same body that accredits the BACP’s register, and that accreditation will be reviewed annually. If the NCS lost its Accredited Voluntary Register status then all its members would instantly lose their claim to belong to an AVR. So the NCS has a lot to lose if it fails its annual assessment.

      While we’re speculating about what was going on between Chrysalis and the BACP, my guess is that they have decided that they don’t need the BACP now that the PSA is there to accredit the NCS register.

  10. Fishy goings on indeed.

    It looks like the person who founded Chrysalis Counselling is also Chair of the National Counselling Society, a Chris Forester. This Google cached page shows that he (and a Sharon Forester) launched Chrysalis:

    This cached page also mentions that Chris Forestor is/was Chair of The Trustees at the National Hypnotherapy Society who are the same organisation as the National Counselling Society. This PDF page of a National Counselling Society meeting minutes shows that he is indeed the Chair of the NCS:

    Click to access minutes-jul2013.pdf

    And on those same minutes you will see that the NCS Chair of the Professional Standards Committee is a Gerry Willmore. So I wonder what Gerry Willmore makes of the withdrawal of Chrysalis by the BACP for refusing to cooperate in the complaint made against them? Well, I suggest that he may be rather biased given that he is Head of Counselling at Chrysalis Courses:

    and also further down this page on the reviews for a book:

    Two lots of conflicts of interests.

    Whatever the BACP may or not be up to, I have seen no evidence of dodgy practice on their part, just gossip and hearsay from Chrysalis…who are holding hands with the NCS.

    • Just one problem with what you say, Pwkilleen – the only change that has been made is that the owner of the NCS no longer bills himself as the Director, or whatever.


      Students are not told this of course. They are given a totally different impression.

      I don’t think students would be too happy!

      • That’s a good point Sara. From a counsellor’s point of view the NCS and someone like the BACP are very different, the key one being that membership of the BACP gives you voting rights and a say in how things are run while with the NCS you’re stuck with the decision of the owners. (Although I’m not aware of any evidence that the owners make a profit directly from the NCS.)

        However, from the point of view of a client the NCP register and the BACP register are very similar beasts, neither one is run by a consumer group, they are both trade organisations. In both cases there’s a conflict of interest in their activities and part of the job of the PSA is to keep an eye on that to make sure it doesn’t affect the running of the register.

        Are students given false information? If not then there’s a case for saying “let the buyer beware”. If all you want is an independently assessed regulatory body that gets you onto an Accredited Voluntary Register then the NCS will suffice. If you want more then you may be better looking elsewhere.

  11. Chris foreseter is no longer chairman. I am entering my third year of training with chrysalis and have received excellent ethical training, been closely monitored and my tutors are practising therapists and work alongside the nhs. The course has been intense and i feel that my tutors are passionate about us being ethical and professional therapists. That is what is important. Belonging to the bacp does not immediately make someone a good therapist. If you do some homework and read up on some of the tutors you will see that they’ve worked in professional organisations. My current tutor was asked to teach at cambridge because of her experiential expertise.
    We are monitored under the ncs accreditation. Please lets remember whats really important here and thats the mental health of clients not who the big boys are. Thank you

    • ‘We are monitored under the ncs accreditation’

      The NCS was set up by Chrysalis to regulate themselves.

      Sounds dodgy to me especially with the conflicts of interest already outlined.

      I’ve no doubt that some of the tutors are good. I don’t think it’s the tutors that Zarathustra is commenting on. It’s the integrity of the organisation and personally, PSA approval or no, I would not feel particularly comforted by an organistion’s or therapist’s membership of the NCS given those conflicts of interest and the relationship that NCS has with struck
      off organisation Chrysalis.

      • But that is just one person’s subjective opinion. The fact still stand that the National Counselling Society have taken the steps that an independent statutory body (the Professional Standards Authority) asked of them to bring their register up to scratch. Regardless of the origins of the NCS they are now under the scrutiny of the PSA, and they will remain so as long as they want to keep their status as an Accredited Voluntary Register.

        It does appear dodgy that the same people started the NCS as started Chrysalis, but now that the PSA is looking over their shoulder the NCS isn’t free to be too cosy with Chrysalis, because if they are everyone on their register could lose their right to claim to be on an AVR, it would be like their whole membership being struck off at once.

    • The NCS website states that Chris Forester is still Chair, as at today’s date.

    • i’m sure everyone entering into a course to become a counsellor is motivated by the very best of interest to help others. However, I find it very difficult to work out that training on this ‘advanced’ diploma which does not include live skills practice can adequately prepare students for the very daunting prospect as counselling clients who may have extensive difficulties. By drawing an analogy, I would not want to trust my health to a Doctor if the training received was only one day a month in a room booked at a leading university. I have become aware that many Chrysalis students believe they are studying at, for example, Southampton University (A Russell group university) when in fact, they are studying a course manufactured by a completely separate private organisation that is not part of that university. I am absolutely sure the content is very interesting for the students – I would suggest how on earth could a student vouch for a course’s ethics if they had no knowledge of what a properly accredited course is like? It also amazes me that the Chrysalis students have absolutely no skills practice sessions. This is about the health of our clients, hence why the nHS will not take any Chrysalis students on board.

      • It is simply not true that Chrysalis courses do not include ‘skills practice’. Skills practice happens at every teaching session and also students have to clock up 50 hours of skills practice for each year of study, and these hours must be authenticated by the tutor. Much of this has to be accomplised in between classes. Furthermore the Birmingham Chrysalis courses happen not in a university but take place in a very well known hotel so there is no attempt, as insinuated, to deceive students into thinking this is a university validated course.
        I appreciate that Chrysalis do things differently and there may be improvements to be made, but I just want to put the story straight here. Whatever conclusions anyone comes to, the facts are important and I just want to make sure errors in critical narratives are corrected.

      • The critical narrative i gave was my own experience of chrysalis, 4 years ago. Unsupervised skills practice is not a safe way to evaluate your practical abilities. Half my classmates essentially ‘made up’ their skills practice and their case studies, beacause there was no-one to verify what we were doing! This made me extremely uncomfortable. We were handed diplomas at the end of the course and sent off into private practice. It was wildly unethical and unsafe. I too ‘studied’ in a hotel, once a month. Having now completed a different counselling diploma, the differences in professional and thorough training are vast and I still maintain that at the time I studied with chrysalis, they were totally unprofessional and unethical. I felt utterly cheated by them but thankfully had the sense to realise that they were not a decent platform for becoming a professional practitioner. I do sincerely hope that the training they provide now is more thorough and safer.

  12. Really interesting comments. After becoming disillusioned by the company’s stance on marking and feedback and feeling that their integrity left something to be desired, I left the course. Any company who needs you to sign a huge contract before you start, leaves you wondering why they might need to cover their backs. It took a while and the help of a solicitor friend to get part of the fees back. It left me with a nasty taste in my mouth and the opinion that companies like these were all about bums on seats. No doubt the owner meant well when he started the course up but perhaps ambition and ego took over? I for one wasn’t surprised to hear of the legal issues they encountered.

  13. I studied with Chrysalis and I think they’re a bunch of charletons. They’ve been in trouble with the advertising standards authority recently also. Chrysalis and it’s societies are all very incestous, how they can claim to be not for profit is beyond me. I wish I’d never studied with them, the diploma I achieved isn’t worth the paper it’s written on and that’s 2 years of my life and over 3 grand I’m never getting back. The original company advertised and marketed the courses very differently to their current website, now rendering my ‘professional’ diploma – non professional. Students now need to study for a further 2 years to achieve an apparently professional qualification, which is still not accredited by anyone or thing that matters. The whole thing stinks.

    • Mossie can you give me some more detail on why the qualification wasn’t worth the paper it’s written on? I’ve heard that everything needs to be BACP accredited now, was that the reason? Thanks – Diane

      • It’s not true that has to be a BACP Accredited course, as long as your course meets the BACP requirements you’re fine. The Chrysallis course that would get you on to the NCS register is three years long (so Mossie may have been misinformed about the value of the two year course mentioned), but it wouldn’t be accepted by the BACP because it doesn’t include 100 hours of supervised placement time as an integral part of the course.

      • Apologies if I’m repeating myself – I thought I’d already replied but I can’t see it, so here is it again…
        Hi Diana, the diploma isn’t accredited by anyone who has any professional standing so unless you’re practising privately, which I believe would be unethical with this diploma alone, you’re not employable. As Chrysalis have had to re-brand recently due to legel wranglings, they have re-structured their entire course content and in order to achieve their ‘professional’ diploma now, you need to study for 4 – 5years. When I signed up, the 2 or 3 year course was a professional qualification and there was no 4th or 5th year. So if I were using that diploma to practice and someone researched it, they would learn that it’s not a professional diploma. They’ve completely moved the goal posts. If I could be bothered, I’d sue. I know of others who have taken them to court and it’s taken a very long time and a lot of money and hassle, but some have had their fees refunded.
        I commence study in September with CPCAB for a level 4 diploma in Therapeutic Counselling. The BACP recognise these guys as an awarding body and model, it looks like an excellent course, they’re all over the country and you can get student finance with a 24+ loan. I wish I’d known about them 3 years go.

  14. Mossie can you give some more detail about why your qualification wasn’t worth the paper it’s written on? Was it because it wasn’t BACP/IACP accredited? I’ve been told that therapists who aren’t accredited with these organisations are at a disadvantage, eg. when it comes to getting referrals. Seems they’re the biggest bullies in the playground, and I don’t want to part with over 3 grand either that I’m never getting back.

    • Hi Diane,
      For 2 reasons – recently they have had to re-brand and re-structure their courses and qualifications due to some legal wranglings, which has resulted in them added 2 more of years of study onto the professional dilpoma which I studied for in in less. For anyone researching my exsisting diploma they would learn from Chrysalis’s website that it is now not the complete professional qualification. Yet what I studied and paid for at the time was a professionnal qualification.
      In my opinion, is it unethical to practice as a therapist without receiving thorough and accredited training. Chrysalis miss the mark on most of their training and I don’t believe you can learn to be a good counsellor from their course, they simply don’t cover the relevent material or have necessary stipulations (such as your own personal therapy and student placements) in place. The’re simply not good enough and so therefore, their students can’t be either.

      • Just to note that coventry university do not require personal therapy either and their diploma costs a wopping £14000.
        Not worth the money either.

      • Chrysalis actually do require student placements Mossie, though I do not know yet how that is organised. The main question is how much help and support do students get in organisation those required placements. And students are encouraged to have their own therapy. However, please take note that even university diplomas in counselling do not always require one having ones own therapy. I know this because the Coventry University tutor I had enquired of BACP, – so clearly it is covered via comment via BACP too that whilst students are encouraged, it is NOT a requirement. It is certainly NOT unusual.
        On the other hand, Newman University College in b’m DOES require students to have something like 42 hours therapy a year I think.

      • Hi Hannah, as you’ll see my comments on this thread are from several years ago and at that time, chrysalis did not require placements. I’m glad to hear that they appear to have upped their game in terms of quality of training. Regarding personal therapy, it’s my opinion that one absolutely should undergo their own while training but I do understand it’s not always a requirement of a course, though it usually is. I’m afraid I still hold chrysalis is low regard as a training provider and working for the nhs, i know that chrysalis training is still not accepted as proficient enough for professional work. NCS however are be
        coming more widely recognised and accepted which I guess is good as we do need an alternative to BACP, but I’m still wary due to their affiliation with chrysalis.

    • pwkilleen says that “it wouldn’t be accepted by the BACP because it doesn’t include 100 hours of supervised placement time as an integral part of the course.” Again, this is inaccurate. Students do have to have a placement and engage in 100 hours of supervised placement, and have the usual amount of Supervision which students have to pay for themselves.
      I want to add that I started my training at Coventry University, but after completing (and paying for) only ONE module, was so disgusted with the errors and omissions of the admin. who undercharged me by £400 and then months later wanted to reclaim it, as well as the ‘cut and paste’ on line tutor comments on assignments done PLUS the fact that the course was supposed to be from 9 am till 6 pm, though people excused themselves Mid-day (with no penalty!), that frankly, for people here to criticise Chrysalis makes little sense!
      You’d expect (wouldn’t you) that an educational establishment called ‘a ‘university’ would expect more of both their students and their staff?
      Furthermore, the cost of the Diploma over 2 years (1 year for level 3 prior to this in addition) was at Coventry an eye-watering £14,000, and the degree £21,000+. I understand that for that there were all sorts of necessary bits and pieces as part of the package for counselling training – which Chrysalis expect a student to sort out independently – but nevetheless, I do not think the Coventry course was in any way superior
      Btw I have a First class honours, and come to this with some academic background.

  15. Thanks PWKILLEEN for coming back to me. COULD I get BACP accreditation by getting the placement and supervision separately? I’ve been told this is an arduous process

    • Not according to their current published requirements. They say that your training and experience has to packaged into a one year full time or two year part time face-to-face course that you can only pass if you complete 100 hrs of supervised placement as an integral part of the course.

      You can find the details in the application forms at

    • Hi Diane, did you decided to do the course/did you find out any other useful or solid information that would be useful? I wanted to do something good in my life and chose this course as it was available and affordable but I am now having second thoughts, I am not sure where to turn for information or who to believe, it all seems so unclear!

  16. A comment on here mentions that they doubt anyone who had taken the course would complain. But whinis there to complain to? They are only registered with companies that they have a lot of connections to so if you complain to the societies who are accrediting the course you are merely complaining to the company and thus are ignored. They are regulates differently because of being a registered charity now so to complain (and have it get somewhere) you are relying on having the finds to take them to court yourself. After spending so much on a qualification that is essentially meaningless who has the time and money to spend on further battles? Personally I’d take them to small claims if I could, but I can’t so I shall just have to save up for a course that will give me a qualification at the end of it.

    • There is however, exactly the same runaround given regarding complaints in the NHS. The organisations and names are different, but it is all a set up throughout the systems….I know because I have been there, and done that.
      But just because Chrysalis is privately run – this does not mean it is any more unethical, or less professional than anything more, shall we say, more ‘orthodox’ or standard….
      I will update on here later when I have gone further down this road with C.

  17. Appalling.

    And sorry, pwkilleen, but if, for instance, I booked a holiday with a company who told me they were members of an Association, I would assume that this meant there was some protection for me, and that the company had some standing. I wouldn’t expect to make a complaint to the Association (which is the whole point for customers) only to discover that I was complaining to the same person who ripped me off!

  18. For anyone looking to continue their counselling training with a decent training provider, I’m commencing study in September with CPCAB. They’re all over the country, it’s a person-centred approach and seems to be an excellent course. BACP recognise them as accredited training. You are also eligable for student finance via a 24+ government loan for this course. I wish I’d found these guys before I’d stumbled into Chrysalis.

  19. Pingback: Are some accredited counsellors more accredited than others? | The Not So Big Society

  20. CPCAB in my experience have not been good when I had to complain and the level 4 course I was on in Leeds is not accredited so take care I got a term into second year so I only had 6 months to go and I was told I had to leave the course and now I can’t finish the qualification so I’ve wasted thousands of pounds and nearly 3 years of my life Neither the college nor CPCAB have made any effort to resolve my complaint so I’ve ended taking college to court. Someone’s comment in one of the posts above is a good one it says “How a complaint is handled is a good measure of the integrity of an organisation”

    • Oh dear, I’m really sorry to hear about your experience. The BACP do recognise CPCAB as an awarding body. Are you able to elaborate at all on your poor experience with them please? Unfortunately there are very few BACP accredited courses around particularly in my area (southwest). BACP aren’t the be all and end of accreditation but they are the biggest players in the field currently. The CPCAB course meets the BACP criteria and standards for professional counselling education and so based on this i decided to go ahead. Always keen to hear other’s stories though.

    • Hi why were you asked to leave the course? I want to do cpcab course in Cardiff!

    • Well if you want to evaluate the integrity of an organisation in terms of the way they handle complaints (and I dont disagree with this way of looking at it), think about the mental health trusts and the corruption and abuse within them –and they are statutory services!
      It’s easy I think to imagine that any organisation that is ‘state’ sanctioned, is going to be properly, fairly, compassionately run. But this is an utter illusion!!

  21. Mossie it’s a very long story I think even CPCAB courses are all different so it ends up being the luck of the draw I have had a bad experience and CPCAB have not been able to do anything to help me They are only responsible for one external exam in year 2 the rest of the course is up to each individual college even though it has some mandatory elements I agree there aren’t many accredited courses this is the same where I live as well so good luck I hope you have a better time than I have had I am heartbroken

  22. I know that there have to be standards, but the BACP seem to real bully boys. They aren’t the only professional body in town but they do shake hands with only specific educators, which raises my hackles a bit. Education is about the quality and extent of what you know and can do, not who provides it. I’m very happy to sit to be adjudicated and monitored in my practice, but I don’t like being dictated to about where my education comes from. In my neck of the wood (Dorset), there is only one–ONE– training institution BACP use. I’ve taken my membership up with BABCP as I’m a cognitive behavioural therapist and they are much more flexible whilst still maintaining standards.

    • There is only one institution that has chosen to apply to the BACP to have their course pre-approved for membership through the BACP Course Accreditation Scheme, but a quick search shows that it’s not the only suitable counselling course in Dorset. Bournemouth & Poole College ( and Redlands Counselling and Training ( are two places that do counselling courses which meet the BACP’s requirements. There may be more, I didn’t look very hard.

      The BACP doesn’t insist on you studying a BACP Accredited Course, it only insists that the course you do meets its standards of 400 face-to-face hours and 100 hours of placement.

  23. As a student on their 3 year course this is incredibly scary for me, as i wanted to work with the NHS, but arent we forgetting something? if they are not acredited, who is INSURING the students, I will be asking for a copy of their policy this morning and withdrawing from the course by Sunday and instructing my solicitor to chase a full refund.
    This is unacceptable, no one does a course costing this much just to faff about not knowing if they are being taught to a competant level, especially regarding Hypnotherapy and counselling, these are peoples lives we are messing with, forget the BACPS, hourly rate or politics and think about the clients you are supposed to be helping, THIS is the reason i wanted to get a QUALIFICATION in these areas.
    I went to the FHT to see if they would accept this course so at least i could insure myself, they dont. So on a basic level nothing is right. So im out. and if i hadnt been so pressured to get the payment in by the starting date (a week after interview) I would have been able to research better myself, the only webpage i had seen previously (apart from knowing a few people who had completed a course previous to 2014) said they were acredited by BACPS BT checking the tiny date on this article today has shown me that i need to check dates much more closely in future.

    • With Chrysalis you insure yourself independently. This is simple to do. You can get yourself indemnity for around £50 a year, for £3000,000, or for around £75 a year, for £5,000,000. No problem at all.

    • Thanks for this. Very interesting. I’m not entirely surprised as I’ve heard former complainants privately tell me they were extremely dissatisfied with the BPC’s complaints procedures.

      • Hi Phil, not sure how this works, I usually dont use wordpress in this way, but this new version of the complaints procedure will be extremely important. From what I understand it will be written in the interest of the therapist not the client. I know first hand that this organisation is corrupt as I am dealing with them at the moment. This new version of the CP is no surprise. BPC is anti client and pro therapist and are closing rans whenever possible. this new version will make it even easier for them to let abusive therapists off the hook

  24. I’ve just paid my £700 odd as a deposit to start a Chrysalis course in October, I’m not feeling very confident after all i have read and loath to pay the further £2800 odd which is due in a week, but i also don’t want my deposit to go to waste. Is there anyway i can get it back?

  25. Thanks for looking into this Amanda but it looks like refunds are only issued less the deposit. I paid the deposit when i was made to which was 1 week after my interview back in June so i don’t think i stand a chance of getting that back…which irks me immensely. 😦

  26. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    I started a three year diploma with Chrysalis in October 2014. Mid way into the course we were informed that although we were informed at interview we could look for work within local authority and nhs, this is clearly not the case now.
    Course material was repeated at times and feedback from Chrysalis was terrible, we were informed that there had been some changes made to the course and that we were the first students to go through such change.
    Due to this I have been forced to with draw from the course and currently trying to get a refund for some of the money I have paid upfront for the 3 year course.
    I have sent numberous emails and recieved responses that have not addressed my issues nor offered any refund for years 2 and 3.
    Has anyone had this issue? Or can any one offer any advice regarding this company?

  27. I too am currently studying with Chrysalis.
    They don’t tell you when you sign up that:


    The only person to lose out is the students that invest. The only people to gain, is the husband and wife receiving our money! Complaints are dealt with slowly, and even if rejected by an Independent Adjudicator, then a Public Protection Officer (employed by the Hypnotherapy/Conselling Society) is brought in to assess the situation. #bias!!

    Not impressed! Don’t invest! Do research and invest your money with a better hypnotherapy/counselling course! Chrysalis are great at marketing. But I feel I’ve been mis-sold and am currently arguing for a refund as I write this to warn off others!

    Good luck!

  28. Has anyone successfully got refunds from Chrysalis after paying up front for a three year course and withdrawing? Keen to find out.

    • Has anyone else not received communication from Chrysalis after enrolling on a course? I have paid for a course that I haven’t received any enrolment information, start date, literature, confirmation (payment or otherwise or tutor/communication info . I have phoned and mailed them and have had nothing in return. I’m not sure I will get a refund as they seem to have scammed me! It’s time for me to make a complaint via card payment dispute at my bank.

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