John Cowley (Head of Counselling)
John Cowley's acceptance speech after Cardiff University Counselling Service is awarded the BACP Innovation in Counselling and Psychotherapy 2010 Award.
John Cowley is Head of Counselling at Cardiff University. He has over 25 years of experience counselling in different settings such as, RELATE, General Practitioners, Schools, Colleges of Further Education and for the last eleven years has been responsible for managing Cardiff University Counselling Service. He has an MA in Guidance and Counselling and is a British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy registered practitioner.
Under his innovative management, the Counselling Service, which includes provision for both staff and students at the Cathays Campus and Heath Park Campus offers a comprehensive range of counselling interventions, including individual and group-work, and bibliotherapy. He believes that diversity of approach provides the maximum opportunity to meet the varied needs of our clients and is committed to striving for best practice in equality and diversity.
The service delivers an innovative managed care model for student counselling using a solution focussed approach “The Cardiff Model”. Several other services and primary care providers have expressed interest in this development. The model provides rapid interventions with minimum waiting times and a therapeutic process designed to start with the first contact. This business model ensures rapid responses with low waiting times and most importantly high client satisfaction.
John's counselling approach is primarily psychodynamic. However, he has a range of other training and approaches that he uses when appropriate.
He is past Chair of BACP's Equality and Diversity Forum. His involvement was to represent the "voice" of those at the margins of society as well as those counsellors working with these client groups.
He has a particular interest in the difficulties faced by ex-offenders post release, and has co-produced a powerful video and training materials "Freedom Pack. ®" using the experience of male re-offenders themselves describing the barriers on release. There are significant differences for female offenders and John was involved the “Going Home Project”. He has an interest in developing ways of supporting those touched by the criminal justice system including those affected during their time at University.
In 2001 John was elected by members of the Association for University and College Counselling (AUCC) to the position of Chair, a post he held until 2004. AUCC is a major division of the BACP. John was regularly included on national consultations relating to aspects of mental health and counselling and has spoken at a number of national conferences.
From 2005 -2008 he was Deputy Chair of BACP, counselling’s lead body with over 30, 000 members. During this time John represented the counselling profession both nationally and internationally.
John was awarded a Fellowship of BACP in 2006.
He remains a Board member of BACP and Chairs a new Criminal Justice Forum supporting counsellors and psychotherapists who work with offenders, ex offenders and those at risk of offending.
Since taking on the post of Head of Counselling in 1998 the Counselling Service has flourished not only in the range of services offered but has earned a very positive reputation within the university, the region and nationally.
His reputation and involvement with both AUCC and BACP resulted in him being engaged during September 2005 as a consultant for the University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka. This four-week project was to enhance student support in particular to develop a counselling service, train doctors to work as student counsellors and develop mentoring skills for academic staff in the medical faculty.
Quality of service provision is paramount, and he is always interested to receive comments on any aspect of counselling service provision.