TA Psychotherapy Foundation Course (Transactional Analysis)

Part-time | 9 Months | UKATA Accredited | Exeter

Open Days TA 101 Workshops TA Advanced Course Application Form

Psychotherapist working with a client.For qualified counsellors & those in other professions wishing to learn more about Psychotherapy (UKCP Accredited)

  • outstanding individual support
  • unique classroom setting (experiential and theoretical)
  • enhance existing qualifications
  • accredited by UKATA and leading to UKCP registration

The Foundation course in TA provides an in-depth introduction to the key concepts of TA and their application.

It can stand alone as a year for personal and professional development, and it provides the first of 4 years of our Advanced TA psychotherapy course, for those wishing to pursue a full training in psychotherapy.

The Foundation course can also provide a route to TA training in other fields (educational or organisational work), or to training in counselling.

‘Theoretically, it comprises ideas from psychoanalysis, humanistic therapy, cognitive therapy, family systems, and social psychology.’ 
‘[TA] is probably the single most comprehensive theory of psychotherapy currently in existence. As well as including some uniquely valuable ideas, it can be regarded as offering a viable strategy for psychotherapy integration. It carries a wealth of experience in the creative use of language as a means of engaging clients in therapy.’ - McLeod John. 

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Course Description

The Foundation course in TA provides an in-depth introduction to the key concepts of TA and their application. It can stand alone as a year for personal and professional development, and it provides the first of 4 years of our Advanced TA psychotherapy course, for those wishing to pursue a full training in psychotherapy.

The Foundation course can also provide a route to TA training in other fields (educational or organisational work), or to training in counselling.

Each of the modules focusses on a particular aspect of TA theory, which builds into a broad overview of TA theory and its use in practice. In addition, the transactional analytic approach is integrated with the development and practice of effective listening and counselling skills.

All tutors on the TA course are qualified as TA psychotherapists (Certified Transactional Analyst, pyschotherapy speciality) with at least an MSc-Level qualification, and are qualified to teach TA (Provisional Teaching and Supervising Transactional Analyst, psychotherapy speciality).
Our learning programmes are designed to be participative, experiential and to draw on prior lived experience whenever possible. The academic value of programmes is enhanced by a learning environment that is warm, transparent, and genuine. Learners and staff interact in a mutual effort to engage in and promote the concept of lifelong learning.

What qualifications you will need?

Applicants must have:

  • A degree or another equivalent/relevant qualification and/or suitable life experience.
  • A TA 101 workshop certificate (preferably prior to commencement of training, otherwise the TA 101 workshop must be undertaken during the Foundation Year course).

If you are interested in this course, you may wish to first book onto one of our Open Days or Open Evenings to find out more.

What will you study and how will I be assessed?

What will you study?

  • Fundamentals of TA, ego states and transactions, and the Adult ego state.
  • Archaic Child Ego States: A developmental perspective.
  • Parent introjects, influences and culture.
  • Scripts, personal, cultural and organisational.
  • Games and Rackets – ways of protecting ourselves and furthering our Script.
  • Self Perpetuating Strategies, Strokes, Time Structuring.
  • TA and group dynamics.
  • Schools of TA.
  • Contracting and application of TA.
  • Use of supervision.

How will you be assessed? 

  • Attendance of at least 80% of the course. (The expectation is that students will attend all of the course, so they also need to make up any theory that they do miss.)
  • There are two written assignments of 2000 words each.
  • A presentation at the end of the year.
  • We also recommend that people keep a learning journal.
  • We strongly recommend that all trainees start or continue in weekly personal therapy during the Foundation course. This is mandatory for anyone who is going to continue into the Advanced course. There is no requirement for clinical practice during the Foundation course.

Leading to the award of an Iron Mill College Certificate of completion for the Transactional Analysis Foundation course.  Students who are members of UKATA and who complete the course would also be eligible to apply for the UKATA Transactional Analysis Award.

Course Dates

Venue: Exeter

Starts 5th and 6th November 2022, 9:30am - 5:30pm on Saturday and 9:30am - 5pm on Sunday. Please visit the 'Downloads Tab' to view the full course schedule. 

How much will it cost?

Course commencing between 1st Jan'22 - 31st Dec'22: 
Option 1 (Total Payable £2,510.00):
An Enrolment Deposit of £750.00 (Non-Refundable) followed by one instalment of £1,760.00.

Option 2 (Total Payable £2,620.00):
An Enrolment Deposit of £750.00 (Non-Refundable) followed by two instalments £935.00.

Bespoke Payment Plans (Total Payable £2,620.00):
In order to facilitate students, the Iron Mill has introduced Bespoke Payment Plans which can be tailored to meet your specific needs.  Please contact us for more information. 

Further information on fees:
Fees listed include VAT.

Tuition Fee Increases:
Tuition fees are reviewed in Autumn each year and are usually increased in line with CPI each January.

If you are an organisation looking to book staff members onto this course, then please email admissions@ironmill.co.uk to process your payment. 

Applicants are invited to enrol by paying the Enrolment Deposit (which shall be fully non-refundable in all circumstances) as well as submitting all application documents (see the 'Applications' tab for further information). The balance of course fees is payable as per the relevant schedule option above.

All applicants should ensure they read and understand the Terms and Conditions of the Student Agreement and the Tuition Fee Contract before applying and paying their Enrolment Deposit (Non-Refundable). These documents can be found in the 'Downloads' tab below. 

How to pay:
For initial course payments and deposits, you can pay online (via PayPal) by using the booking form on this web page. You can also pay all fees by credit / debit card, either in person at Iron Mill College in Exeter, or over the phone by calling 01392 219200. Please note that we are unable to accept payments via American Express or Diners Club cards.

We also accept cash paid in person at Iron Mill College in Exeter, as well as cheques, which should be made out to 'Iron Mill College' and dropped in or sent to 'Iron Mill College, Morwenstow, 7 Barnfield Crescent, Exeter, Devon, EX1 1QT'. We can also accept payments by bank transfer and direct debit - please get in touch with us at 01392 219200 / enquiries@ironmill.co.uk for our bank details or a direct debit form. Please use your name as the reference when making such payments.

Additional expenses:
This will vary depending on your own circumstances, but all applicants must make sure they fully understand the additional expense requirements they will need to undertake during this course. Iron Mill College is unable to contribute to any of these additional costs; they are met by the student. These costs may include: Travel and boarding costs, Purchase of books. 

Course commencement:
Please note: Iron Mill College makes every effort to avoid altering course times, course commencement and conclusion dates. However, should any changes be necessary, you will be notified at the earliest opportunity. All courses run subject to demand and the formation of a viable class cohort, based on the enrolment of a minimum number of successful applicants. A full refund of course fees paid, including any deposit, will be given to all applicants in the event that a course does not proceed and at least 14 days’ notice (prior to the advertised course start date) will be given to applicants, in the event of a course cancellation or postponement. The college cannot be held liable for any remedy, damages or compensation beyond this.

How do I apply?

How to apply:

  • Your £750.00 Enrolment Deposit (Non-Refundable) to reserve your place (See the How much will it cost? tab above). Once your deposit is paid, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to the application form. Please complete your application form.  
  • If you require assistance in completing your application, please contact admissions@ironmill.co.uk

Final application date:
The deadline for applications is 4 weeks before the start of the course.  A decision will be made on whether the course will run, based on confirmed and accepted places, 4 weeks before the start date of the course.  Any applications received after the 4 week deadline will only be processed at the discretion of the Programmes Lead. If this is the case, please contact us for further details as soon as possible.

Intake interviews will be arranged for suitable applicants. Applicants who are offered a place will be required to confirm acceptance in writing accompanied by an Enrolment Deposit of £750.00, which shall be fully non-refundable in all circumstances. 

Selection for interview:
Selection is on the basis of information provided in your application (as above). We will send you an invitation to come for an interview once these documents are in place.

At interview:
This will include a 1 hour group discussion and a 30 minute individual interview. You will need to set aside time between 10am and 3pm on the interview date for the interview process (if you need to leave earlier, it may be possible to negotiate an early individual interview timeslot on the day).

The following personal and professional readiness criteria are used as part of the assessment of whether students are ready to progress from the Foundation Year in TA to the Advanced TA course, and to progress from year to year in the Advanced TA course. Therefore, at interview for the Foundation Year course, we ask you to consider these criteria, and be able to identify and discuss those that you would find most challenging.

Students should show the capacity to:

  • Relate from a stance of respect and mutual interest.
  • Communicate in an open and respectful manner 
  • Show evidence of awareness of professional and ethical standards. 
  • Take responsibility for your physical and emotional well being. 
  • Take an active and shared responsibility for getting your learning needs met in the course.
  • Cope with the varied demands of the course including the fulfilment of financial obligations, the timely completion of assignments and active participation in the course, e.g. discussions, sharing of case material, live work under supervision in the large group, small group exercises and group process.

Students should demonstrate a growing ability to:

  • Be aware of your own process and communicate it when appropriate in a coherent and open way, relating it to the course content when relevant. 
  • Give constructive feedback. receive constructive feedback, reflect upon it and make use of it. 
  • Learn to deal with the challenge of unhelpful feedback.
  • Demonstrate a capacity for self reflexivity. 
  • Be active in the group process component of the course. 
  • Be aware of the boundary between therapy and training in a way that the training task can remain foreground. 
  • Relate course content and theory to practice. 
  • Integrate new material with previous theory and ideas. 
  • Be aware of the limitations of your level of expertise and work within it. 
  • Participate in skills exercises and the clinical practice component related to the course content at a level of competence appropriate to the stage of training. 
  • Experiment and learn from mistakes. 
  • Experience uncertainty and difficult feelings without becoming rigid, demanding or incapacitated by anxiety.

Where will this course take you?

If you would like to continue your education, Iron Mill College has several options for you:

Advanced Transactional Analysis Psychotherapy Training which leads to UKCP Registration, on completion of the requirements for qualification as a Certified Transactional Analyst.

Advanced Diploma in Integrative Counselling which is accredited by the BACP.


How long is the course?
4 years of formal teaching. 1 year of the Foundation course and 3 years of the Advanced TA psychotherapy course. 

How does each year work?
The Foundation course is 9 weekends, November to July. The Advanced course is 10 weekends, September to July, no weekend in April. Once the course has started, the group is closed so no one else can join the group.

Is it always weekends, in Exeter?
Yes, all the course is based around weekends, and at the moment, they are all in Exeter. 

What are two parts of the course about?
During the Foundation course, we cover a huge amount of TA theory, at depth. At this stage, the theory is applied to people’s work situations and personal lives, as most people are not in practice at this time. TA theory can be applied in four fields: Psychotherapy, Counselling, Education and Organisations, and the Foundation course is designed to look at all these fields. There is also a strand running through the Foundation course of developing counselling skills, so students are ready to start in practice once they start the Advanced course.

The Foundation course gives students a good grounding in TA theory for the rest of the Advanced course. In that part of the course, we look at psychotherapy specifically, how TA theory has been applied in this field, and at theories from other modalities that are relevant to this. 

Why is it 4 years?
The course leads to registration with the UKCP, UK Council for Psychotherapy, and to qualification as a Certified Transactional Analyst through the European Association for Transactional Analysis (EATA). The requirements for numbers of training hours, and duration of training are set out by those organisations. Within the section of the UKCP that TA belongs to (The Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy College), psychotherapy courses must be 4 years long and at MSc level. 

Can I take time out?
There is a natural break between the Foundation and Advanced course. Indeed, some students may be asked to take a break between those courses in order to do some additional development. Students can also take time out during the Advanced course. Each year group is closed once it has started, so students only start at the beginning of each year. However, stopping training for a year then re-starting training is manageable, and not unusual.

What happens at the end of 4 years?
Students who complete the requirements of the 4 year course are awarded an Iron Mill diploma in TA psychological studies. In order to get an Iron Mill diploma in TA psychotherapy, and gain UKCP registration, students must complete their qualification as a Certified Transactional Analyst through the European Association for Transactional Analysis (EATA).

How do you complete the CTA?
Candidates write a dissertation (known as the ‘written exam’ in the TA world), and once that is passed they undertake an ‘oral exam’ in which they present and discuss their work. These exams are run outside the Iron Mill by EATA. It is theoretically possible to complete these immediately after finishing the 4-year course, but most people take some more time than that. This is partly because people need to complete their clinical hours (hours of seeing clients), but also because candidates want to feel robust in their practice and their integration of TA theory into their practice, and this takes time.

What qualifications do I need to apply?
The course is an MSc level course, so students need to be prepared and able to work at that level. That does not mean you need to have a first degree, as many people have not been in formal education. However, we look at other professional qualifications, other relevant training (such as counselling-skills courses) and people’s motivation. We discuss this before application and at interview. The Foundation course is also a good ‘tester’ as it is between degree and MSc level.

Do I need to have done a TA101 to apply?
This is strongly recommended, as the TA101 is a useful ‘taster’ for TA and for the way we think about it and teach it at the Iron Mill, so if you can attend one that will help you in your decision-making. 

Do I need to have done counselling courses to apply?
No. You do not need to have done any previous courses. That is, you can go straight into the Foundation course without having done any counselling skills courses or the Iron Mill Certificate in counselling. A portion of the Foundation course is dedicated to developing counselling skills. This ensures that all students have good enough counselling skills to continue on the course, and this is part of our ongoing assessment throughout the Foundation course.

What if I haven’t already learnt counselling skills?
There is teaching and development of these skills, and formal feedback on them, throughout the Foundation course. At the end of that course students need to meet the personal and professional criteria to progress on to the Advanced course. This includes a good enough level of skills and personal readiness to start seeing working with clients during the first year of the Advanced course. If students are not ready, they would be given recommendations for what they needed to do in order to meet those criteria and to continue on to the Advanced course. 

What if I’ve done some TA already, can I skip the Foundation year?
This is worth discussing with the course leader. However, the requirement for the Advanced course is that students have completed at least 120 hours of training in TA, and this is generally only fulfilled by TA Foundation courses.

What if I’ve already done a counselling course?
Each year we have some people on the TA psychotherapy course who have completed a counselling course. Sometimes they want to learn about TA on the Foundation course, sometimes they want to develop their practice and become qualified as a psychotherapist. This is therefore a common path for TA trainees, and we welcome trainees who already have had these experiences. 

I’ve missed the start of the Foundation course this year, what can I do?
It can be frustrating to find that you’ve just missed the start date of a course. There are other things you can do in the meantime. If you haven’t already attended a TA101, we strongly recommend you do that, so you have a good idea of what the TA Foundation course will be like. You could also do some reading, and start to work in therapy if you’re not already doing so. We’d also recommend that you speak to the TA lead tutor, as she can discuss other options and directions for you. Finally, as the TA course is a big undertaking, with a lot of commitments from the students, then we really encourage prospective students to take their time in applying. In that context, having time to research the course, look into TA, and to think about your motivation is time well spent in the long-term.

What are the course requirements of the Foundation course?

  • Attendance of at least 80% of the course. (The expectation is that students will attend all of the course, so they also need to make up any theory that they do miss.)
  • There are two written assignments of 2000 words each.
  • A presentation at the end of the year.
  • We also recommend that people keep a learning journal.
  • We strongly recommend that all trainees start or continue in weekly personal therapy during the Foundation course. This is mandatory for anyone who is going to continue into the Advanced course. There is no requirement for clinical practice during the Foundation course.

What are the course requirements of the Advanced course?

  • Attendance of at least 80% of the course. (The expectation is that students will attend all of the course, so they also need to make up any time they do miss.)
  • Two written assignments of 3000 words each, one of 1500 words
  • A presentation at the end of the year
  • We recommend that people keep a learning journal, as the 1500 word assignment is based on the learning journal.
  • Students need to be in weekly therapy
  • During the first year of the Advanced course students need to find a placement and start clinical practice.
  • They also need supervision every other week, and at least monthly supervision with a TA supervisor. (So many students have monthly supervision with their TA supervisor and monthly supervision in their placement.)

What are the course requirements for the CTA?
In addition to the training hours, therapy hours, supervision hours etc. students need to undertake a mental-health familiarisation placement in their local area so they have an understanding of how patients with mental health problems can be assessed and treated. At the end of their training period, trainees then complete a dissertation and a viva, which is part of the TA qualification system, run by our European professional body (European Association of Transactional Analysis).

Who can be my psychotherapist during training?
Therapists need to be UKCP-registered psychotherapists, preferably in the Humanistic and Integrative College. They do not need to be TA psychotherapists.

Who can be my supervisor during training?
TA supervisors need to be a Provisional Teaching and Supervising Transactional Analyst, or Teaching and Supervising Transactional Analyst with a psychotherapy speciality.

What are the differences between TA and an integrative course?
TA is itself an integrative model, that has been developed over the last 60 years, and incorporates elements of both psychoanalytic and humanistic models. As the theory was all developed under the ‘umbrella’ of TA, the models integrate very well, different parts of the theory fit well together and can communicate well with each other. This makes the theory very robust. The challenge of an integrative course is to make your own integration from different pieces of theory that did not develop together so may not fit together so easily.

Is TA too limiting as a model compared with an integrative course?
I don’t believe so. TA is used across the spectrum of practices, from cognitive–behavioural work to a relational psychoanalytic approach, and is highly adaptable to different practitioners and contexts. TA theory is deceptively simple at a first look, but has great depth, so it allows us to work with people with complex mental health problems, problems related to their development, and to do depth psychotherapeutic work.

Clients are not generally interested in the model of counselling or psychotherapy a practitioner uses, but simply in whether they believe they can work with that person. This is appropriate as it’s the therapeutic relationship that is a key factor in the success of the work. 

Why psychotherapy? What is the difference between psychotherapy and counselling?
This is a complex and political question, and you would get a different answer from anyone you asked. However the description below is consistent with way this difference is described by the international TA accrediting bodies. Counselling works with the person in their situation to deal with current problems and increase their strengths, resources and functioning in their professional, social and cultural context. In TA terms, this is work with the Adult, here and now, Ego state. Psychotherapy aims to address and heal fundamental, developmental and relational issues for a person that are limiting them – ‘to deal with the past in the present, so they are free to live their lives in the future’. In TA terms, this is work not only with the Adult, but also the Child and Parent Ego state. At its best, the aim is to change people’s personality structure. This would often be in the context of long-term work.

What clients could I work with?
The psychotherapy training (it’s length, level of study and requirement for personal therapy and a mental-health familiarisation placement), equips graduates to work with clients with a wide spectrum of problems, including mental-health disorders (though some are still best worked with in hospitals). This may mean that psychotherapists are able to work within the healthcare system, and that they have competence to work with a variety of clients (under supervision) in private practice.

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"I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Iron Mill - there is a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere which makes for a very positive learning environment. My tutor was excellent and the course content was both challenging and enjoyable. I have gained invaluable new skills and made lasting friendships."
Frances Carpenter, Certificate in Counselling Graduate

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