About us

In 2013, The Banbury Therapy Centre embarked on a plan to develop a gold standard counselling academy, in Oxfordshire to serve the local community.  Year by year we have developed and refined our curriculum to span the full 5 years of training. Our pioneer group of students who started with us at the beginning,  graduated in June 2017 as fully qualified counsellors, and in 2018 and 2019 our second and third group of graduates went out into the world to heal and to support. They are now working in a variety of contexts and some have joined the Banbury Therapy Centre to serve our local community with much needed mental health services.  We are enormously proud of their achievements, and also grateful to them for showing us the way and helping us to develop what is a truly exciting, relevant and robust training for therapeutic counsellors. 

Watch the Banbury Counselling Academy Video

What makes us gold standard?

  • We are committed to teaching in small groups. We do not run groups larger than 12 individuals. We are convinced this is essential to building trust within the group so that our students are able to honestly and openly develop their understanding. We feel that large counselling training groups are detrimental to the safety of the learning environment. People in large groups will tend not to take risks or push beyond their comfort zones. Trainees who play safe will not gain the learning they need to hold clients in a robust way.

  • We have a tried and tested curriculum on all our levels. At Level 4 we integrate three complementary and reinforcing modalities, Person Centred, Gestalt and Transactional Analysis, with the integrative framework of the Therapeutic Relationship which provides our graduates with a flexible humanistic practice which is fully adaptable to client’s varying presentations and needs.

  • Our tutors are of the highest calibre. They are qualified and experienced counsellors, psychotherapists and supervisors who have a wide range of specialisations which they bring to the training.

  • We are constantly evolving and changing in response to feedback from our students. They lead our progress and have direct input into the running of the Academy through regular evaluation questionnaire and attendance at Board of Studies meetings.

  • We are supported and accredited by the CPCAB. This excellent awarding body provides a successful model of criteria that our courses are contained within. The CPCAB has provided counselling qualifications for 20 years and helped to change countless lives for the better.

It is our intention to continue to develop and nurture the next generations of counsellors and psychotherapists as our organisation goes from strength to strength.


 Academy Manager


Rachel is the person who keeps us all in order. For any query regarding student applications or enrolment please contact her on rachel.curd@banburytherapygroup.com. She is also available Mondays to Thursdays, from 9am to 1pm on reception at The Banbury Counselling Academy,8 North Bar, Banbury, OX16 0TB. Telephone number 01295 251102

The Tutor Team


Catherine Cour-Palais

Catherine graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in Philosophy in 1991 and went on to work in the Department of Health. She is a qualified teacher who received her post-graduate certificate in Education from Oxford Brookes University. She is also a qualified Person Centered Counsellor and a registered member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy. She currently has an established private counselling practice at the Banbury Therapy Centre, works with a local bereavement service, and is an associate counsellor within a university counselling service.


Rob Husband

Rob has a Masters in Development Training through the University of Cumbria, a Level 5 Coaching Qualification in Coaching and Mentoring, and a Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling. He has been working with groups to facilitate learning for over 20 years. He has a strong connection to nature and is interested in the expanding world of nature therapy. He is also involved in environmental activism. Rob is a founding Director of Space2think - a learning and development organisation.


Nicki Richardson

Nicki is an experienced therapist and teacher. Included in her qualifications are: A Diploma in Integrative Counselling, A Diploma in Couples Counselling, A BPS approved Certificate in Supervision. Currently studying for a BSc Hons Degree in Psychology, she is an accredited member of BACP. Nicki has over 15 years experience teaching all levels of counselling.

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Paul Ricketts

Paul has a small private practice in both Dance Movement Psychotherapy (DMP) and the ‘talking therapies’ and supervises practitioners and trainees. He was involved in the training and supervision of students on the MA in DMP and UG Creative Expressive Therapy (CET) at Derby University 2013/18. Before teaching at Derby University, he had ten years experience in the NHS. He completed a four year training in Gestalt Psychotherapy and at the same time trained with Ruella Frank in NYC in developmental somatic psychotherapy and has also trained with Julianne Apel-Opper in Berlin in relational living body psychotherapy. Paul also holds a PhD in cultural studies (body, dance, sexuality, gender race and social class). He has extensive annual CPD that includes the mindfulness based practice of the performance art of the sacred clown and improvisational theatrical clowning.

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Robina Zafar


Tina Poke

Tina is an experienced Counsellor, Psychotherapist, Supervisor and Trainer with 20 years experience of working with Relate, Katharine House Hospice and Cruse Bereavement Care and currently with the Fire Service has her own private practice.

Tina is an integrative therapist accredited by the BACP. In addition to her therapeutic qualifications, Tina has a Diploma in Coaching & Mentoring, a Degree in Leadership and Management; she is qualified to work with adult learners and is a qualified EMDR practitioner.


Lucy Smith

Lucy is an Integrative counsellor with an MSc, using an approach which draws from humanistic, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic principles. This broad basis of training and theory allows her to offer a strong foundation for teaching on Counselling Training team. She is a registered member of British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), and adheres to their ethical framework.


Rachel Young

Rachel is Director of the Banbury Counselling Academy. She holds a Diploma in Integrative Counselling, as well as Higher and Post Graduate Diplomas in Gestalt Therapy Theory, Group Facilitation and Supervision. Rachel is an experienced group facilitator having worked for some years as an addictions group therapist in a prison setting and in the community, and trained in Gestalt group facilitation. She has worked as a psychotherapist since 2006.


Anna Zaboronski


Terms + Conditions


1)  Fees

Fees for all courses are to be paid prior to commencement of the course except by prior arrangement with the Academy.

2) Refunds

A refund is the repayment of fees already received by the Academy.  Students are entitled to automatic full refunds where the Academy cancels a course for which they had enrolled and paid fees. All refunds should be made within ten working days of the decision to close a class.  Refunds may also be made to students in the following situation -  where a student’s complaint is upheld by the Academy and/or CPCAB.  If you are seeking a refund, please write to Jo Collins at jo@banburytherapycentre.com with the reasons for your request.

3)  Withdrawal

If a students decides to withdraw before the course commences they will be entitled to a full refund up until 60 days prior to the commencement of the course and 50% up to 30 days prior to the commencement of the course. There will be no refund if a student withdraws from a course 30 days prior to the course or after the course has started.

Students must inform the Academy as soon as possible if they are unable to commence their studies or if they wish to defer their place (deferment is at the discretion of the Academy.) If deferment is accepted, additional course costs may be required.