Foundation Degree in Integrative Counselling

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1 EXPECT TO ACHIEVE Foundation Degree in Integrative Counselling Frequently Asked Questions

2 Contents Page no. About the course itself Why study counselling at Newman? 1 What will I study as a student on the Foundation Degree? 1 What kind of theoretical approach is taken on the course? 2 Who is the typical Newman counselling student? 2 How many students are there in each year group? 2 What kinds of learning and assessment methods are used on the course? 2-3 What kinds of facilities and resources do you have to support counselling 3 students? Is the course accredited? 3 Practicalities How is the Foundation Degree structured? 4 When would I have to attend? 4 How much time would I need to set aside each week to do the course? 4 Can I combine it with my full-time job? What are the course fees? 4 Do I have to pay the fees upfront? 4 Can I get a student loan as a part-time student? 4-5 Can I get any other financial help with course fees? 5 What other costs are there associated with the course? 5 Do you provide childcare? 5 Placements, personal therapy and supervision At what stage would I start seeing clients? 6 Does the course find me a placement or do I have to find it myself? 6 What kinds of placements do students have? Do they have to be with 6 adults? How many placement hours would I have to do? 6 Does the course organize supervision or do I have to find a supervisor? 6 How many personal therapy hours are required on the course? 6 Does it ever take longer than 3 years to complete the course? 6 Support with your studies I am not confident about my academic ability and skills. What support if 7 available to help students with study skills and academic writing? How do you support people with disabilities? 7 What other support will I have as a counselling student on this 7 programme? Entry qualifications & the application process What are the entry requirement for the Foundation Degree? 8 I have a level 2 counselling certificate but I don t have a level 3. Can I 8 apply for the Foundation Degree in Integrative Counselling? I have a level 4 certificate / diploma. Can I enter year 2 of the Foundation 8 Degree? I have a degree in psychology / nursing / social work / youth work. Do I 9

3 need a counselling certificate too to gain entry onto the Foundation Degree? I don t have any formal counselling qualifications but do have several 9 years experience as a volunteer counsellor. Can I still apply? What kind of voluntary work should I do? What counts as relevant work 9 experience? When should I apply? What is the deadline for applications? 9 How do I apply? 9 What is the selection process for the course? 9-10 What happens if I don't get offered a place? 10 What can I do to prepare for starting? 10 Other courses we offer I want to study counselling skills in depth, to help me with my current 11 work role, but I don t want to do a full professional training as a counsellor. Do you offer any other, shorter courses? I already have a degree. Do I have to do the Foundation Degree to 11 become a counsellor, or can I do a postgraduate level qualification instead? What other courses do you offer? 11 Career opportunities What will I come out with at the end of the course? 12 What further study can I do after the course? 12 Will the course qualify me to work with children? 12 Will I be a qualified counsellor at the end of the course? Is there 12 anything else I would need to do in order to practice as a counsellor? What kinds of jobs do people get after they complete the course? 12 Further information I'd like some further information and to talk to someone about the courses you offer. Who should I speak to? 13

4 About the course itself Why study Counselling at Newman? The Department of Psychology and Counselling is one of the largest departments at Newman. The Foundation Degree is one of a suite of counselling courses run by Newman within the Department of Psychology & Counselling. In addition to the Foundation Degree, we run an Introductory Certificate in Counselling Skills, a BA (Hons) 'Top Up' Programme in Integrative Counselling, a Combined Honours BA (Hons) Programme in Counselling Studies, and an MSc in Integrative Psychotherapy. On the psychology side, programmes include the Single Honours Programme in Psychology, Combined Honours Programme in Applied Psychology, and MSc in Clinical Applications of Psychology. The Foundation Degree in Counselling has been running since Counselling training at Newman has grown rapidly since this time, notably due to the move, in 2007, of The University of Birmingham's counselling programmes to Newman. The Psychology & Counselling department is still expanding, and provides a dynamic department within which to study. In total, we have over 460 students (full and part-time) studying within the department at the present time, including over 200 students studying counselling or counselling studies. Despite being a large department, we pride ourselves on being a small and friendly institution, providing individual and personalized support to our students. The staff team at Newman are all highly experienced practitioners and trainers. Newman has built a strong reputation for our rigorous integrative training programme, and for producing graduates who are mature and reflective practitioners, with a strong awareness of ethics, diversity and evidence-based practice. The External Examiner for the programme commented: "The modules continue to challenge students with a variety of assessments that are relevant to the development of knowledge and skills in counselling. They provide a sound education as an underpinning for practice, and rigorously assess the readiness of the student to undertake counselling practice. Assessment tasks are varied and appropriate for the subject and level(s), and I note in particular the integration of the requirement for reflective, ethical and professional thinking into most assessment tasks... The students continue to evidence a range and depth of achievement on a par or above students on similar programmes at other institutions". What will I study as a student on the Foundation Degree? The Foundation Degree programme is structured to cover all the key areas required to practice as a professional counsellor, and to provide a solid grounding in an integrative approach. The course is built around a coherent integrative model that is informed by current research and by developments in the professional requirements for counsellors in the UK. Modules include: Professional Counselling Skills Theoretical Perspectives for counselling Ethical, Professional & Contextual issues Developing Integrative Counselling Practice The Counselling Relationship Human Development Time Conscious Approaches Mental Health: Wellbeing and Distress Research Methods in Counselling 1

5 The Counselling Placement What kind of theoretical approach is taken on the course? The central aim of the Foundation Degree in Integrative Counselling is to provide a theoretical foundation and practitioner training in Integrative Counselling, which will enable students to practice as individual counsellors with adult clients. There are many different ways to teach integration, and at Newman we introduce students to a framework of for clinical decision making which places the therapeutic relationship at the centre of the therapeutic process. We therefore place emphasis on students gaining a clear and in-depth understanding of the different aspects of the therapeutic relationship and of the therapeutic process, and how these may be used in the service of the client. In considering these intrapersonal and interpersonal aspects of relationships, social and political contextual factors, and the role of power, diversity and difference are also emphasised throughout the programme. Integrative counsellors cannot rely on a single model or view of the world to help them understand their clients - instead they have to learn to think and to develop the skills of reflective practice. We believe this is one of the cornerstones of effective counselling, and our aim is to send out counsellors who are professional, ethical and reflective practitioners. The ability to reflect upon oneself and to understand one's own responses in relation with others is therefore an important part of training on the Foundation Degree. Our integrative framework includes the need for students to explore their beliefs about the nature of being a person, how humans grow and develop, and what can go wrong as the basis for developing their own personal integrative model. Early on in the course, they develop an initial grounding in key counselling theories. With these building blocks in place, and through further theoretical and reflective work, students gradually learn to integrate theories and practice from key traditions in counselling, and therefore to develop their own model of integration. Students also develop skills in integrative formulation, considering how this relates to their own integrative model, the client's needs and goals, and informed by evidence-based practice within contextual realities. The role of research evidence in informing formulation and practice is stressed throughout. Who is the typical Newman counselling student? Here at Newman we are proud of the diversity of our student body. Our Foundation Degree students range in age from early 20s to early 60s. Over a third of students are from black and minority ethnic groups. So there is no typical Newman Counselling student and we positively encourage applications from students from all social and cultural backgrounds. How many students are there in each year group? There are currently around 80 students on the Foundation Degree. Year groups vary in size, but are usually between students. What kinds of learning and assessment methods are used on the course? 2

6 The programme provides a mixture of teaching and learning approaches, to reflect the need for these different elements. These approaches include: Traditional lectures (often as a stimulus for practical and experiential workshops) Seminars and workshop activities, including group work Individual tutorial sessions Skills practice sessions, including the review and feedback of audio and videorecording Reflective journals Professional logs Clinical Supervision Groups (for students on placement) Placement / work-based learning Individual supervision (for students on placement)2 Visiting speakers and Continuing Professional Development days On-line electronic support and discussion via the Newman Virtual Learning Environment (Moodle) on all modules Use of Moodle for timed research and tests on some modules Throughout, links are made between theory, research evidence and counselling practice. Student placements (the work placement and the supervised counselling placement) form an integral part of the course, with skills modules building up to students acquiring the necessary skills to commence on a supervised counselling placement and subsequently to develop and learn optimally whilst on placement. What kinds of facilities and resources do you have to support counselling students? We have a range of types of teaching spaces for counselling students, including lecture rooms, and rooms suitable for small group work. We also have a dedicated observation suite, where students can practice their counselling skills and can digitally record their practice using our state-of-the-art digital video facilities. There is a dedicated IT suite for psychology and counseling students. We also have a state-of-the-art library, which is very well-equipped to serve our counselling students. Is the course accredited? The course provides both professional and academic training, producing reflective practitioners who are equipped to meet the future challenges in counselling. The course is not currently accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), but is structured to support applications for individual accreditation with the BACP and subscribes to the BACP Ethical Framework (2013). Graduates from the Foundation Degree can therefore apply for BACP accreditation under route 4.2 (see for further information and more details of criteria). 3

7 Practicalities How is the Foundation Degree structured? The taught programme takes 3 years to complete, although in some cases, students require longer than this, in order to complete their clinical hours, before graduating. The programme starts in late September each year. Newman has a semester system which means that there are two semesters (rather than three terms) each academic year. Taught classes currently end around May/June time each year, recommencing in late September. However, placements, supervision, personal therapy and personal study continue over the summer period each year. When would I have to attend? Each student group attends on one day per week. These days are currently as follows: Year One Thursdays Year Two Wednesdays Year Three Wednesdays Students need to be available from 11am on the day of their taught sessions, and teaching runs until up to 7.30pm. In addition, there are around 10 Saturday workshops over the period of the taught programme that students are required to attend as part of their training. There is an 80% attendance requirement on all modules. In addition to classroom attendance, a considerable amount of time is required for personal study, personal therapy and from year 2 onwards, a clinical placement and regular supervision. How much time would I need to set aside each week to do the course? Can I combine it with my full-time job? This is a very demanding course requiring considerable time and commitment. Each year students take 80 credits. This is two-thirds of the amount of study of a full-time student. On top of this, the Foundation Degree in Counselling requires you to undertake a placement in Years Two and Three of the course. If you do work full-time, you would need to ensure that this did not interfere with your fitness to practice as a trainee counsellor. It is therefore inadvisable to work full-time whilst studying this course. This is particularly the case in Years 2 and 3, when students begin work with clients. Some employers will allow students to take time off work to attend the course. This is particularly the case where the job is in some way related to counselling. What are the course fees? Fees for this programme for 2013/14 are 4,150 per year. Do I have to pay the fees upfront? It is important to note that no UK first degree student who does not already have a first degree has to pay fees up front. Can I get a student loan as a part-time student? 4

8 Yes. In most cases, part-time students can access tuition fee loans to cover the full cost of tuition fees. The Tuition Fee Loan is not based on household income and there is no upper age limit for applying. Students are due to start repaying loans in the April four years after the start of the course or the April after leaving the course - whichever comes first. However, you would only start making repayments if your income was more than 21,000 a year. Can I get any other financial help with course fees? Part-time students in receipt of benefits can continue to receive some benefits whilst studying part-time. To download an application form for a tuition fee loan, or find out more about support for part-time students visit the Student Finance England website, at What other costs are there associated with the course? During your studies, in addition to tuition fees, you would need to budget for some additional costs. These are: The cost of at least 40 hours of personal therapy The cost of fortnightly supervision, in cases where your placement does not provide this, or does not do so at the required level Student membership of BACP Travel costs to and from personal therapy, and to and from placements A digital recorder for recording client work As with all courses, you should also factor in the cost of purchasing at least the essential reading texts Do you provide childcare? There are a small number of nursery places available at Whippersnappers, an independent nursery on campus. Demand for places is high and early application is recommended. For further information about Whippersnappers nursery contact: +44 (0)

9 Placements, personal therapy and supervision At what stage would I start seeing clients? Students start seeing clients during Year Two, subject to being assessed as fit to practice and having passed a range of 'gatekeeper' assessments. Does the course find me a placement or do I have to find it myself? It is the responsibility of students to find their own placement. However, Newman has very good links with a range of placement providers and is therefore able to provide a good level of support to students seeking a placement. Therefore, students are supported in finding a placement by the Placements Manager, who is often able to provide students with contacts and with information on placements that are available. In addition, full details of placement requirements are provided to assist in the search. What kinds of placements do students have? Do they have to be with adults? Students undertake placements in a range of organisations within the voluntary and public sectors. Examples include voluntary agencies, GP surgeries, and NHS occupational health services. Students may only work with clients who are 18 or over. Placement agencies that are suitable for the course are those that enable students to work with a range of clients and a diversity of presenting issues. How many placement hours would I have to do? Students have to have at least 120 hours of counselling practice prior to completing the course. Does the course organise supervision or do I have to find a supervisor? Although some placements provide in house supervision, it is becoming increasingly necessary for students to arrange external supervision. Where this is the case, students must select a supervisor from a panel of Newman approved supervisors. All supervision is self-funded. How many personal therapy hours are required for the course? Students need to complete a minimum of 40 hours of personal therapy during the 3 years of the taught programme. Does it ever take longer than 3 years to complete the course? In some cases it may take a student longer than 3 years to complete their placement hours. Depending on the student s circumstances, it may be possible to gain an extension in order to be able to complete the required hours. It is also sometimes necessary for a student to suspend their studies, for a period up to one year, due to personal circumstances, and to then re-join the course. This would be discussed with the programme leader, should the need arise. 6

10 Support with your studies I am not confident about my academic ability and skills. What support if available to help students with study skills and academic writing? Foundation degrees are designed to support under-confident students and those who have not had a conventional academic route into Higher Education. Many of our counselling students are under-confident in their academic skills at the start of the programme, but, as a student-centred University, Newman s challenging yet supportive learning environment will enable you to engage with theories and concepts, discuss ideas with your tutors and become independent learners and creative thinkers able to make a difference in the world. In addition to your module leaders and personal tutor, you will have access to drop-in support sessions with a Senior Academic Support Tutor, who is available for advice and consultation, giving you the opportunity to discuss your academic progress. In addition to one-to-one support from staff, online support is also provided where you can access course information, additional reading, guides, and module information posted by lecturers. How do you support people with disabilities? Newman is committed to providing opportunities for all and welcomes enquiries and applications from students with any form of impairment, health concern or additional need which may impact on study. Applicants with additional needs are selected using the same academic and non-academic criteria as other applicants. Support is available for disabled students and students with health concerns or additional needs. You are encouraged to discuss your individual needs with the Inclusion Coordinator as soon as possible, and before accepting an offer of a place. Any personal support or equipment you need to facilitate your studies is paid for through a Disabled Students Allowance (DSA). DSA is not a loan and you do not have to repay any funding. You can apply for DSA funding at the same time as your student loan. To receive DSA funding you need to make an application to the Student Loans Company ( For further information contact: Heather Griffiths, Inclusion Co-ordinator T: +44 (0) ext 2421 E: What other support will I have as a counselling student on this programme? All counselling Foundation Degree students are allocated to a personal tutor, who they are expected to see at least once per semester, and more if you are having difficulties that may interfere with either your studies or your practice. 7

11 Entry qualifications and the application process What are the entry requirements for the Foundation Degree? Basic entry qualifications: Normally a Certificate in Counselling at level 3 or equivalent, which includes a minimum of 75 hours of skills and theory training. Some experience of working with clients in a relevant context, such as a helping, listening or supporting relationship is expected. Additional entry requirements Candidates must also demonstrate I. Self-awareness, maturity and stability II. Ability to make use of and reflect upon life experience III. Capacity to cope with the emotional demands of the course IV. Ability to cope with the intellectual and academic requirement V. Ability to form a helping relationship VI. Ability to be self-critical and use both positive and negative feedback VII. Awareness of the nature of prejudice and oppression VIII. Awareness of issues of difference and equality IX. Ability to recognise the need for personal and professional support X. Competence in, or the aptitude to develop generic professional skills, including: literacy, numeracy, information technology, administrative skills, selfmanagement skills, communication and interpersonal skills Final requirement Any place offered will be subject to a satisfactory outcome of a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check I have a level 2 counselling certificate but I don t have a level 3. Can I apply for the Foundation Degree in Integrative Counselling? Successful applicants will normally have a level 3 certificate in counselling skills. However, it may be possible to consider entry to the Foundation Degree for an applicant who does not have a level 3 certificate in counselling, in exceptional circumstances. For example, if you have studied counselling at level 2, have studied a closely related subject or subjects at level 3 or above, and have extensive and directly relevant work experience, then it may be possible to consider admission to the Foundation Degree, subject to passing an additional selection task. It is difficult to give precise guidance on this, but if you feel that you may fall into this category, please ask. I have a level 4 certificate / diploma. Can I enter year 2 of the Foundation Degree? It may be possible to either enter directly into Year 2, or into the second semester of Year 1, for those who are able to show that they have met the learning outcomes, and if your level 4 qualification includes assessed skills practice. Please note that entry directly into Year 2 8

12 would only be authorised in exceptional circumstances, since Year 1 modules involve gatekeeper assignments for placements. Please enquire for further details. I have a degree in psychology / nursing / social work / youth work. Do I need a counselling certificate too to gain entry onto the Foundation Degree? A degree in an area of health or social care is often a useful starting point for counselling work. However, there are important differences in the aims and skills used within these different professions. Also, it is really important that students starting on the Foundation Degree already have basic counselling skills in place, and are able to clearly identify and comment on their use of specific skills. For this reason, we normally ask for a level 3 certificate, even when an applicant has a degree in a related area. There may, however, be exceptions to this, so if you would like to discuss this further, please ask to discuss this with a member of the team. I don t have any formal counselling qualifications but do have several years experience as a volunteer counsellor. Can I still apply? Whilst this is very valuable experience it would still be important to see evidence of academic understanding of counselling and counselling skills. This would need to be demonstrated at level 3. It may be possible in some circumstances to gain accreditation of prior learning and experience (APEL) for some of the experience, so if you would like to discuss this further, please ask to discuss this with a member of the team What kind of voluntary work should I do? What counts as relevant work experience? Relevant experience must give you the opportunity to use counselling skills in a setting where you have time and opportunity to spend time listening and responding to someone who is potentially troubled. In addition, at least some of your role must focus on facilitating the other person to explore, consider and resolve their own issues. Excellent opportunities can be found in helping agencies such as Samaritans or Childline. However, in some circumstances other roles such as teachers, care workers, youth workers can use counselling skills provided that they are able to find a sustained period of time to use counselling skills within a counselling approach. When should I apply? What is the deadline for applications? Applications can made be made at any time, however these will be considered from April 1 st of the year of entry. There is no official deadline and interviews may take place as late as early September. However, later applications may not be considered if the course is over subscribed. How do I apply? Application is by application form that can be downloaded from the Newman University website The form needs to be signed and returned to the Admissions department together with two completed references. What is the selection process for the course? 9

13 Initially candidates will complete an application form and a decision to interview will be based on evidence of a level 3 certificate in counselling skills or equivalent, and evidence of experience of using these skills in a workplace or voluntary setting. Candidates who appear to meet these requirements will be invited to attend an interview day. The day will be staffed and selection made by two member of the counselling department and will comprise: Information giving session Observed skills role play Individual interview Literacy and numeracy test Applicants will be informed of the outcome (through Newman University Admissions department) within 10 working days of the interview. What happens if I don t get offered a place? Candidates will often request feedback if they are not offered a place. However, giving detailed feedback on personal qualities and aptitudes may leave candidates unsupported and struggling with the feedback. If you would like feedback, please contact Admissions who will be able to provide brief comments on the reasons for the decision based on the criteria used for the assessment, and listed below. The Counselling team does not enter directly into discussions with applicants regarding the reasons for decisions. 1. You did not meet the academic entry requirements 2. You did not demonstrate sufficient experience and capacity of appropriate counselling/counselling skills 3. You did not demonstrate the required intellectual and academic capacity to 4. You did not demonstrate sufficient personal qualities (e.g. self-awareness, reflective capacity, maturity, stability, awareness of issues of difference) 5. You did not demonstrate your robustness to study including support and time available. 6. You did not demonstrate a sufficient commitment to and realistic level of understanding of the course Candidates who do not meet criteria 1 may apply to join the Newman level 4 Introductory Certificate in Counselling Skills. However, this does NOT in any way imply that a further application to the Foundation Degree will be successful. Any further application will go through the same rigorous process. What can I do to prepare for starting? it is often useful to review previous learning, for example, looking through lecture notes and re-reading core texts. This can be combined with reflections on these in relation to any work involving counselling skills. 10

14 Other courses we offer I want to study counselling skills in depth, to help me with my current work role, but I don t want to do a full professional training as a counsellor. Do you offer any other, shorter courses? We also offer an Introductory Certificate in Counselling Skills. The course is flexible enough to be used as an in-depth introduction to counselling skills, developing an understanding that will enhance an existing career or as the first step towards professional counselling training. Sessions are normally held on a Monday or a Wednesday evening, supplemented by some Saturday attendance. The course runs at two entry points during the year: September and January, and lasts for one semester. For further information, please see: or contact Kevin Hogan, Lecturer in Counselling, on Ext I already have a degree. Do I have to do the Foundation Degree to become a counsellor, or can I do a postgraduate level qualification instead? Students on the Foundation Degree have a wide range of previous experience, from those with very few formal qualifications to those with PhDs, so students with previous degrees are welcome to study for the Foundation Degree. You may, however, wish to consider studying for our MSc. in Integrative Psychotherapy (Adults or Children). This is available from September 2013 subject to validation, and will provide successful students with both a postgraduate qualification and professional registration with UKCP. What other courses do you offer? Our full list of taught professional programmes is as follows: Introductory Certificate in Counselling Skills Foundation Degree in Integrative Counselling BA Hons (Top Up) in Integrative Counselling MSc in Integrative Psychotherapy (Child / Adult) We also have a number of workshops available for qualified counsellors and psychotherapists. For further details on these programmes, please see our website. Details can also be found in our Counselling professional courses brochure, available via the Newman website, or on request from the School of Human Sciences, on Ext

15 Further training & career opportunities What will I come out with at the end of the course? Graduates should have sufficient grounding in ethics, practice, theory, difference and diversity, research and skills to begin a career within the counselling profession, in such fields as primary health care, third sector organisations, work-based counselling and student counselling, and private practice. They should also be able to apply counselling skills, knowledge and perspectives within a range of counselling-related settings. What further study can I do after the course? On completion of the Foundation Degree you may wish to apply for the 'Top Up' award, which enables you to gain a BA (Hons) Integrative Counselling. Studying for a BA (Hons) topup award can provide a deeper theoretical base to support and develop practice, and also widen employment and career and progression opportunities. We would encourage you to join our Continuous Professional Development Association. For a small annual fee, this enables you to keep in touch with what is happening at Newman, including CPD opportunities and current research. It also entitles you to attend two CPD opportunities each year. Will the course qualify me to work with children? The Foundation Degree only qualified you to work with adults, and you would need to undergo further training in order to work with children. This would be possible for Foundation Degree graduates through progression to higher level programmes and our postgraduate training route. For further details, contact Fran Renwick, Senior Lecturer in Counselling, on Ext Will I be a qualified counsellor at the end of the course? Is there anything else I would need to do in order to practice as a counsellor? The course provides a professional training as a counsellor and a firm grounding for the start of your professional journey. Upon qualifying, you will be able to practice, although you will still be very much in the 'fledging' stage of your practice. In order to gain BACP accreditation as an independent practitioner, you will need to meet a range of criteria that evidence your competence and maturity as a practitioner, over a period of at least 3 years of practice. What kinds of jobs do people get after they complete the course? Employment opportunities in counselling are increasing, but it is an extremely competitive area, and it would be unrealistic to expect to enter full-time employment as a counsellor straight away on completion of the Foundation Degree. Full-time jobs in counselling are fairly scarce. Often, on first qualifying, it is necessary to gain further voluntary experience before finding paid work as a counsellor, and paid work is often on a sessional or part-time basis. It is however possible to gain paid work in a range of settings, including voluntary agencies, alcohol, drugs and HIV./AIDS agencies, hospices and bereavement services, further and higher education, General Practice, and telephone helplines. With further experience in practice, graduates can also work as private practitioners. The skills gained on the course can also be really useful in a range of work places where people are the focus, including in health and social care settings. 12

16 Further Information I'd like some further information and to talk to someone about the courses you offer. Who should I speak to? You can the team at: To speak to someone in person, please contact the programme coordinator, as follows: Foundation Degree or MSc: Fran Renwick, Senior Lecturer in Counselling, on Ext Introductory Certificate in Counselling Skills: Kevin Hogan, Lecturer in Counselling, on Ext BA Hons 'Top Up' in Integrative Counselling: Jan Grove, Senior Lecturer in Counselling, on Ext Or come to one of our Open Days. For dates, please see the home page of the Newman website, at 13

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