Child & Adolescent Counselling & Psychotherapeutic Skills

PCI College

Child & Adolescent Counselling & Psychotherapeutic Skills

The programme sets out to build upon the knowledge and skills that you have developed through your undergraduate education and practical experience as a counsellor and psychotherapist. The programme acknowledges the requirement for all psychotherapists working with children and young people to complete a specialised academic and professional qualification to ensure the highest standards are met. Our programme is intended to align itself with European and international standards and promote continuous development and support for the therapist. The course meets the minimum competency standards for working with Under 18’s as developed by the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP).

Who is this course for?
The MSc. Child & Adolescent Counselling and Psychotherapeutic Skills is a comprehensive professional training course, focused on working therapeutically with young people. The course is validated by Middlesex University and designed to supplement trainees’ existing qualifications and is not a stand-alone counselling qualification. Applicants include counsellors and psychotherapists who are accredited or are eligible for accreditation, with the IACP/IAHIP/BACP or equivalent, all of whom seek to deepen or extend their current skills to facilitate therapeutic work with young people up to the age of 25 years.

What are the benefits of doing this course?
The philosophy underpinning the Master of Science in Child & Adolescent Psychotherapy is a belief that the practice of working with children and adolescents requires a specific type of skill set. You will gain the knowledge and skills to create fundamental changes for children and adolescents, and our diverse faculty brings together rigorous classroom learning with individualised mentorship and hands-on professional learning.

The programme centres around theoretical knowledge, skills and experiential growth which will instil a sense of competence, confidence and clarity for the developing child and adolescent psychotherapist. You will gain a number of practical skills such as assessments, creative skills and report writing.

We integrate professional development through self-reflection, emphasising personal capabilities such as self-awareness, integrity, sensitivity, flexibility, insight, compassion, imagination, and personal presence. You will also cultivate an enhanced sensitivity to the experience of childhood, and the many developmental strengths and difficulties with which young people are constantly engaging.

What will you learn?
As a student on the MSc Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy programme you will be immersed in the therapeutic skills required to work with children and adolescents, developing a mastery in the practical application of both skills and theory in class and through clinical placement. You will be equipped with tools and skills for assessment and intervention when working with children and adolescents coupled with experiential practice where you can experience first-hand what it is like to use creative therapies to enhance the therapeutic relationship and process. You are encouraged to think critically, explore diverse perspectives, and develop your communication skills as you proceed through the coursework. You will examine critical current legal and ethical obligations around Child Protection, statutory reporting, contracting with parents and clients, case notes, confidentiality and consent. You will be provided with opportunities to evaluate and critically assess appropriate interventions for the client group and develop proficiency in assessment and report writing skills. You will be introduced to a trauma informed approached to working with children and adolescents in addition to an in depth understanding of the role of the family and child psychology.

Subjects taught

Year 1: Postgraduate Certificate - 60 credits (equivalent to 30 ECTS credits)
• Child and Adolescent Assessment and Case Formulation through Play
• Applied Therapeutic Skills and Interventions for Children and Adolescents
• Competencies in creative practice with Children and Adolescents
• Theories of Child Psychology and Mental Health (Assessment and Formulation)

Year 2: Postgraduate Diploma – 60 credits (equivalent to 30 ECTS credits)
• Family Systems – An Integrative Approach
• Theories of Child Psychology & Mental Health (Contemporary approaches)
• Introducing Trauma in Childhood and Adolescence
• Competencies in creative practice with Children and Adolescents (Trauma Specialism)

Year 2: MSc Component – 60 credits (equivalent to 30 ECTS credits)
• Research Methods (by Dissertation)

Additional Course Requirements
• 100 hours of clinical placement/client work (25 hours must be completed before the end of Year 1)
• Students are required to attend an accredited external supervisor for a minimum of 20 hours of one-to-one supervision
• 20 hours of Personal Therapy is a requirement for all students.

Entry requirements

Eligibility Year 1
Students entering the MSc course must hold a degree (Level 8 NFQ or equivalent; Final grade 2.2 or above) in Counselling & Psychotherapy.

Applicants who do not meet this criterion may be eligible to enter the course on the basis of prior learning and experience in the area. Students applying on the basis of prior learning must provide evidence of their knowledge, skill and ability to pursue this programme of study. This should be in the form of a career portfolio outlining and demonstrating your career path as is relevant to this course (including transcripts of any relevant results, statements of prior learning based on systematic reflection) and be must be submitted with your application.

Eligibility Year 2
Students who hold a Postgraduate Certificate in Child and Adolescent Counselling & Psychotherapy (PCI College or equivalent) may apply for entry to Year 2 of the course.

Students who do not meet these criteria may be eligible to enter Year 2 on the basis of prior learning and experience in the area. Students applying on the basis of prior learning must provide evidence of their knowledge, skill and ability to pursue this programme of study. This should be in the form of a career portfolio outlining and demonstrating your career path as is relevant to this course (including transcripts of any relevant results, statements of prior learning based on systematic reflection) and be must be submitted with your application.

Language Requirements
All candidates are required to satisfy the English language requirement. Candidates whose first language is not English and who are presenting qualifications other than the Leaving Certificate may satisfy the requirement through the completion of the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) on the basis that they obtain a minimum band score of 6 at the undergraduate level and 6.5 at postgraduate level or an equivalent score of TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or Cambridge, which denotes a very good skill level of English. It should be noted that these are the minimum requirements in English and PCI College may set higher requirements in each case.

Garda Vetting
Students will be requested to participate in Garda Vetting procedures in relation to programme and accreditation requirements.

IT Skills: students require sufficient IT skills to complete the course

Students can expect to be provided with advice and support concerning any learning difficulties that they may encounter. Any diagnosed learning difficulty, e.g. dyslexia, must be noted on the application.
o Copy of current/previous course prospectus/course outline
o Transcript of results of all assessments/examinations
o Copy of all relevant qualifications
o Completed course comparison form
o Letter from counsellor to verify previous hours of personal therapy (if applicable)
o Letter from supervisor to verify hours of client work with varying presenting issues (must have completed at least 15% of the overall course requirement in the last 12 months).

Application dates

Apply online


Two years, part-time

TIMETABLE: Weekends - Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 5.30 pm (approx. 1 weekend per month from October to June)


Year 1: €3,670* + Middlesex University Registration Fee €1,200**
Year 2: €4,250

*Please note that fees include a €20 charge for Garda vetting process which is required prior to course entry.

**Once off fee paid in the first year

Payment Plan:
Pay in 18 monthly instalments, through the Monthly Payment Plan. Please note that this plan will operate by Direct Debit only and is inclusive of €100.00 administration fee. Each student must pass the Progression Board to enable them to move into the next year of study.

Enrolment dates

START DATE: October 2023

Please note that Inductions will be held the week before the start date. You will receive full details with your timetable following your acceptance.

Post Course Info

Career Path
On successful completion of this programme, graduates can decide on the course of action most appropriate to their needs and ambitions. The following avenues are open to them:

Avenue 1
Graduates may choose to continue working in employment settings where a child and adolescent psychotherapy skills are essential if they are to serve their clients in a more truly comprehensive way.

Avenue 2
Graduates may choose to specialise in an area of helping that appeals to them for their own particular reasons, for example working specifically with adolescents, working in the area of creative practice, etc.

Avenue 3
Graduates may increase their existing private practice services as psychotherapists who specialise in the area of children and adolescents.

Avenue 4
Graduates may provide services to court proceedings by way of experts in assessment and report writing.

Avenue 5
Graduates may take employment within child and family government agencies, such as TUSLA.

Avenue 6
Graduates may take employment within school settings where counsellor positions are available.

Please note that this course is a supplementary qualification. On its own, the course won't enable you to work as a counsellor. If you seek a professional qualification as a counsellor and/or accreditation, we would advise you to first complete our BSc (Honours) Degree Counselling & Psychotherapy. After completing the degree course, you could then specialise in an area of interest with this MSc course. On the other hand, you could enrol in this course, if eligible, and incorporate what you have learnt into your daily working life.

If it is your intention to become a professional counsellor/psychotherapist, accredited by the IACP, please see our BSc (Honours) Degree Counselling & Psychotherapy course for more details.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Degree - Masters at UK Level 7

  • Attendance type

    Part time,Weekend

  • Apply to

    Course provider