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Child & Social Care - Leadership in Therapeutic Child & Social Care

Course Outline

The M.A. (Leadership in Therapeutic Child and Social Care) is a unique multi-disciplinary course for experienced child and Social Care practitioners currently working with emotionally troubled children, adults and their families in a wide variety of settings. The programme provides experienced professional care workers with a suitable training for advanced practice in their field. Students are provided with a comprehensive theoretical base, evidence from current practice and an opportunity to develop knowledge through original research. They are given opportunities to practice and acquire competence in leadership.

Work Placement

Residential (Workshop)

The two-day Residential Workshop, at both stages of the programme, gives recognition to the fact that the therapeutic emphasis of the programme may not match the student's work environment. It will provide students with an opportunity to explore the challenges associated with pioneering such an approach in the Irish context as developed through their research proposal.

Visit (Observation)

The Visit of Observation will involve a 5-day visit to a therapeutic residential unit (that the students choose in conjunction with the staff team), in order to increase their understanding of the different contexts and methods of therapeutic work. The Residential Workshop will provide an opportunity to prepare for this visit by encouraging students to reflect upon and analyse some form of organisational change that they have experienced in their career to date.

Entry requirements

Entry Requirements & Selection Criteria:

Eligibility for this course includes:

1. Hold a primary degree (Honours Bachelor) in Applied Social Studies or equivalent*;

2. Be registered or eligible to register as a professional Social Care Worker**;

3. Be in employment in a human services agency as a manager, team leader or front-line practitioner;

4. Satisfactory pass at interview.

*Applicants who do not satisfy the academic criteria may be accepted onto the course if the Course Selection Board is satisfied that they have the ability to complete the course and are well placed to make good use of it.

**Applications are welcome from those professionally qualified in a discipline other than social care who have at least two years' professional practice experience and should note that this is not a professional award for registration as a Social Care Worker.


2 Years part-time. It is taught over two years, one day a week.

Careers or further progression

Career Prospects

This Masters level course prepares graduates for leading a process of change towards a more therapeutic and progressive quality of practice in Social Care and other personcentred professions. Graduates take up leadership roles within their own workplaces, contribute to the development of their profession and engage in consultancy work to support professional teams.

Further Study

Graduates may choose to advance to further study in areas of psychotherapy and research or to continue their studies to PhD level.

Continuous Professional Development (CPD)

There are opportunities to engage in bespoke CPD courses which have evolved from this M.A. programme. These include courses in Advanced Training in Therapeutic Child and Social Care and Certificates in Therapeutic Foster Care. In previous years, a Certificate in Therapeutic Foster Care Course has been run in partnership with TUSLA. These courses are highly valuable to foster carers, volunteers, part-time staff, starter teams and social care agencies. For more information, contact Damien McLellan, Course Leader.

Further enquiries


Damien McLellan,

Course Leader

Phone: 059-9153200


Karen Delaney,

Admissions Officer

Phone: 059-9153243


Subjects taught

What will I study?

Year 1: Mandatory Modules

• Advanced Therapeutic Child And Social Care 1: The theories and theorists that inform therapeutic practice

• Philosophy and Ethics of Leadership in Therapeutic Child and Social Care

• Observing and Understanding Organisational Life

• Experiential Group 1: Leading Self

Year 2: Mandatory Modules

• Advanced Therapeutic Child and Social Care 2: Applying the theories to practice

• Leadership and Management Issues in Therapeutic Child and Social Care

• Experiential Group 2: Leading Self with Others

• Research Methods and Dissertation


The course utilises a psychodynamic understanding of troubled people and their families and of the services that support and assist them.

Consciously models the therapeutic and safe space that students should aspire to creating in their work setting.

Strong focus on the therapeutic community model of practice and its application in different agencies and settings.

Emphasis on shared learning in a cooperative rather than competitive atmosphere.

Application date

Application forms can be downloaded from the Carlow College website at:

Enrolment and start dates

Application forms can be downloaded from the Carlow College website at:

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