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Counselling & Psychotherapy

The Higher Diploma in Arts in Counselling and Psychotherapy will provide students with a broad graduate-level education and grounding in the theory and practice of counselling and therapy. The course offers students a practical training in therapeutic skills and an understanding of the ethical implications of therapeutic work. During the course students will be guided in developing a capacity for reflective self-awareness through personal therapy and group experiences.

The Higher Diploma is aimed at non-counselling and/or psychotherapy graduates. It is, primarily, an academic qualification, but will set its graduates on the path towards becoming accredited members of professional counselling and psychotherapy bodies. The course also prepares students to follow a variety of educational and carer paths by helping them to achieve their full critical potential and equipping them with a range of intellectual skills.

Key Features of the Higher Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy
• Conversion style course for non-Counselling/Psychotherapy Degree graduates
• Delivered on a modular basis, typically students will attend classes on two evenings per weeks & attend weekend workshops once or twice a month
• Focused on personal development through personal therapy, process group work and theoretical study
• Sets graduates on the path towards supervised clinical training at Masters level
• Central to the course is experiential skills training
• Of interest to those who would like to learn counselling skills and understand their basis in psychotherapeutic practice
• Enhances students current work practices e.g. health and social care professionals, teachers, Gardai, community workers, voluntary sector workers and many more
• Orientation is primarily humanistic/integrative but it also introduces students to the principles of psychoanalysis, family therapy and to research skills.

The Higher Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy is run on a modular basis during evenings and weekends and will normally take students two years to complete. During that time students will take academic lectures as well as experiential training groups. Research methodologies and the range of contemporary issues that face professional Counsellors and Psychotherapists will also be amongst the topics studied.

Students attend and participate in process group work on one evening a week throughout each year, as well as attending academic lectures one/two evenings a week for two 12 week terms and approximately 12 Saturdays over the academic year. Each year students participate in two feedback meetings with their trainers to assess not only their skills and academic knowledge but also their suitability for progression on to supervised clinical training at MA level.

Students are required to be in their own personal psychotherapy for the duration of the Higher Diploma. This confidential arrangement, including the time of sessions and fee, is arranged with the therapist.

Entry requirements

• To be considered for admission, applicants must hold a primary honours degree award of at least pass level in a non-cognate discipline from a recognised third level institution, or
Hold an equivalent professional qualification and be able to provide evidence of an ability to study at this level.
• An IELTS score of a minimum of 6.0 or equivalent, where full-time study has been conducted in a language other than English or whose first language is not English
• Applicants are also required to submit a personal statement of approximately 400 words outlining why they wish to pursue this particular course
• Upon receipt of application for the Higher Diploma in Counselling & Psychotherapy at DBS and as part of the professional requirements for this programme, applicants will be sent a disclaimer and reference form. Applicants are required to complete and return these forms to the Admissions Office in order to process their application
• Suitable candidates should be able to demonstrate significant life experience, self-awareness and maturity, and are ideally required to be aged 23 years or older.

Ideally candidates should also have experience either professionally or on a voluntary basis in a role which can be related to the work of counselling/psychotherapy. Candidates are expected to be able to show evidence of having the personal qualities necessary to undertake the Higher Diploma course.

Applicants should complete the appropriate application form and return it to the Postgraduate Admissions Office along with the following documentation:
• Academic Transcripts (Original & Official English Translation where issued in another language). Applicants who have previously attended DBS need not provide this documentation.

• Proof of Identification (Birth Certificate, Drivers Licence or Passport)

• Detailed Curriculum Vitae

• Proof of English (i.e. IELTS, TOEFL or equivalent) where full time study has been conducted in a language other than English or applicants whose first language is not English

• Academic/ Business References - Ideally one Academic & one Business

Please see programme content for any course-specific additional application procedures. In addition to the above, in the instance of Non-EU applicants who have residency in Ireland:

• A copy of your GNIB (Garda National Immigration Bureau) Card, Work permit (if applicable) & Passport

• The letter that was issued to you by the Department of Justice, Equality & Law Reform stating why you were provided with the above documentation.

Applicants should complete the appropriate application form and return it to the Postgraduate Admissions Office along with the following documentation:
• Academic documents
• Academic transcripts
• Proof of English (i.e. IELTS, TOEFL or equivalent)
• A Curriculum Vitae
• References from your employer/school/college
• A statement of purpose
• A copy of your passport

Please note that copies of all documentation must be submitted, and that it must be translated into English where issued in another language. Please do not send original documents as these will not be returned. Dublin Business School has a number of overseas offices and representatives worldwide. Please contact us if you wish to receive further details on your closest DBS representative.


Part-Time: 2 years

Careers or further progression

Career Opportunities
The Higher Diploma in Counselling & Psychotherapy is not in itself full professional training. However, holders of this qualification may seek employment in the following areas:
• The Voluntary Sector
• Primary Care settings
• Social Care settings
• Educational settings

It is envisaged that the course will appeal to those interested in bridging their undergraduate qualification with further postgraduate study, such as our MA in Psychotherapy. Please note that professional suitability assessment forms part of a pre-enrolment interview, and also continues throughout this programme.

A combination of the Higher Diploma in Arts in Counselling and Psychotherapy and the MA in Psychotherapy at DBS should fulfil current requirements of a four-year training that is expected by the professional bodies in the field of psychotherapy.

Further enquiries

Postgraduate Admissions Office,
Dublin Business School,
13/14 Aungier Street,
Dublin 2,
T: +353 1 4177500
F: +353 1 4177543

Subjects taught

The Higher Diploma in Counselling & Psychotherapy programme has the following content.
• Counselling and Psychotherapy Skills I - Introduction
• Stress Response I
• Process Group
• Traditions of Psychotherapy
• Theories of Development
• Psychoanalysis
• Group Psychotherapy
• The Family and Psychotherapy
• Counselling and Psychotherapy Skills II -
Development of Therapeutic Relationship
• Stress Response II
• Psychopathology and Case Histories
• Research Methods and Minor Dissertation

The Postgraduate Higher Diploma in Arts in Counselling and Psychotherapy combines experiential learning, academic lecturing and personal development. The Theory and Practice modules in each year of the programme as well as the Stress Response modules consist of experiential learning taking place in training groups with no more than 15 students. The other modules on the programme are delivered in lecture format.


Awarding Body: Quality & Qualifications Ireland (QQI)
Award: Postgraduate Diploma
NFQ Level: Level 8
Award Title:
Higher Diploma in Counselling & Psychotherapy
Award Type: Major

Assessment method

Assessment is approached creatively with a range of assessment strategies including essay writing, in-class presentation, group discussion, self-reflective writing and examination. Instructions and guidelines for all assessment are clearly communicated to students.

There is no assessment related to personal psychotherapy and process group work. These components of the programme are mandatory and entirely confidential. The cost of personal psychotherapy is not included in the programme fee.

Enrolment and start dates

We are now accepting applications for programmes taking place in 2017. Contact our admissions team for more information

Email: Phone: 01 417 7500
Opening times: Monday to Friday 8:45am to 5:15pm

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