BA in Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy

qqi-01IACP logo March 2016 152x80napcp-01“The only one who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change” – C. R. Rogers

BA in Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy

Academic Validation and Professional Accreditation

This QQI-validated Bachelor of Arts in Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy programme, offered in both Athlone and Galway, is accredited by the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP) and the National Association for Pastoral Counselling and Psychotherapy (NAPCP).

This Bachelor of Arts in Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy programme is validated by Quality Qualifications of Ireland (QQI). The academic standards to qualify and practice as a Counsellor, or a Psychotherapist, have been finalised and published by QQI. The standards represents a significant change to the profession, and have been welcomed by all organisations – service providers, educational providers and professional bodies. The standards provide an in-depth review of what professionals, training in the area, will have to achieve once professional regulation comes into place. In designing and implementing the Bachelor of Arts in Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy, ICPPD is mindful of current and future developments in the field of counselling and psychotherapy.

The Bachelor of Arts in Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy delivered in both Athlone and Galway are accredited by the professional bodies – Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP) and National Association for Pastoral Counselling and Psychotherapy (NAPCP). This ensures that ICPPD, as a training college, complies with best possible standards and practice. As a graduate of ICPPD’s BA in Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy you are eligible to apply to these professional bodies for accreditation to use the title of member.

ICPPD adhere to the conditions of The Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012, for protection of enrolled learners (PEL).


Since our foundation we have taken the steps necessary to ensure the delivery of a quality service in an environment that is characterised by an attitude to adult learners that is supportive and encouraging. We aim to provide an experience of learning that will develop in learners a hunger for both heart-centred wisdom and critical analysis.

Our programmes in Athlone and Galway are designed to be participative, experiential and to draw whenever possible on prior lived experience. The academic value of programmes is enhanced by a learning environment that is warm, vibrant, and genuine. Learners and staff interact in a mutual effort to engage in and promote the concept of lifelong learning. ICPPD’s holistic ethos underpins all interaction. This programme has been designed and is delivered by staff who are passionate, and inspired about the merit of personal development and excellence in professional holistic counselling psychotherapy training and education.

“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers,

but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings.

The curriculum is so much necessary raw material,

but warmth is a vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child” – Carl Jung

 Programme Aims

The main aim of this QQI-Validated Bachelor of Arts in Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy, which is accredited by IACP and NAPCP is to provide adult learners with the opportunity to explore and develop their interest in the field of holistic counselling and psychotherapy and to, thereby, develop into competent, compassionate, ethical, professional practitioners.

At ICPPD, self-awareness is seen as vital to personal and professional development and is encouraged and promoted throughout this and all programmes offered.

 Programme Objectives

The objectives of the programme are to –

  • support learners to develop their knowledge, skills and competences of counselling and psychotherapy from a holistic perspective
  • support learners’ engagement with personal development as an instrument of change
  • enable the learner to deepen his/her knowledge of mental health issues and awareness of ethical implications and good practice
  • meet professional body guidelines for academic content of counselling/psychotherapy programmes
  • provide comprehensive education and training in the main counselling and psychotherapy theorists and related therapeutic processes
  • develop practical counselling and psychotherapy skills, and their application within a supervised setting
  • enable the learner to acquire research and writing skills through essay writing, journaling, and methodologies
  • promote evidence-based practice through research in the field of counselling and psychotherapy
  • enable the learner to acquire the appropriate knowledge, skills and competencies necessary to establish and manage a counselling and psychotherapeutic practice.

“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own.

You do not blame them on your mother, ecology, or the president.

You realize that you control your own destiny” – Albert Ellis


All tutors at ICPPD are highly-qualified, experienced individuals in the field of Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy, and are practicing Counsellors accredited with IACP, IAHIP and NAPCP. Many hold postgraduate qualifications in their specialist field. Our adult learners are supported through this degree programme by a Programme Leader and Core Tutors, making this a truly unique adult education experience. The Core Tutors take a holistic view of the learner, and provide support on academic and non-academic issues which may impact on the learner’s academic performance.

“There are no problems, only tasks and opportunities” – Roberto Assagioli, founder of Psychosynthesis.


As a holder of this qualification in Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy, you will possess the necessary theoretical underpinning to enable progression to a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy, or cognate Level 8 programme, within other third-level institutions.

 Exit Award

Learners, who formally exit from this programme prior to its completion, may be eligible for an exit award (Certificate in Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy, 60 credits, L6, Minor Award), provided they have completed the requisite number of modules (i.e. year 1 of the BA programme) and attained the requisite minimum number of credits. Exit awards are intended for use in exceptional circumstances only and the decision to award them is an Examination Board decision.

 Career Opportunities

Successful completion of this BA in Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy will provide adult learners with the knowledge and skills necessary to work as holistic counsellors and psychotherapists in a wide variety of settings including private practice, counselling agencies, voluntary agencies, hospitals, employee assistance programmes, human resources, community groups, youth work, schools, and colleges. In addition the programme should also be of interest to those who would like to develop counselling skills to enhance their work practices, e.g. doctors, nurses, Gardaí, probation officers and teachers.

 Minimum Entry Requirements

Application is limited to Mature Learners, aged 23 years and over, who have evidence of a minimum of ONE of the following: – being a professional working in the field, or related disciplines – being able to demonstrate a level of maturity of being able to reflect on their personal development experience (evidenced through a portfolio of prior learning, personal development, life experience, community work etc) – successful completion of an Introduction to/Foundation Certificate in Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy Programme, or equivalent – successful completion of an Irish Leaving Certificate (with 5 ordinary level D3s), or equivalent. Applicants will be required to have appropriate IT skills and English to facilitate his/her engagement with a level 7 degree programme.

 Protection for Enrolled Learners

ICPPD, in accordance with Section 65(4)(b) of the Qualifications and Quality and Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012, is committed to refund to enrolled learners, or to the person who paid the moneys on behalf of the enrolled learner, the moneys most recently paid in respect of the Bachelor of Arts in Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy, in the event of ICPPD ceasing the Programme prematurely for whatever reason. Full details are provided to learners on their registration to the programme.


Over the 3-year duration of the BA in Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy all modules (bar three) are assessed through continuous assessment (assignments). The three exceptions (1 module in each year) are assessed through summative examinations.

 Garda Vetting Procedure

ICPPD uses the Garda Central Vetting Unit (GCVU) to assess the suitability of applicants to this programme. This is due to the considerable amount of placements undertaken with vulnerable groups in society. All learners on this programme will undertake Garda vetting procedures prior to commencing their work placement. Failure to disclose previous convictions will result in learners being dismissed from the programme. Previous convictions, depending on their nature, could result in learner dismissal from the programme.

 Fitness to Practice

ICPPD is responsible for ensuring learners’ ongoing Fitness to Practice, in terms of health, behaviour and character. Therefore, progression is at the discretion of the College.

 Modules: Year 1

Reflective Practices • Personal Development • Introduction to Theory • Person Centred Approach • Counselling Skills and Practice • Lifespan Development and the Journey Principle • Holistic Approaches • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy • Group Process

 Modules: Year 2

• Gestalt Approach • Professional Development • Research Skills • Loss and Bereavement Counselling • Advanced Counselling Skills • Psychodynamic Perspectives • Group Process

 Modules: Year 3

Psychosynthesis Psychotherapy • Abnormal Psychology and Mental Health Issues • Family and Systemic Approaches • Ethics and the Law • Research Methods • Group Process • Clinical Practice

 Additional Course Requirements

• Minimum of 50 hours of personal therapy over the three years of the course • 100 hours of client work, which commences at the end of year 2 of the course. ICPPD has a Clinical Placement Co-ordinator who helps learners find placements within organisations that we have relationships with. ICPPD also offers an affordable counselling service through Chiron Community Counselling, an independent company associated with ICPPD. • 21 sessions with a qualified supervisor to review client work, which runs concurrently with the client work. • As an enrolled learner you are also required by the professional body IACP to become a student member of their association. • There will be a mandatory 2/3 day integration event scheduled at the end of each academic year. This event may be residential, and will incur an additional fee (to be advised prior to programme commencement).

 Learning Outcomes

The following intended programme learning outcomes have been developed for this QQI-Validated Bachelor of Arts in Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy, which is accredited by IACP and NAPCP.

On successful completion of this proposed programme, the graduate should be able to:

  • define, describe and write about key theories and concepts across the field of counselling and psychotherapy including historical contexts, origins and emergence · state and demonstrate an in-depth understanding of selected core theories and contemporary practices and their philosophical underpinnings · understand the various contexts in which counselling and psychotherapeutic practices are undertaken, and the purpose, function and processes of supervision as a required resource · express and recall knowledge of systems as related to counselling and psychotherapeutic practice
  • undertake research and demonstrate acquisition of knowledge of major counselling and psychotherapy theories including holistic approaches · reproduce further research, enquiry and analysis through practical knowledge of quantitative/qualitative research methods, tools and instruments available to him/her · demonstrate critical understanding of therapeutic relationship dynamics · recognise the limitation of their knowledge and ability, and the implications for the counselling process · quote knowledge of the scope and limitations of counselling and psychotherapy through exploration of national and international standards and codes of ethics.
  • demonstrate the ability to evaluate relevance of models of counselling and psychotherapy and translate this to clinical situations · discriminate and use specialised technical, diverse, creative and/or conceptual skills and tools appropriately in the process of change and helping · value how each counselling skill facilitates a changing process and influences the therapeutic relationship and demonstrate his/her ability to apply counselling and psychotherapy skills at a professional level · write clear and insightful professional reports and report on established literature and professional resources.
  • assess, explain and apply counselling skills, their relevance, and the use of each micro-skill as a therapeutic tool and appropriate intervention when designing a client care plan · develop their self-awareness and be able to give examples, identify and select further opportunities for personal and professional growth · engage in philosophical discourse about use of skills, interventions, strategies of counselling in clinical work and case study, including working with clients at risk.
  • justify, combine and integrate the use of various counselling and psychological theories in a practical therapeutic setting · develop and discuss a portfolio of reflective work in relation to personal and professional development, combining diverse populations and professional settings · act effectively, creatively and autonomously in transferring knowledge, skills and learning to a range of contexts within the learning environment and external clinical practice setting.
  • accept responsibility for personal and group outcomes for academic learning, skills practice and reflective exercises/processes · display accountability for determining and achieving personal and professional outcomes within a clinical situation · acknowledge and reflect on their personal and professional development, and question the ethical implications of same for the therapeutic relationship.
  • initiate and address his/her learning needs and interact effectively and appropriately in the learning group, supporting others to learn also · accept, use and communicate constructive feedback, to improve and enhance personal and professional growth to become a reflective learner · co-operate and challenge within the group dynamic and process, the implications for counselling training, education and practice as part of their personal and professional development.
  • integrate the strands of knowledge, skill and competence with his/her values, beliefs and personality · synthesise a deeper level of self-awareness in the areas of interpersonal and professional relationships, and their implications for the therapeutic relationship · ascertain the knowledge and understanding of the importance of the counsellor and psychotherapist’s role in society and defend the need for the highest ethical standards of practice · reflect through evaluating external and internal feedback to support autonomy as a person and as a professional · appreciate current trends and issues of societal and global concern.

ICPPD invites you to join us in the discovery of wisdom and compassion in your own life and in your professional work as a psychological therapist.

Testimonials from past students on the course

“My time studying with ICPPD has been one of the most rewarding periods of my life. I have learnt so much professionally and personally and would encourage anyone to make that journey. As well as being a very professional organisation, ICPPD also have the personal touch and from the moment you enter, you become part of the family. Studying there has enabled me to further enhance my career and I now work as a psychotherapist and am working towards my accreditation.” – M. Ronan (BA Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy)

“I studied at ICPPD for 4 years.  I loved it. You gain a deeper knowledge of who you are. It isn’t easy but growth is always nurtured. I cannot recommend this third level institution enough. Thank you, academic excellence achieved in a personal manner that belies all.” – V. Doyle (BA Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy)

Read More Testimonials
  • Level:
    NFQ, Level 7
  • Credit:
  • Venues:
    Athlone - Coláiste Chiaráin,
    Summerhill, Athlone,
    Co. Westmeath, N37 AH97.
    Galway - SCCUL Enterprises,
    Castlepark Road, Ballybane,
    Galway, H91 RH32.
  • Application:
    Directly to;
    ICPPD, Suite 11, Inish Carraig,
    Golden Island, Athlone,
    Co Westmeath N37 PN82.
    Entry onto the Bachelor of Arts programme is through application and interview. Selection procedures will apply.
  • Commencement Dates:
    Next commencing September 2019
  • Duration:
    3 years part-time
  • Schedule:
    Delivered approx. every second weekend: Saturday and Sunday (09.30 am-17.00 pm)
  • Application Fee:
    Year 1: €3,990. Year 2: €3,990. Year 3: €3,990. (An additional QQI registration fee of €150 also applies in the final year)
  • Additional Costs:
    In addition, learners are required to cover the costs associated with their undertaking Personal Therapy & Supervision. These fees are decided by negotiation between the learner and the Supervisor and Personal Counsellor/Psychotherapist. The average cost for personal therapy may be about €50 per session, with supervision sessions averaging approximately €60.
  • Class Size:
    ICPPD keeps class sizes small to support its ethos and give the learner a personal experience (approx. 18 Learners)
  • Application Form:
    Call the office 0906470484.

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