Counselling Psychology Courses

By Mariza Halliday - Last update

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What is Counselling Psychology?

Counselling psychology is a general practice and health service provider specialty in professional psychology. Counselling psychology focuses on teaching patients of all ages how to cope with emotional, physical and mental health issues.

Counselling psychologists help people with physical, emotional and mental health issues to improve their sense of well‐being, alleviate feelings of distress and resolve crises. They also provide assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of more severe psychological symptoms.

What 3rd level courses are available?

Universities and colleges in Ireland are offering courses in Counselling Psychology in the following subject areas:

  • Diploma in Counselling Psychology – An introduction to the main theories, strategies, and skills of counselling psychology.
  • Certificate in Psychology and Counselling – Gain insights into the origins of human behavior.
  • Counselling/ Psychology – Introduction to Counselling and the Psychology of change.
  • Diploma in Psychology & Counselling – Learn the theory behind the skills and techniques used to successfully help people work through their problems and issues with counselling.
  • Applied Psychology: Guidance Counselling – The aim of this course is to give you the knowledge and skills necessary to become a qualified guidance counsellor.
  • Psychology of Counselling – This course aims to provide a good, basic grounding in the psychology of lifespan development and major psychological theories of personality and their application to counselling.

Studying Counselling Psychology

There are many courses in Counselling Psychology that may take place over a few days, weeks or even 1 year to 4 years depending on the course and modules selected. There are also part-time courses and night courses available so you can be sure to fit in your studies no matter what your schedule is like.

Courses will cover theory work through lectures, assignments, tutorials and taught modules. Assessments will take place on a continuous basis with written examinations and practical assignments combined in order to achieve a qualification.

You could also consider work experience or a work shadow in the industry. You could find work in a mental health charity or victim support unit or in a role such as bereavement or relationship counselling. Relevant work experience is a good way of demonstrating a genuine interest in the field and is regarded favorably by employers.

Work Experience will not only give you the opportunity to obtain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the industry, it will also give you a chance to do some essential networking with other industry professionals and gain valuable contacts for the future.

Career options

After completing a Counselling Psychology course you will be able to get started in a career that uses specific knowledge of mental health and emotional wellbeing.

Counselling Psychologists work with individuals, organizations, groups and families to reach the root of mental distress and help them find ways to live with or conquer these issues. As a Counselling Psychologist, you will consider how people relate, how they think and behave their experiences of the world and how they function in their everyday life. This will include exploring people’s social, economic, cultural, spiritual and physical health experiences.

Depending on their qualifications and licenses, Counselling Psychologists can work in hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, businesses, and schools. Some open their own private practices. They may work as part of multi-professional teams including doctors, nurses and allied health professionals and a range of other psychological professionals.

Counselling Psychologists work with individuals of all ages, couples, families, groups and at an organizational and community level. Typical employers include mental health services, GP surgeries, hospitals and other health settings. You could also work in academia, teaching, social justice, advocacy or research in your area of expertise.

Many counselling psychologists provide psychotherapy services, but other career paths are also available. Research, teaching, and vocational counselling are just a few of the possible alternatives to psychotherapy.

Working hours will depend on whether you are self-employed, employed by a company with set business hours or if you are contracted to various businesses or companies. Working hours are usually Monday to Friday, 8.30 am to 5 pm.

Related jobs include:

  • Counselling psychologist
  • Counsellor
  • Guidance Counsellor
  • Clinical psychologist
  • Psychotherapist
  • Education mental health practitioner
  • Educational psychologist
  • Forensic psychologist
  • Further education teacher
  • Health psychologist
  • High-intensity therapist
  • Occupational psychologist
  • Play therapist
  • Psychological wellbeing practitioner
  • Sport and exercise psychologist
  • Advice worker
  • Careers adviser
  • Chaplain
  • Education consultant
  • Human resources officer
  • Life coach
  • Market researcher
  • Mediator
  • Neuroscientist
  • Policy officer

Further study

After completing a course in Counselling Psychology you may choose to pursue further study in a specialist field to increase your knowledge base and skill set. Postgraduate study can also be used as a means to change career focus or to gain professional qualifications required to practice in certain career areas such as clinical counselling, educational, health, occupational, sport and exercise, or even forensic psychology.


What is the difference between Counselling Psychology and Clinical Psychology?

Counselling psychology shares many commonalities with Clinical Psychology, but it is also different in several different ways.

While both clinical and counselling psychologists perform psychotherapy, those working as clinicians typically deal with clients experiencing more severe mental illnesses. Counselling psychologists often work with people who are experiencing less severe symptoms and take a more general approach that encompasses a range of psychotherapeutic techniques.

What types of problems are addressed by Counselling Psychology?

The problems addressed by Counselling Psychology include, but are not limited to:

  • School and career/work adjustment concerns.
  • Making decisions about career and work and dealing with school‐work‐retirement transitions.
  • Relationship difficulties‐including marital and family difficulties.
  • Learning and skill deficits.
  • Stress management and coping with negative life events.
  • Organisational problems.
  • Dealing with and adjusting to physical disabilities, disease or injury.
  • Personal/social adjustment.
  • The development of one’s identity.
  • Persistent difficulties with relating to other people in general.
  • Mental disorders

Where can I study Counselling Psychology?

Explore your options here

 Did You Know?

  • Counselling history can be traced back to tribal times where people would come together in a group and share their experiences and sometimes their dreams.
  • It is estimated that currently there are over 500 different types of therapies for mental health problems.
  • A talking therapy is not just about talking, although this is important in order for the patient to identify and clarify their problems and thought and feelings about them. A good talking therapy should also teach the patient a set of skills to manage both the practical and psychological challenges that they face so that once therapy is complete they are able to manage independently.
  • Counselling really took off after the Second World War, in 1950’s America. Most of the therapies we hear about today can trace their origins back to a handful of psychologists and psychiatrists who developed techniques and theories, sometimes referred to as ‘schools’ of therapy.

Mariza Halliday

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