Learn about the main theories, strategies, and skills of counselling psychology

The Diploma in Counselling Psychology at City Colleges aims to introduce students to the main theories, strategies, and skills of counselling psychology. Theories covered are derived from the three main basic therapeutic frameworks; humanistic, psychodynamic, and cognitive-behavioural. Students will graduate with a sound basic understanding of these three main schools and specific examples of each from a theoretical perspective. Attention will also be paid to broad differences between counselling psychology and related professions such as counselling, psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, etc. Basic skills training will also be covered. Finally, students will gain experience of research through a project to be completed within one month of completion of lectures.

Diploma in Counselling Psychology is offered from our Dublin City Centre location (South Great George’s Street, Dublin 2) and from our campus in Dundrum, Dublin 16.

This event has been approved for CPD credits for members of the Psychology Society of Ireland.

9 CPD credits for members of the Psychological Society of Ireland

Course Overview

The aim of Diploma in Counselling Psychologye is to introduce learners to the basic concepts involved in the clinical practice of Counselling Psychology. The intention is to provide each participant with an enjoyable and engaging entry-point to a complex and multi-faceted subject area.

Diploma in Counselling Psychology will consist of lectures, classroom discussion and practical exercises.

The course runs for ten weeks and is composed of the following elements:

Lectures: This is the traditional mainstay of academic programmes. The lectures will provide information, explain concepts and guide the reading of the learner;

Discussion: Participants will be encouraged to discuss important concepts and themes in a relaxed atmosphere. The emphasis here is less on defending view-points than on the exploration of ideas and the sharing of personal understanding.

Practical Exercises: Towards the latter part of the programme we will conduct some practical exercises relevant to the clinical application of counselling. The precise form of this element will depend on the dynamic specific to each group of learners and is, as such, a somewhat organic element. It is envisaged, though, that this component will involve some form of group process and some one-to-one clinical encounters involving learners in the role of clinician and client; and,

Essay / Project: Each participant will be tasked with writing an essay of approximately 2500 words. The topic for each essay will be discussed and agreed with the lecturer. A submission date will be given, typically about one month after the date of the final lecture. Learners will be encouraged to comply with this deadline as extensions can only be given in exceptional circumstances.

Successful completion of the programme will require a pass grade on the essay and a pass grade for class participation. The lecturer will make every effort to assist each learner in maximising his or her performance on the programme.

Course Content

Session One – What is a Counsellor? 

  • History and Current Trends in Counselling
  • The Nature of a Counsellor’s Work
  • What makes a good counsellor?
  • Stages of Brain Growth and Behaviour
  • DSM-V and Diagnosis
  • Medication Issues

Session Two – Developing Basic Counselling Skills

  • Top Ten Basic Counselling Skills-Listening vs. Reacting
  • The Helping and Healing Side of Counselling
  • Is Compassion Enough?
  • Gloria-a Client Sees Three Experts: First Expert

Session Three –Raising a Healthy Child – Understanding the importance of:

  • Attachment
  • Emotional Communication
  • Child Development
  • Normal Developmental Trends
  • Adolescent Development
  • The Role of the Parent in Discipline
  • Corrective Discipline
  • Harsh Parenting vs Permissive Parenting – Impact on Children

Session Four – Mastering the Techniques of Counselling

  • Common Problems Counsellors are Presented With
  • Didactic Approach-Socratic Method
  • Experiential Approach-Psychodrama
  • Stages of Brain Growth-self regulation
  • Gloria sees second expert

Session Five – Problems of Adolescence – Anorexia, Bulimia, Substance Use, Family Conflict Signs/Symptoms/Treatment

  • Introduction
  • The Adolescent Brain and Its Development
  • Significant Disorders of Adolescence
  • Gender Identity Disorders
  • Parenting and Disciplining your Teen

Session Six – Counselling Modalities

  • Individual vs Group Counselling
  • The Counsellor and the Neurotic Agreement
  • Rational Emotive Therapy
  • Laughter – The Best medicine?
  • Paradoxical Interventions

Session Seven-Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

  • Adler and Social Interest
  • Lazarus and Multimodal therapy
  • Assessment in CBT-a Multimodal Approach
  • CBT and Treatment of Anxiety/Depression
  • Gloria sees expert three

Session Eight – Understanding your Child’s Social and Emotional Needs

  • The Social Brain
  • The Importance of the Visual Brain
  • Trajectory of Social Development
  • The Emotional Brain
  • The Importance of Emotional Development
  • Social/Emotional Cognition
  • Parental Role in Social/Emotional Development

Session Nine – The Adolescent Brain

  • Maturation, Growth, Pruning, Reasoning
  • Problems in Adolescent Development
  • The Wounded Self and Interpersonal Relationships
  • Psychological Movement in Adolescence
  • Anxiety and Depression in the Teenage Years

Session Ten –Solution Focused Counselling

  • Who Owns the Problem?
  • Counselling as Education
  • Transference and Counter-Transference
  • Psychopathy and Sociopathy
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorders

Course Fee

Classroom-based: €995
(€1,095 if paying  in instalments)

Online course: €895
(€995 if paying in instalments)

If paying in instalments by direct debit, the deposit to book a place is €150 and the balance is split into three equal monthly payments.

Non-EU students: Call +353 1 4160034


A ‘Pass’ grade on both the written assignment (Project) as well as participation in the final role-play exercise will be required for awarding of the Diploma in Counselling Psychology.

A pass grade on the written assignment will be required for awarding of the Diploma.

The assignment/project must be handed in on the due date unless a sound reason for lateness is provided. In such instances, an extension may be awarded at the discretion of the lecturer.

Why City Colleges

  • Courses for students who are passionate about their subject, delivered by leaders in their field.
  • Live lectures which are also streamed live on Moodle and recorded for review
  • Leading e-learning tools to make the online learning experience a pleasant one
  • Study rooms and library in our City Centre location in Dublin, Ireland
  • Limited class size creating a better learning environment



Dr. Aoife Quinn

Dr Aoife Quinn completed a BA in Psychology at National University of Maynooth followed by a PhD at the School of Psychology, University College Dublin.

In 2014, Aoife was awarded an Enterprise Partnership Scholarship by the Irish Research Council.

As a member of the City Colleges faculty, Aoife teaches the Sport and Exercise Psychology, Counselling Psychology and Addiction Studies diplomas.

Alongside her lecturing work, Aoife runs a private psychology practice in South Dublin and sees clients from a range of settings including sport and the corporate world. She is passionate about the benefits of psychology for changing lives and is particularly interested in mental wellbeing, motivation, and performance.

The course provided positive insights into current thinking across a wide range of topics in Counselling. The lectures were stimulating and provided clear explanations on complex issues and their discussions explored current Psychological thinking.  The lecturer was excellent at stimulating debates, organising workshops and encouraged us to analyse problem situations and possible solutions. I have no hesitation in highly recommending this Diploma Course to anyone interested in this field of study.

Kathryn Ruszel

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Diploma in Counselling Psychology (Classroom)

Classroom Diploma in Counselling Psychology


6:30 PM - 9:30 PM

Dr. Aoife Quinn


Diploma in Counselling Psychology (Online)

Online Diploma in Counselling Psychology


6:30 PM - 9:30 PM

Dr. Aoife Quinn