M.A. in Addiction Counselling

This  Masters programme in Addiction Counselling is designed for graduates in health and human sciences as well as disciplines such as nursing, social care, social work, psychology and programmes in cognate areas. It is suitable for graduates who wish to expand their knowledge and understanding of the human condition and the contribution of advanced level addiction counselling practice using a variety of approaches that focus on the person’s perceptions of his or her present circumstances and assists the person in identifying his or her own answers to problems or obstacles in life.

Taking a lead from the North American system, this Masters in Addiction Counselling will enable learners to critically evaluate institutionalised practices and values, and act as agents for challenge and change in their professional contexts. The programme is validated by QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland.

This programme will provide students with both theoretical and practical opportunities for working in addiction counselling within a variety of contexts in the statutory, community and voluntary sector. The programme has been designed to facilitate students who wish to become professionally accredited by Addiction Counsellors Ireland to meet their pre-accreditation criteria.

The opportunities embedded within the programme for the development and demonstration of critical thinking skills and theoretical knowledge transfer should mean that graduates of the MA in Addiction Counselling will be prepared to lead, plan, educate, consult, manage, design, evaluate and advocate effectively in the contexts in which they are working.

Please go to the structure section for an overview of the content covered in this programme.

  • Award Title: Master of Arts in Addiction Counselling
  • Duration: Part Time over 2 Years
  • Tuition Fees: €7,200
  • Start Date: Sept 2023

The M.A in Addiction Counselling is designed for practitioners who hold a Level 8 degree in health or human science areas and who wish to specialise in Addiction Counselling. It is attractive to professionals who, for example, work with diverse and marginalised groups of people with addiction difficulties or are experiencing social exclusion because of the consequences of addiction. The primary focus of this programme is for working with individuals and groups but also at community and policy levels as leaders in their field.

This programme is designed for those who wish to access evidence-based interventions and create opportunities for high-quality treatment experiences for all who need them. Modules within the course are designed to build personal capacity, collaborative problem-solving skills, and an understanding of the systems and context within which clients and their families may be best supported.

As part of this master’s programme, learners study the fundamental theories of addiction counselling; psychotherapeutic skills and engagement, Motivational Interviewing, Community Reinforcement Approaches as well as Comorbidity.  Learners are required to take a Module on ‘Knowing Self’ within which they have the opportunity to engage in personal psychotherapeutic experience. In addition, learners study evidence-based practice and research methods and design, complete a dissertation and engage in 150 hours of clinically Supervised Practice with clients. Learners also have to take an elective module from a suite of electives

All of the taught modules are designed to support learners to apply all these elements of learning during the 150 hours of client work which is required within the Practicum module as well as in the completion of a dissertation. The programme combines both theory and practical skills in a way that supports the academic and professional development of the learner.

Individual modules may also be taken on a standalone basis. Taught Modules are taken across two academic years where the modules are taught through a blended learning approach using a combination of classroom-based modules and  Virtual Classrooms as well as work-based learning. Blended learning combines face-to-face and web-based teaching and learning, which allows students to access classes in person or using on-line facilities to allow for a better work/life/study balance. In certain modules, mandatory attendance is a requirement.

How can I complete this Course?

The Programme can be completed on a Part-time basis over two years (6 semesters). The programme uses a blended learning approach. In that regard, learners are required to  engage in classroom-based learning, with both traditional face-to-face contact and synchronous delivery through the VIRI classroom, in addition to directed web-based e-learning. Learners have to  engage in work-based learning and independent research and will receive tutorial support for these modules.

These weekly lectures will be delivered primarily through synchronous classroom-based learning and the VIRI classroom, which will be normally timetabled on one evening per week and Saturdays across the Academic Year with Practice Support and Academic supervision extending into the Summer Semester.

The programme timetable has been scheduled to facilitate blended learning. Classes will take place through synchronous delivery which will involve classroom-based sessions, which will also be available on-line synchronously through a VIRI classroom.  Bearing in mind the benefits to students of collaborative and peer learning, and the importance of intellectual discourse and peer support, face-to-face classroom-based learning will also occur alongside the synchronous on-line delivery. The more practical elements of the programme will require students to attend in person.

Learners  engage in work-based learning and will be required to undertake 150 hours of a Professional Placement; 30 hours can be taken from Week 8 in Semester 1, with 30 hours per week being completed across Semester 2 with the remaining 90 hours being completed in Semesters 3 – 6 but there are options available around this and completion of the requirements of this module will happen at the discretion of the student following agreement with their Clinical Supervisor.

Structure of Course:

The Programme is divided into 11 modules each of which has Educational Credits (ECTS) associated with them (please see a list of the individual module titles and the associated credits below). Each Module may also be taken on a standalone basis. It is also important to note that learners who complete 60 ECTS and who wish to exit the programme without completing their Dissertation may be awarded a Postgraduate Diploma in Addiction Counselling.

The course covers a range of subjects that are structured to develop competent professional practitioners. The subjects covered are designed to be both practical and theoretical as per the table below:

Masters  in Addiction Counselling
Module Name Credits
Addiction Counselling & Evidence-Based Psychosocial Interventions 5 ECTS
Understanding the Addiction Spectrum 5 ECTS
Psychotherapeutic Skills & Engagement 5 ECTS
Community Reinforcement Approach & Addiction 5 ECTS
Knowing Self 5 ECTS
Motivational Interviewing 5 ECTS
Comorbidity & Addiction 5 ECTS
Professional Placement 10 ECTS
Research Methodologies & Design 10 ECTS
Dissertation 30 ECTS
Elective (Choice of Modules are listed below – 1 to be taken) 5 ECTS
Total Credits 90

List of Electives –  Family Aspects of Addiction, Health Promotion & Preventative Strategies associated with Addiction, Inter-Agency & Inter-Disciplinary Working in Addiction, Therapeutic Communication & Engagement, Theory & application of Reflective Practice, Independent Study

The programme has been designed to enable learners to demonstrate their academic and reflective learning in appropriate ways. Each module requires completion of an assessment type which will normally consist of 1 or 2 components. The assessment strategy accommodates different learning styles and therefore the programme assesses learners using a range of practical assignments, including; essays, learning journals, examinations, reflective exercises, and projects.

The completion of a research-based dissertation is a central part of the Masters programme and each student is supported by an academic supervisor for the entire period of their dissertation.

What supports are available to learners? 

At ICHAS, every lecturer and member of staff is committed to excellence in education and professional practice. Each Module has a Module Leader who works with students to enhance their learning and will provide formative and summative feedback throughout their studies. Each programme has a Programme Co-ordinator and in addition, you will have direct access to the Programme Leader and the Director of Graduate Studies.

The Dissertation and Practicum are central elements of the Masters programme. Each student will undertake these modules under the direction of an Academic and Practicum supervisor respectively for these modules who will be appointed by the College.

Who Awards My Qualification?

On successful completion of the programme, your qualification is awarded by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI). QQI is one of the principal Irish awarding bodies for 3rd level education in Ireland and sets the standards for awards on the NFQ. Because this programme is both validated and awarded by QQI, the Award you receive is recognised in Ireland and internationally. See www.qqi.ie for further information.

Where Can I progress to on completion of the course?

On successful completion of the MA in Addiction Counselling, students will be qualified to access  Level 10 Programmes on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).

What are the entry requirements for this course?

This programme is designed for graduates in health and human sciences and in particular graduates of Counselling or addiction related programmes as well as, nursing, social care, social work, psychology and programmes in cognate areas who wish to expand their knowledge and understanding of the human condition.

The knowledge, skills and competence required to successfully participate in and complete this Level 9 Programme will normally require applicants to have successfully achieved a Level 2:2 award in a relevant Human Science Level 8 degree.

Those who have completed other relevant education programmes or have relevant professional experience etc., where Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) and Acquired Prior Learning (APL) can be applied to the programme by submission of programme content, qualification and assignments equivalent to an appropriate Level 8 award at an Honours 2:2 standard can also be considered. If you wish to apply for this programme, please click on the ‘Apply Now” tab. All applicants undertake a selection interview to support applicants to make an informed decision regarding their choice of programme and to ensure suitability.

Applicants should be driven by a desire to be leaders and agents for change; recognising the special contribution that professional psychotherapists using an Integrative approach can make to individuals, their families and communities in supporting individual recovery, wellbeing and also at policy and preventative levels in terms of public health models, thus enriching the lives of individuals and communities.

Successful applicants would be required to complete Garda Vetting at the College. If you have any queries in relation to this course then please contact the college on 061 216288 or email us on info@ichas.ie. A member of the Admissions team will be happy to assist you

The MA in Addiction Counselling has many distinctive features that make it one of the leading programmes of this type.

For Example;

  • It meets the QQI Award Standards for Counselling and Psychotherapy in Ireland.
  • This programme is part of a suite of programmes that have been validated by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), ensuring the quality of its teaching and assessment strategies, programme content and quality.
  • It is delivered by lecturers who are experts in the fields of study.
  • Recognised nationally and internationally. On completion, you will receive the Europass Diploma Supplement in addition to your degree parchment.
  • It is recognised by professionally accreditation bodies within the Psychological Therapies Forum.
  • It adopts a Flexible structure, meaning that students may study at a pace and duration that fits in with their lifestyle demands – students may study on a modular basis or spread the period of their studies over a timeframe that is agreed with the College.
  • It focusses on interventions that have a proven evidence base in terms of effectiveness.
  • It combines a well- balanced match of theory and practice.
  • This course facilitates a progression route to PHD and professional doctorate level programmes.
  • It facilitates access to higher-level education thus increasing employment opportunities for graduates in a range of different areas where addiction is problematic.
  • It utilises blended learning approaches offering a flexible approach for all students through face to face and on-line learning.

This progrmme is offered on a part-time basis only and there are options around the payment of tuition fees with payment plans available to learners.

A central component of the ICHAS vision is the provision of flexible and affordable education for all.

The tuition fees for the programme are €7,200 (this includes a 2% PEL levy of €144). In addition, students who opt for monthly instalments will incur an extra fee of €100 to avail of this facility. All fees are fully protected under our Protection of Enrolled Learners’ Policy.

Protection of Enrolled Learners’ Policy. All QQI accredited programmes of education and training of 3 months or longer duration are covered by arrangements under section 65 (4) of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012 whereby, in the event of the provider ceasing to provide the programme for any reason, enrolled learners may transfer to a similar programme at another provider, or, in the event that this is not practicable, the fees most recently paid will be refunded.

Additional Requirements and Costs

Please be aware that Personal Therapy and Clinical Supervision have to be completed as part of the programme and the costs associated with these are extra and not included in tuition fees.

Click to apply for this programme

Available at our Dublin and Limerick Campuses

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