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Aug 2014 by PCI College

Keeping the Child's Interests to the Fore

"..the Postgrad Certificate has given me the knowledge and confidence to sensitively challenge how a child’s difficult behaviour is managed.." Noeleen O'Callaghan, graduate of the Postgraduate Certificate in Child and Adolescent Counselling & Psychotherapy talks about how she applies the skills and knowledge in her day to day work

Noeleen O’Callaghan grew up in Dublin and works as a Special Needs Assistant in a local primary school, a role she has held for fourteen years.  “I always had an interest in psychology and in the area of mental health which led me to take on the PCI College BSc in Counselling & Psychotherapy.  Following on from that I started to look at specialist courses and became interested in the Postgraduate Certificate in Child and Adolescent Counselling & Psychotherapy.  Childhood development is an area I always found fascinating.  My role as an S.N.A. allowed me insights and knowledge into childhood behaviour and development.  It was not very difficult to decipher that different children needed different approaches in terms of their behaviour.  The ‘one size fits all’ seems to me to be out-dated and unworkable in terms of a ‘whole-school’ approach.  I knew my gut instinct was not sufficient if I was serious in my attempts to alter how staff viewed and handled children who presented with challenging behaviours, so I decided to equip myself with the Postgrad Certificate and enrolled in 2012”.

“I did look at other course options. Number one priority for me was the course content and I felt excited and enthused when I read the list of modules on the PCI College course.  Proximity from home was also important as I did not want to have to travel long distances.”

Noeleen believes she gained a lot from both the course content, and from the interaction with fellow class-members.  “There were many aspects of the course that I enjoyed but the thing I enjoyed most was the knowledge and insight I gained into childhood development.  As a group, we bonded very well and there was great ‘passing-on’ of information from those within the group who had a wider range of experience of working with children. Delivery of lectures was excellent from a group of very well-informed tutors. One very important aspect of the course was the module on ‘Working with Parents’. This was one area where I did not feel at all confident but I acquired these skills from the tutor’s very knowledgeable and professional tuition”.  Noeleen struggled initially with some elements of creative therapy and how these could be used effectively to counsel children “I found that I struggled with certain aspects of Play Therapy and also with the concept of the therapeutic use of sand.  However, through discussion and experiential use of sand I was able to understand how these therapies can help a child who is in emotional pain or distress”

She feels the course has had a significant impact on her day to day work at school “I find that I apply the learning from the course in some form every day. On more than one occasion I have been stopped in the corridors at school by staff members asking my opinion on varying aspects of a child’s behaviour. I am aware that any advice I may offer is not always acted upon however I can notice a subtle shift in attitudes and that can only lead to more positive changes in the interest of every child in the school”

Noeleen hopes to continue her studies in Child & Adolescent Counselling to Masters level in time, and has a particular interest in the area of Family Therapy. 

“Going on my own experience, I would say if you have an interest in this area of therapy then the Child and Adolescent Counselling and Psychotherapy course will definitely give you the knowledge to work with children in a therapeutic setting.  Completing the Postgrad Certificate has given me the knowledge and confidence to sensitively challenge how a child’s difficult behaviour is managed, always with the interest of the child to the fore”.

Noeleen O’Callaghan, Graduate 2013
Postgraduate Certificate in Child and Adolescent Counselling & Psychotherapy

What our Students Say

Very well presented but not an overwhelming amount of information. Jean Notaro is an excellent lecturer, great facilitation of the group.
Daniel O'Mahony-Emotional Intelligence for success

What our Students Say

“I am really enjoying the Distance Learning Certificate. I can study at home, when it suits me and I am learning so much about counselling. It is a great way for me to start my studies in this area. The material is easy to access and the support from the lecturers is a great help. I’m looking forward to the weekend workshops too, to put all the theory into practice”
M Derwin. Distance Learning Certificate in Counselling & Psychotherapy 2013-2014
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