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MSc Addiction Counselling & Psychotherapy

Part-time | 2 Years | University Validated

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There is a growing awareness of the widespread harm caused by addiction to individuals, families and communities. This training is part of an evolving shift from over-reliance on medical based models of treatment to those of psycho-social interventions and talking therapies.


In an experiential and participative environment, this course offers students the opportunity to acquire key skills and theoretical knowledge to effectively engage clients in the addiction recovery process.


Now more than ever, a diverse array of addictions significantly impacts the quality of life for many individuals, often underlying their presenting concerns in therapy. Social media addiction, gaming addiction, phone addiction, online shopping addiction, exercise addiction, and pornography addiction have become increasingly prevalent. These compulsive behaviours contribute to a range of relationship issues and mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, and sleep disorders. Many clients seeking therapy for these issues find that their addictions are the root cause, necessitating targeted interventions to address the compulsive behaviours and restore balance to their lives. The MSc Addiction Counselling & Psychotherapy at PCI College equips counsellors and psychotherapists with the specialised knowledge and skills needed to address these modern addictions. Through comprehensive training, students will learn to employ effective therapeutic approaches tailored to the unique challenges posed by each type of addiction, ultimately helping clients achieve healthier and more fulfilling lives.


Who is this course for? 

The MSc Addiction Counselling & Psychotherapy is a comprehensive professional training course, focused on working therapeutically with people dealing with addiction. This course is aimed at graduates who are currently working, or plan to work, in addiction services, including counsellors and psychotherapists, doctors, nurses, youth workers, social carers, social workers, psychologists and those who wish solidify and enhance their qualifications, whilst gaining contemporary theoretical knowledge and practical skills. The course, which is validated by Middlesex University, is designed to supplement trainees’ existing qualifications rather than serve as a stand-alone counselling qualification. This course meets some, but not all, of the accreditation criteria for the Addiction Counsellors of Ireland (ACI). While not accrediting specific courses, the ACI does evaluate applicants based on qualifications, training and specialist experience. The MSc Addiction Counselling & Psychotherapy programme is designed to fulfil a number of these essential criteria.


What are the benefits of doing this course? 

On completion of the course, you will have developed the advanced competence and proficiency to work with clients presenting with a wide variety of addiction issues in a range of settings. You will more fully understand the complex and challenging nature of addiction and recovery, whilst prioritising the individuality of the person affected by addiction. You will be well placed to influence attitudes and affect policy in the workplace, community and society. The programme complements the national policy on taking a harm-reduction approach to treating addiction. With a module dedicated to dual diagnosis, the programme is suited to candidates interested in developing a single care pathway in addiction and mental health services for those that need it, in line with the ‘no wrong door’ approach of the recently launched HSE Model of Care for Dual Diagnosis.  


What will you learn?

The course is designed to give learners a working understanding of the theories, processes and dynamics of addiction in an ever-changing biopsychosocial context, with a strong focus on effective, evidence-based approaches to treatment and counselling. With a person-centred philosophy at its core, students will be equipped with a variety of clinical skills applicable to the complex presentation of addiction that span diverse populations. The programme addresses the ever-pervasive influence of the internet and how it exacerbates the deleterious effects of behavioural addictions such as compulsive gambling, sexual addiction and gaming. Students will experience addiction from a multidisciplinary viewpoint during site visits and within reflexive clinical practice, in addition to developing proficiency in three different talk therapy modalities.


VENUES THAT RUN THIS COURSE: Dublin West (Clondalkin).


Course Details

DURATION: Two years, part-time    START DATE: 5th October 2024 (Orientation), Lectures Commence 12th October 2024


Please note that Inductions will be held the week before the start date. You will receive full details with your timetable following your acceptance.


AWARD: Middlesex University MSc Addiction Counselling & Psychotherapy

This programme is quality assured by Middlesex University and you will receive a Middlesex award on successful completion.


LEVEL: Level 7 FHEQ (Comparable to Level 9 NFQ)

FHEQ (Framework for Higher Education Qualification) is the UK National Framework of Qualifications.


TIMETABLE: Weekends  - Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 5.30 pm (approx. 1 weekend per month from October to June) 



YEAR 1: Postgraduate Certificate – 60 Credits (equivalent to 30 ECTS credits)

  • Concepts and Controversies in Understanding Addiction
  • Talking Therapy Approaches 1: Essentials of Counselling and Reflexive Practice
  • Biopsychosocial Aspects of Substance Use
  • Talking Therapy Approaches 2: Motivational Interviewing


YEAR 2: Postgraduate Diploma – 60 Credits (equivalent to 30 ECTS credits)

  • The Family Dimension in Addiction: Practice Based Considerations
  • Talking Therapy Approaches 3: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
  • Contemporary Issues in Behavioural Addiction
  • Dual Diagnosis: Treatment Considerations in Mental Health and Addiction


YEAR 2: MSc Component - 60 credits (equivalent to 30 ECTS credits)

  •  Case Study and Dissertation


Additional Course Requirements

  • 100 hours Clinical placement/Client work (25 hours must be completed before the end of Year 1 for those progressing to the PG Diploma)
  • 25 sessions with a qualified supervisor to support client work
  • 30 hours Personal Therapy
  • Residential Treatment Centre Site Visit


ASSESSMENT: Continuous Assessment


There are no formal examinations, giving students more opportunities to concentrate on their assignments and their own self-exploration throughout their journey. Assignments are varied in style to account for differing learning styles of students.

Entry Requirements




Applicants should possess the maturity to reflect on their development as a person and have successfully completed and obtained a minimum grade 2.2 in one of the following:


Level 8 NFQ/Level 6 UK accredited degree in Counselling and Psychotherapy/Addiction Counselling


Level 8 NFQ/ Level 6UK degree in Social Sciences (Youth Work, Social Care, Social Work, Psychology, Nursing, Medicine, etc.)


Accredited Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy/Addiction Counselling plus Level 8 NFQ/Level 6UK degree in an unrelated area plus submission of a clinical portfolio


Applicants who do not meet this criterion may be eligible to enter the course based on prior learning and experience in the area. Students applying based on prior learning, must provide evidence of their knowledge, skill and ability to pursue this programme of study. This should be in the form of a career portfolio outlining and demonstrating your career path as is relevant to this course (including transcripts of any relevant results, statements of prior learning based on systematic reflection) must be submitted with your application.



  • Send in Complete Application Form and Deposit (Online / Hard Copy)
  • Copies of Transcripts (Confirming 2.2 on relevant Level 8 Degree or higher) or Copy of Career Portfolio
  • and 500-word written statement on why you believe they are suitable for the course.

All suitable candidates will be invited to interview 



Students who hold a Postgraduate Certificate in Addiction Counselling & Psychotherapy (PCI College or equivalent) may apply for entry to Year 2 of the course. 


Students who do not meet these criteria may be eligible to enter Year 2 on the basis of prior learning and experience in the area. Students applying on the basis of prior learning must provide evidence of their knowledge, skill and ability to pursue this programme of study.  This should be in the form of a career portfolio outlining and demonstrating your career path as is relevant to this course (including transcripts of any relevant results, statements of prior learning based on systematic reflection) and be must be submitted with your application.



External Applicants - Graduates of the Postgraduate Certificate Addiction Counselling & Psychotherapy:

  • Send complete year 2 application form and deposit (online/hard copy)
  • All suitable candidates will be invited to interview
  • Places are limited (18). Selection is based on application and interview.

External Applicants:

  • Send complete year 2 application form & deposit (online/hard copy)
  • Complete course comparison form including:

         o Copy of current/previous course prospectus/course outline
         o Transcript of results of all assessments/examinations
         o Copy of all relevant qualifications
         o Completed course comparison form
         o Letter from counsellor to verify previous hours of personal therapy (if applicable)
         o Letter from supervisor to verify hours of client work with varying presenting issues (must have completed at least 15% of the overall course requirement in the last 12 months)

  • Statement on why you feel you have met the Learning Outcomes for Year 1. (approximately 1000 words)

All suitable candidates will be invited to interview 



All candidates are required to satisfy the English language requirement. Candidates whose first language is not English and who are presenting qualifications other than the Leaving Certificate may satisfy the requirement through the completion of the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) on the basis that they obtain a minimum band score of 6 at the undergraduate level and 6.5 at postgraduate level or an equivalent score of TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or Cambridge, which denotes a very good skill level of English. It should be noted that these are the minimum requirements in English and PCI College may set higher requirements in each case.



Students will be required to participate in Garda Vetting procedures in relation to programme requirements. Garda Vetting deadlines must be adhered to. PCI College has the right to withdraw a student from the programme if they do not meet these deadlines. Garda Vetting is charged at €20.00 per person and is included in the Acceptance payment paid prior to enrolment within applicable programmes. 

IT SKILLS: students require sufficient IT skills to complete the course


Students can expect to be provided with advice and support concerning any learning difficulties that they may encounter. Any diagnosed learning difficulty, e.g. dyslexia, must be noted on the application.

Career Path

On successful completion of this programme, graduates decide on the course of action most appropriate to their needs and ambitions.  The programme aims to provide students with the skills and knowledge to build a successful career within this Addiction Counselling specialism. Graduates from this programme have a wide variety of career avenues to choose from. PCI College offer student support and guidance in exploring their career options through the provision of an additional career focused workshop.


The following avenues are open to them:


Avenue 1

Graduates may choose to continue working in employment settings where Talk Therapy skills related to Addiction are essential if they are to serve their clients in a more truly comprehensive way.


Avenue 2

Graduates may gain employment in the Public Sector, Government-funded agencies and other organisations that promote and facilitate addiction recovery, for example, HSE settings, Residential Treatment Centres, Addiction and Recovery Services, Social Care settings, etc.


Avenue 3

Graduates will obtain skills transferable to managerial positions in addiction, health and community services.


Avenue 4

Graduates may increase their existing private practice services as counsellors/therapists who specialise in addiction.


Avenue 5

Graduates may market themselves as having specialist skills in working specifically with behavioural addiction, motivational interviewing, the family in addiction and dual diagnosis.


Avenue 6

Graduates may pursue accreditation status with Addiction Counsellors Ireland (ACI) or other accredited organisations.


Avenue 7

A number of graduates choose to use their learning from this programme as a stepping-stone to further study in addiction, counselling or the social sciences, for example doctoral studies.



The MSc Addiction Counselling & Psychotherapy is subject to review by Middlesex University as part of our external quality assurance procedures. Our university validated programmes are developed, delivered and assessed by PCI College and awarded by and quality assured by Middlesex University.  A qualification from Middlesex University London is internationally recognised both within the EU and outside the EU. Brexit will have no impact on these facts. 


Course Fees



Year 1: €4,990* (Includes all academic and administration costs and charges)

***PCI College BSc Counselling & Psychotherapy Graduates Student Discount*** €350 Off Year 1 Fees

Year 2: €4,450

Post Graduate Certificate and Diploma Prices available upon request.

*Please note that there is an additional charge of €20 for the Garda vetting process which is required prior to course entry and it is not included in the above fees.



Pay in 18 monthly instalments, through the monthly payment plan.  Please note that this plan will operate by direct debit only and is inclusive of a €100.00 administration fee.  Each student must pass the progression board to enable them to move into the next year of study and the payment schedule outlined below. 


Course fees do not cover costs associated with additional course requirements (personal therapy and supervision). Fees for supervision and personal therapy are decided by negotiation between you and your supervisor and therapist. The average cost of supervision is approximately €60. Personal therapy may also average about €60 per session.

Applicants should complete the online application form including the Initial Deposit of €80, which is deductible from course fees if the application is successful. Applicants are entitled to a full refund of the Initial Deposit if they decide to cancel within 14 days of receipt of their application.  Applications should be completed in full and returned with the appropriate deposit for the programme of choice. Any deposit paid is deductible from the programme fees if the applicant is successful in securing a place on the programme. Applicants are entitled to a full refund of the initial deposit if they decide to cancel within 14 days of receipt of their application, and haven't attended the interview. If the cancellation is before the programme commences, any monies held will be left on account for use for the next course intake. Any monies left on the account exceeding this timeframe will be forfeited. Please note that the name used on your application needs to be the same name that you have on your passport.

The balance of fees is payable in full before the course commences. Fees are non-refundable in all personal circumstances. All courses run subject to demand and the formation of a viable class cohort. A full refund will be given to all applicants in the event that the class does not proceed.


Intake interviews will be arranged for suitable applicants. Applicants who are offered a place will be required to confirm acceptance in writing accompanied by an Acceptance Deposit of €1270. When an Applicant has accepted a place all tuition fees, including deposits, shall be fully non-refundable in all personal circumstances.


For more information, please visit our Terms & Conditions page.



What does ‘validation’ mean for this course?

It means that upon graduation, you will have achieved an internationally recognised FHEQ Level 7 (Comparable to NFQ Level 9) University Qualification that is continuously examined externally and academically quality assured by Middlesex University. You can join the 1000s of successful Middlesex University Graduates in London for their impressive Graduation Ceremony where your great achievement will be deservedly honoured!


Is this course accredited?

This course will serve professionals within the addiction field who wish to pursue accreditation with the Addiction Counsellors Ireland (ACI) The ACI does not accredit courses, it does however accredit individual applicants taking into account training, qualifications and experience. While the MSc Addiction Counselling & Psychotherapy course is not accredited, it is designed to fulfil a number of the essential ACI criteria.


What level is this course?

Currently, the Irish Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (the IACP) do not accredit specialist training courses.  However, we work closely with the IACP and keep abreast of all developments with them. As we stated, our BSc (Hons) in Counselling & Psychotherapy is accredited by the IACP. The course is not accredited by a professional body. Individuals seeking professional accreditation should consult the relevant bodies website.


I am a Professional Counsellor, am I entitled to any exemptions?

If, in addition to your counselling qualification, you have completed the equivalent of a Post Graduate Certificate in Addiction Counselling, you may be eligible for an exemption. Please see the tab titled ‘Entry Requirements’ for more information.


What is the duration of the course?

Two years (24 months) part time. You will receive a detailed timetable prior to the beginning of each academic year to assist with planning and managing your time.


How often do I attend?
The course will take place at weekends (Saturday and Sunday, approx. 1 weekend per month from October to June) and the full provisional timetable will be available shortly.


Are my lecturers also therapists?

Yes, all of our lecturers are qualified and accredited practitioner therapists, counsellors, psychologists, in addition to skilled lecturers, and bring a wealth of real-world knowledge into the classroom.


How will I be assessed?

There are no formal examinations, giving students more opportunities to concentrate on their assignments and their own self-exploration throughout their journey. Assessment is achieved on a continuous basis with an assessment due on completion of a module. Assignments are varied in style to account for differing learning styles of students. This will include a mix of written, clinical and in-class practical assignments.


What happens if I miss classes?

As much of the work is done within the classroom, we encourage you to make every effort not to miss class. However, we understand that there are certain circumstances that cannot be avoided. If possible, notify the lecturer in advance if you are going to miss class.  If you do miss class time, you will be required to identify the topics covered and independently catch up on this missed learning. You are not permitted to miss more that 10 hours in any one module. If you miss more than 10 hours in a module, you will be required to repeat the module in the next academic year.

Validated by

My overall experience was fantastic. I really enjoyed this fascinating aspect of the programme, which again was in part down to its brilliant presentation by Marie.
MSc Addiction Counselling Psychotherapy Student 2021

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