Blended Learning Programme

Higher Diploma in Science in Integrative Psychotherapeutic Studies

An innovative two-year (part-time) QQI Level 8 programme.

  • Award: Higher Diploma in Science in Integrative Psychotherapeutic Studies

  • Entry Requirements: Level 8 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) or equivalent in a human science subject.

  • Starting: September 2024

  • Duration: Two year programme delivered on a part-time basis.
  • Annual Fees: €4,150
  • Language requirement: If English is your second language you are required to submit an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) cert at Level 6 or equivalent. For more information please click HERE

  • Apply Online: Click here to apply


Our two year Higher Diploma in Science in Integrative Psychotherapeutic Studies is now accepting applications for the September 2024 intake. This innovative programme is validated by QQI. Designed in the style of a conversion or bridging programme, this two year training prepares learners to enter a professional practice masters. This programme does not in itself provide a professional qualification. This programme is aimed at non-counselling and/or psychotherapy graduates. It is primarily a conversion programme, and will set its graduates on the path towards becoming accredited members of our professional counselling and psychotherapy body. Successful completion of this programme will satisfy the academic and professional criteria required for entry into IICP College  two year Masters programme. The Higher Diploma, in combination with our Masters in Pluralistic Psychotherapy, facilitates a 4 year training in counselling and psychotherapy and learners who exit with the MSc in Pluralistic Counselling and Psychotherapy are eligible for IACP Membership.

At IICP, we desire to contribute a community dimension to the development of mental health care and counselling through the use of a practical, cutting-edge and integrative model, which forms the basis for this pioneering and innovative programme. We consider that training in counselling and psychotherapy is an inter-disciplinary endeavour, a combination of art and science to include, amongst others, the disciplines of philosophy, psychology, sociology and anthropology. IICP’s core philosophical ethos, which offers a theoretical framework encompassing humanistic-existential, cognitive-behavioural and multicultural psychotherapeutic models, is a contemporary integrative framework.

This unique approach offers a broad structure to professionals who are dealing with a diverse range of clients and presenting problems. IICP offer a unique learner-centred environment. At the heart of the training provided in IICP lies the belief that people are experts in the story of their own lives. The therapeutic process can encourage the client to make effective change in relation to life direction and the ensuing process of decision making. IICP holds that it is not enough to simply teach the skills of counselling and psychotherapy. Learners are given the space to learn, practice and be supported as they develop for themselves a style and model of counselling which is both personal and effective.

Who Should Apply

This course is designed in the style of a conversion programme for graduates who hold a Level 8 Degree in the human sciences or equivalent. It is ideal for those who, upon completion, would like to transfer to a Master’s level practice programme to become professional therapists. The programme will also appeal to a variety of professionals who wish to augment and build upon previous training in the addiction, social care, health, education and mental health professions, but who do not necessarily want to practice as a therapist.

Entry Requirements

  • A recognised undergraduate degree in the human sciences, issued at Level 8 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). Those with a Level 7 Degree in the allied professions, with substantial professional experience may be considered under our recognition of prior learning and experience policy.
  • Learners will be invited to an interview with faculty as part of the application process.
  • Learners will need to have access to workplace or voluntary role which will them to implement the learning of the programme. IICP will work with each student to ensure this entry requirement is achieved.
  • If English is your second language you are required to submit an IELTS (International English Language Testing System) cert at Level 6 or equivalent. For more information please click HERE

Minimum Technological Requirements

You will need to have:

  • Appropriate broadband to be able to upload and download;
  • A desktop computer or laptop that is capable of using zoom;
  • A webcam and microphone;
  • A web browser; and
  • Word processing package

Student Benefits & Support

With a high level of student support, learners can attain the required skills to effectively respond to those in emotional or psychological distress. Learners are afforded the space, time and support to develop an integrative model of practice for work with clients. With established links to an on-site therapy centre, IICP offers a seamless transition from classroom to clinical practice.


  • The programme is delivered on a part-time basis.
  • The next intake will commence in September 2024.
  • There is a 85% attendance requirement.

Attendance Options

  • September: Block – Friday evening classes 6pm to 9pm/10pm. Saturday and Sunday 9am to 5pm (One weekend per month)

Blended Learning Delivery

This programme is delivered via blended learning, whereby students rotate monthly/weekly between onsite and online. Our blended learning classes are run as tutorials, that involve students and their lecturer logging into our online learning platform Moodle and use the online portal Zoom™ simultaneously.

Zoom™ provides and integrative online environment for students and Lecturers to interact and engage in the learning. This platform facilitates discussion polls, sharing of slides, videos resources and much, much more. To foster more intimate learning environments the use of breakout rooms is also implemented, allowing for the safe and experiential triadic learning practice that we have found so successful.

All of our sessions are accessible through computer and mobile devices and we have a structured and robust technology department to support all faculty and students through their online learning journey. To encourage flexibility, and the best practice, we also record all our sessions, these are made accessible only to the students in that class to review content whenever is convenient to them!


Learners are assessed through a continuous assessment strategy, which includes a variety of mediums such as individual and group projects, skills training assessments, case studies and process recordings, written assignments, essays and a dissertation.

Validation of Award

  • The Higher Diploma in Integrative Psychotherapeutic Studies is validated by QQI.
  • In and of itself, it does not qualify you to practice as a therapist but will facilitate entry to the MSc in Pluralistic Counselling & Psychotherapy, which does hold IACP accreditation. In order to obtain IACP Accreditation, you must undertake the full four years (2 years of the Higher Diploma and 2 years of the MSc) and achieve all the IACP course criteria as part of your training.


60 ECTS [30 credits in each year of the programme]

Programme Lecturers

We have a large faculty team, including:

  • David O’Regan
  • Dermot O’Neill
  • Gayle Doyle
  • Pamela Patchell
  • Eileen Finnegan
  • Dr. Holly Foley
  • Dr. Noel O’Connor
  • Dr. Michelle Murphy
  • Melissa McKenna
  • Jennifer Drumm

Protection for Enrolled Learners

This programme is covered by arrangements under section 65 (4) of the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012 whereby, in the event of IICP College 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. Current PEL arrangements consist of a 2% levy on course fees. IICP do not pass the cost of this on to learners.

Programme Structure

The programme is highly interactive and taught through role-play, lectures, group-work and audio/video presentations. The ethos of the course reflects the Quality School model of Choice Theory, Reality Therapy & Lead Management (CT/RT/LM), which promotes a warm, safe environment that is free from fear, criticism and coercion. Participants will have the opportunity to produce and participate in individual written assignments, group projects and group work.

Integrative Psychotherapeutic Studies 1

  • The aim of this module is to enable learners to critically evaluate different models of psychotherapy. In particular, learners will focus on two core models; Rogers’ Person Centred Therapy and Glasser’s Choice Theory Reality Therapy, using Cheston’s Ways Paradigm as a personal integrative framework for case conceptualisation and consideration of clinical application. In addition, building upon the induction, this module aims to further develop the digital and research competencies of learners as applied to the science of counselling and psychotherapy. Learners will be supported in developing digital research skills as well as familiarity with key scientific literature drawn from both the counselling and psychotherapy and wider mental health and allied professions.

Psychotherapeutic Skills 1

  • In this module students both develop their skills-based competence and widen their professional lenses to include a relational perspective. Students are closely guided by lecturers and teaching assistants in their performance of microskills, so that they can (i) convey more effectively the core conditions of empathy, congruence, and unconditional positive regard, (ii) develop the necessary conditions for the formation of a therapeutic relationship (iii) attend to ethical considerations in counselling/psychotherapy, including, centrally, confidentiality and limitations of the confidential relationship. Complementing this focus on individual skills, students are given opportunities to gain theoretical and practice-based knowledge that allows them to view their skills in a relational context. Students are guided to identify and assess the interpersonal skills they use, and how they position themselves in dyads, triads, and larger group settings. In particular students examine how they manage alliances, closeness, distance, and conflict. Concurrently, this module uses professional portfolio development to progress students on their pathway to becoming evidence-based practitioners. Students keep a reflexive journal, which they use in summative assessment to reflect upon and assess their learning. They are encouraged and expected to draw on their work-based practice. Through the development of their professional portfolio students come to learn how to track their professional growth and development, identify their blind spots and areas resistant to change. In this way students come to recognise the evidentiary value of their interpretive critical reflexivity engagement.

Integrative Psychotherapeutic Studies 2

  • Building on Integrative Psychotherapeutic Studies 1, this subsequent module provides opportunities for learners to develop and enhance their theoretical knowledge in psychotherapeutic theories, and the knowledge and skills to use research evidence in practice. It develops information literacy skills in locating appropriate research, research skills in analysing the validity, reliability, and generalizability of research, and critical skills in judging the applicability and appropriateness of research in a clinical context. Learners will engage in teaching and learning activities related to scientific paradigms in psychotherapy integration (theoretical integration, technical eclecticism, assimilative integration and the Common Factors). They will also explore other modalities of therapy including Narrative Therapy, Transactional Analysis, Existential psychotherapy and CBT.

Personal Psychotherapeutic Experience 1

  • The module aims to equip students with the ability to recognise, articulate and reflect on their practice, including their communication and relational processes, their teamwork and their learning styles. These are transferable skills that can be applied in a range of work settings. Reflexive Practice is the ethical and professional requirement that a psychotherapist explores ways in which their self – their experiences, beliefs, values and commitments – impacts on and influences their professional practice. The self is seen as a resource that shapes practice in ways that can be both constraining and creative, both closing down and opening up possibilities for practice. This module aims to develop students’ understanding of the application of reflexivity to their professional work and to filter this reflexivity through the lenses of the theories that they are studying. This module integrates theories of reflective practice with personal experience of the reflective cycle. It aims to introduce students to reflexive practice in psychotherapy, and to provide opportunities for students to examine using their reflections to initiate change. It explores what constitutes, and does not constitute, reflective practice. Distinguishing between reflections and reflexivity (Brookfield, 1990, Paul Hibbert 2012). It examines the role of reflective practice in enhancing therapy practice. Through this subject, students come to understand the part that their personal story plays in shaping their professional activities. In this module students are expected to connect their reflections – their personal story – with their practice and the theories they are studying, and to develop the ability to identify the manner in which they as the practitioner intersect with their practice. Crucially, as they are required to identify how their story has the potential to both open up and close down their practice, and the steps that are identified to ensure that it is the client’s story and client needs that remains privileged. In this module students may explore, with the guidance of the lecturer, issues which are evoked through their involvement in the various elements of the programme.

Trauma Informed Therapy

  • Trauma informed therapy is a way of working with clients that recognises how traumatic experiences can impact on all domains of being, including behavioural, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual. The purpose of this module is to increase learners understanding of trauma, adverse childhood experiences. A recent national study into Trauma, PTSD and complex PTSD in the Republic of Ireland found that 82.3%of respondence had lifetime exposureto one or more traumatic events, with almost 68% reporting twoor more traumatic events (Hyland et al, 2021). Likewise, in a global context, research has indicated that 70% of people have been exposed to a traumatic event (Benjet et al, 2015). The overwhelming evidence of the ubiquitous nature of trauma exposure tells us that mental help professionals need to be trauma informed.

Ethics & Professional Practice Skills

  • The aim of this module is to provide learners with opportunities to develop ethical and professional skills that would be required in the field of psychotherapy. This module will include a focus on the following key areas of Psychotherapy professional practice.
    • Research Skills: Developing key skills required to locate and evaluate scholarly sources related to counselling practice, and to use these to inform practice
    • Practice skills: Developing competence in utilising assessment tools and techniques systematically, critically and effectively,
    • Ethical skills: Developing ability to identify and manage ethical issues in clinical practice
    • Communication skills: Developing ability to communicate practice
    • Personal skills: Developing ability to reflect on and critique one’s own practice, and use this to enhance learning.
    • Interpersonal skills: Developing ability to ask for and receive feedback, and use this to enhance learning.

Clinical Work with Substance Using Clients

  • The aim of this module is to provide participants with a basis on which to develop their therapeutic understanding of the theoretical and clinical considerations of substance use. The objectives of the module include increasing knowledge of Substance Use issues to include pharmacology, aetiology, and interventions appropriate to this clinical cohort. Substance use in Ireland is on an upward trajectory. According to the Health Research Board (2020), 7% of respondents have used an illegal drug in the past year, and one in five drinkers have an alcohol use disorder. Substance use in Ireland is on the rise and those who wish to work with clients in distress must have an understanding of the issue and be armed with interventions that are unique to treating it. This module provides opportunities to develop therapeutic understanding of the theoretical and clinical considerations of substance use, to increasing knowledge of Substance, and to increase knowledge pharmacology, aetiology and interventions appropriate to this clinical cohort.

Psychotherapeutic Skills 2

  • This module aims to increase learners’ competence and confidence in using a range of intervention psychotherapeutic skills, and in engaging appropriately in counselling and supervisory relationships. Building on the Psychotherapeutic Skills 1 module in the previous year, this module is designed to enable learners to develop further competence in the use of psychotherapeutic skills. This module will enable learners to increase their repertoire of skills and interventions, and their ability to engage appropriately and effectively with others in professional relationships. This module develops competence in the use of counselling and psychotherapeutic skills, enables learners to increase their repertoire of skills and interventions, and fosters ability to engage appropriately and effectively with others in professional relationships.

Clinical Internship

  • This module aims to prepare learners for the transition to a practice qualification at Master’s level, with a focus on beginning clinical placement. Learners will focus on professional skills, ethics and engagement is reflexive work including supervision of simulated practice and clinical practice. This module develops learners’ preparation to transition to professional training, through enhancing their ability to analyse critically their own work, to apply a range of theoretical perspectives, and to utilise research evidence and clinical tools to inform their decision-making. Learners present their peer practice cases, early clinical work practice, theoretical formulations, clinical processes and analysis of effectiveness to their disciplinary community and receive and act on feedback. This module provides opportunities for the development of clinical skills and competence for working with a range of presenting issues, as well as skills in the application of relevant regulatory and ethical guidelines. It contributes to the development of learners’ research mindedness and comfortableness in developing research-informed practice.

Research Methods in Psychotherapy

  • The purpose of this module is to provide a practical introduction to key research designs, methodologies and methods used in counselling and psychotherapy research. Learners will gain a theoretical understanding of descriptive, correlational, quasi-experimental and experimental designs, statistical concepts and tests, as well as experience using statistical packages. The learner will gain a theoretical understanding of a variety of qualitative approaches, including narrative, and case study research. They will also consider the possibilities and limitations of these forms of analysis and critically evaluate how analysis can impact on practice. This module provides the learner with an opportunity to develop the ability to design a research study, and the research skills to gather and analyse quantitative and qualitative data in a counselling context. This training will provide them with the knowledge and insight to analyse and interpret a data set and to propose their own research project addressing an original therapeutic question.

Personal Psychotherapeutic Experience 2

  • This module aims to develop learners’ awareness and understanding in both one-to-one and group process psychotherapeutic experience, and the ensuing impact on personal and professional development. This experiential process-oriented module provides learners with a space to reflect upon their own process, and to develop their personal process competencies, particularly those relevant to a transition to a psychotherapeutic practice qualification. Carla Willig (2019) argues that ‘a core skills needed to be an effective therapist is to have developed an awareness of one’s own ontological and epistemological positions in relation to one’s work as a therapist. Likewise, many different theoretical approaches to therapy speak to the ‘use of self’ in the therapeutic relationship. This module therefore requires learners to engage in a reflexive and reflective process, where the self is explored and examined. It also provides a psychotherapeutic space whereby many of the skills of therapists (listening, reflecting, immediacy, feedbacking) etc. can be applied.

IICP understand that while partaking in further education is an incredibly rewarding experience it can also be a financial challenge for some students. In order to minimise the financial impact caused to students, IICP strive to keep our course fees as competitive as possible. We also provide payment plan options to facilitate learners paying the balance of their fees throughout the duration of their course.

  • Application Fees: €100 (non – refundable)
  • Annual Fees: *€4,150

*(Inclusive of QQI registration fee)

Year One: Payment Options

(1) Pay in Full before Start of Course


1,245On acceptance of course offer

Balance of Fees




(2) Payment Plan Options Available (administration fee incurred*)

  • Flexible Payment Options Available.

Please Contact the IICP office to find out more!

Additional Course Requirements and Costs

  • Personal Therapy – Learners complete 50 hours of personal therapy over the duration of the programme. The personal therapist must be fully accredited with IACP, IAHIP or BACP.
  • Client Hours: Learners are required to do 25 hours of client work as part of the programme. Please note, learners who progress to the MSc will be required to do an additional 100 hours.
  • Clinical Supervision – Learners complete 5 sessions of external clinical supervision as part of the Higher Diploma. Learners who progress to the MSc will be required to do an additional 20 hours of external supervision.

Learners understand that the costs of these activities are not covered by programme fees and that successful completion of the Higher Diploma is dependent on submitting the necessary evidence that these criteria are fulfilled.

Personal therapy and clinical supervision can cost from €40 per session upwards. Fees are negotiable between learners and individual therapists/supervisors. Personal therapists and individual supervisors must be fully accredited with IACP, IAHIP or BACP.

Getting Started

Should you have any questions in relation to making your online application please contact Triona on 086-0499154.

Simply click the below button to be brought to our online application process. When prompted, please select ‘Validated & Accredited Courses’, then select ‘H.Dip Higher Diploma in Integrative Psychotherapeutic Studies’ option that suit you best and complete the form.

Online Application Form

If you have any trouble at any stage of the application please click here to get in touch and we will be happy to help.

Why choose this Programme?

  • Ideal course for anyone looking to bridge previous undergraduate training with a view to entering a professional practice Masters.
  • Excellent mix of theory, skills and personal development.
  • Full support in locating external placements off-site.

  • Incredibly high levels of student support, ensuring that learners are continually guided and supported.

  • QQI Validated and provides access to MSc that holds IACP accreditation.

  • Competitively priced course fees with payment plans available.