Course Features

-Provides a solid introduction to different modalities in psychotherapy 

-Can prepare students for clinical training in psychotherapy 

-Provides an academic foundation in the theoretical and clinical literature in the field

-Provides very solid foundation for clinical training in psychotherapy

-Serves as an effective basis for making a decision regarding the modality of psychotherapy one may choose to train in. 

UCD Psychotherapy offers four clinical training MSc programmes.


Course Overview

This one year, two-trimester Higher Diploma programme provides an introduction to the major modalities of psychotherapy, to psychoanalysis and to psychiatric/mental health practice. 

With the Irish State in the process of State Registration, there is growing recognition of the value of psychotherapy as a clinical intervention which invites a person to work on the questions that unsettle, depress or mentally disturb them. Academic qualification at postgraduate level is becoming an integral part of a professional career path in psychotherapy and a knowledge of the different modalities of psychotherapy is strongly recommended. This course is taught by very experienced practitioner- teachers.

Graduates with Level 8 (NFQ) BA or BSc, or equivalent Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), are eligible to apply for the Higher Diploma. 

The Higher Diploma can provide a very important knowledge of psychotherapy practices for anyone with a role in social care, teaching or mental health services. This course will also be of great interest to those with a curiosity about the field of psychotherapy. 

This course has also been recommended for psychiatrists involved in leadership of Multi-Disciplinary Teams; and for managers in the health and social care services.

No previous study of psychotherapy or cognate fields such as health social care or psychology is required.

Students will achieve an understanding of the complex theories and concepts that underlie the main modalities of psychotherapy, of psychoanalysis and of current psychiatric practice. 

As well as psychoanalytic psychotherapy, child art psychotherapy, group analytic psychotherapy, systemic family psychotherapy are covered in detail. Students learn about psychotherapy based on theories of development, humanistic psychotherapy on the integrative model, dramatherapy, cognitive behavioural psychotherapy, interpersonal psychotherapy and other current forms of psychotherapy practice. Graduates of the Higher Diploma can make an informed decision on a modality of psychotherapy in which to train and may be interested in applying for one of the four clinical training professional masters programmes offered by UCD Psychotherapy.

The programme is taught by experienced practitioners in the field and is suited not only to trainees or practitioners in disciplines within the mental health arena but also to applicants from non-cognate areas who may be considering embarking on a clinical training in psychotherapy. 


The course is delivered in 6 modules (5 taught and 1 dissertation), all of which are core requirements for the award of Higher Diploma. Assessment is by continuous assessment for the taught modules and a mark for the thesis. There are no written examinations.  For four of the modules, assessment takes the form of essays and class presentation with written reports. One module is assessed on the basis of a learning journal compiled week by week over the course of the year. Students submit a 6,000-word dissertation for which they receive both group tutorial support and individual supervision. You can find more information about the modules by clicking on the links below:

Theoretical Overview of the Psychotherapies

The Therapeutic Relationship in Psychotherapy 

Psychotherapies I: Transference based Therapies and Integrative/interpersonal Therapies

Psychotherapies II: Cognitive/Behavioural Therapies, Group & Family Psychotherapies

Research and Clinical Applications Seminar

Thesis Dissertation

Programme Location

All teaching takes place in the School of Psychotherapy within the Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Mental Health Research, St Camillus Ward, Lower Ground Floor, St Vincent’s University Hospital, Elm Park, Dublin 4.

Programme Structure

The course takes place on Tuesday afternoons from 4-8.30pm over the academic year, beginning in early September and concluding in mid-May. There are breaks for mid-term in the first Semester and for Easter in the second as well as the Christmas / New Year break.

For more information on course fees please visit the Fees & Grants Office website:

Application details

Deadline: Application closing date is to be confirmed

Applicants will be interviewed and will be expected to show evidence of a commitment to the study of psychotherapy.

Application for this course must be made on-line at

For more information on the application process please visit the UCD Registry website:

International Applications

Non-EU applicants should contact UCD Global:

Graduates of this course can make an informed decision on a modality of psychotherapy in which to train and may be interested in applying for one of the four clinical training MSc programmes offered by UCD Psychotherapy.

Programme Coordinator  
Dr. Gráinne Donohue Áine Bergin
Module Co-ordinator Programme Administrator
E:  E: 
  T: +353 1 2214140


Key Information:

  • Major Code X838
  • Duration 9 Months
  • Schedule Sept-May. Block teaching:Tuesdays 4:00pm - 8:30pm
  • Next Intake September 2024

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