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Young in heart and mind

Brother Joe Ward SJ has just been awarded a BSc Honours degree in Counselling and Psychotherapy from Middlesex University and under the guidance of PCI College in Clondalkin. Joe was one of a class of twelve students ranging in age from thirty to seventy and Joe was the seventy year old.

The degree itself was not for the faint-hearted and took four and half years of practical work and study. According to Joe, “TheĀ  first six months was a foundation course, to give us some idea of what was involved.So from the start we knew that we would have to undergo psychotherapy counselling ourselves as part of the training. That was scary enough but the only way to learn if we were to become practitioners ourselves.”

This was followed by three years work and study resulting in a Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy, awarded by PCI. College, Clondalkin. The final year allowed for the Degree from Middlesex. Commenting on the fact that the the classes were kept small, Joe said he found it a beneficial way to do the kind of work and study necessary. “It meant that the classes were more tutorialsĀ  than lectures and that allowed for more individual attention from our supervisors and lecturers.”

For Joe it was “quite a life changing experience as pretty well everything we did became very personal. We were also required to complete fifty hours of personal therapy and beginning in second year we were required to complete one hundred hours of client work under supervision.”

Currently he is putting his newly acquired qualification to good use working as a counsellor in a clinic in Ballymun and another in Seville Place. Both are low cost counselling centres that depend on donations and provide a service for people who might otherwise have nowhere to turn for assistance. Four and a half years well spent.