Learn the holistic approach with ICPPD

By Anne Sexton - Last update

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The holistic approach to health and well-being is the hallmark of the International College for Personal and Professional Development (ICPPD). This approach also marks a sea-change in Irish attitudes to mental health.

For a very long time wejustdid not talk about mental health. The subject was meet with silence, and often shame. However, as one in four of us suffer from depression at any given time, most of us have either experienced mental health difficulties or know someone who has.

Thankfully, we are a lot more open to mental health practices and counselling these days. What’s more, we areincreasingly beginning to acceptthat a holistic approach to health and well-being is necessary.

ICPPD was founded in 2009 by Christine Moran and Tom Moran. The college attracts students who see the value of a holistic perspective,and theircourses are integrative and holistic with an emphasis on creativity and scholarly activity.We sat down with Christine Moran of ICPPD to find out a bit more.


ICPPD offers professional programmes, certificate courses and workshops. What are your most popular courses?

Because ICPPD is Ireland’s leading Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy education and training college, all our programmes are attractive to adult learners who appreciate a holistic approach to healing and helping. The 3 year part-time BA in Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy is our main offering in Athlone and Galway. This course is academically validated by QQI, Quality Qualifications Ireland, and professionally accredited by IACP, Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy and NAPCP, National Association for Pastoral Counsellors and Psychotherapists.

We also offer a range of popular complementary programmes. These include the Professional Diploma in Advanced Supervision across Professions with international experts Robin Shohet and Dr Bobby Moore; the Professional Diploma in Expressive Arts; the Professional Certificate in Psychosynthesis; the Certificate in Mindfulness and Mindful-Living; and the 10 week Personal Development Course and workshops. In particular, the Inner Child workshop is one of our most popular courses.


This variety of courses must mean you get a variety of students. Could you tell us about the students the different courses attract?

ICPPD promotes life-long learning therefore we have learners from 23 years old. Our oldest learner at present is 72 years. However, most learners are between 30 and 55 years, with all qualifications such as a Ph.D. or Masters degree. In fact, over 50 percent of learners enrolled already have degree qualification. They are either investing in a new direction or upskilling, joining ICPPD for professional qualification as a counsellor/psychotherapist or simply because they wish to learn new perspectives as a mature learner. Due to the nature of the courses offered by ICPPD, this variety of qualifications and interesting life experiences really enriches the learning environment and group experience.


ICPPD courses have an emphasis on a holistic approach to health. How does that differ from other counselling, psychotherapy or mental health programmes?

ICPPD programmes are underpinned by a holistic ethos. Once you enter ICPPD, you get a sense we are different – music is playing, there’s fresh flowers in the hallway, along with candles and incense burning.

From your first contact with staff you know we live our ethos and our learners can verify this. However, ICPPD is fully committed to offering the usual traditional education and training and adheres to statuary and professional regulations. ICPPD also promotes experiential learning, using hands, hearts and heads and an appreciation for body, mind, spirit wisdom and a shared humanity. This supports ICPPD as a college with a difference – the integration of right- and left-brain intelligences.


Tell us a bit about your teachers and instructors.

All eighteen of our tutors are recruited for their expertise on their chosen topic, such as Gestalt, Psychodynamic, Expressive Arts, Psychosynthesis, Bodywork and so forth.

All our tutors and lecturers are practicing accredited counsellors and psychotherapists. This is of primary importance to ICPPD as it supports the “lived counsellor/client” experience of tutors, invigorates the energy in the classroom and enhances the training for our learners.


How many students does a class typically have?

Due to the nature of experiential learning offered all class size are small. There are 8 to 16 learners in each class. This ensures each learner is valued and seen, heard, appreciated and challenged/supported in this intimate learning environment.


How much one-on-one time with instructors can students expect?

Modules are usually 30-hour class contact, and tutors are approachable at any time for feedback or further support. A designated Programme Leader and a core tutor support all groups. These two tutors are in constant contact with learners and journey with them from admission interview to graduation ceremony. Due to small numbers at ICPPD all learners are known to almost all staff. This supports a vibrant learning community in which we work together to achieve– a college with a difference!


You also offer some online courses. Can you tell us a bit about those please?

We offer a limited suite of 6 online short courses. These are of interest for personal and professional development and range usually from 4 week to 8 weeks. These are suitable for CPD hours for professionals. This is an area ICPPD has identified for possible further development within the college.


Describe how your distance education options work.

The distance education courses offered at ICPPD are “being piloted” at present. Any person, through the ICPPD website can enrol and pay the fee through PayPal. An introductory leaflet is sent and each following Friday, the learner will receive an emailed lesson by their designated tutor. Feedback is sought from the learner at the end of the course. A Certificate of Attendance is sent if requested.


What makes ICPPD a great place to study?

ICPPD is a college with a difference! We are an intimate learning environment offering national academic and professional qualifications. The learner and their voyage of personal and professional discovery is of primary importance. Everyone and everything else is there to serve and support this journey.


Is there anything you’d like potential students to know?

ICPPD was founded by myself and and Tom Moran because we are passionate about the profession of counselling and psychotherapy, and personal development in general. Our aim was to establish a centre of excellence, with academic standards to meet future statuary regulations and also professional accreditations to protect trainee therapists and the clients who seek therapeutic support. Our vision, and everyone involved at ICPPD, is to create spaces where body, mind and spirit can flourish in a vibrant community, learning from each other and a shared humanity.

Anne Sexton

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