Duration: 2 Years
M.A. (Leadership in Therapeutic Child and Social Care)
The M.A. (Leadership in Therapeutic Child and Social Care) is based on our well-established MATCC programme which has been running in the college for over 10 years now. It emphasises the skills and abilities required for leading therapeutic care in practice.
An advanced-practice course
This is an advanced-practice course aimed at social care workers and practitioners in the fields of residential and community child care, social work, education, psychology, play therapy, child psychotherapy and other disciplines that work therapeutically with individuals and their families in residential or community settings.
What are the entry requirements?
Admission to this course is by interview.
As a pre-requisite, applicants must:
- Hold a primary degree (Honours Batchelor) in Applied Social Studies or equivalent*
- Be registered or eligible to register as a professional social care worker
- Be in a social care or human services agency as a manager, team leader or frontline practitioner
- Ideally have access to significant relevant professional practice experience
* Applicants coming from routes other than those listed above will be considered on a case by case basis in accordance with Carlow College RPL (Recognised Prior Learning) policy.
Where can you expect to go?
Graduates of this programme typically move onto assume positions of responsibility in their workplaces. It prepares graduates for leading a process of change towards a more therapeutic and progressive quality of practice in social care and other person-centred professions. Graduates also engage in consultancy work and lecture in third level institutes.
The course is taught over two years, one day a week and has a maximum class group size of 16 students. This programme has a core aim to enhance the learners’ knowledge and skill in the use of a variety of therapeutic approaches to the treatment of children and adults who have suffered emotional and psychological hurts. It emphasises a psychodynamic understanding of human development and of the therapeutic alliance. This psychodynamic approach looks beyond presenting behaviour to what the behaviour means and is trying to communicate. Establishing a therapeutic alliance will enable the person to reflect on their inner world, have helpful insights and perhaps then change the problematic behaviour. As social care is mostly conducted in groups and with groups, the course promotes the use of a therapeutic community approach where this is appropriate.
ADVANCED THERAPEUTIC CHILD AND SOCIAL CARE 1: Therapeutic Work in Context.
PHILOSOPHY AND ETHICS OF THERAPEUTIC CHILD AND SOCIAL CARE
OBSERVING AND UNDERSTANDING ORGANISATIONAL LIFE (incl. Visit of Observation)
EXPERIENTIAL GROUP 1: Leading Self
ADVANCED THERAPEUTIC CHILD AND SOCIAL CARE 2: Therapeutic Communication
LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT IN THERAPEUTIC CHILD AND SOCIAL CARE
EXPERIENTIAL GROUP 2: Leading Self and Others
RESEARCH METHODS AND DISSERTATION
10 credits: This module will provide a useful forum for exploring alternative ways of finding explanations and solutions and will also create a valuable setting for testing out the validity and applicability of theoretical material covered in the taught seminars.
Essay 4000 words - 80%
Participation - 20%
10 credits: In the Experiential Group, learning will occur through the personal sharing of experience and the gradual development of a group culture. These two, working in tandem, will facilitate the understanding of unconscious processes at a personal, group and organisational level. In time, those dynamics that interfere with personal, group, and organisational potential will be minimised and the group will begin to work together towards more creative solutions.
Reflective Writing 2000 words + Attendance and Participation (see Handbook) - 100%
The two-day Residential Workshop gives recognition to the fact that the therapeutic emphasis of the programme may not match the student's work environment. It will therefore provide students with an opportunity to explore the challenges associated with pioneering such an approach in the Irish context.
Attendance and participation required
10 credits: The module enables students to learn through the group process about the relationship between their personal life experiences, their work experience, their theoretical learning and their practice. Throughout this course, students are asked to keep track of their learning and to develop their capacity for reflection by regularly writing up their Personal Journal. Since Therapeutic work requires us to reflect deeply upon others' experience it is very important that students develop as fully as possible the capacity to reflect similarly on their own experience.
Reflective Writing 2000 words + Attendance and Participation (see Handbook - 100%
30 credits: This module will offer an introduction to current research relevant to therapeutic Social Care, including international research. Attention will be given to understanding the nature and purpose of research, distinguishing between quantitative and qualitative methods and their applications, action research and practitioner research, and ethical issues arising in the conduct and dissemination of research. There will be an emphasis on reflective enquiry as a method of research.
Critical review (formative) - 5%
Final Research Proposal - 10%
Literature Review - 15%
Final Dissertation - 70%
The two-day Residential Workshop gives recognition to the fact that the therapeutic emphasis of the programme may not match the student's work environment. It will provide students with an opportunity to explore the challenges associated with pioneering such an approach in the Irish context as developed through their research proposal.
Attendance and participation required
Graduates of the programme move to take on positions of practice responsibility within the organisations in which they work and beyond. This Masters level course prepares graduates for leading a process of change towards a more therapeutic and progressive quality of practice in Social Care and other person-centred professions. Graduates take up leadership roles within their own work places, contribute to the development of their profession, engage in consultancy work to support professional teams.
At least four of our graduates currently lecture in other higher third level institutes. Three of our graduates have also taught on this course.
Graduates may choose to advance to further study in areas of psychotherapy and research or to continue their studies to PhD level.
Stories - Graduate Profiles
Deputy manager in a social care setting
Deciding to undertake a Masters programme at any time of your life is tough and daunting. My decision to undertake the MATCC at Carlow College was no exception. However, a quick reflection on my present position justifies it as one of the best decisions I have made to date. The knowledge I have gained on the MATCC course has enabled me to apply practical, hands-on experience on a daily basis in my work as a Deputy Manager in a social care setting. I couldn’t recommend the course enough to anyone who works with children or adolescents.
Social Care Work, NUA Healthcare
What I love most about this unique Masters programme is that it is receptive of both my academic and working life experience and incorporates it into the progression of my professional development as a Social Care Worker with Nua Healthcare. I find the ‘Matching Principle’ model a most necessary and central aspect to how I practice as a Social Care Worker in terms of the often complex situations I find myself working in. The ability to work reflectively means that the people I encounter on a daily basis will meet a professional that responds rather than reacts to the dilemmas of their lives.