What participants have to say about the GCS Foundation course
2010-2011 groups

"When I decided to look for a foundation course in counselling/psychotherapy I was very concerned that I would find one that would be worth the money I was about to invest in my future. I heard of GCS from someone who had attended but I still wasn't entirely convinced. I went to a few open evenings held by other schools but finally decided upon GCS and I'm so glad I did! I was also concerned about the body work and art therapy sections of the course as I hadn't known anything about them before. They were fabulous and I'm so thankful that I got to experience them, a course without them could never have achieved what this course did in the months we had together. It truely was a life changing experience. I have been offered a place in two highly acclaimed colleges both private and public but even if I hadn't been going on to further study this course would have been worth every penny and more. I honestly believe that there is no course out there that is as fully rounded as this one." Sarah-Anne Creegan, Design Associates, Galway

"This was such a great course! I really liked the balance in theory and practice with it's emphasis on experiential learning, with so much opportunities for processing. And there was so much clear and practical advice and information given about how to enter further training. The trainers were all really sound and had great experience and acted with care, sensitivity and integrity. The honestly and sharing in the group work was powerful and a very transformative experience for me. The support given by the trainers for this very deep work let me find a more true me and a stronger voice in the world. I know myself and my issues better and I took away improved skills for self-reflection such as the journal writing. I feel a new confidence and clarity. Taking this course helped me to uncover my true passions and what direction I want to take professionally in life. I would recommend this course to anyone wanting to follow a career in counselling or increased self-awareness and self-development. The stunningly beautiful location was the perfect place to do this work! There was also plenty of humour throughout the course!" Tina Hannon, Galway

"I began this course expecting to learn about counselling as a field of study but I never thought that I could have made such a positive personal transformation in just a few months. I feel It is the combination of group therapy, theory and skills practice which makes this course such a worthwhile undertaking. It is not just a foundation in counselling and psychotherapy but a wonderful foundation for anyone who wishes to learn more about themselves. This course has given me the confidence to continue my own education in counselling and psychotherapy. It has also prepared me for the interview process for further education and I have now been accepted on a diploma programme with ICPPD. As great as this is, it is still my personal growth which I will forever be thankful for... many thanks to the course and it's team." Vivienne Maloney, Tuam

"The course for me was a truly valuable experience. It was a shared space for exploration, discovery and support. I fully recommend it to anyone who may be sitting on the fence. It was well structured and facilitated wonderfully". Declan Doherty, Donegal

"At the beginning I saw it as a platform for me to embark on a degree course to become a psychotherapist/counsellor. After day one I realised it was going to be so much more than that. I felt so insecure starting out as I seemed to be one of the oldest there and the fact that I have been a stay at home mother for the past ten years wasn't doing wonders for my confidence. I have to say honestly that doing this course has been a life changing experience, it has given me confidence in my choices and I always felt accepted in the group. Our group bonded from day one which was a huge plus. Our tutors were excellent, they were completely different to each other but I felt they all added great value to our group's journey. We experienced some very powerful moments that we all agreed were special and unique to us.  I would recommend this course to anyone even if they where not thinking of going on to further a career in this field.  It was hard a times but so worth it". Niamh Moran

"I think this has been an amazing journey for me personally. I am surprised at how much I have grown as a person. I began this course because I was at a crossroads in my life and I was hoping for a new direction career wise.... I have never enjoyed something so much in all my life. This has been one hell of an amazing journey, one I have enjoyed so much and will treasure forever. Caitriona O'Donnell, Cork

"Whether one does this course for personal or professional reasons, the benefits of taking part are huge. The integrity of the course tutors is self evident, and their experience and expertise is shared in a positive and comfortable learning environment. I feel enriched and happier as a person for having completed the course." Alice Kennelly, Connemara

" This was a really professional course. On completion I was left with a good knowledge of theory, a greater self knowledge and self awareness, an understanding of the field of counselling and psychotherapy and an excellent sense of where to go next. This course went beyond my expectations. The weekends proved to be a wonderful respite from a busy week. Furbo and the hotel was a really relaxing setting. It provided a great balance of counselling theory and personal development and was run by very professional and experienced practitioners. I enrolled in this course for practical reasons; I knew I had to complete the course if I wanted to begin a career in counselling psychology. While the course did fulfill this primary goal, it gave me much more in terms of self knowledge and awareness" Steve Doherty, Social care worker, Dublin
“A truly life changing and uplifting experience. I entered the course asking a lot of questions about my own personality and searching for an explanation as to other peoples behaviors and attitudes….. What I got, was of course not explicate answers to these questions, but a tool that’s gave a better understanding and acceptance of life, as a result I am more confident in who I am and what I stand for. Without doubt the course has benefited me in everyday life and in my relationships with others. I feel happier and more content as a person for having completed the course” Michael McKeon, Engineer, Longford

2009-10 groups

"This course provided new insight and new perspectives that I could not have imagined. I would thoroughly recommend this course to anyone looking to further their personal development or a career in counselling". William Corless, Operations Manager

"It has been such a refreshing, uplifting and mind opening experience – I could never have possibly imagined participating  in such a life changing experience. I originally was interested in participating in and learning about Counseling and Psychotherapy but looking back now for me this was mainly a very positive experience of self development". Joanne O’Donnell, Media Developer

'Really enjoyed the course and the fact it seemed like you were working with us as opposed to lecturing us! And there was always a sense of humour' Caroline Byrne (Limerick)

'This course has been amazing, really enjoyable and truly life
changing. Hand on heart it has been the best money that I have
ever spent' Olive (engineering tech)

'I enjoyed the groupwork in the course. I found all the teachers were fantastic. I found the honesty, and support from everybody was brilliant. I loved that it opened me up to being more aware and honest with myself' Mark McCabe (Galway)

'Very enjoyable worthwhile course. Excellent personal development and learning in a caring supportive environment' Ella Larkin (Nurse)

'Loved every minute of it!' Charlie Cassey, Sports Therapist

'I found it helpful, useful and life changing in a very positive way! Susan Slevin 

'The course was well organised, superbly structured and professionally presented' Trish McHale, Teacher and Writer

"I arrived to the course wanting to get to know myself better and I left with a finer appreciation and trust in myself which has led me to make the next move in my life professionally and surprisingly....personally". Eimear Connaughton, Occupational Therapist

"Saturdays with process work were especially important to me, as they helped me a lot to better understand some aspects of my behaviour and reactions to certain people and situations. It also helped me to realise which direction to take further in my life" Tatyana.

2008 Foundation groups I, II & III

'I thoroughly enjoyed this course and was amazed by how much that I learnt about myself. The quality of the teaching, the calibre of the teachers and the experiential nature of the course really help to create and hold a supportive environment where I could really begin to hear my own authentic voice. I realise now that there is a world of difference between intellectual knowledge and self awareness. After 7 months of art therapy, bodywork, personal therapy and skills practice I’ve really become much more attuned to myself. What’s more, I know what I want. I’ve decided to continue on my studies and have already been offered a place on a recognised course. I cannot recommend this course highly enough. The stunning location alone is already worth the drive!' Gerry Maher (now in first year of professional training)

'I can without doubt say that this course was a fantastic experience, as well as being a real eye opener into myself'.  It has thought me so much about myself and others and has left me feeling empowered and knowing that I can do anything I put my mind to.  Of course all this would not have been possible was it not for the exceptional help and guidance from Norman, Elaine and Ann-Marie, as well as the other amazing people on the course who made this experience one of a kind' Sarah Morrissey (now in first year of professional training)

I want to thank you again for the course and all involved. It truly has opened up a brand new better world for me and for that I will be eternally grateful. Gina O’Grady (now in first year of professional training)

"I would recommend this training to anyone who is interested in self-development, even if they do not wish to train as a counsellor or therapist. It was a challenging, uplifting experience and a wonderful opportunity to grow in understanding of self and others" Paula Martin (now in first year of professional training)

"Doing this course has been the greatest gift I have given myself. A whole new world has been opened up to me. My best description of the course is a river. I met currents along the way but I flowed through stronger, more aware of obstacles and freer at the exit. The body work/art allowed me to open up to my creative self in a safe supported environment. A warm thank you to Norman, Elaine and Ann-Marie for creating the space for my journey of self-discovery. My journey is only beginning". Sarah Hynes (now in first year of professional training)

"This foundation course has been one of the most profoundly transforming experiences of my life. We ended the course with every single course participant spontaneously giving every other person in the room a big hug. I can think of no more beautiful or more powerful image for the enormous gift of complete acceptance for every single person’s individuality that the course fostered. I feel immensely strengthened by having been able to acknowledge and mind my vulnerability in a safe environment, feeling so completely supported and accepted by all those wonderful people who shared so much of their own vulnerability and courage". Katharina Walter

"It was a great balance of theory and practical, and I would
recommend it one hundred percent to anyone" Michelle Wilson

2007 groups I and II

"I found the Foundation Course to be incredibly enriching; a challenging experience which I found to facilitate real individual growth. Having small groups for experiential aspects of the course enabled really deep, powerful group and individual exploration. The weekends were intense and provided me with many learning experiences. I was extremely impressed by the professionalism and passion of the course facilitators - Norman, Ann-Marie & Elaine. A course such as this relies heavily on the team which facilitate the various elements and I really cannot give enough high praise for the three of you. I thoroughly enjoyed having the Art Therapy and Bodywork as parts of the course... I would highly recommend this course to anybody who wishes to explore their own personal process and who would value a challenge." Vanessa Hoefler, Galway. (now completing 2nd year of professional training)

"I liked the balance between theory and practise, I think it gives a good overall introduction to counselling…It was a very supportive, scary, fun, rewarding and worthwhile experience, worth travelling eight hours each weekend for!" Kate McLellan, Co. Waterford (Presently completing a masters in Counselling Psychology)

"I feel I’ve learnt a great deal about myself in the last eight months. Things that I wasn’t aware of as well as things I’ve avoided in acknowledging. It’s been personally challenging and emotionally demanding but worth every minute" Patrice McDonnell, Furbo

"Just wanted to say thanks a million for a really enjoyable year…I really feel the last year has been such a wonderful journey full of self-discovery. I feel the group really offered me a place of great support, acceptance and understanding- a place where I could really feel safe to journey deeper within myself...I will continue to recommend this wonderful course to others" Emer Sheahan, Cork (accepted onto counselling training programme in Trinity college, Dublin)

“Certainly, the strongest element of the course was the personal development work...I really think that the experiential aspects like ‘the counselling skills practice and on-going feedback make this course particularly special and unique…All the therapists involved were of a high calibre and each one was supportive, committed and knowledgeable” Jason Power, Co. Kilkenny

“I really enjoyed the Foundation course, every second. I felt I could give the course my all, due to the well defined structure of the course and the safe and healthy environment in which it took place…felt at ease yet in control of how much I shared within the course. I especially found all the lecturers very approachable and enjoyed learning from all three of you. I enjoyed having the smaller group on Sundays in order to be able to work through more personal issues" Ruth Friel, Co. Galway

2006 Groups I & II
"I enjoyed the different models described in this course – this enables me to better understand the boundaries inside psychology and more importantly differences with coaching as a one to one intervention. On the other hand, art therapy and other experiential exercises coupled with group therapy enhance your self-awareness and the power of group therapy – listening to the stories of others is awesome. Recommend this course as the basic foundations of psychology especially within one’s coaching journey". Bernard Chanliau, Executive Coach (Galway)

"Everything the course had to offer exceeded my expectations. Every element of it sparked off a journey of thought and learning. I was delighted to have met, worked and eventually establish a very strong bond and friendship with the group I was privileged to be part of. I particularly enjoyed Art Therapy and was amazed at what it had to unravel. It showed just how powerful that form of therapy could be. I thoroughly enjoyed the assignments and also exploring the different schools of thought. It was an amazing experience, one of personal growth and knowledge. Considering it was a "foundation" course, I was impressed with being introduced to a wide spectrum of information at a very comfortable pace. This foundation course was so captivating that it only made me thirsty for more. I have definitely decided to go further with this subject and hope I get as much from my future course as I did from this one. A brilliant course. It will always be an important turning point in my life's journey and will hold a profound enjoyable memory. It has opened up so much for me. I have grown so much through it. an amazing experience". Pam Carragher, Human Resource Manager (now in final year of professional training)

"I really loved this course, and got a huge amount from it personally. I'm quite stunned at the level of personal growth I achieved during the 8 months, which was not something I had expected"  Maura Hiney, Administrator (Galway) 
"I enjoyed getting an informed taster of the different approaches to psychotherapy and learning about the different schools of thought. I found that I began to become more self aware and the counselling skills I had gained actually improved my personal life. Group therapy through art opened my eyes to the merits of group therapy and surprised myself how much I could get out of art materials and paper. The surroundings meant that each weekend was like a retreat and time away to spend on myself. This course was essential in my gaining entry to a Professional Diploma In Psychotherapy". Grainne Collins, Residential Health Care Attendant with Children
"I found the course challenging. I learned a lot about myself and I gained considerable insight from listening and interacting with a broad spectrum of people. The course also gave me a good theoretical grounding" Irene Hynes, married with children!

2005 Groups I & II        

"The course has surpassed all I wanted. Would highly recommend it. Excellent course" Margaret Tierney, Development manager with Console - (Has now completed a degree in counselling and psychotherapy)

"I got up at 5.30am each Saturday of the weekends and drove from Dublin to Galway for the course. and towards the end I was looking forward to each weekend...so it definitely gave me energy and motivation. I was given a great opportunity to reflect on things". Alan King, civil servant (Dublin). Is now in final year of professional training

"The course was excellent; excellent variety, excellent tutors, excellent facilitation. This has been the best self investment I have ever made. It is hard to describe in words the 'high' you feel after the weekends. Its a great feeling of self acceptance, of reassurance, of hope and belief in the future. It was just so worth it. I had a wonderful group of people to work with and learn from and excellent professional tutors". Mags, teacher (Cork)"

What I liked about this course was: The location – beautiful setting beside the beach. The tutors – always professional, interesting & interested, relaxed. All the personal development work, counselling skills, Art therapy day, Biodynamic therapy day, feedback exercise, video exercise, group work, going down to the beach work, etc., etc., etc. I’ve done a lot of courses over the years but this one was exceptional. It has been a life changing experience for me. I’ve learnt so much from the fantastic tutors and have got a real insight into myself as well as to Counselling and Psychotherapy. This course has given me the inspiration and the confidence to continue studying and learning more about this fascinating subject. The mixture of personalities in the group was amazing, I felt from early on that I was meeting a group of friends each weekend. I would and will recommend this course to everyone!" Gillian, Recruitment Assistant

"I found the course everything I wanted it to be and everything I needed it to be". Margaret Byrne

"Thank you very much for an experience I will never forget". Brian Williamson, student

2004 Groups I & II

"I had not given much thought to the content or what to expect before I started the course and I have to say I found everything we did, from the first weekend to the last, incredibly interesting, insightful and worthwhile. I found the amount of personal development work throughout the course really complimented the theory work, and provided a perfect opportunity to put the two together for a greater understanding of the material. All of the trainers added their individual touch to the course which made it so much more personal and effective. Completing this course was possibly the best thing I have ever done for myself. It took something I was interested in and turned it into something I am now passionate about. The amount I have learned about Counselling and Psychotherapy, but more importantly myself, has really surprised me. It was an amazing journey of discovery, which I will continue with enthusiasm and a great appreciation for this course and the people I met on it, for starting me out so wonderfully". Jane Lee, Legal Secretary

"I liked just about everything. The people were fantastic and I feel it was a privilege to be part of that. The atmosphere within the course was one of non-judgemental acceptance right from the start, and within that we all grew enormously. The fact that you made your library of books available was really excellent, as I ended up reading some books I might never have bought otherwise and learning a lot from them. The exercises at the start of the course brought us in contact with our feelings and I think this contributed greatly to the bonding that happened within the class. The theory was explained very well and topics that seemed complicated in books I read, were presented in a simple and straight-forward manner. The work we did on empathy was excellent and something I brought away to use when dealing with my 12 year old son. It has made a huge difference in the way he opens up to me about concerns he has and I think this technique will be particularly valuable during his teenage years. This course greatly exceeded my expectations. As a result of it, I know that I definitely want to continue and do a diploma course. I just hope I learn as much from it as I did from the Foundation".  Mary Howick, Senior IT Manager/Reiki Master (Donegal)

"This was the most useful journey of self-discovery, the best investment “in me” I have ever made!  It was also the toughest, most challenging, painful, and rewarding period of education I have experienced to date. The course took me completely by surprise.  It was nothing that I expected, and everything that I needed. I have experienced enormous growth and development emotionally. I leave the course more fully aware of who I really am, who and what has shaped me and of what I am capable. I absolutely adore the personality of our group, and am extremely proud of the part I have played in forming and adding to the dynamic of the GCS class of 2005. I look forward to carrying with me the love, acceptance, warmth, excitement, growth, pain and confidence of the group. My interpersonal skills have vastly improved. In the past, I have taken courses where I have been taught what could be done if I applied myself. This is the only course where I emerged with life-changing improvements and strategies in place, and useful tools already developed, for use in the future.  I have seen the personal growth, as the course progressed, in all of us, and it amazes me. The course is well thought out, professional and extremely valuable.  Not only as a foundation course with a view to a career in counselling. More importantly, as a tool to self-understanding and therefore highly valuable to anyone who deals with people. Be it in personal relationships, work, with our children, dealing with the public, wherever people-skills are used this course is a must". Katherine McGee, Proprietor, MARIANS Galway."

"I loved the closeness of the group in the course. I felt I could talk about anything to them and they would accept me completely. I also was very privileged  by the fact that they chose to share with me. I loved the relaxed structure of the course and that it wasn't hugely academic. I also liked the way books were available to us but there was no pressure on us to have read them. This course was a breath of fresh air compared to the course I undertook in college, and the people were amazing. The course hit a balance of academic, factual knowledge with practical experience and self development projects and group work. I enjoyed the relaxation element a lot and walks on the beach (weather permitted of course!), so I would have liked more of them, there's is nothing I would like less of". Louise Lyons - Psychology graduate

"The course has helped me greatly in accepting and appreciating who I am. It has strengthened my self awareness immeasurably. I began it for professional reasons. Now I realise that the greatest work I have achieved has been on myself and only through this can I be more socially and professionally effective. I recommend it highly-in fact., I already have, to colleagues and friends." David Harkin, secondary teacher

"On starting the course I was a bit nervous on what I may find on doing the course...I can say very honestly that this was one of the best things I have done so far in my life. I can't believe the different things that came up on the course about myself, little things that occurred to me that I have never thought about before."  Damien Wade, student, GMIT
2003 Group
"I found the GCS Foundation Course to be an excellent first step in counselling training. The quality and content of the course helped me to decide whether I wanted to go on and continue with further professional training. The completion of a detailed research project and the course's strong emphasis on experiential work stood to me when applying for diploma and masters courses and the course quality was noted by any interviewer for further training that I have had." Nicola Hogg (Limerick), Now an accredited Psychotherapist in Limerick after graduating from MA in Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy, UL

"I found the Foundation Course to be of great value to me in my own personal development and found it definitely improved both  my personal and work life. Definitely worth the effort and encouraged me to move on to explore a future career in this area." Pat Tyrrell (Limerick), Program Manager (Dell). now pursuing a Diploma in Counselling, The Counselling Centre, Cork  

2002 group

"I found the foundation course to be very interesting and informative. I got much more out of it then I ever thought possible and was sorry when it ended. I met a great group of people and through the exercises on the course learned much about myself. I would highly recommend the course, even if just for personal development." Garry Moogan, IT Analyst

"This course is invaluable for both personal growth and as an introduction to counselling. A self-empowering approach is used in a non-threatening environment. After finishing this course I decided to pursue a professional course in psychotherapy". Della Lynn, Voluntary counsellor, and student on Diploma in Counselling and Psychotherapy

2001 group

"In terms of personal development work the foundation course was very helpful, giving me some of the confidence I needed to move forward and take a few chances. Towards the end of the course I successfully applied for a position of supervisor for the Childline service. The basic counselling skills of active listening and empathising that I learned on the course are essential to this work. I would highly recommend this course to anyone who is interested in the area of counselling or who would like to develop his or her listening skills generally." Erika King, Childline supervisor (Galway)

comments: "I was challenged to move outside my comfort zone"

"My confidence increased so much over this year", "I liked the facilitators acceptance of all views. This helped produce an atmosphere of trust and openness for learning"