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Psychological Counselling

Faculty of Law
Department of Psychology


Speciality: Psychology

Specialization: Psychological Counselling

Awarded qualification: Psychologist

Level of qualification: Master


Specific admission requirements: A higher education degree and an admission examination.


Specific arrangements for recognition of prior learning :
The ECTS coordinator of the Psychology major, Assoc. prof. Daniela Miteva, e-mail gradiva@abv.bg, informs the students about the possibilities for recognizing and awarding credits. This happens in two ways:
1. The student presents documents for prior education.
- an academic transcript or higher education diploma;
- international diplomas and foreign language certificates (English: Cambridge FCE, TOEFEL; German - Zertifikat Deutsch, Sprahdiplom, Zweite Stufe; Russian – ТРКИ; French - DELF; Spanish - DELE);
- international computer skills diplomas and certificates corresponding to the ECDL (The European Computer Driving Licence).
2. The student states willingness to sit for exams for the certification of skills and knowledge acquired in prior education. Knowledge and skills in a foreign language are certified by the Department of Foreign Languages; computer skills and knowledge are certified by the Technological Institute; specific professional knowledge and skills are certified by the Social Sciences Department. 
Based on the documents presented and the results from the certification examinations, the Social Sciences Department awards the number of credits in accordance with the program of the Psychology major. The ECTS coordinator prepares an individual study program for the student, which reflects the number of credits awarded.


Qualification requirements and regulations: In order to obtain the professional qualification of Psychologist, the students need 120 credits, of which 94,5 credits are from the compulsory courses, 4,5 are obtained from elective courses, 6 are obtained from optional courses and 15 are obtained from the state exam. Students who have obtained the professional qualification of Psychologist in prior education need 60 credits, of which 34,5 credits are obtained from the compulsory courses, 4,5 are obtained from elective courses, 6 are obtained from optional courses and 15 are obtained from the state exam.


Profile of the programme: The main objectives of the programme are: training of highly specialized experts in the field of psychological counselling for individuals, families and groups with crises in personal development and disorders in social functioning; family problems, crises in partner communication and parenting skills; problems and behavioral disorders associated with physical or mental illnesses, posttraumatic disorders, psychoactive substance abuse and dealing with the consequences of personal and professional stress. The programme provides specialized modules and practice in professional bases for the formation of professional attitudes to psychological counselling as a modern profession of partnership with the client, a good level of self-awareness and creativity in applying specialized knowledge and skills.


Key learning outcomes
The students who have obtained the professional qualification of Psychologist and the educational-and-qualification degree of Master:
Theoretical knowledge
Students can make an interpretation, commentary and critical theoretical analysis of the leading ideas in specific topic areas of classical and contemporary psychology disorders in personality development and social functioning. They have acquired specialized knowledge of the disadvantages of impact on personality development and registry of mental disorders. They theoretically know the test methods of assessing cognitive processes, intelligence and personality. They theoretically know the nature and possibilities of the main approaches and techniques of psychological counselling and psychotherapy.

Practical skills
The students are able to determine a research problem independently, to formulate hypotheses, to conduct empirical studies, to analyze and interpret test results in their own research projects. They are able to select an adequate set of research tools to conduct a case study of a diagnostic problem in different mental areas and personality. Тhey possess the necessary skills for diagnostic assessment, formulation of a case with analysis of the potential and violations in different mental areas. Тhey possess basic professional competences and skills to conduct psychological counselling for individuals with developmental and social functioning problems, age crises or after experienced psychotraumas and somatic diseases. They know the limits of their professional competence and can work in multidisciplinary teams or to refer to specialists from other areas of helping professions. The holders of educational-and-qualification degree of "Master" can continue their professional specialization in the postgraduate courses of psychotherapy, counselling and psychological expertise. The students develop basic skills for scientific research and can continue their studies in higher educational and scientific degree "doctor".


Occupational profiles of graduates
The holders of the professional qualification of "Psychologist", educational-and-qualification degree of "Master" can be realized in:
• Government institutions dealing with human resources, recruitment and support in dealing with psychological problems in professional teams;
• private psychological counselling rooms, medical centres and group practices for psychological counseling for individuals, families and groups with difficulties in social functioning, problem solving and psychological problems in communication, desaptive behaviour and mental crises;
• NGO sector for participation in programmes for specialized psychological assessments and working with problem groups or disturbances in the social adaptation of individuals with mental problems.


Access to further studies: The graduates who have obtained the professional qualification of Psychologist and the educational-and-qualification degree of Master can continue their education for the educational-and-qualification degree of Doctor (Ph.D.) in two accredited scientific programmes – General Psychology, and Pedagogic and Age Psychology, as well as in post-graduation qualification courses.

ECTS code Course Lectures & seminars Out-of-class workload Credits
1 PSY3049 Communicative skills in Psychological Counselling 45 90 4,5
2 PSY3056 Computer Systems for Psychodiagnostic 30 60 3
3 PSY3076 Neuropsychology and Psychogenetics 30 60 3
4 PSY3087 Psychopathology and Mental Disorders 30 60 3
5 PSY3092 Approaches and Schools in Psychological Counselling 30 60 3
6 PSY3057 Psychosomatics 30 60 3
7 PSY3072 Multidisciplinary Teams and Counselling Standards 30 60 3
8   Elective course 1 15 30 1,5
9   Elective course 2 15 30 1,5
10   Elective course 3 15 30 1,5
11   Optional course 1 30 60 3
Total for semester I 300 600 30
1 PSY3082 Personality Psychodiagnostic 30 60 3
2 PSY3206 Projective Methods and Expertise 30 60 3
3 PSY3043 Psychological Counselling in Life Cycles 30 60 3
4 PSY3242 Practice 30 60 3
5   Optional course 2 30 60 3
6   State Exam or writing and defence of a Master's Thesis     15
Total for semester II 150 300 30
Total for the course of study:     60
Elective courses (3 from 5)
1 PSY3084 Stress and Posttraumatic Disorders  15 30 1,5
2 PSY3085 Family Counselling 15 30 1,5
3 PSY3059 Crisis and Crisis Intervention 15 30 1,5
4 PSY3090 Psychopharmacology 15 30 1,5
5 PSY3033 Deontological and Ethical Issues in Counselling 15 30 1,5
Optional courses (2 from 3)
1 PSY3029 Global Stress and Counselling 30 60 3
2 PSY3094 Management Consulting  30 60 3
3 QMS3007 Statistical Programmes for Processing Empirical Data in Psychology SPSS 30 60 3
Module of equivalency courses for holders of Bachelors`s degrees in other majors
1 PSY3068 Introduction to Psychology 45 90 4.5
2 PSY3070 Physiological Psychology 30 60 3
3 PSY3006 Cognitive Psychology 60 120 6
4 PSY3005 History of Psychology 30 60 3
5 PSY3004 Experimental Psychology 45 90 4.5
6 PSY3041 Personality Psychology 60 120 6
7 QMS3003 Methods of Collecting, Processing and Analyzing Data in Psychological Research 30 60 3
Total for semester I 300 600 30
1 PSY3052 Psychopathology 30 60 3
2 PSY3026 Psychology of Development 60 120 4,5
3 PSY3015 Psychological Measurements 45 90 3
4 PSY3065 Pedagogical Psychology 30 60 3
5 SOC3012 Cross-cultural Psychology 30 60 6
6 PSY3014 Organizational Psychology 45 90 4,5
7 PSY3047 Social Psychology 60 120 6
Total for semester II 300 600 30
Total: 600 1200 60

Examination regulations, assessment and grading: During the classes, the students receive individual and group tasks such as summarizing bibliography or writing course assignments, essays, research papers, reports. A grade reflecting their participation and activity during the classes is added to the above. The training in the various courses ends with a final examination or test.


Graduation requirements: Training in educational-and-qualification degree of "Master" ends with a state examination or defence of a thesis according to the admission terms set by the Rules of organization, management and operation of the VFU.
The State Examination is taken on a synopsis, approved by the Department of Psychology, to which students have direct access (published on the website of VFU). The State Examination has a duration of 4 hours. The students are required to develop two questions randomly chosen from the synopsis. The test is passed successfully when the student has presented the main content and displays mastery of the theoretical concepts, theories and objective laws of psychic phenomena and their application to psychologist’s practice.
The thesis is developed on topics approved by the Department of Psychology with a habilitated person as a tutor. The contents of the thesis is required to demonstrate the student’s mastery of the theoretical concepts, theories and objective laws of the psychic phenomena, which are the subject of the thesis, as well to plan, carry out empirical research and analyze profoundly its results.


Mode of study: full-time


Head of Master’s Degree Programme: Assoc. Prof. Pavlina Petkova Damyanova, PhD
tel: +359 52 359 540
е-mail: ppetkova@gmail.com