Merchants Quay Ireland: Addiction Counsellor (Prison Counselling Service)

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Job Title: Addiction Counsellor [Prison Counselling Service]

Responsible to: Deputy Head of Regions

Responsible for: The direct delivery of counselling services for persons with drug and or alcohol problems in prison

Reports to: The Team Leader, Addiction Counselling Service

Objective: To effectively deliver counselling and other services of the IPS Service Level Agreement, and in doing so to uphold the philosophy and working ethos of MQI

Key Responsibilities

  • The direct delivery of counselling services for persons with drug and /or alcohol problems in prison.
  • To operate within professional and ethical guidelines as outlined by the Irish Prison Service and relevant professional accreditation bodies.

Client Work

  • Comprehensively assess (formally or informally) prisoners referred.
  • Facilitate group work/counselling.
  • Deliver specific substance use interventions using a variety of models i.e. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, Harm Reduction, Relapse Prevention as well as crisis interventions, the aim of which is to promote self-efficacy and motivation to change and to reduce harm caused by substance misuse/offending behaviours.
  • Attend clinical team meetings when required.
  • Develop comprehensive care plans in conjunction with the multidisciplinary team and ensure regular review of individual treatment plans and goals identified.
  • Keep records and observe the appropriate professional standards.
  • Ensure prisoner confidentiality in the context of multidisciplinary teamwork and the limitations of confidentiality as detailed within MQI’s Confidentiality Policy.
  • Provide information/statistics regarding the details of counselling i.e. the nature, objectives, duration etc.
  • Emphasis would be on brief interventions and an agreed care plan in conjunction with other services in the prison multi-disciplinary team.
  • Refer to other agencies where appropriate. This can be within the prison and the community and is dependent on shared care plans and integrated care pathways.
  • Provide information and advice supporting health promotion and the reduction of risks associated with substance misuse and dependency.
  • Complete formal case closure following completion of counselling or if the individual has left counselling before completion.
  • Observe IPS and MQI health and safety policies and guidelines.
  • To notify your line manager as soon as possible where there are reasonable grounds for concern that a child may have been abused, or is being abused, or is at risk of abuse per current legislation, MQI’s Child Protection Policy and any requirements that may be set down under Irish Prison Service child protection procedure.

Service Delivery

  • Participate in new initiatives, in line with the development of the services in the Irish Prison Service and the relevant Health Authority.
  • Engage in multidisciplinary prison-based training as required.
  • Co-operate with relevant approved research, by or on behalf of the Irish Prison Service.
  • Attend meetings with the IPS and local prison management, as necessary, to review the service.
  • Be familiar with and abide by the operational policies of the Irish Prison Service and be aware of fire and other safety precautions as outlined in the Health and Safety Statement.


  • To comply with the Team Leaders requirements in relation to all appropriate paperwork and filing of data relevant to the Service, in particular intervention records, client files and monitoring requirements.
  • To work with the Team Leader in the operation of the relevant client database system and ensure that all required data is entered on a timely and accurate basis.


  • To attend all training sessions, workshops, and courses as advised by the Team Leader.
  • To actively engage with your Supervisor regarding one's own personal/ professional needs in the context of being an effective counsellor in the Prison Counselling Service.


  • To maintain a good relationship with prison-based multi-disciplinary teams and external agencies on behalf of the MQI.
  • To assist with any other duties which the Team Leader might reasonably request.

Person Specification

The ideal candidate for this position will have:

  • Two years experience in a paid full-time capacity, or equivalent part-time, in an addiction service or similar setting.
  • Accredited counsellor with ACI, IACP or equivalent body.
  • A relevant third level qualification in addiction studies or social care.
  • An excellent understanding of issues relating to problem drug use, criminal offending, homelessness, dual-diagnosis and progression pathways towards community-based rehab, housing, and training services.
  • Capacity to develop constructive relationships with clients & team.
  • Capacity to work on own initiative and as part of the team.
  • Capacity to develop positive relationships with internal and external agencies.
  • Must be able to demonstrate proficient IT skills including Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint and experience using a database.
  • Experience in developing and delivering workshops and seminars.
  • Experience and skills in the referral process and assessment of clients with addiction and associated needs.
  • Experience and skills in developing Care Plans.
  • To be approved by the IPS Security Clearance process.

Salary: Starting at €38,739 depending on experience (part-time hours are pro rata of 39 hours per week).

Additional: Supervision Allowance of €65 per week based on full-time hours.

Contract: Permanent


  • C0120 Mountjoy Prison – 27 hours per week
  • C0127 Wheatfield Prison – 39 hours per week
  • C0134 Wheatfield Prison – 19.5 hours per week
  • C0140 Wheatfield Prison – 31 hours per week
  • C0143 Cloverhill Prison – 19.5 hours per week

If you're interested in applying for any of these roles, please click the link below. +

MQI is an equal opportunities employer.
MQI reserves the right to review and amend this job description as appropriate.

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Expiry Date:
Region: Dublin