FG TD calls for counselling and psychotherapy services to be regulated

Department of Health committed to extending existing legislation, Dáil told

Dan Neville TD (Fine Gael): “Any person can put up a sign and say he or she is a counsellor or psychotherapist and charge €80 an hour”

Dan Neville TD (Fine Gael): “Any person can put up a sign and say he or she is a counsellor or psychotherapist and charge €80 an hour”

Thu, Mar 6, 2014, 01:01


Anybody in the Republic can be a practising counsellor or psychotherapist without training, Fine Gael TD Dan Neville has said. “Any person can put up a sign and say he or she is a counsellor or psychotherapist and charge €80 an hour. It is extremely dangerous for such untrained people to do so.”

One course of which he was aware ran for eight weekends, leading to a counselling diploma in eating disorders. Another course covering a number of weekends led to a higher diploma in suicide studies.

“It is highly dangerous for people to counsel those who have suicidal ideation after such a short course when they are not fully trained. It takes four years plus of supervised practice to qualify as a psychotherapist.”

Mr Neville said the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 provided for the registration of persons qualifying under the title of a designated profession, but psychotherapy and counselling were not included as the various organisations involved could not agree. It only required a ministerial directive to include them.

Minister of State for Health Kathleen Lynch said the professions currently designated under the 2005 Act were clinical biochemists, dieticians, medical scientists, occupational therapists, orthoptists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, psychologists, radiographers, social care workers and speech and language therapists.

She said while the immediate priority was to proceed with the establishment of the registration boards for those professions, the department was committed to bringing counsellors and psychotherapists within the Act’s ambit.