Harris appoints board to deal with ‘rogue’ therapists, counsellors

New regulator will ensure services, including crisis pregnancy agencies, are safe for public

Minister for Health Simon Harris said it was vital that users have confidence in the service they receive. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Minister for Health Simon Harris said it was vital that users have confidence in the service they receive. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

 

Minister for Health Simon Harris has appointed thirteen members of the Counsellors and Psychotherapists Registration Board.

This new board will seek to protect the public by ensuring high standards of professional conduct, education, training, and competence among counsellors and psychotherapists – including counsellors working for “rogue” crisis pregnancy agencies.

Last month, a woman who had a medical abortion was later contacted by someone using a phone number linked to an “abortion counselling service” the HSE had warned against.

Mr Harris said it is important this area is regulated to ensure adequate supervision of the profession and to ensure its users are protected.

“It is absolutely vital that users can have confidence in the service they receive. We have seen the impact of rogue operations in undermining faith in the profession,” he said.

The board is tasked with advising the minister on what professional titles should be protected under law.

Once the board has opened the register, existing and new practitioners will asked to sign up.

If a person does not meet the standards necessary, they will not be able to register with the Health and Social Care Professionals Council (Coru).

It will be an offence, punishable by a class-A fine or imprisonment of up to six months, for a person not registered to use any of the titles protected, such as “counsellor” or “psychotherapist”.