Regulation of counsellors welcomed


Fine Gael TD Dan Neville has welcomed a Department of Health pledge to introduce a regulation preventing unqualified people acting as counsellors and psychotherapists.

He said such people were “engaging with very vulnerable persons who are suicidal, suffering from eating and various psychological disorders”.

Mr Neville said he had a leaflet advertising an advance diploma in suicide studies following a three-module course. The first on prevention was to run over two weekends, while the second and third on intervention and post-intervention measures were also to run over two weekends.

“Therefore, the prospective student will receive an advanced diploma in suicide studies after six weekends,” he said.

Mr Neville, who was speaking during the debate on the Health and Social Care Professional (Amendment) Bill, said another course over seven weekends, costing €3,000, provided a diploma in practitioner skills for dealing with eating disorders.

“This illustrates the seriousness of the issue,” he added. “We must protect vulnerable individuals.”

Minister of State for Health Alex White said the regulation to prescribe the qualifications needed to register would be made when the minimum qualifications and standards of knowledge, skill and competence for future counsellors and psychotherapists had been set by Quality and Qualifications Ireland.