Professional Accreditation

Accreditation and Regulation of Counselling & Psychotherapy

 

If you are considering carrying out a course in Counselling or Psychotherapy to become a professional practitioner in Ireland then you should be aware of impending changes in these fields which are likely to significantly impact on future practice. As of now, neither Counselling or Psychotherapy are regulated under statute, which effectively means that anyone can use the title counsellor or psychotherapist, regardless of their qualifications or experience. It is stated governmental policy to change this situation in the public interest and much work has been done to redress this situation in recent years. In recent times, the Government – through the Minister for Health has reaffirmed its commitment to statutory regulation of these areas of practice and when statutory regulation comes, it will be under the Health and Social Care Professionals Council (CORU).

Regulation under CORU (the Health and Social Care Professionals Council) will be a significant development in terms of the protection of the public. The Department of Health have consistently and clearly stated that the minimum educational qualifications that will be necessary for future registration will be QQI qualifications (or equivalent).

In 2014 QQI published new award standards for counselling and psychotherapy. This means that programmes will be required to meet these standards before beingQQI Counselling and Psychotherapy Courses, Limerick, Dublin, Ireland validated or awarded by QQI. This standard setting process will support the regulatory process. All  counselling and psychotherapy programmes at ICHAS have benchmarked against these standards and all the programmes meet these QQI standards.

In addition to meeting the QQI award standards , programmes at ICHAS are designed to facilitate those who wish to pursue professional accreditation also. Students should be aware that they need to meet the requirements of whichever professional accreditation body with whom they wish to be accredited. Programmes at ICHAS are structured with sufficient flexibility to allow for the varying requirements for pre-accreditation membership with a range of professional accreditation bodies in Ireland.

ICHAS Undergraduate Programmes

These programmes lead to an academic award at Level 8 on the National Framework of Qualifications awarded by QQI. Where successful graduates wish to pursue professional accreditation for practice, they must seek such accreditation from the relevant body in accordance with the guidelines of that particular body. These programmes will contribute to the requirements for professional accreditation with relevant professional accrediting bodies in the fields of Counselling and Psychotherapy in Ireland.

There has been a longstanding tradition in the fields of Counselling and Psychotherapy in Ireland of alignment between different training providers and particular Professional Membership associations which recognised professional rather than academic programmes towards membership.

ICHAS has always resisted association with single Professional Associations and for that reason the Level 7 and Level 8 Programmes, which the College have offered since 2006 were presented to 3 of the 5 Professional Accrediting bodies who accept Counselling membership in Ireland and graduates of ICHAS programmes have achieved professional accreditation with the Association for Professional Counselling and Psychotherapy; with the National Association for Professional Counselling and Psychotherapyhttps and with Addiction Counsellors Ireland and with BACP in the UK.

These programmes support graduates on their journey towards professional accreditation with these Professional Associations until CORU finalises its Regulatory standards.

ICHAS Postgraduate Progammes

These Masters programmes in Counselling and Psychotherapy with associated awards as above  leads to an academic award at Level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications awarded by QQI. Where successful graduates wish to pursue professional accreditation for practice, they must seek such accreditation from the relevant body in accordance with the guidelines of that particular body. These programmes will contribute to the requirements for professional accreditation with relevant professional accrediting bodies in the fields of Counselling and Psychotherapy in Ireland.

There has been a longstanding tradition in the fields of Counselling and Psychotherapy in Ireland of alignment between different training providers and particular Professional Membership associations which recognised professional rather than academic programmes towards membership. ICHAS has always resisted association with single Professional Associations and for that reason the Programmes, which the College have offered since 2006 were presented to 3 of the 5 Professional Accrediting bodies who accept Counselling membership in Ireland and graduates of both Level 7 and (Add on) level 8 programmes have achieved professional accreditation with the Association for Professional Counselling and Psychotherapy; with the National Association for Professional Counselling and Psychotherapy and with Addiction Counsellors Ireland and with BACP in the UK.

Likewise the Level 9 programmes have been benchmarked against the EAP standards and graduates have achieved professional membership of both the APCP and NAPCP. These programmes will also support graduates on their journey towards professional accreditation with these Professional Associations until CORU finalises its Regulatory standards. These Programmes  has been presented to both APCP and NAPCP for recognition towards Professional Accreditation.

MA in Addiction Counselling

This masters programme will be recognized for professional accreditation purposes by Addiction Counsellors Ireland (ACI) and the Association of Professional Counsellors and Psychotherapists (APCP) where students meet the individual specific requirements within their programmes. This programme has been designed with sufficient flexibility to allow these requirements to be met and the programme will be submitted to both Associations for recognition subject to validation by QQI. The College does not stipulate which of these Professional Associations students should choose for professional accreditation and membership. That is a matter of individual choice and students are reminded that these Associations have somewhat differing requirements. Therefore students are advised of these differences at induction to the programme and of their right to choose appropriate professional membership, so that they can make informed decisions around professional accreditation. Many similar Colleges are only associated with one of the Professional Accrediting Bodies, which means they are more prescriptive. ICHAS is committed to ensuring that students have greater choice and access to professional accrediting opportunities.

Students not alone have achieved professional accreditation with the named bodies above, but many have also attained professional recognition with bodies such as BACP in the UK. Having this level of flexibility means that the College must also have available a panel of Clinical Supervisors who are acceptable to this wide range of differing Professional Bodies.

MA in Clinical Supervision in Professional Practice

The programme leads to an academic award at Level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications awarded by QQI. Professional regulation, licensure and accreditation requirements vary – where they exist at all across and within disciplines. Its important to note that various disciplines require different training and this is also the case internationally, some with ‘workshop’ type training, some with short professional or CPD type training programmes. Professional accreditation or credentialing of clinical supervisors, has perhaps the longest and most established traditions in Counselling & Psychotherapy professions.

Where successful graduates wish to pursue professional accreditation for clinical supervision practice, they must seek such accreditation from the relevant body in accordance with the guidelines of that particular body. The principal programme as well as the embedded Exit Award and Minor Award, exceed the requirements of the professional bodies in counselling & psychotherapy in terms of content, duration, contact time, and supervised clinical supervisory practice. Thus the completion of this programme will contribute to the requirements for professional accreditation with relevant professional accrediting bodies in the fields of counselling and psychotherapy in Ireland and abroad. There are currently no accreditation requirements in other disciplines such as nursing, social care, social work, psychology, but there are professional guidelines and expected standards.

Graduates of the existing programme have achieved professional accreditation as clinical supervisors with the Association for Professional Counselling and Psychotherapy; the National Association for Professional Counselling and Psychotherapy and with Addiction Counsellors Ireland. There are at least 3 graduates of the MA in Clinical Supervision in Professional Practice who are currently accredited with the Supervisors Association of Ireland as well as graduates who provide clinical supervision in mental health nursing.

This programme has been presented to ACI, APCP, NAPCP and to  the Irish Council for Psychotherapy (ICP) for recognition towards professional accreditation for clinical supervision in counselling & psychotherapy in Ireland and the BACP in the UK as well as to the Supervisors Association of Ireland (SAI) for interdisciplinary clinical supervision and  to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Ireland (NMBI) for Category II approval for nursing & midwifery clinical supervision. Graduates have also been recognised as clinical supervisors in Mental Health Nursing in Ireland.

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