20 Jul 2016

Time Line for Statutory Regulation

Time Line for Statutory Regulation of Counselling and Psychotherapy laid out by Minister Simon Harris – July 2016

The Minister for Health Simon Harris has announced a projected time-frame for the statutory regulation of Counselling and Psychotherapy in Ireland.

The Health and Social Care Professionals Council (CORU) will be responsible for statutory regulation. CORU will have overall responsibility for the protection of the titles Counsellor and Psychotherapist—effectively meaning that those wishing to use these professional titles will not be able to do so unless they are registered by CORU and meet the published standards and requirements as set by the relevant Registration Board.
Speaking in Dail Eireann, Minister Harris said: “I expect that the Registration Board should be constituted and operating during 2017. By the end of 2018, or early 2019, the Board should be in a position to make the various bye-laws to allow it to accept applications for registration. In parallel, the regulations to protect titles and to prescribe the qualifications to be required of existing practitioners would be drafted and enacted”

The announcement by the Minister of this time-frame has been widely welcomed by all those working in the area. It is understood that there will be a public consultation undertaken by the Department of Health in relation to regulation in the Summer of 2016 before the Minister formally refers these areas of practice to CORU for statutory regulation in the time-frame set out above.

QQI, Regulation and ICHAS programmes …..

Students commencing their studies in 2016 should be mindful, that those completing Level 7 Programmes in 2019 or Level 8 Programmes in 2020 will most likely enter into areas of practice that will be professionally regulated under CORU.

In 2015 the former Minister for Health Leo Varadkar advised that “QQI qualifications (or equivalent) will be the minimum qualifications required of Counsellors and Psychotherapists to register under the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005”.
In 2014, QQI published “Award Standards” for programmes leading to qualifications in both counsel-ling and psychotherapy. Following re-validation of degrees in ICHAS in 2015, all Counselling and Psychotherapy programmes at ICHAS are awarded by QQI and have been found by an international panel to meet these QQI award standards.

Professional Bodies and Educational Standards for Accreditation …..

All the professional bodies that are part of the Psychological Therapies Forum accept that the appropriate entry point for professional practice in Counselling should require practitioners to hold a Level 8 (Honours) Degree in Counselling as the minimum entry qualification for Counselling and practitioners wishing to practice Psychotherapy should hold a minimum qualification at Level 9 (Masters level) on the National Framework of Qualifications.

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