Speaking in Dail Eireann the Minister of Health Leo Varadkar once again affirmed that the Government is going to regulate both the Professions of Counselling and Psychotherapy under CORU. The Minister has said that regulation would take place and that the Department of Health had recently received a detailed report from CORU the Health and Social Care Council which was being examined by his department.
The next stage of the process will see a public consultation phase which will look at what precisely needs to regulated and how it will be structured. According to the Minister Varadkar this is the section the Government must get right. Mr. Varadkar said that former Minister of Health Dr James Reilly had consulted the Health and Social Care Professionals Council, as he was obliged to do. The announcement by the Minister has been warmly welcomed by all those involved in Counselling and Psychotherapy in Ireland.
The former Minister of Health James Reilly had asked QQI to develop the award standards that will benchmark the professions and those award standards were published in August 2014. Without doubt the introduction of Statutory Regulation by the Minister is to be commended It will mean that the use of the professional titles of Counsellor and Psychotherapist will be protected under legislation. In future it will not be possible to refer to oneself as either a Counsellor or Psychotherapist unless registered under CORU, which is the State Agency which will be responsible for registration. It is worth noting that within the Minister speech, the minimum educational qualifications that will be necessary for future registration were highlighted as those of QQI. The road map to statutory regulation for both Counsellors and Psychotherapists has once again been clearly reaffirmed and it is worth highlighting some of the salient points and some of the key organisations involved
Qualifications to be Registered as a Counsellor or Psychotherapist
QQI have completed their award standards for Counselling and Psychotherapy qualifications. The Minister has stated that setting such standards was a prerequisite for setting minimum entry standards by CORU for registration as either a Counsellor or Psychotherapist. Significantly he advised that “QQI qualifications will be the minimum qualifications required of Counsellors and Psychotherapists to register under the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005″.
CORU and Its Role in Counselling and Psychotherapy
CORU is the agency with responsibility for Statutory Regulation of a wide range of professions in Ireland (please see their website for detailed information on their work at www.coru.ie to review its structure and it existing role with other professions). With regard to the timeline for future regulation of counselling and psychotherapy, the Minister stated that the “Department will work with CORU to have all the other necessary arrangements in place so that there will be no delay in establishing the Counsellors and Psychotherapists registration board”
Psychological Therapies Forum
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. They are also recommending that practitioners wishing to practice Psychotherapy should hold a minimum qualification at Level 9 (Masters level) on the National Framework of Qualifications. For further information on the Psychological Therapies Forum see (www.ptf.ie)
warmly welcomes the Minister’s proposals as timely and warranted. All programmes in Counselling and Psychotherapy at Degree and Masters level within the college are QQI accredited. The college will continue to meet the standards required for professional regulation by our graduates.