Fine Gael Mental Health Spokesperson, Dan Neville TD, today (Tuesday) has called on the Government to regulate professional activity in the area of psychotherapy and counselling. Deputy Neville is raising the matter on the Adjournment Debate in the Dáil this evening.
“There is an urgent need to ensure that those who offer services in this area have a level of competency and have completed professional training to an acceptable defined level.
“Those who practice in the areas of psychotherapy and counselling only need to obtain an office for consultation and put up a gold plaque at the entrance in order to practice. It is also unacceptable that there are organisations that advertise and arrange short courses and grant ‘Advanced Diplomas’ for successful students. In most cases there is no basic qualification to enter such a course. ‘Graduates’ then set up as professionals counselling vulnerable people, many of whom will suffer from extremely complex conditions with emotional, psychological, psychiatric and physical health conditions.
“This is an extremely serious situation for very vulnerable people and their families. In many situations further serious psychological damage can be done to people in a most difficult and frightening area. Many of whom are suicidal. There is therefore a serious risk to life from untrained practitioners.
“The Psychological Therapies Forum consists of 22 bodies that self regulate and they have agreed and recommended a statutory Regulation Board for Counsellors and Psychotherapists under the name of Psychological Therapist. They have recommended that the training to practice in this area, which should have statutory status, is the European Certificate Standard.
“I will urge the Minister for Health and Children, at this evening’s debate to give this serious matter her urgent attention.”