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Sep 2016 by PCI College

Minister Simon Harris announces a plan towards the Regulation of Counselling & Psychotherapy

Jade Mullen, Programme Leader of the BSc (Hons) in Counselling & Psychotherapy at PCI College writes about the Minister and Department of Health's plans for regulation of the profession.

The Minister for Health, Mr Simon Harris TD, announced last week that interested persons, organisations and other bodies are invited to make submissions for public consultation on the planned statutory regulation of counsellors and psychotherapists in Ireland. PCI College welcome this invitation and recognise this open call as a long awaited first step towards the Government’s protection and recognition of the counselling and psychotherapy profession and members of the public who avail of such services.

There are a number of points within the aforementioned announcement that the Department of Health aim to clarify in order to successfully pass the regulation of our profession. These are:

  • Number of professions to be regulated (there is disagreement among professional bodies as to whether it should be one or two)
  • Title(s) to be protected
  • Grand-parenting qualifications to be set for existing practitioners
  • Qualifications for future registrants

PCI College will be making a formal submission to Mr. Simon Harris TD in the consultation process, where we will be addressing the issues above and as a leading provider of counselling and psychotherapy training in Ireland, we will be making a number of recommendations guided by our extensive experience in the field, our educational model and best practice within the profession.

PCI College currently offer training for counsellors and psychotherapists up to Degree level and our BSc (Hons) in Counselling and Psychotherapy is fully accredited by the IACP, who are also moving towards an honours degree as the minimum standard for counsellors and psychotherapists.

In 2014, the Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) presented standards for educational and training awards in counselling and psychotherapy. As stated in the announcement, the Department of Health will consult these standards to assist in the process of assessing applications for approval of the relevant education and training programmes. Contrary to other reports and interpretations, this does not mean that only QQI affiliated training programmes will suffice under impending regulation. It does, however, imply that training programmes will be required to meet minimum standards that are in line with those recommended by QQI, i.e. QQI approved or equivalent.

In addition to accreditation by the IACP, the BSc (Hons) in Counselling and Psychotherapy with PCI College is validated by Middlesex University. As a validated Middlesex University course, the BSc (Hons) in Counselling and Psychotherapy awards a UK Level 6 Honours Degree, this is equivalent to a Level 8 Honours Degree on the National Framework for Qualifications in Ireland (NFQ). The NFQ outlines the minimum standards for education as developed by QQI. To this end, the PCI College BSc (Hons) in Counselling and Psychotherapy meets the minimum standards as outlined by QQI and as proposed by the impending regulation.

We will continue to keep you updated regarding our formal submission to TD Simon Harris and we will be urging our students and alumni, as members of the profession, to make submissions also. This is our opportunity to define our profession rather than allow it to be defined for us.


Jade Mullen, MIACP

Programme Leader, BSc (Hons) in Counselling & Psychotherapy

September 2016


You can see the full details of the consultation process here on the Department of Health website, including details for submissions.

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