Tuesday, 9 June 2015
Department of Health
852. To ask the Minister for Health if he will introduce legislation to regulate the counselling and psychotherapy sector to ensure that all regulated practitioners would be educated to at least degree level, level 8 according to the QQl, and that suitably qualified practitioners are part of a register that is administered by an independent regulator, for example, CORU; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22248/15]
Psychotherapists and counsellors are not currently regulated under the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005. However, the Act provides that the Minister for Health may, under section 4(2), designate a health and social care profession not already designated if he or she considers that it is in the public interest to do so and if specified criteria have been met.
My predecessor, Minister James Reilly T.D, wrote to the The Health and Social Care Professionals Council last year seeking advice on the question of specifically designating counsellors and psychotherapists under the 2005 Act.
A number of issues require clarification and there are varying views among the professional bodies representing counsellors and psychotherapists in Ireland. The main questions to be resolved include whether counselling and psychotherapy should be treated as one or two professions for the purposes of regulation, the title or titles of the profession(s) to be protected, and the minimum qualifications that would be required of applicants for registration. The readiness and compatibility of the professions for designation under the 2005 Act also need to be determined.
The Council's detailed report on the matter has now been received and is being carefully examined in the Department. The matter remains at an early stage of consideration and consultation with industry professionals and other stakeholders will be considered in due course.
This answer should in some way go towards clarifying the question for the Deputy