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Health | Update on mental health services regulation

To ask the Minister for Health the up-to-date position regarding the regulation of psychotherapy and counselling under the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


The Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005 (the Act) provides for the protection of the public by promoting high standards of professional conduct and professional education, training & competence through the statutory registration of health and social care professions designated under the Act.

As you are aware, regulations under SI No. 170 of 2018 were made by my predecessor in 2018. The effect of these regulations is to designate the professions of counsellor and psychotherapist under the Act and to establish one registration board for both professions. Members were appointed to the Counsellors and Psychotherapists Registration Board in February 2019 and they held their inaugural meeting in May 2019.

The work of a registration board includes consideration of the titles to be protected and the minimum qualifications to be required of existing practitioners and the qualifications that will be required for future graduates. The work of the Counsellors and Psychotherapists Registration Board is significantly more challenging than it is for registration boards for some of the more established professions owing to the different and complex pathways into these professions, the variety of titles used, and the variety and number of courses and course providers.

Owing to the significant body of preparatory work that the Registration Board is required to undertake; it is not possible to say with any degree of accuracy when the professions will be fully regulated. I would anticipate that the Registration Board will require a number of years to complete its work.

I hope that this information is of assistance to you.

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