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How to find Help/ a Counsellor/Therapist/Psychologist

  • 14-02-2019 11:04am
    Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Regional East Moderators Posts: 18,144 CMod ✭✭✭✭

    Note - this thread is not for individual recommendations, a therapist who suits one person may not suit another and cannot recommend specific therapists.


    HSE National Counselling Service

    HSE - Your Mental Health

    Background and training

    Counsellors and psychotherapists come from different therapeutic backgrounds. They operate under a range of therapeutic models, so called 'schools of therapy' e.g. cognitive behavioural, psychoanalytic, integrative, etc, and perspectives which inform their practice and outlook. Training in psychotherapy typically takes a number of years and involves placements with clients, personal work, reflective practice and supervision. Therapists may also have to undertake Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to maintain their skills, following qualification.

    Psychology is a distinct discipline. Psychologists cover a range of fields from clinical, counselling, to education, sports, occupational, health and forensic. The national body for psychologists in Ireland is the PSI. Keep in mind to be a graduate member of PSI, you only need to have a degree in psychology. That, on its own, is not enough to give someone the training or expertise to be able to do counselling/therapy. Fully accredited psychologists have at least a Master’s degree (with supervised work/experience - not just an academic or research MSc/MA), with many having qualified to doctoral level, PhD, D.Clin.Psych, etc.

    Services offered by clinicians can vary from assessment, diagnosis and intervention to therapy and evidence based practice, working with children, young people, families and adults, supporting those with autism, intellectual disabilities, to name a few. Note, not all therapists provide assessment and diagnostic services, some may work independently or privately, whilst others may work in a multidisciplinary team.

    What should I look for / ask?

    Sitting across from a stranger and discussing personal issues can feel quite daunting. Ideally, you want to know that you can open up to, and trust, the therapist. This will take time.

    You could ask your GP for recommendations. (S)he will probably know someone suitable.

    Do your research

    Always feel free to ask about qualifications and their level of experience and fees and what you can expect from attending their service. Check that someone is accredited by a professional association/body. cannot endorse a professional body, but an association may provide some protection that the therapist you choose is properly trained.

    With the way legislation is in Ireland at present, there's nothing stopping someone with no qualifications at all setting themselves up as a counsellor; none of these organisations will let people register with them unless they are correctly qualified.

    Some basic questions
    • What are your qualifications?
    • Have you much experience? How long are you qualified?
    • Do you specialise in any particular area? Have you encountered this particular problem before?
    • Do you take a particular approach (humanistic, Jungian, etc)?
    • Where is their practice? (Some will use their own home, some an office on Main St.)
    • How much do you charge? If you're on a low income, ask if they have a sliding scale.
    • How long is your waiting list?

    Get a feel for them on the phone, and remember that the first appointment is not just for them to see if they can help, it is for you to see if you can get on with them. DO NOT BE SHY about asking the questions - if they've been doing their job for any length of time they'll be used to it, and will be open and not defensive.

    Awkward moments

    It's quite natural that there are periods of silence in therapy, and sometimes confusion. Keep in mind the therapist may not give you the answers you're hoping for, but may instead work with you to come up your own solutions. If you're unsure of something always feel free to ask your therapist for clarification and see if they review progress or goals after a number of meetings. It is, after all, your therapy.

    List of accrediting bodies

    Psychologists: The Psychological Society has a list of Psychologists.

    Psychotherapists: The Irish Council for Psychotherapy

    CBT therapists:
    The Irish Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy

    Also the Irish Council for Psychotherapy, 'member of' Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy (CBT) section. These are the only two reputable accrediting organisations for CBT therapists. They are both affiliated to European bodies..) Here's a link to a British leaflet for the public about CBT and what to expect.

    Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy Ireland

    Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. IACP

    Irish Association for Humanist and Integrative Psychotherapists IAHIP

    Psychoanalysts: The Association for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy in

    Primary Care: Irish Association for Psychotherapy in Primary Care IAPPC List of practitioners is open to GPs and other primary caregivers.

    Specialist Areas

    Sex Therapy: COSORT - UK

    Family Therapy: The Family Therapy Association of Ireland (Family Therapy includes couple counselling/marriage counselling)

    Accord is a Catholic Marriage Care Service.

    Self-help and support organisations

    Aware, (runs self-help and online CBT courses),
    OCD Ireland
    The Samaritans Ireland
    Pieta House
    Mental Health Ireland
    Social Anxiety Ireland

    College students

    If you're a third level student, check if your college offers counselling services. Although they may only be able to offered a limited number of appointments due to high demand, many colleges do provide counselling. If not, ask your college's health service for advice.

    See also, the student Niteline listening service.

    Other resources


    Living Life to the Full - a free online resource taking a CBT approach

    HSE info about Stresspac here.

    See also, the list of resources in the Personal Issues forum.
    Post edited by The Black Oil on

This discussion has been closed.