This is the letter sent by Jean Manahan, CEO of ICP to the editor of the Irish Times in response to an article on 24th January entitled ‘The true cost of counselling: who benefits from it?’

‘Dear Sir,
With respect to the article ‘The True Cost of Counselling: who benefits from it?’ by George Winter in today’s Irish Times (24th January 2017) I am concerned at what seems like a very superficial approach to what is in essence an important and serious matter which requires more gravitas. I am concerned that the article displays a disrespect for the choices people may make around their mental health and their own self-care. I am also concerned at what appears to be a disregard for the profession of psychotherapy which is grounded in solid academic and clinical training.
I would like to point out that psychotherapists registered with the Irish Council for Psychotherapy ( have undergone significant post graduate academic and clinical training over a number of years, which includes a clear code of ethics, complaints procedures, supervision and continuing professional development on a par with other health professionals.
Furthermore ICP psychotherapists are trained to work with deep seated difficulties including mental illnesses, personality disorders and issues that lead to the risk of suicide. To equate being ‘disappointed by a stale croissant’ with the important role psychotherapy plays in the lives of many people is to be disrespectful both to the clients and to the profession.
The notion that ‘psychotherapists who assume – for a price – the role once filled by friends, family and the wider community’ further demonstrates the shallowness of the article, as an ethically trained psychotherapist is not your friend, at any price. In addition, the author quotes Prof Simon Wessely out of context in relation to psychological debriefing after trauma. ‘Psychological debriefing’, as described by Prof Wessely, is usually a once off session, if required, which is NOT psychotherapy or counselling.
One of the ways that the public can assure themselves of quality therapy is to check the qualifications, experience and accreditation of the practitioner. ICP provides an online register of psychotherapists who meet both national and international standards. ICP is fully supportive of the government’s aim to regulate both psychotherapists and counsellors. The ICP submission paper is available to view online (’