Psychological Forum Meetings

Over the past year, the ICP has taken an active part in the continuing dialogue with other counselling and psychotherapy organisations which began in 1995. The Forum participants have gathered information and put together a matrix of information on accreditation standards and requirements. In so doing, areas of commonality and difference began to emerge.

In September 2006, following much research and debate, the Forum put forward the following proposal: –

That the Registration Board should have the embracing title of “Psychological Therapies”‚ and that two titles, that of “Psychotherapist” and “Counsellor”‚ would be protected under this Psychological Therapies registration Board.

All organisations represented were asked to vote on this proposal and 20 of the 22 organisations agreed. In November 2006, a letter was written to the Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, Mr. Tim O’ Malley, outlining our proposal.

The Forum then began the task of separating out the baseline qualifications currently accepted by Counsellors and Psychotherapists, together with required hours of theory, supervised practice, personal therapy etc. At our March meeting, it was agreed that the two groupings would now meet separately to look at the information gathered and to try to agree a baseline that all psychotherapy organisations can agree to, with counselling groups doing the same.

At this point, there will need to be a lot of negotiation and diplomacy, but ICP is firmly committed to maintaining the standards set by the European Association of Psychotherapy, in order that our registration criteria will be accepted in Europe and practitioners who have achieved the European Certificate in other countries would be able to practice here.

The Forum aims to try to complete this task and bring further proposals to the Minister by the beginning of Summer 2007.


‘The Irish Council for Psychotherapy prioritises the continuing development of ethically responsible and self-reflective psychotherapists. The ethical practice of psychotherapy requires that practitioners be responsible for their part in the therapeutic alliance. The work of psychotherapy is based on the principles of alleviating suffering, promoting the well-being of clients and fundamentally not doing harm.’ Taken from The Irish Council for Psychotherapy’s Ethical Guidelines

ICP Ethical Guidelines


Cognitive Behavioural Psychotherapy


The philosophy underpinning this approach is that a person learns to act and think in certain ways as a result of their lifetime experiences and how they perceive those experiences. This learning is a life-long process.

Usually what we learn is adaptive and functional – we learn to become active participants in our lives, our society and our culture. However, occasionally we learn ways of thinking, feeling or behaving which hinder us in our development and prevent us from achieving our potential.

Sometimes a single event such as being bitten by a dog, or a car crash, will have major repercussions or, more often, experiences which stretch over a longer period of time, e.g. being bullied or being unemployed, can affect us emotionally in the long term. Such negative experiences and our responses to them can lead us to develop low self-esteem, unhappiness, bitterness, anxiety, passivity, aggression, perfectionism and so on. These, in turn, colour the way we perceive new experiences and at worst, if unchecked, can lead to such disorders as anxiety, clinical depression, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic disorder.

Clients seek help for a variety of reasons. Clients experiencing stress and anxiety with marked avoidance behaviour (i.e. behaviour that postpones an anxiety evoking event and can lead to handicaps in every day life), can change their way of behaving by becoming more outgoing and combat their fears with the help of individualised tailored cognitive behaviour therapy programme.

They may have to confront repeatedly what they fear, e.g. contamination fear where the sufferer avoids certain perceived contaminated objects, progressing from the least feared object to the most feared. Motivation to complete homework assignments is a key to success and recording their progress between sessions, facilitates the carry-over into their daily lives of the skills and insights achieved by the client during therapy.

This intervention and the willingness to explore new coping strategies are the ingredients for success.

Cognitive behaviour therapists also work with clients who have an intellectual disability. Each individual has the same rights and needs as everyone else in society. In the process they are helped to play a full part in society by extra teaching for the individual through a process of behaviour analysis. Sometimes problems can be compounded by physical disabilities, behavioural problems or communication deficits.

Within particular contexts treatment methods are used consistently, by all of those involved with the client, including the carer of the client. Carers may also have their own needs on a practical and emotional level that need addressing. This approach examines people’s behaviours in their living environment. It identifies the function of challenging behaviours, identifies how it benefits the individual, the source of the behaviour and what maintains it.

Cognitive behaviour therapists postulate that people can achieve change by working directly on their own patterns of thinking and behaviour. Due to negative lifetime experiences many individuals have learned distorted patterns of thought (patterns which hinder rather than help), so in therapy they need to learn more helpful and functional thought patterns.

How we think impacts on every aspect of our lives, from hopefulness regarding the future, to personal relationships, to how we see ourselves today. The emphasis in therapy is to loosen the hold a particular negative belief has on the client and engaging them in a re-evaluation of their perceptions and assumptions.

The progress of the therapy is interactive. The client and therapist work together developing hypotheses about the accuracy and or coping value of a variety of thoughts and behaviour. They often work together developing a healthier style of thinking, building coping skills, and reversing unproductive patterns of behaviour. Cognitive behaviour therapists are typically more active than those who practice other forms of therapy. They help structure sessions; give feedback, and coach clients on how to use CBT methods.

People who experience interpersonal difficulties can benefit from group work and some CBT therapist run:

  • Anger management groups
  • Assertiveness groups
  • OCD groups
  • Stress management
  • Social skills training

Assessment is individualised for each client. It involves detailed questioning and the use of psychological questionnaires to enable the client and therapist define accurately the problem and set the goals of treatment. It focuses on the here and now, and is practical and pragmatic. The aim of therapy is to provide the client with the knowledge and techniques, which he/she can use now and in the future, and in effect, making the therapist redundant. Each client is given a detailed account of treatment options and their consent is sought before embarking on therapy. Registered practitioners adhere to a code of ethics and are committed to research and the development of theory within this sphere.

Overall, practitioners use the developing pool of knowledge in this field to resolve problems of living for any person, irrespective of intelligence or insight.

Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

Psychoanalytic Section (ICP)

Address: 23 The Willows, Monkstown Valley, Monkstown, Dublin

Administrator: Nicola Williams




These are the seven associations that make up the psychoanalytic section of the ICP:


Association for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy in Ireland (APPI)

APPI began life in 1993 and rapidly developed into a Professional Association comprised of members whose clinical work is based upon the practice of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy from a Freudian-Lacanian perspective.


Irish Analytical Psychology Association

The Irish Analytical Psychology Association was founded in Ireland in 1996. Its main aims are

  • To promote information about Jungian psychology in Ireland.
  • To act as an accrediting body for Jungian analysts and Jungian psychotherapists in Ireland. It is a member of the analytic umbrella group of the Irish Council for Psychotherapy.
  • To provide opportunities for continuing professional development for its members. It does this by having a regular programme of lectures and seminars.


Irish Forum for Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy

Child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy is a relatively new discipline in Ireland, although it has been practiced widely in Europe and North America for fifty years.

Most therapists working with children in Ireland have been trained under the auspices of the Irish Forum for child and Adolescent Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy and Trinity College, Dublin


Irish Forum for Psychoanalytical Psychotherapy

The Irish Forum for Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy (IFPP) was founded in 1986 to provide a focus for people with an interest in advancing the study and practice of psychoanalytic psychotherapy.

The organization aims:

  • to inform the public about psychoanalytic psychotherapy.
  • to promote psychoanalytic psychotherapy in mental health and other settings.
  • to set and maintain ethical, academic and training requirements of the IFPP to meet international standards of professional competence.

Membership is in line with the European Association of Psychotherapy standards; it is restricted to those with an appropriate formal training in psychoanalysis, psychoanalytic psychotherapy or analytical psychology.

Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy is a process that takes place in a relationship between psychotherapist and client who work together to explore the client’s distress and difficulties. The psychoanalytic approach is based on the understanding that memories and feelings that were too painful or disturbing for the person to bear, were repressed in the unconscious where they continued to exert a powerful, but hidden, influence on the individual’s life.

The psychoanalytic process opens up an ongoing revelation of our hidden selves. In practice, it takes the form of the client talking, encouraged by the psychotherapist to say whatever comes to mind. The therapist listens with great care to what is being said.

As the therapy proceeds, this experience of freedom to speak leads to increased spontaneity and ease in the client who becomes more able to acknowledge and express feelings and thoughts that had been deeply buried and link these to current experiences.


Irish Group Analytic Society
Group Analysis is an established method of group psychotherapy which was developed by Dr. S. H. Foulkes, a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, in England in the 1940s. At the heart of Group Analysis is the belief that human beings are fundamentally social in nature and that the source of many of the problems that individuals encounter can be found in their relationships with the groups they grew up in and are part of.

On this basis, Group Analysis believes that, for many people, their problems and difficulties can be usefully explored, understood and addressed in a group context.


Irish Psycho-Analytic Association

Founded in 1942, the Irish Psycho-Analytical Association is the oldest psychotherapeutic body in Ireland. Its founder, Jonathan Hanaghan, was sent here in 1926 by Freud’s friend and biographer, Ernest Jones: “It will take a Celt to start up psychoanalysis in Ireland.”


Northern Ireland Institute of Human Relations

The Northern Ireland Institute of Human Relations was inaugurated in November 1990. A registered charity and a limited company, it aims to provide a forum for the discussion and advancement of psychodynamic approaches to the understanding of personal and social difficulties.


Constructivist Therapy

Constructivist Psychotherapy 

When people seek psychotherapy, they have a story to tell. It may be a troubled, hurt or angry story of a relationship, or of a life in distress. For many, it is an account of difficult life events, which work against the person’s sense of well-being, self-confidence and effectiveness.

There are many ways of responding to a client’s story, and different schools of therapy emphasise and engage differently with the presenting issues. A therapist working from a Constructivist standpoint will be informed by the philosophies and practices of Personal Construct Psychology, and other frames of thought which focus on daily living.

Perhaps the clearest hallmark of Constructivist and related schools of therapy, is the adapting of an invitational mode of enquiry, which assists clients in making sense of their experience. It is also a respectful theory, offering validation of the client’s own experiences. The therapist aims to understand the anticipations, both conscious and unconscious, which clients are using in their lives and which may be problematic for them. The therapist then works with the client(s) in a joint experiment, to develop alternative, less problematic anticipations and ways of acting.

George Kelly, founder of Personal Construct Psychology, articulated in 1965, a fundamental belief of therapists who work from a Constructivist perspective, “no one needs to be a victim of their biography”. Constructivist therapists work in a variety of settings with individuals, couples, families, organisations and wider groups.

Statutory Regulation

The Council is continuing to play a key role in the Government’s plans to develop legislation for the statutory regulation of psychotherapists in Ireland.

The Council has been putting forward its proposals at the Psychological Therapies Forum which was set up by the Department of Health & Children to make recommendations on the type of legislation required.

In September 2006, following much research and debate, the Forum put forward the following proposal: –

That the Registration Board should have the embracing title of “Psychological Therapies” and that two titles, that of “Psychotherapist” and “Counsellor” would be protected under this Psychological Therapies registration Board.

In September, 2008, the Forum made a submission to the Department of Health and Children setting out the minimum criteria for training as a psychotherapist.  See download

The ICP is also working with the Department of Health & Children on the composition of the new Registration Board which will regulate our profession and on which we need to be adequately represented to ensure our independent professional status.

Meanwhile the European Association of Psychotherapy is lobbying Governments and the European Parliament to provide for an independent profession of psychotherapy.  EAP recognises training programmes which will facilitate the easy movement of trained and accredited psychotherapists across Europe.  See EAP website at

Continuous Professional Development

In conjunction with the European Association of Psychotherapy, it has been decided that CPD can be taken in the following forms:

  • Advanced or additional professional psychotherapy courses.
  • Engagement in personal therapy, reflective practices etc.
  • Professional supervision for psychotherapy practice/clinical/group work and peer supervision.
  • Psychotherapy conference/symposium attendance.
  • Professional activities in psychotherapy. (Being elected to a Board or a Committee and attending meetings).
  • Participation in extra psychotherapy training as a supervisor/researcher/teacher.
  • Self-experience/therapy in one of the modalities recognized by EAP

These are the domains in which CPD could be accrued. It is further recommended that minimum 250 hours shall consist of no more than 75 hours from any one category.

The introduction of Continuous Professional Development is particularly important in the current environment where there is an increasing scrutiny of the professional competence of all health care professionals including psychotherapists, with more transparent complaints procedures and more vigorous monitoring of fitness to practice issues within each profession.

European Certificate of Psychotherapy

Please see CPD Section of relevant Section Organisation. The ICP has been involved in the development of the European Certificate of Psychotherapy (ECP) in conjunction with the European Association for Psychotherapy (EAP). The European Certificate stipulates that the total duration of the training for psychotherapists is 3,200 hours spread over a minimum of seven years. This seven year period comprises an initial under-graduate component, or equivalent, followed by a specific psychotherapy training. Nearly 300 of the ICP members to date have been awarded the European Certificate. Many more applications are in process.

The European Association for Psychotherapy promotes the recognition of common standards of training for psychotherapists throughout Europe, and will ensure their mobility across member states. While the European Association for Psychotherapy does not have power to legally implement the certificate before it is adopted by member states, they have recommended it to the national co-ordinators of member states and welcome it as an initiative in establishing joint platforms which will facilitate the employment of migrants within the European Union.

About ECP (European Certificate of Psychotherapy)

There are two possible ways to apply for an ECP, one way is the Direct Award (DA) through one of the European Accredited Psychotherapy Training Institutes (EAPTIs), and the other way is to apply is through grandparenting procedure that involves recommendation from EAP National Awarding Organization (NAO) and European Wide Awarding Organization (EWAO).

About ECP (European Certificate of Psychotherapy)

How to Apply for An ECP

The ECP – Important Information for ECP (European Certificate of Psychotherapy) Application

Documents | ECP Application Forms by Grandparenting

CV Structure for ECP Application by Grandparenting

Notification by the NAO of Recommendations for the Award of the ECP by Grandparenting

Practitioner Registration Form for ECP

Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapy

Irish Association of Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy (IAHIP)

Psychotherapists from a Humanistic and Integrative perspective invite people to develop their awareness as to what prevents them from unfolding their own true nature in the inner and outer expressions of their life.

Historical Context

The Humanistic Psychology movement developed in the 1960’s in America out of a need to counter-balance the strong ideological schools of scientific positivistic behaviourism and Freudian psychoanalysis. Both these ideological approaches to the person excluded some of the most important questions that make the human being human; for example, choice, values, love, creativity, self-awareness and human potential.

Yalom (1) makes an interesting observation as to the two strands underpinning the study of the nature of the person at that time, in both the European and American context. He says,

“It is interesting to note that the field of Humanistic Psychology developed alongside the 1960’s counter culture in America with its attendant social phenomena such as the free speech movement, the flower children, the drug culture, the human potentialists and the sexual revolution,” whereas “..the underpinnings of the European tradition of existentialist enquiry into the nature of the person was different. The existentialist position focused instead on human limitations and the tragic dimensions of existence”(1).

This was partly shaped out of the society and culture at that time which had had a relatively recent history of war and geographic and ethnic confinement. In contrast, the human potential movement was “bathed in a zeitgeist of expansiveness, optimism, limitless horizons and pragmatism.” (1). The European existentialist tradition focused on limits, on facing and taking into oneself the anxiety of uncertainty and non-being, whereas the Human Potential movement spoke less of limits and contingency than of development of potential, less of acceptance than of awareness, less of anxiety than of peak experiences and oceanic oneness, less of life meaning than of self-realization, less of apartness and basic isolation that of I-Thou encounter.

The Nature of Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy

Within the Humanistic and Integrative approach, some commonly held assumptions about the human person are as follows:

  • The individual is seen as a whole person living out their present level of integration through their body, feelings, mind & psyche..
  • People have responsibility for their lives and for the choices they make. People are responsible not only for their actions but for their failure to act.
  • Humanistic and Integrative psychotherapy is based on a phenomenological view of reality. Its emphasis is on experience. Therapist within this perspective frequently engage active techniques to encourage the deepening of the therapeutic process. There is a movement away from the goal of understanding events towards the active exploration of experience.
  • The nature of the person is seen as dynamic. The person is seen as unfolding in different stages. There is always a thrust towards wholeness and life, but sometimes along the way, at any one stage, an overwhelming failure or frustration can be experienced as anxiety, depression or even a vague sense of an unlived life. These experiences can impede the emergence of later stages or result in an uneven integration as the person develops.

The Nature of the Therapeutic Process

Humanistic and Integrative psychotherapies have many broad and creative approaches to working with clients. The therapeutic relationship is seen as a meaningful contract between equals, and the aims of therapy may include encouraging the self-healing capacities of the client, exploring the client’s concrete individual experience of anxiety and distress rooted in earlier relationships, enabling insight into repeating patterns of behaviour which might be preventing clients from leading fulfilling and satisfying lives.

The attitude and presence of the psychotherapist is important. Yalom (2) speaks about the therapist entering into the client’s experiential world and listening to the phenomena of that world without the pre-suppositions that distort understanding. Carl Rogers (3) focused on the importance of deep, attentive listening on the part of the psychotherapist in promoting change.

The Integrative Perspective

Practitioners in this field embrace an attitude towards the practice of psychotherapy that affirms the inherent value of each individual. It is a unifying psychotherapy that responds appropriately and effectively to the person at the emotional ,behavioural, cognitive and physiological levels of functioning. The aim of integrative psychotherapy is to facilitate wholeness so that the quality of the person’s being and functioning in life is maximised with due regard for each individual’s own personal limited and external constraints..

Irish Association of Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy

The Irish Association of Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy was formed in 1992 as an association to represent Humanistic and Integrative psychotherapists in Ireland. In 1994, the IAHIP became a company, limited by guarantee, and is one of the five psychotherapy sections of the Irish Council for Psychotherapy.

The aims of the IAHIP are to set and maintain standards of training and practice, and to accredit suitably qualified practitioners of psychotherapy. Members adhere to a code of ethics and practice which includes a complaints procedure.

Irish Association of Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapy (IAHIP)

Address: 40 Northumberland Avenue, Dún Laoghaire, Dublin A96 RK44

Telephone: 01 284 1665




(1) Yalom, Irwin D., Existential Psychotherapy, (Basic Books Inc., New York 1980)

(2) Op.cit. page 17

(3) Rogers, C., On becoming a Person (Constable 1961). Client-Centred Therapy (Constable 1965).

Couple and Family Therapy

Systemic Family Therapy (FTAI) incorporates individual, couple and family therapy.

What is special about Family Therapy?
Family Therapy is the most popularly recognised descriptive title for a body of practice and theory which continues to evolve and to grow at an extraordinary rate. Originally, the approach was distinguished by the practice of including entire families in the therapy process rather than an individual client. This practice continues, but is not a necessary aspect of the approach.
The principle which informed Family Therapy from the time of its inception in the 1950s has been to transcend simple cause and effect explanations which located deficits within the individual, and to include those aspects of the client’s context in the therapy process which will enable them to manage, resolve or better understand their difficulty.
It is this ecological view which attends to the interconnectedness of people, of beliefs and of all things, which characterises Family Therapy rather than the number of people sitting in the therapy room.

How do Family Therapists view problems and reality?
Many Family Therapists seek to engage the clients in a collaborative exploration of their presenting dilemma, focusing on the beliefs, and the interactions which maintain the difficulty or which prevent its resolution. By better understanding the interconnectedness of the biological, the social and the psychological dimensions of the problem, choices are introduced, conflicts are transcended and new patterns of understanding are generated.

A significant part of each one’s experience is the beliefs, the language, the stories and values which constitute our life experience. We are not only born into a material and physical reality, but also into a multilayered complex weave of beliefs and behaviours, which for most of us are, initially at least, of a family nature. This strongly influences our developing ‘reality’. We are born into the world totally dependent on one or more caring adults, and if the constitutional and contextual aspects of our lives are supportive enough, we learn to operate more independently and to exercise choice in our lives more effectively. This requires an appreciation of the interdependence of our lives, of the world in which we live, and the limits and possibilities which it contains.
We constantly explore the limits and possibilities of relying on previous learning and exploring new ways and new beliefs. We may be strongly influenced to find ways of being which contrast with some of our significant life experiences, or we may repeat our experiences, often with the assumption that this is how the world is, and how everyone should be.

When two or more people live in close proximity, we can expect that differences, and inevitably conflicts, will ensue. This is part of the rich weave of our lives which continue to challenge us and to teach us.

Sometimes, our adult lives may be thrown into inner turmoil, we may experience self-doubts, destructive feelings or immobilising depression or anxiety. These disturbing experiences may be triggered by what would be relatively small or manageable difficulties for others, and even for ourselves in somewhat different circumstances. Such problems are frequently related to early life and usually early family aspects of our lives. Our difficulty trusting others, exercising choice or living with an adequate level of autonomy may be related to not having had sufficiently secure, loving or affirming experiences in our early family relationships.
More recent traumas, abuse, oppression or unresolved conflict may also contribute to distressing inner feelings, which can be successfully resolved in Family Therapy.

What do Family Therapists do?
Family Therapists universally employ the most inclusive frame to help clients make sense of their doubts or confusions. Some Family Therapists put most emphasis on exploring the beliefs, some the language and stories and some the repeating behaviour patterns. They may also elect to examine the attempted solutions or to focus attention on experiences which work well for the client, their successful solutions.

How many attend Family Therapy together?
The extent to which Family Therapists will emphasise including others in the process also varies. With relationship problems, we usually prefer to include the main participants. It is not uncommon for parents to successfully attend a series of consultations regarding one of their children, without the child being present.
Extended family members may be invited or partners or others who are significantly involved in the client’s life and difficulty. It is also common for individuals to attend alone, when the focus will include the significant relationships of their lives as the context of their emotional and psychological realities. Agreeing who will attend is usually an integral part of the exploratory process.

Some Family Therapists may also apply their systemic perspective to organisations such as schools, voluntary agencies, businesses and especially to family businesses. Consultation can help organisations to resolve intra organisations relationship problems and to address and to improve procedures and practices which influence their relationship with their consumers.
The systemic consultant’s focus will, again, include the context of the problem and can result in appreciating and fine tuning the ways in which the organisation responds to internal change and the range of changing external needs. The organisation, as the individual, can benefit by developing capacities of self-direction and responsivity.

Contact address:
Family Therapy Association of Ireland (FTAI)
73 Quinn’s Road
Dublin 18
Tel: 01 272 2105 / 087 405 8492



Frequently Asked Questions

Psychotherapists are professionals who are specifically trained to relate to and treat people who are distressed. An integral part of the treatment is the relationship between the psychotherapist and the patient/client.

Psychotherapists utilise a variety of psychological methods and skills in an effort to alleviate personal suffering and to encourage change. They may practice in a public or private setting on a one-to-one basis, with couples or groups. They treat clients of all ages, including children.

See also, What is Psychotherapy?

The work of psychotherapy can involve:

  • feelings associated with loss
  • family crisis, including separation
  • life stage developmental problems
  • past trauma
  • abuse issues
  • relationship problems
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • phobias
  • obsessions
  • self-harm
  • addictions
  • any other emotional or psychological difficulty.

You can make direct contact with psychotherapists through the Find a Therapist section of this Web site. Another good place to start is to discuss the help you need with your GP, who can refer you.

We list all accredited psychotherapists who are members of ICP.

Your issue should also influence your choice so you can select someone perfect for your problem and nearby in our Find a Therapist section.

Of course personal recommendation, i.e. “word of mouth”, can also be a good way of choosing a therapist.

Many of our clients come to us through their G.P.s who can refer you, but this is not essential.

It means peace of mind that your therapist is at the top of their profession. Proof of this is that the ICP is the only Irish body that can accredit therapists to the European gold standard approved by the EAP, the European Association of Psychotherapy.

We have to rely on international standards of excellence as we work toward a State registration of the profession in Ireland.

In the current situation the ICP is a link to the most exacting standards in Europe.

A Code of Ethics and Practice and Complaints Procedure back up ICP therapists. Clients have no come back with therapists who do not belong to a recognised representative body

How does a psychotherapist differ from a counsellor?

Most obvious is the depth and length of education and training as seen in the chart below.

Counselling Psychotherapy
Prior Academic Study: N/A 3 yrs/1,800 hrs
Specific Training:
Theory/methodology 450 hrs 500 – 800 hrs
Clinical Practice 100 + 450 hrs  = 550 300 – 600 hrs
Personal Development/ Personal Therapeutic Experience 50 hrs 250 hrs
Supervision Minimum 65 hours of 1:1 plus group supervision in training: minimum 40 = 105 150 hrs
Minimum Time: 950 hrs + supervision hours / 3 years 3,200 hours / 7 years


  • The length of the requirement for personal therapy or equivalent reflective practice.
  • Psychotherapists are trained to work with deep-seated problems including mental illnesses and personality disorders.
  • Counselling can be a shorter therapy addressing adjustment difficulties, situational or personal problems.

On first contacting a psychotherapist it is quite acceptable to discuss the following issues either on the phone when making the appointment or (more usually) at the first session:

  • Therapist’s training, experience and accreditation
  • Therapist’s supervision
  • Fees and nature of payment
  • Duration and frequency of sessions

Each professional organisation with the Irish Council for Psychotherapy has a Code of Ethics and a complaints and disciplinary procedure. The Code of Ethics are the rules of practice that govern how each psychotherapist operates within the therapy process.

The Code of Ethics obliges the therapist to uphold a high standard of professional competence and personal conduct in their practice with their clients. It also includes other areas of their practice such as confidentiality, record keeping, fees and advertising.

Psychotherapy has a long tradition where some of the greatest minds (Freud, Jung) grappled with the complexities of the mind. As the discipline grew different branches emerged presenting different areas of specialty, for example Couple and Family Therapy.

Some of the disciplines take a slightly different approach to problems than others. So Cognitive Behavioural  Therapy takes an educational approach and focuses on teaching strategies and skills to resolve problems. 

Go to our Disciplines page to read all about the different approaches.

See above, What does membership of the ICP mean to me as a client?

You can obtain further information by contacting the Irish Council for Psychotherapy by phone, writing to us or reading more of the material on this website. We are also on Facebook and you can follow us on Twitter. Each association has a contact person who will be able to give more information.

You can also contact the Council by using our online Contact Form