Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
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Report backs IACP call for increased investment in counselling and talk therapies

IACP had said medication should not always be first resort

The call for greater availability of talking therapies, that is contained in the report of the Oireachtas Committee on the Future of Mental Healthcare, has been welcomed by the IACP. The report reccommends a reduction in "the over-reliance on the prescribing of medication by increasing investment in counselling and talk therapies."
 
The report states: "The Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP) refer to a 'dominance' of medication in Irish treatment of mental illness and states that medication should not always be the first resort. However the dearth of talk therapy at primary care level often makes it difficult for that form of treatment to be the first resort."
 
The IACP delegation that presented to the Committee, highlighted a lack of choice for patients in this area. "It is vital, we believe, to increase access to therapy and to facilitate patient choice," said Chair Ray Henry. "Patients must feel confident they have been prescribed the treatment that will best address their needs – whatever form that may take."
 
IACP Chief Executive, Ms Lisa Molloy said: “One size does not fit all and one of the strongest messages to come out of the consultation that fed into A Vision for Change, was that people with poor mental health want alternatives to medication, including access to counselling and psychotherapy.” The IACP presented an action blueprint to the Committee, to tackle the shortage of counselling in the community.
 
In its presentation to the Committee, IACP proposed that the State adopt a programme for the treatment of mild to moderate depression, broadly modelled on the very successful initiative known as Counselling for Depression (CfD) in Britain. Dr David Murphy, from Nottingham University, as part of the IACP delegation at the Committee, detailed how the initiative ‘Counselling for Depression (CfD)’ has worked.
 
 
In summary, this programme trains counsellors to provide a depression-specific therapy for individual clients within Britain’s National Health Service (NHS). IACP has proposed that a similar initiative be developed within primary care in Ireland, to address the current service gap in this area.
 
Our UK equivalent, the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), developed this programme at the request of the NHS. This programme aims to make therapy available on the NHS, where previously medication was often almost the only option. The IACP is proposing that an initiative similar to Counselling for Depression (CfD) be developed in Ireland and that the IACP would partner with the HSE in providing a tailor-made solution for the Irish system. IACP Counsellors and Psychotherapists, located throughout the country, are ideally placed to deliver this programme.
 
The IACP strongly believes that there is a need for greater availability of evidence-based talking therapies for people with common mental health conditions, that are accessible via primary
care services and general practice. Our members can deliver such evidence-based therapies which will serve to fill a clearly identified need.
 
 
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IACP Vice Chair Bernie Hackett being interviewed  for the Six One and the Nine O'Clock TV News, by RTE's Health Correspondent, Fergal Bowers, on the launch of the Oireachtas Committee report


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