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Jayne Leonard Honoured with IACP Research Excellence Award [26/04/24]

For Immediate Release:

26th April 2024

Jayne Leonard Honoured with IACP Research Excellence Award

Recognises Significant Research in the Counselling and Psychotherapy Field

Jayne Leonard of Ennis Co Clare has been honoured with the Research Excellence Award by the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy at its 9th Annual Conference for her article titled "Staying in my lane: An exploration of counsellors and psychotherapists understanding and use of nutrition in the therapy room” which was published in the peer reviewed Counselling and Psychotherapy Research journal in 2023.

This paper looks at the silence that can surround nutrition within the therapy room, noting that while there is substantial evidence from the area of nutritional psychiatry for the benefits of discussing diet and nutrition in therapeutic settings it still remains largely unacknowledged by the psychotherapy profession as a whole.

Lisa Molloy, IACP Chief Executive Officer, praised Ms Leonard’s innovative research.

“Jayne’s outstanding article is the first to consider this issue from the Irish perspective and adds to the small but growing body of research exploring how therapists and counsellors bring nutrition into the therapy room. Congratulations to Jayne on receiving the 2024 IACP Research Excellence Award for your original piece of research and its impactful contribution to the field of counselling and psychotherapy.”

Ms Leonard draws attention to the lack of research on the use of dietary and nutritional interventions within psychotherapy, with just a handful of studies exploring therapist engagement with clients about diet and their knowledge of the food-mood link.

Jayne Leonard, MIACP, commented following receiving the IACP Research Excellence Award.

“It is such an honour to be presented with the IACP’s Research Excellence award. The evidence linking food and mood is convincing, yet the findings are often overlooked in the field of psychotherapy.”

Ms Leonard continued:

“I hope that my research can contribute in some small way to how psychotherapists view nutrition in the context of mental health, not only in terms of how specific nutrients can impact mood, but also in relation to the social, economic, cultural, and identity-related aspects of food that clients may bring into the therapy room.”

Ms Leonard is an accredited IACP member and a member of the Irish Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy Editorial Committee and is a therapist in private practice in Ennis. She completed four years of training with PCI College in counselling and psychotherapy, and holds a first-class Masters (MSc.) in Pluralistic Counselling and Psychotherapy from IICP.

The Research in Excellence Award was presented at the IACP’s 9th Annual Conference on Saturday 20th April 2024 in the Radisson Blu Hotel, Sligo.

 IACP 2024 Award Recipients:

Carl Berkeley Memorial Award: Audrey Flanagan

Public Inspiration Award: Blezzing Dada

Research Excellence Award: Jayne Leonard

Research Bursary Award: Gerard Meehan

Regional Award Recipients: 

Dublin Regional Award: Breda Farrell

Midlands Regional Award: Anita Lynch

Northeast Regional Award: Kathleen Byrne

Southeast Regional Award: Patricia Wilson

Southern Regional Award: Celine O'Callaghan

West North West Regional Award: Liam Neville

Western Regional Award: Michelle Caulfield


For further information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Nicole Mac Dermott, MPII -  Communications Supervisor: 087 720 6033  Wayne Tobin, Communications Officer: 089 214 2276.



The fourth annual Research Excellence Award is presented to a member for a piece of research that meaningfully contributes to the field of counselling/psychotherapy. All IACP members were invited to submit a published article based on their research and members of the Research Committee adjudicated the award.

Ms Leonard’s article was published in the BACP’s Counselling and Psychotherapy Research journal. It is an international peer-reviewed journal dedicated to linking research with practice in counselling and psychotherapy. It aims to promote high-quality, ethical research that influences, informs and develops counselling and psychotherapy practice.

The IACP was established in 1981 to identify, develop and maintain professional standards of excellence in counselling and psychotherapy. Our work promotes best practice and the development of the profession. The IACP represents 6,000 members based in communities all over the country and is the largest counselling and psychotherapy association in Ireland. For more information, please visit


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