Vice chair Shelia Haskins with Kilkenny counsellor and representative, Michelle Quigley
The Irish Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapists’ (IACP) Strategic Plan 2017 – 2020 was launched last weekend at the organisation’s Annual Conference in Kilkenny.
The IACP aims to identify, develop and maintain professional standards of excellence in counselling and psychotherapy and to safeguard the public. This three-year strategic plan covering the years 2017 to 2020, comes at a time of change for members and the organization. It has been designed against a backdrop of new legislation and pending regulation. The Government has commenced a process aimed at regulating the profession and registering practitioners. The challenge for the Board was to set about modernizing IACP in preparation for wider changes affecting the profession. The legal framework affecting the Association has also changed.
Major changes were identified as necessary, so IACP could continue to be relevant in today’s professional health care environment. The Board kept itself informed of the plans of the Department of Health and CORU and what they would likely require from the profession in regulation.
Areas of improvement have been identified with regard to creating programmes to assist members in career development and raising wider awareness of the value of counselling and psychotherapy.
There are many challenges that IACP will face in this time period, but these can be seen as opportunities as well. Some involve making improvements in current activities while others concern new activities that are compatible with IACP’s purpose statement. This strategy document outlines a series of organizational reforms and sets out structures to align the organization with the key pillars outlined in the strategy. When implemented, the strategy and its key actions will contribute to making IACP and the profession stronger by 2020 - and more in line with the process of regulation.The IACP has been in existence developing, accrediting and raising professional standards for Counsellors and Psychotherapists since 1981.
Work on the implementation of the plan is well underway and on target. As envisaged, there has been a rollout of Continuous Professional Development for counsellors and psychotherapists and there is improved service from the National Office.
A Telephone Referral Helpline providing information on all areas relating to counselling and psychotherapy is provided at 01-2723427, 9am–5pm, Monday to Friday. A free comprehensive online directory of all accredited IACP Counsellors / Psychotherapists in Ireland is available at www.iacp.ie