Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
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AGM Motions and Results - October 2021


Motion 1 - This motion was not carried 

Motion Text

To change the name of the membership category “Pre-Accredited member” to “Graduate member” of IACP.

To amend the Bye-laws (as amended October, 2019) as follows – section 1.2:
Original Subsection
1.2 Pre-Accredited Membership is available to those who have successfully completed an IACP Accredited Course and who are actively working towards Accreditation. They may not represent themselves as Accredited Members of IACP but may represent themselves as Pre-Accredited Members.
Revised Subsection
1.2 Graduate Membership is available to those who have successfully completed an IACP Accredited Course and who are actively working towards Accreditation. They may not represent themselves as Accredited Members of IACP but may represent themselves as Graduate Members.

Rationale:

This membership category is eligible to those who successfully graduated from an IACP Accredited Course; therefore we feel that the title Graduate represents it more accurately and understandably than Pre-Accredited. Graduate Member offers more clarity to the general public, who are not familiar with the IACP membership structure and often confuse Pre-Accredited with someone still in training.

The term Pre-Accredited can have a negative meaning for the members of the public and employers, as it places an emphasis on the lack an accomplishment of full accreditation rather than recognition of being graduated/qualified.

The Member Category Working Group, who propose this change with full support of the IACP Board are aware of examples where the current title Pre-Accredited has caused confusion in the past and had a negative impact on the chances of attaining clients by Pre-Accredited Members.  

Also, we hope that current issue of non-payment of many Pre-accredited Members for their work will be addressed by the change of title, as organisations and employers will have clarity that these members are Graduates and should be paid for their work.

Proposed by: Izabela Morris                         Seconded by: Andrew Harbourne-Thomas


Motion 2 – This motion was not carried

Motion Text

To create a new membership category called Academic Member.

To amend the Bye-laws (as amended October, 2019) as follows – adding section 1.10:
New subsection
1.10 Academic Membership is open under two sets of criteria of members.  It may only be used for the duration of approved Counselling and Psychotherapy Academic Activities.

1.10.1 Academic Membership is available to those who hold current Accredited or Supervisor Membership in good standing who are engaged in Counselling and Psychotherapy Academic Activities and to Lecturers of IACP accredited Courses, and other Counselling and Psychotherapy Courses meeting criteria laid down from time to time by the Board of Directors.

There are two types of Academic Membership:

- Accredited Academic Member - Accredited/Supervisor Member retains the benefits and responsibilities of Accredited/Supervisor; Active and Inactive membership available. 

- Non-accredited Academic Member – Non-accredited Members and Non-Member Lecturers may avail of this category for the duration of the approved academic activities.
 

Rationale:

To bring our organisation in line with worldwide practices in the Counselling and Psychotherapy profession and continue to support and develop academic/learning activities, we propose the creation of a new category - Academic Membership - to be added to the IACP Bye Laws.

This proposal intends to support and encourage academic activities by offering opportunities for Accredited Members engaged in approved academic activities (either post graduate studies in or a substantial element of Counselling and Psychotherapy) to pause client work and retain their membership as Academic Members. Access to this category would, of course, be by choice: to stay an active or inactive Accredited Academic Member or Non-Accredited Academic Member. Once the academic activity is completed, the member returns to their previous category.

The strong intent is to support and foster valuable academic contributions, excellence and mastery in research by our membership, further raising our standards as a professional body.

Academic Membership would also be available to lecturers on IACP or IAHIP accredited or University Counselling and Psychotherapy courses benefitting the IACP with increased information sharing and networking with Members. This is in line with worldwide associations of Counselling and Psychotherapy, further enhancing our academic community engagement and influence.

Proposed by: Dr. Karen Ward                         Seconded by: Izabela Morris


Motion 3 – This motion was carried

Motion Text

We ask that the IACP change the terms and conditions of its membership to encompass the following: Pre-accredited and accredited members are encouraged to protect the value of counselling by working only where payment is offered if at all possible.

Rationale:

As it is illegal in Ireland to ask someone to work for no pay, The law society will act for free (pro bono) to represent people in the Workplace Relations Commission as it is an “egregious breach of employment law” (Labour Law Solicitor Richard Grogan 2021). A culture has emerged within the profession of psychotherapy and counselling that people will work for no pay for various reasons including the following.

1. To build up client hours to become accredited.

2. In the hope of paid work becoming available.

3. When asked to work free by a charity.

4. To help disadvantaged communities.

5. For altruistic purposes to “give back” to society.

6. To use the skills learned in training rather than waste the ability.

7.When there is no monetary need to work for a salary if a principal income exists.

This culture has diminished the value of counselling. Where the counsellor wishes to donate their wage, they may do so anonymously and to a charity of their choosing but not at the expense of people who are relying on their profession to earn a living.

Proposed by: Olive Cross                               Seconded by: Donagh Ward


Motion 4 – This motion was carried

Motion Text

That the IACP will give an undertaking not to advertise free counselling on its website going forward.

Rationale:

Further to motion 3, if the IACP accept and acknowledges that psychotherapy and counselling has a value and in particular a monetary value then members have a right to payment for their skills and knowledge. By offering free psychotherapy through its website the IACP detracts from that value and undermines the work we do and, above all, the rights of members to make a living wage. The culture of “free” work does not exist in any other profession and indeed would not be tolerated by any other profession. We as therapists value our work and are proud of the unique service we offer. We therefore would like our association to support us in this most basic of human rights.

Proposed by: Olive Cross                               Seconded by: Donagh Ward


Motion 5 – This motion was withdrawn

Motion Text

That the IACP takes a challenge case on behalf of its members to the HSE regarding their eligibility criteria for the position of Psychotherapist/ Counsellor.

Rationale:

The profession and title of psychotherapist and counsellor are unique and should not be compared with other medical qualifications within the mental health service. Where a stand- alone qualification exists on the Higher Education Authority list of courses (amended by the HEA Bill 2021), that qualification should be accepted wholly and completely on its own merit where a vacancy exists for a psychotherapist or a counsellor. The eligibility of a second degree in an allied health care discipline such as nursing, speech and language or social care is an insult to our profession and skills. It also provides further evidence if any was needed, that recruiters do not understand the meaning of psychotherapy or how it is delivered. As a profession, we can no longer stand by and see ourselves undermined by the HSE in this manner any longer.

Proposed by: Olive Cross                               Seconded by: Donagh Ward


Motion 6 – This motion was withdrawn

Motion Text

That the IACP declares an alignment of a set minimum wage for their members in line with current HSE rates for Psychotherapists.

Rationale:

Pay scales for psychotherapists and counsellors must be brought in line with other professions to take into account the standard of education and years of experience undertaken by individual practitioners. For example, the governing body of social workers is CORU and the Irish association of Social Workers IASW is their voice and representative body. Where a Social Worker is employed by a private entity and not the HSE, the pay scales are in line with HSE rates, and all employers declare an alignment to those pay scales. Psychotherapists should be paid a just wage and it is up to our association in the absence of regulation to make declarations on our behalf.

Proposed by: Olive Cross                               Seconded by: Karen Murphy


Motion 7 – This motion was carried

Motion Text

That the IACP adopt a policy where they expect charitable organisations providing counselling and who are funded by the HSE are encouraged to pay their psychotherapists and counsellors the same rates of pay being offered to sessional and full time employed psychotherapists and counsellors in the HSE.

Rationale:

As in motion no 3, the culture of working for nothing in the profession of psychotherapy and counselling is systemic and no longer acceptable in the present landscape of mental health in Ireland. If our profession is to survive and develop into the future, individual therapists cannot be asked to bear the burden caused by the lack of investment by countless Governments over the years.

Proposed by: Olive Cross                               Seconded by: Karen Murphy


Motion 8 – This motion was carried

Motion Text

The National Supervisors Forum to establish

1. A. standardised policy in each region.

2. A training budget in each region to enhance & enrich the skills of Supervisors.

3. A. structure in each region to discuss and support clinical supervisors’ issues.

Rationale:

The Supervisor is seen as the Gate Keeper for Clinical Practice, supporting students, therapists etc. We feel additional support is needed – required to maintain this level of responsibility. This is increasingly important given the changing nature of counselling. for example, virtual online, phone, and text counselling.

Proposed by: Patricia Hannon                                   Seconded by: Liam Neville


Motion 9 – This motion was carried

Motion Text

That IACP accredited training providers are required to have

(a) Secured student placements

(b) Allocated placements for all students offered a place in their programmes.

Rationale:

Background: In the current Guidelines for Counselling and Psychotherapy Placements (IACP 2018) 6.2 places the responsibility of the training organisation to ensure that students have access to appropriate sources of client referral. However, the situation is that for some students it is up to them individually and not the training organisation to find/secure placements in community organisations. In some organisations, a further challenge is fulfilling the criteria of regular counselling practice with real clients. This struggle pre-exists Covid-19 with many students finding that well into their academic programme they may not meet the minimum acceptable number of client hours under supervision. This is considerable pressure on students who are juggling with their academic endeavours, employment, and family commitments. To address this we would request that the IACP would consider the following and amend the guidelines accordingly.

1. Include and assess the capacity of accredited psychotherapy/counselling training providers to meet the practice placement requirements built into their programme.

2. As a requirement of their approval by IACP, training providers need to provide evidence that they have a list of approved placements nationally and that they have negotiated with these placements to take a set number of students from their college.

Proposed by: Katherine Bree                         Seconded by: Liam Neville


 

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