“Counselling Psychology’s approach is focused on the lived experience of a person.”
Counselling Psychology is a professional psychological discipline that draws on and combines psychological theory and research with evidence of ‘what works’ in therapy. While it is firmly rooted in the discipline of psychology, it holds at its core the importance of maintaining a person-centred, non-judgmental therapeutic relationship. A person-centred therapist strives to be empathic and to give every person the experience of being truly listened to, accepted, valued and respected. Counselling Psychology’s approach is focused on the lived experience of a person and how that may have contributed to the development of emotional difficulties, rather than being focused on diagnoses or mental health disorders.
Counselling Psychologists are trained in a wide range of different psychological interventions, approaches or techniques, which they use to treat emotional and psychological difficulties and life issues. These difficulties include, but are not limited to: childhood sexual abuse, relationship difficulties, problems of identity and self-esteem, bereavement and/or symptoms of psychological disorders (including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and psychosis). They work with adults, teenagers and children to help people to improve their personal and interpersonal wellbeing. They are interested in people’s beliefs and how they make meaning of things, as well as how interactions between people may contribute to the psychological health of individuals, couples and families.
In Ireland, the professional training to become a Counselling Psychologist generally takes between 7 and 9 years to complete. Counselling psychologists are initially required to have completed a 4-year honours degree in psychology along with 1 to 3 years’ relevant work experience prior to undertaking a full time 2 year taught Masters Programme or a 3-year full time taught Doctoral Programme.
Counselling Psychologists work in the HSE (Health Service Executive) and various other settings such as psychological services within general hospitals, specialised counselling services, GP practices, prison services, educational services, in business organisations, and in private practice.