CORU expects to open registration for clinical, counselling and educational psychologists by the first quarter of 2025, this newspaper has been told.
The plan to register psychologists was discussed at a meeting of CORU’s council in March. During the meeting, the minutes of which were seen by the Medical Independent (MI), members agreed to write to the Minister for Health to request the establishment of a working group on the issue.
A CORU spokesperson told MI that following a “detailed risk assessment” it was decided that the “specialisms of clinical, counselling, and educational psychology will be prioritised for regulation”.
Implementation, including the development of the required education and training standards, has commenced.
Asked about other types of psychologists and the use of the title ‘psychologist’, the spokesperson said CORU remained “fully committed to protecting the title of ‘psychologist’ for the protection of the public and for the benefit of the many professional psychologists working
The spokesperson noted that the protection of the title presented a number of unique challenges requiring “detailed consideration”. An expert panel is due to be convened this month to “consider these complexities in full”.
Recommendations arising from this process will be made before the end of this year. Thereafter, a timeline for the introduction of regulation for the psychology profession will be developed.
“There is currently no single data set on the number of psychologists practising in Ireland,” added the spokesperson. “However, it is believed that the three specialisms that are being prioritised are the three largest, and therefore prioritising them will significantly enhance protection of the public.”
Speaking in the Dáil last month, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly said that regulating psychologists “is a complex and lengthy process”.
The Minister noted that psychology had been “a uniquely challenging profession to regulate due to the diversity of its specialisms” and the lack of a common education pathway or standards for entry to the profession.
CORU is responsible for the registration of health and social care professionals. Psychologists were designated for regulation under amendments to the Health and Social Care Professionals Act 2005.
The psychologists registration board at CORU was established in 2017. It has since been working to introduce statutory regulation for the psychology profession.
The current legislation requires that there must be one common set of qualification requirements and one register for the entire profession. The registration board undertook consultation on a common educational standard to establish a single register and protect the title of psychologist.
A dual stream and phased approach to regulating the profession was decided following further consultation with the Minister.