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Posted: 03 July 2007

Report calls for national psychotherapy service

Evidence-based psychotherapy should be more widely and more rapidly available to children and adults with mental health problems in Ireland, according to a new report.

Using scientific evidence from hundreds of controlled studies involving thousands of cases, the report prepared by Professor Alan Carr, UCD School of Psychology, on behalf of the Irish Council for Psychotherapy, claims that patients are less likely to use routine medical services and attend hospital if they have easy access to psychotherapy.

“Developing psychotherapy services within the HSE makes good sense in terms of patient care but also in a financial sense,” says Professor Carr. “This report makes the case that psychotherapy works and that it is cost-effective.”

“Psychotherapy is successful for children, adolescents and adults with a wide range of mental health problems. About 2 out of 3 people who receive psychotherapy benefit from the treatment and experience a significant medical cost-offset.”

The report, The Effectiveness of Psychotherapy, calls for the immediate introduction of statutory registration of psychotherapists in Ireland. “This protects patients, and makes sure that they receive therapy from professionals with accredited training,” explains Professor Carr.

According to Professor Carr, there is a need for psychotherapy training to be developed in partnerships between universities, institutes and clinical agencies. “Training is not a one-off event,” he says. “There is a need to create structures to support ongoing psychotherapy supervision, training and continued professional education.”

The reports recommendations are consistent with the Government’s national mental health policy as set out in the Vision for Change Report. A full copy of the report can be downloaded from

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The Effectiveness of Psychotherapy