Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
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Frequently Asked Questions

IACP Accredited Courses have been assessed in accordance with the IACP Criteria and Guidelines for Courses Seeking Accreditation and have been approved as valid core courses for the purpose of Individual Accreditation with the IACP.

NB : Course Accreditation may be withdrawn at any time if standards are not maintained.

What is the purpose of Course Accreditation?

The IACP was established to promote a standard and quality within the profession. IACP Course Accreditation is in place to ensure that there is a standard for counselling and psychotherapy training in Ireland. The IACP Course Accreditation process ensures that a course adheres to the Course Accreditation Criteria, which can be downloaded from this link http://www.irish-counselling.ie/course-accreditation-criteria.

The Course Accreditation Criteria is a document that was written to address all aspects of training and to ensure that within each aspect a minimum standard is set. This standard ensures that trainees are experienced and adept in all aspects of counselling and psychotherapy practice.

It is hoped that the opportunity to acquire ‘Accredited’ status will encourage the staff of training courses to monitor and develop their performance in ways which are creative and which lead to an enhancement of the quality of training on offer. 


What is the purpose of the Course Accreditation Criteria?

The criteria provide a minimum standard for what is considered thorough training in counselling and psychotherapy. The criteria were designed to preserve and enhance independence and diversity of approach while ensuring a common focus on those core elements in training which are considered to be fundamental.  It should be noted that designing a course which will become accredited is not simply a matter of meeting the bare minimum expressed in these criteria.


What Course Accreditation Criteria is used by the IACP at present?

At present the IACP are using the Course Accreditation criteria that was first published in 2000. It is available for download from this link http://www.iacp.ie/course-accreditation-criteria.

 There is new Course Accreditation Criteria 2015 will be implemented from January 2015.  There are a number of changes in this Course Accreditation document. These criteria must be considered and implemented by courses before or by January 2015. Due to the change in criteria all IACP Accredited courses will be ‘subject to review’ during this transition.  This means that if they fail to adhere to the new criteria the accreditation status will be withdrawn. It is strongly advised that courses download the Course Accreditation Criteria 2015 from this link http://www.iacp.ie/course-accreditation-criteria  and begin to review and assess how changes can be implemented prior to it’s implementation in January 2015. This will need to be considered in the planning for the 2014/2015 academic year.


What is the benefit of doing an Accredited IACP course?

Students attending an IACP Accredited Courses will be assured that the course is sufficient for entry as a Student Member of IACP. Graduates of IACP Accredited Courses will be assured that the course meets the training/educational requirement for individual IACP Accredited Membership.


If I successfully complete an Accredited Courses, can I automatically become an Accredited Member of IACP?

The successful completion of any course does not in itself guarantee accreditation, as it is only one factor of any individual application. The other requirements for accreditation can be found in the 'Join Us' section of the website.


Can you explain the Course Accreditation Assessment process?

There are two stages to the Course Accreditation assessment process;

 1. The Application Form: Course Provider must complete the Course Accreditation Application Form which can be downloaded at this link http://www.irish-counselling.ie/Course-Accreditation-Process.

2. The Course Assessment Visit: If the Course Accreditation Officer is satisfied that all course has provided sufficient information that adheres to the Course Accreditation Criteria, the Course Accreditation Officer will arrange a Course Assessment Visit with the Course Provider. This Course Assessment visit will compromise of a number of elements to verify that the course being assessed adheres to the Course Accreditation Criteria.

Once these two elements of assessment have been successfully completed and the Course Accreditation Officer and the Course Assessor are satisfied with the course a final report will be written for the Executive Committee to recommend the course is awarded accreditation. The Executive Committee must ratify the recommendation for accreditation of the course in order for the course to be awarded IACP accreditation.


How long does the Course Accreditation Process take?

The Course Accreditation process can take approximately six months in total to complete. The length of time can vary depending on the volume of applications in and on the satisfactory completion of the application.  


Who are the IACP’s Course Accreditation Officer and Course Assessor?

The Course Accreditation Officer and Course Assessor are employed by the IACP to monitor and implement the various stages of the Course Accreditation Process, Annual Monitoring, Re-Accreditation and Maintenance of accreditation. 


Can Course Providers advertise the fact that they have applied for IACP accreditation to prospective students?

No. Only courses who have completed the accreditation process and have received written confirmation of their accredited status may include the words “IACP Accredited Course” on their publicity material or use words that imply the same meaning. Organisations engaged in training should not state or imply in any publicity material that they intend to apply or that they have applied for accreditation by IACP.


What if our course does not meet the Course Accreditation Criteria?

First time accreditation application

For courses who have made an application for first time accreditation or who are contemplating making an application it is important that the Course Provider ensures that ALL the Course Accreditation Criteria can be demonstrated and verified. If the course has submitted an application and the Course Accreditation Officer finds that the course does not adhere to the Course Accreditation Criteria the application process will be ceased. The Course Accreditation Officer will write to the Course Provider stating the requirements within the criteria that the course does not demonstrate and encourage the course to re-apply once these requirements can be demonstrated.

IACP Accredited Courses

If it is brought to the attention of the Course Accreditation Officer that an IACP accredited course does not meet the Course Accreditation Criteria, the Course Accreditation Officer will write to the Course Provider seeking clarification regarding the specific requirement in question. If the course cannot demonstrate that it fulfils this requirement the Course Accreditation Officer will issue a deadline date whereby the Course Provider must rectify and demonstrate to the Course Accreditation Officer that this requirement is fulfilled. Failure to do so will result in IACP accredited status being withdrawn from the course. 


The course I plan on doing is not listed on the website; does this mean that it is not valid for accreditation?

A course which is not accredited by IACP may be in line with the Course Accreditation Criteria and therefore valid for accreditation, however IACP cannot provide a guarantee of non-IACP accredited courses as they have not been verified by the IACP course accreditation process. Details of whether non-IACP accredited courses meet the criteria should be sought from the Course Provider directly. The Course Accreditation Criteria document is available to download at this link http://www.iacp.ie/course-accreditation-criteria.


I would like to apply for accreditation for a course with IACP, what do I do?

Go to the 'Education' section of the website and view the 'Course Accreditation Process', follow the steps outlined in the flowchart. Download and read the Criteria and Guidelines for Courses Seeking Accreditation.

Download and complete the Course Accreditation Application Form.  The completed Application Form will then be assessed by the Course Accreditation Officer who will be in contact to arrange an assessment visit if the information submitted is in line with the Criteria for Courses Seeking Accreditation.


How much does it cost to apply for accreditation?

There is a once-off fee for the accreditation process and the institution pays their Course Accreditation Fee on a yearly basis after the course has been approved. Current fees can be found under Membership Rates.


How long is accreditation of a course?

A course is accredited for six years.


What happens once the Course Provider makes an application for first time accreditation?

1. The Course Provider will submit the completed application of the counselling and psychotherapy course that they wish to be awarded accreditation for, the extra information outlined on the checklist and a signed ‘Terms and Conditions for Courses Contract’.

 2. The Course Accreditation Officer will then review the completed application.Once the review has been completed the Course Accreditation Officer may ask for more information if clarification is needed regarding certain aspects of the application. 

3. Once the Course Accreditation Officer is satisfied with the application and the information submitted they will forward the application for review to a Course Assessor. 

4. The Course Accreditation Officer will then set a date for the Course Assessment Visit to take place. The Course Assessment Visit allows the Course Accreditation Officer and the Course Assessor to observe, interview and experience the course as described in the completed application.

5. If the Course Accreditation Officer and Course Assessor are satisfied that the completed application form has been verified in this visit and that all the Course Accreditation Criteria is adhered to, then a final report will be sent to the Executive Committee to recommend the course for accreditation.

6. If the Executive Committee ratify the recommendation for accreditation, the course will be awarded IACP accredited status for six years.


What is the role of the appointed Liaison Person on an Accredited Course?

The IACP will continue to monitor the courses after accreditation and a liaison person is essential to support this. Correspondence related to the accredited courses will be directed to the liaison person and they are also required to submit yearly reports and any changes occurring in the course.


How can the Course Provider complete the application to ensure that it is satisfactory?

To complete a satisfactory application the Course Provider is asked to demonstrate that the course adheres to the Course Accreditation Criteria. Each section of the application form reflects the requirements for each criteria outlined in the Course Accreditation Criteria. The Course Provider is asked to read the Course Accreditation Criteria carefully and reflect how the each requirement is fulfilled within the course. If the Course Provider experiences any difficulty completing the application or understanding a particular section they are advised to contact the IACP Course Accreditation Officer for support and advise. 


Can a Course Provider apply for accreditation of a course before the course starts running?

Prior to application courses are required to have completed a full cycle of one cohort of the course prior to application.


Can you explain what happens during the Course Assessment visit in detail?

Once the Course Accreditation Officer and Course Assessor are satisfied that the Course Provider has fulfilled the Course Accreditation criteria and has submitted any extra information that is requested and has submitted a signed copy of the ‘Terms and Conditions Contract for Courses’ a Course Assessment Visit will be arranged.

Course Assessment Visit outline

This Course Assessment Visit outline gives the Course Provider a brief description of the elements involved in the Course Accreditation Assessment visit. Each element allows the Course Accreditation Officer and Course Assessor to experience the course as it is designed, taught and run.  It also allows the Course Accreditation Officer and Course Assessor to meet with core staff and students to assess their experience of the course and the Course Provider.

All questions are based on the Course Accreditation Criteria and its application to the course. The Course Assessment Visit will last the duration of a course day and if there is discrepancy during its assessment the Course Accreditation Officer and Course Assessor may ask for another visit.

The Course Provider is issued with a rough timetable, at the end of the Course Assessment outline, this is to allow ease of movement from class to class and from interview to interview to limit the amount if disruption in the day to day running of the course.

The Course Assessment Visit allows the IACP to observe the day to day running of the course and to verify that standards and IACP Course Accreditation Criteria are adhered to. The IACP will issue the Course Provider with an IACP Course Assessment Visit outline. There are five elements to be assessed during the Course Assessment visit; 1. Core Staff Meeting, 2. Student Class Representative Meeting, 3. Theory Class Observation, 4. Skills Training Observation, 5. Skills Assessment. These elements are described in the sample outline below; 

IACP Course Assessment Visit

The IACP assess each course through application and a scheduled visit.  The visit assessment is a one day assessment split in five categories; 1. Core Staff Meeting, 2. Student Class Representative Meeting, 3. Theory Class Observation, 4. Skills Training Observation, 5. Facilities Assessment.  The course being assessed will be asked to submit the timetable for the day of the assessment and from this the IACP will schedule when the meetings, observations and facilities assessment can take place.

1. Core Staff Meeting

The IACP Course Assessors will meet & Interview Core Staff members. Core Staff members will consist of a minimum of two to a maximum of four core staff members.  This interview will be based on the IACP Course Accreditation Criteria and its application to the course.  This interview will take approx. 1 hour-1 hour & 30 minutes.

The IACP will ask that time be set aside at the end of the visit for the Course Assessors to ask any further questions which may have arisen from the visit approx. 20-30minutes.

2. Document review

An empty and available room within the premises will be required for this review. The IACP require time to review specific documentation relevant to the course to verify this information. The specific documents listed below must be available for the Courses Assessors to view on the day of Assessment:

A selection of students self-development reports (this should include a grade range)

A selection of supervisors reports(this should include a grade range)

A selection of assessed written work submitted by the students (this should include a grade range)

A sample of the course assessment figures for the year with External Examiners verification of these grades.

To review these specific requirements the IACP will require approx. 1 hour- 1 hour & 30 minutes reviewing this documentation.

3. Student Class Representative Meeting

The IACP Course Assessors will meet one class representative from each year present on the day.  If there is only one class running on the day one student class representative will be sufficient. If it is possible for two student representatives to attend from different years, this would be preferable please notify the IACP if more than one class representative will be able to attend. The representative will be identified prior to the visit and a time will be arranged for the IACP Course Assessors to meet with the student for approx. 40minutes.  The IACP will send a brief outline of this interview procedure to each class representative prior to the visit to make them aware of the process and what is expected from their participation.  The IACP would ask that another class representative is nominated in the case that the assigned class representative is absent.

4. Theory Class Observation

The IACP Course Assessors will sit in to a scheduled Theory Class to observe. The IACP Course Assessors will assess a number of factors within this observation ranging from the trainer to the content of the class to the facilities within which the class is held. There will be no questions asked of the Tutor or the students during this observation. This assessment will take the duration of a class from approx. 40 minutes. If this is a double class the IACP Course Assessors will leave at the assigned break.

5. Skills Training Observation

The IACP Course Assessors will sit in to a Skills Training Class for the class duration.  Here the IACP Course Assessors will observe the effectiveness of skills training, the feedback given to students and the method of skills training delivered. The Course Assessors stress that students must demonstrate skills training in this class which may involve triads, dyads etc. The Course Assessors would ask that permission is given by the students for the Course Assessors to observe them in their triads.  This may involve the Course Assessors sitting in with different groups during the observation. There will be no questions asked of the Tutor or the students during this observation. This assessment will take the duration of a class approx. 40 minutes. If this is a double class the IACP Course Assessors will leave at the assigned break.

6. Facilities Assessment

The IACP Course Assessors will ask to see the various facilities offered by the course such as the library, counselling rooms etc.  This is to assess whether they are fit for purpose, safe secure, clean and as advertised to applicants.  This assessment will take approx. 15-30minutes.

Example: Wednesday 24nd May 2016 

Time

Assessment

10:00-10:20am

Facilities Assessment

10:20- 11:00am

Skills Training Observation (1st Years)

11:15-1pm

Core Staff Interview

1pm-2pm

Lunch

2pm-2:40pm

Theory Observation (1st Years)

2:45pm-3:15pm

Class Representative Interview (1st Year)

3:15pm-4:30pm

Document Review

(an available, empty room is required for document review)

4:30pm-5pm

Final questions with Core Staff 


What does the Course Provider need to do to prepare for an IACP Course Assessment Visit?

The IACP will request any specific requirements in the IACP Course Assessment Visit Outline. Students and staff will be notified of the assessment as the IACP will be conducting a Core Staff interview and observation of a skills training and theory class.

To allow the visit run smoothly and with minimal disruption the Course Accreditation Officer will request a timetable for the day from the Course Provider to account for breaks and class times.  This will allow the Course Accreditation Officer to schedule the assessments appropriately so that all five assessment elements are covered.

A Class representative from each class and each year will be requested for an interview. This gives the Course Accreditation Officer and Course Assessor an opportunity to see what the student experience of the course is like and to verify the information given by the Course Provider in the completed application form. The Class Representative will be notified of this interview prior to the assessment and what they can expect from the interview. The IACP would ask that a second person is also nominated for each class and each year in case the class representative is sick on the day of the assessment.

The Course Accreditation Officer will also request specific documents to be reviewed on the day of the assessment. These documents can range from academic results to self-assessment reports to the training qualification certificates of the core staff. The information requested can be sensitive information and is treated with confidentiality.

Once the assessment is completed the Course Accreditation Officer and Course Assessor would ask that the Core Staff be available for a half an hour to conclude the assessment with any outstanding questions from the visit.


What happens once the visit is finished?

The Course Accreditation Officer and Course Assessor will write up a report. This report will outline whether the course assessment visit reflected the information in the completed application form.  This report will document any suggestions for development.

The report will also outline any conditions for Course Accreditation. If a condition is outlined the accreditation of the course is dependent on this condition being fulfilled and demonstrated to the Course Accreditation Officer by the deadline date issued.

If the Course Accreditation Officer and Course Assessor are satisfied that the application and visit pass the assessment, this report will recommend that the Executive Committee award accreditation to the course. If the Executive Committee ratify this decision the course will be awarded IACP Accredited status. 

If the Course is not awarded accreditation a report will be issued to the Course Provider outlining the reasons for this decision. The Course Provider can apply for accreditation again in the next academic year once they can demonstrate to the Course Accreditation Officer that the reasons outlined in the report have been addressed. 

Please Note: Please refer to the ‘Terms and Conditions Contract for Courses’ for information regarding maintaining accredited status.


What is involved in Course Accreditation once a course is accredited?

An Accredited Course Member submits a yearly report which is reviewed by the Course Accreditation Officer. There is also ongoing monitoring of the course.


If the course becomes accredited, can the Course Provider run the same course in different locations/at a different time/on a different day of the week?

Accreditation attaches itself to specific courses rather than institutions. If an institution runs two or more courses, in different locations or at different times or on different days, which it wishes to enter for accreditation then separate applications are required.

Multiple course accreditation is an option for course providers who provide the same course in different locations, at different times, or on different days. The courses that you are applying for must have completed a full cycle of the course before an application for accreditation is made. The only difference in courses must apply to the staff, time, location and day of the course. The course content structure etc. must be the exact same for it to be considered for Multiple Course Accreditation. 

It is possible to apply for IACP Multiple course accreditation using the IACP Multiple Course Application Form which helps to condense the application process.

The courses will be assessed in the same way as a first time application or re-accreditation. The Course Assessment visit must be conducted separately in order for the Course Accreditation Officer and Course Assessor to verify the completed Multiple Course Application form. 


If my course was not awarded accreditation, will my students be eligible for individual accreditation with IACP?

Courses which have been refused accreditation by IACP, or which do not satisfy IACP criteria are unlikely to be acceptable for individual accreditation purposes.


What happens after the six years of accreditation expires?

The course should apply for Re-Accreditation after six years.


How much does it cost for Re-Accreditation?

There is a once-off fee for Re-Accreditation and the course continues with their annual subscription for course accreditation. Current fees can be found under Membership Rates.


What does the IACP require from a Course Provider when applying for Course Accreditation?

1. Course Providers thinking of applying for IACP Course Accreditation must provide a counselling and psychotherapy course.

2. A Course Provider must be an Organisational Member of the IACP before applying for Course Accreditation. To become an Organisational Member please follow the guidelines on the attached link http://www.irish-counselling.ie/Organisation-Membership.

3. The Course Provider will apply for a specific course or courses for Course Accreditation. Course Providers or Institutes or Organisations are not accredited it is the course/s that are put forward for accreditation that are awarded accreditation.

4. The course that the Course Provider wishes to apply for accreditation for must have completed a full cycle of the course.

5. The IACP recommend that the Course Provider downloads the Course Accreditation Criteria to ensure that their course adheres to all the outlined requirements within the document. The Course Accreditation Criteria can be downloaded from this link http://www.irish-counselling.ie/course-accreditation-criteria.

Please Note: The Course Accreditation Criteria may change, please ensure that this criteria is adhered to. If a course is awarded Accredited status by the IACP this status is ‘subject to review’ once new criteria is in place regardless of the length of time that the course has been accredited.

6. The IACP also require that courses applying for accreditation or that are accredited with the IACP must download, sign and adhere to the ‘Terms and Conditions Contract for courses’ .

7. Once the Course Provider is satisfied that they can fulfil the above requirements they are asked to download and complete the Course Accreditation Application Form available for download from this link http://www.irish-counselling.ie/Course-Accreditation-Process.


If I have completed a course which is not accredited, what course details will be required when applying for accreditation?

Full details of requirements for IACP Accreditation can be found at 'Join Us' section of the website. If the core course is not an IACP Accredited Course, it is essential to include with the application the course brochure giving the course details showing that its criteria are equivalent to the IACP current Criteria for Course Accreditation.


What happens after the six years of accreditation expires?

The course should apply for Re-Accreditation after six years.


What does the Re-Accreditation Process involve?

Re-Accreditation Application Form

 IACP Accredited courses are asked to submit a completed Re-Accreditation Application Form which is available for download on the IACP website at this link http://www.iacp.ie/course-re-accreditation-process. The Re-Accreditation process is operated similarly to the first time accreditation process. The Re-Accreditation Application form is the same as the first time accreditation form however there is an additional section that documents any changes that have occurred within the course within this six year period.  This information can be gathered using the Annual Monitoring Report Forms which document annual changes in the same format.

The Course Accreditation Officer reviews the Re-Accreditation form and will request any extra information if required and will assess whether the application form adheres to the course accreditation criteria.

 Please Note: If there is a noticeable breach in the criteria the Course Accreditation Officer will write to the course with a condition for this to be rectified and demonstrated to the Course Accreditation Officer on or before the deadline issued. If the Course Accreditation Officer is satisfied that the course adheres to the criteria, a Course Assessment visit will be arranged.

 Re-Accreditation Assessment Visit

 The Re-Accreditation visit is conducted in the same way that the first time accreditation visit is conducted (please refer to course accreditation visit).  The Re-Accreditation visit is a day long process conducted by the Course Accreditation Officer and the Course Assessor. Prior to the visit the Course Provider is issued a Course Assessment visit outline.  If the Course Accreditation Officer and Course Assessor are satisfied with the course application and the course assessment they will then write a report to recommend the course for re-accreditation which will be sent to the Executive Committee for ratification. The course will be issued a re-accreditation certificate and accreditation for six years from the date of the certificate. 


How long does the Course Provider have to be an Organisation Member with the IACP before they can apply for accreditation?

There is no specific time frame for courses to be Organisation Members prior to application. The IACP require Course Providers to have applied, paid and been accepted prior to their application for first time accreditation. 


How many Core staff should be on a course?

There must be at least two core staff members assigned to the course and the students. 


Why is it necessary for courses to assign Core Staff members?

Core staff are essential in providing support to students throughout the course. The Core Staff have central involvement in admission, course management, theory, skills training, supervision and assessment. Core Staff are crucial to the professional formation of the student Counsellors or Psychotherapists and as such undertake the bulk of training and assessment.


How do I ensure I am appropriately qualified to be a Core Staff member?

To ensure that individuals are appropriately qualified to become Core Staff members there are a number of requirements for individuals to fulfil;

The first of which asks that the individual has substantial experience of supervised counselling for at least five years after qualifying and be currently practicing.

Have trained as trainers.

Have at least 4 years experience in counselling training.

Have regular external supervision and external consultation on training work.

Have had personal therapy either individual or group.

Have an accredited theoretical background.

Have a commitment to ongoing professional development.


How can Course Staff demonstrate that they have trained as trainers?

The requirement for Core Staff to have trained as trainers has been part of the Course Accreditation Criteria was since 2000. Criteria 2015 extended this requirements to all Staff on the course. It is essential that Course Staff members are trained to train.While Course Providers may have a great deal of experience teaching and have taught for a number of years, this does not fulfil the requirement for having ‘trained as trainers’. 

 The IACP ask that Course Staff are appropriately qualified to teach and supervise. Completing this requirement ensures that core staff are equipped with the theoretical and practical skills necessary to become effective teachers and / or facilitators of student learning.

 A ‘Train the Trainer’ course is the minimum requirement for Course Staff. This provides basic knowledge and skills of training and education and teaches participants how to effectively deliver training sessions.

Course Staff need to be able to demonstrate that they are capable of constructing a class, writing training objectives, delivering and evaluating the learning outcomes set out within the module and the course as a whole. 


What is meant by a Succession Policy and a 'Duty of Care' to students?

The IACP ask that Course Providers have a Succession Policy in place to protect the students and staff in the event that a course ceases to trade. The Succession Policy must be comprehensive. It must ensure the following;

  1. That there are replacements for individuals who currently hold positions that are key to the Course Providers success. The positions to be considered mainly concern Directors and Management but may also consider replacements for those who are key to the success of the institution.
  2. To include a ‘Duty of Care’ policy for students should the course cease at any stage for any reason. Course staff owe a duty to take responsible care of the safety and welfare of students while they are enrolled on a course offered by the Course Provider. The duty is to take such measures as are reasonable in all circumstances to protect students from risks of harm that are reasonably unforeseen. In discharging their duty of care to students staff must exercise their professional judgement to achieve a balance between ensuring that students do not face an unreasonable risk of harm and encouraging students independence and maximising learning opportunities. When non-teaching staff, volunteers and external providers agree to perform tasks that require them personally to care for students they will also take such measures as are reasonable in all circumstances to protect students from risks of harm that are reasonably unforeseen. The duty owed to is not a duty to ensure that harm will ever occur but rather a duty to take reasonable care to avoid harm being suffered.

Can the External Examiner have any involvement with the course, staff or students?

The External Examiner is appointed by the Course Provider as an independent individual who has no current association or involvement with the institute or course or any involvement with the course staff or students. 


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