Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
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Practice During Covid-19 Outbreak FAQs

COVID-19 IACP members info

Vaccine FAQs for Counsellors/Psychotherapists

Update 20/05/21

The HSE has introduced an Escalation Process for those registered over 15days.
Call 1850 241 850
Select Option: Registration Query
To confirm when you were initially registered, call and they will escalate where appropriate. They can also move you into Group 9 (from 2F), but only once your age cohort has been called.

Update 29/04/21: 

Callers or emailers to other support channels with issues using the online registration system should be directed initially to submit their query through this form, https://www.hse.ie/hcwportalsupport or they can call HSELive Vaccine Team on 01 240 8746.

This information is now on https://www.hse.ie/hcwvaccine


Update 06/04/21

Some of our membership has raised some concerns about the vaccine allocation process; chiefly they had concerns that if they had registered for the vaccine before 26th March, their appointments would not be valid.
We spoke with the HSE, who ensured us that those who have registered on the Vaccine portal before the 26th of March would have their appointment honoured in due course.

They also told us that the portal would reopen in a few weeks and advised patience to those waiting for confirmation of an appointment. They also advised that our members log back into the registration portal and check that their personal details are correct. They are currently working through a large backlog and are endeavouring to make provisions for every registrant. We will endeavour to inform members of the portal's reopening when it becomes known to us.

Please follow this link to learn more. 


Update 29/03/2021

REGISTRATION CLOSED 

Vaccine registration has closed for frontline healthcare workers through the online portal.

If you are a frontline healthcare worker and you registered before midday on Friday, 26 March, you will be offered your vaccine soon.

Online registration is not open to members of the public or other groups yet.

For more information, please follow this link.  


Update 09/02/2021

The IACP can now confirm that Counsellors/Psychotherapists are in the 2F sequence of vaccine priority rollout for Healthcare Workers. Please follow this link to read the whole list. 

There is a link at the bottom of the page for HCWs, such as our members, to register for vaccination.
 
The instructions for registration are as follows:
1.3. Instructions for Registration
1.31. Log in to the portal by clicking on https://www.hse.ie/hcwvaccine/
1.32. Enter all your details, including the relevant sequencing group (2a-2f), based on the above guidelines. Questions or queries on this should be addressed to line management. [Most IACP Members will fall into Category 2.F) 
1.33. An appointment will be sent to each HCW to attend a vaccination clinic
1.34. There will be a requirement to present for a vaccination with photo ID and acceptable credentials (Workplace photo ID, Letter from an employer, Certificate of current registration status with relevant Irish Regulatory Body) [Your accreditation certificate from IACP]. 
1.35. Credentials can be checked prior to entry to a vaccine clinic
1.36 DO NOT ATTEND THE VACCINE CLINICS IF YOU ARE SYMPTOMATIC OR IF YOU HAVE BEEN ADVISED TO SELF ISOLATE OR RESTRICT YOUR MOVEMENTS, a later appointment will be sent to you to accommodate this.

GUIDE: 

  1. Register on this link.
  2.  Enter the portal via the registration email that you'll receive via email (please allow 5 – 10 minutes for it to arrive, please check all inboxes, including spam/junk).
  3. Enter all your details such as  PPS No., Your GP, GP Address, etc.
  4. Then it will ask for your primary care place of work.
  5. Click reset, then enter CHO Area* in search & your county in county box; then you’ll see a drop-down menu & select your CHO area.

*You can google search your CHO area by county, which might make the drop-down menu quicker to navigate.

The IACP has no further information on this process; it is not an IACP process/platform. 

Please note that IACP cannot provide letters of employment to members. 


The IACP is in direct contact with the HSE regarding the COVID-19 vaccination distribution programme for COVID-19, and the HSE informed us they would be in touch with the IACP when they have scheduled vaccines for our members.

Please be assured that we are doing everything in our power to ensure that our members are represented fairly in the Vaccine Priority list, and we will inform you as soon as we receive an update.

The Government hasn't published yet the exact information on when Counsellors and Psychotherapists (considered essential workers) will be vaccinated. 

The information about the provisional vaccine allocation groups is available at the following link.  

Also, the HSE has a page explaining the vaccination process at this link

The HSE recently shared an updated sequencing of the COVID-19 Vaccination of Frontline Healthcare Workers document. To view it, please follow this link

 


How can I work with clients online or via telephone?

For our members who may wish to consider seeing clients via telephone or online, we ask that you follow our code of ethics and practice and our guidance and criteria for provision of online counselling while doing so. Please note that there is also a free CPD training course on online counselling in the CPD Portal in our Members Area, that members can complete.


All IACP events have been postponed, how will I gain CPD points?

To date only events scheduled in March and April have been postponed/cancelled. We have an Online CPD portal in our Members Area where you can earn a total of 8 CPD points across 3 different courses. In addition, the requirements for compliance with CPD will be reviewed in the coming months to take account of restricted access to CPD opportunities during this time.


Can I receive telephone/on-line supervision during this Covid-19 outbreak?

If you and your Supervisor decide not to undertake face-to-face supervision sessions, please note that the board recently approved remote supervision via telephone or online which is accepted for Pre-accredited Members and for Accredited Members and Supervisors who work with clients both face to face and remotely.

IACP Supervisors who supervise remotely either online or by telephone, must be competent to deliver work remotely and adhere to IACP Criteria for Remote/Online Counselling & Psychotherapy Work, as well as adhere to IACP’s Recommended Approach for Online Counselling and Psychotherapy (link) and follow the IACP Code of Ethics and Practice (link).


How can I look after myself during this outbreak?

The IACP Code of Ethics and Practice states the following in relation to self-care and highlights that members should:

a) Take responsibility to protect and monitor their own physical, emotional, mental and psychological wellbeing at a level that enables them to work effectively with their clients. This active self-care includes:

• Taking precautions to protect their own physical safety

• Monitoring their own psychological and physical health

• Seeking professional support and services as the need arises

• Keeping a healthy balance between work and other aspects of life

b) Monitor themselves for signs of impairment from their own physical, mental, or emotional problems. Practitioners refrain from offering or providing professional services when their professional functioning is impaired due to personal or emotional difficulties including illness, bereavement, trauma, alcohol or drug misuse or dependency, or any other significant distress.

c) Take responsibility to seek appropriate professional assistance for problems that reach the level of professional impairment, Practitioners also take responsibility to inform and consult with their supervisor in relation to such issues, and when necessary, for the safety of their clients, and their own wellbeing, limit, suspend or terminate their professional responsibilities until it is determined with their supervisor that they may safely resume their work.

d) Provide consultation and assistance when warranted with colleagues showing signs of professional impairment and intervene as appropriate to prevent imminent harm to clients.


How can Students and Course Providers manage training requirements during the Covid19 outbreak?

To address contingency planning around course delivery and continuity of the placement work for students during Covid19 outbreak, IACP sees that it is course provider’s discretion to organise alternative temporary arrangements for course and client work if necessary. Regarding the clinical placement, if the course provider sees that it is in the best interest of the client to continue sessions by temporary remote arrangement, please follow strictly IACP Code of Ethics and Practice and IACP practical guidelines on working remotely available under below link:

https://iacp.ie/onlinecounselling

While we're making allowances for remote contact counting towards qualifying hours, including client work, personal therapy and supervision on a temporary basis during the outbreak, it's up to the individual training institution as to whether they feel this aligns with their protocols and standards. If the Course Provider decides to allow the students to conduct such practice remotely, IACP Guidelines and Criteria for online work should be followed.


What employment and income supports are available to IACP Members during Covid19?

The most up to date source of information regarding employment and income supports is available on the Citizen Information Website. Here you can learn about employment and income supports for both, people who have temporarily lost their employment (both employees and self-employed) and for people who are ill. https://www.citizensinformation.ie/en/health/covid19_overview.html 

 

Also, please see recently published by the goverment document regarding supports for businesses impacted by Covid19: 

 


If I decide to work online for the duration of the outbreak, how should I choose the platform to conduct such work?

IACP Members who choose to work remotely must be trained and adhere to IACP Criteria for Remote/Online Counselling & Psychotherapy Work, as well as adhere to IACP’s Recommended Approach for Online Counselling and Psychotherapy (link) and follow the IACP Code of Ethics and Practice (link). Also, IACP created Guidelines for Members on the use of online business platforms which can be accessed under the link. Please note that you should look for a portal/platform that is GDPR compliant and uses a secure payment system such as Paypal or Stripe or Worldpay. IACP does not endorse any specific providers of these online platforms, however, we are aware of a number of Irish online counselling platforms operating currently on the market including www.TherapyHub.iewww.wellola.com, www.mymind.org and www.nuahealth.com .


If I decide to conduct telephone counselling with my clients, how do I take payments?

For members who wish to conduct telephone counselling, without the use of an online platform, for payment purposes Members can use bank transfers or payment platforms such as Revolut or Paypal. Revolut is free online banking where you can make instant payments once both users have a Revolut card. Also, Paypal is another way for clients to make online payments. Many Irish banks have means and methods to provide safe payment online, please check with your bank to see how they can help you accept payment online. 


How do I apply for Re-accreditation during the outbreak?

The Accreditation Department works remotely during the Covid19 outbreak. 

Annual re-accreditation applications are already available online thus this process will not be affected. If you wish to complete the paper version of the form:

Please complete the re-accreditation application form and scan it in full (or take a photo of each page) and forward a copy of the full application by email to Accreditation Supervisor to: stephen@iacp.ie   

Please note that there might be a slight delay with the application processing during this time, but the staff are doing their best to continue as normal. If you are unable to apply for Re-accreditation for any reason during the outbreak, please notify the Accreditation Supervisor by emailing: stephen@iacp.ie   


How do I apply for First Time Accreditation during the outbreak?

The Accreditation Department works remotely during the Covid19 outbreak. 

As First Time Applications are at present paper-based, we would ask anyone who is ready to apply to the First Time Accreditation to request the form on the website: https://iacp.ie/first-time-accreditation , then once received, please complete the application form and scan it in full (or take a photo of each page) and forward a copy of the full application, including Supervisor's Reports and all supporting documentation, by email to Accreditation Supervisor to: stephen@iacp.ie . Please also post the original application to the IACP, First Floor, Marina House, 11-13 Clarence Street, Dun Laoghaire, A96 WC94, Co. Dublin. 

Please note that there might be a slight delay with the application processing during this time, but the staff are doing their best to continue as normal. 

 


I am unable to see clients during Covid19 outbreak, am I still required to attend supervision?

As per current IACP Supervision Requirements (https://iacp.ie/supervision-requirements-for-accredited-members), supervision must take place at least once a month, when the Accredited Member is actively seeing or available to see clients. If not seeing clients, a minimum of 10 supervision sessions per year will be accepted (allowing for holidays, illness, bereavements and other personal circumstances.).

If there is less than 10 sessions of supervision in the previous 12 months, a cover letter should be supplied to the Accreditation Department to seek an exemption outlining the reason for the lack of supervision.


As a Pre-accredited Member, can I work remotely during Covid 19 outbreak and what is the limit of remote client hours towards accreditation?

Current accreditation criteria states that online work can be a small proportion of 450 hours for the purpose of First Time Accreditation and a maximum of 50 hours out of the overall 450 hours. As we face a national emergency, client work for the duration of Covid19 outbreak completed remotely by Pre-accredited Members which exceeds 50 hours can also be counted towards 450 hours to allow continued support of clients in distress. Please note that these additional hours will be only accepted for accreditation purposes if meet other requirements such as adequate training on working online and supervision ratio.

Important Information re Maximum Amount of Remote Hours (Updated February 2021)

In December 2020, the Board ratified a limit of 200 remote client hours towards First Time Accreditation. Following a further review based on the feedback from members and committees and with ongoing restrictions in mind, the Board abolished this cap of 200 remote client hours towards the IACP accreditation.

Therefore, the applications for First Time Accreditation with over 200 remote client hours will be accepted, to allow for both therapists and/or clients in high-risk categories and accessibility issues such as localised lockdowns etc. Please note that any remote hours will be only accepted for accreditation purposes if meet other requirements such as adequate training on working online and supervision ratio.

The Board will be reviewing this matter again in September 2021Please note that any future changes will not be applied retrospectively and will honour any hours completed since the beginning of the pandemic up until any new change takes effect.

Remote supervision via telephone or online is accepted for Pre-accredited Members who work with clients both face to face and remotely.

Members who wish to work with clients via telephone or online must follow IACP Code of Ethics and Practice and IACP guidance and criteria for provision of online counselling. Please note that there is also a free CPD training course on online counselling in the CPD Portal in our Members Area. 


If I decide to work online during the outbreak, am I required to have an additional insurance?

Practitioners who wish to work online/telephone through distance therapy provision should ensure that their professional indemnity insurance covers their work in this medium, and that it extends to coverage of relevant jurisdictions and the laws which apply in these.  We advise all members to check with their insurance provider to confirm that they are willing to extend insurance to online/tele practice before embarking on this type of practice.


Is Counselling/Psychotherapy considered an essential service?

The IACP received clarification from the Government regarding counselling/psychotherapy as an essential service. Please see below: 

Counsellors or psychotherapists can be considered part of Social Care, which is an essential service (for essential cases). As long as Government and NPHET protocols and guidance on social distancing are followed, it is up to the individual counsellor's/psychotherapist's own judgement as to whether to meet clients face-to-face or through remote means.

It is appreciated that significant planning may be required to move to a new model of operating with the challenges of COVID-19, however. it is the responsibility of employers (and self-employed persons) to apply a risk-based approach to returning to work and to prepare to apply the precautions necessary to comply fully with the public health advice.

We'd also like to draw your attention to the Return to Work Safely Protocol which was published by the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation on Saturday 9 May 2020. This detailed guidance document was developed to assist employers and employees in the coming period. 

Anyone whose work does qualify as an essential service must adhere to public health safety guidelines as outlined by the HPSCHSE, and the HSA.


I am worrying that I will not be able to meet my supervision or CPD requirements this year, what should I do?

To acknowledge very uncertain and unprecedented time during the Covid19 outbreak, we would like to reassure our Members that IACP will support all who struggle with full compliance regarding requirements for the monthly supervision or CPD.

Members who are not currently in a position to see clients and are not able to attend monthly supervision, will be able to seek discretion at the time of applying for accreditation/ re-accreditation. Please provide a letter with your application for accreditation / annual re-accreditation stating the reason for lack of client work / supervision during the time of an outbreak and it will be taken into consideration by the Accreditation Department/ Accreditation Committee.

 

Regarding CPD compliance during the Covid19 outbreak, IACP has now available free CPD content on the online portal. For members, who struggle with technology and are not able to access this free online CPD, it will be possible to seek discretion in relation to lack of ability to fulfil IACP CPD requirements in 2020. A letter with rationale for such discretion should be supplied to the Accreditation Department at the time of re-accreditation or annual audit.


What is the current guidance on Contact Tracing and Client Confidentiality with regards to COVID-19?

The protocol states, "The prompt identification and isolation of potentially infectious individuals is a crucial step in protecting the worker involved, their colleagues, customers or others at the work place. You must keep a log of contact/group work to facilitate contact tracing and inform workers and others of the purpose of the log".

If the therapist or one of the clients presents with C-19 they will be required to hand over the contact log to authorities. Clients should be made aware of the limits of confidentiality in relation to this specific legal obligation.


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