• Sue Swan

How to find a good psychotherapist in Dublin

Updated: Sep 16, 2019

To find a good psychotherapist in Dublin, you should consider the form of therapy and the experience of the therapist but, most important of all, is the ability for you to work together.

Often people spend years living with mental health issues before seeking help. When the time comes, it is hard to know where to start. There are hundreds of counsellors and psychotherapists and a confusing variety of therapy approaches. So, how can you find the right one for you? This article helps to answer this question by offering you information which will help you to find the right therapist for your unique needs.

Is a counsellor the same as a psychotherapist?

I recommend to take your time finding the right person and to know what level of expertise you are buying into. To do this, it helps to know the difference between a counsellor and psychotherapist. Many therapists use these terms interchangeably. However, there are distinctions between the two. Psychotherapists usually have a greater level of training. Counsellors generally work with easing a client’s presenting symptoms. Psychotherapists work at a deeper level. They are trained around diagnosis and help clients to gain a deeper understanding-of-self.

What is a qualified psychotherapist?

To find a therapist, people rely on referrals from friends, family or their GP. Another route is to search online. This, however, may open a bewildering number of options and a confusing number of groups, such as the IACP, IAHIP, ICP & FTAI. These acronyms represent the different accreditation bodies covering counselling and psychotherapy in Ireland.

Organisations such as the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP), Irish Council of Psychotherapy (ICP) and Irish Association of Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapy (IAHIP) can be a very helpful source of finding a qualified psychotherapist. They have directories of therapists on their websites and welcome calls from people looking to find a good therapist in their area.

Psychotherapists who are registered with these organisations will have undergone thorough training and must have completed between 450-650 hours of client-work in order to be able to become fully registered members. If you see the letters MIACP, ICP, IAHIP or FTAI after a psychotherapist's name, this means they are experienced and qualified practitioners. Therefore, you should expect an excellent level of service.

Therapists often specialise in certain areas, such as help with family, relationship issues or addiction issues. It is advisable to seek out psychotherapists with specialist training in these fields. The Family Therapy Association of Ireland (FTAI) site is a good resource. This website includes a directory of therapists that are fully qualified to work with couples and families. The Addiction Counsellors of Ireland is a professional organisation that accredits counsellors working in the field of addiction.

What therapy is right for me?

Counselling and psychotherapy organisations can also help you to understand the differences between the array of therapy models and approaches that psychotherapists offer. Each psychotherapist works in their own unique way. Some may describe themselves as integrative therapists. This means that they integrate a number of different theories and approaches into their way of working. Other psychotherapists may favour one therapy model and work exclusively with that approach.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is sometimes recommended by GPs to their patients. It is an approach based on changing ingrained behaviours. CBT has been shown to be effective but there is no evidence to show that it is better than any other approach. There is no one-size-fits-all therapy. Your treatment should be tailored to your situation.

The systemic approach has become increasingly popular in recent years. Systemic psychotherapists are trained to work with individuals of all ages, including children and adolescents, as well as couples and families. The systemic approach is collaborative and solution-focused. It recognises that individuals are shaped by their relationships, their families and their environment. Systemic psychotherapists work to help people uncover unhelpful patterns of thinking and behaviours. Clients learn to discover strengths, develop capacities and identify supports to live with greater ease in the present.

Other popular models include humanistic, psychodynamic and psychoanalysis. No one approach is better than the other. Research has shown that the most important factor to the success of the therapy is the strength of the relationship between therapist and client, rather than the particular therapy used.

How much does a psychotherapist cost?

Fees can differ hugely and it helps to know why this disparity in cost exists. In short, the fees a therapist charges reflects their level of qualification, experience and expertise. In Dublin, a fully accredited and highly experienced psychotherapist will charge between €80 - €120 for individual sessions and €90-€150 for couple and family therapy. These therapists will be educated to Masters or Doctorate level. Less experienced counsellors, who have post-graduate certificates or diplomas in counselling, will charge between €50-€70. Low-cost counselling, which is provided by pre-accredited counsellors and student counsellors-in-training can cost between €20-€50.

Take your time to find the right psychotherapist for you. Don't be afraid to ask a psychotherapist about their level of experience or training and which therapy approaches they use. A good psychotherapist will take time to talk with you on the phone; to listen to you; to answer any questions you may have. The first meeting is about finding out if you and your psychotherapist can work well together. If, after the first appointment, you feel that this is not the case, you are under no obligation to continue the therapy. A good therapist may be able to refer you on to a psychotherapist who better suits your needs. Trust your gut and remember, a good psychotherapist should leave you feeling listened to and heard, as well as confident and empowered.

- If you would like to talk to a psychotherapist, contact Sue @ SueSwanTherapy

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