The Founding of the
 Irish Association of 
Humanistic and Integrative 
Psychotherapy


Ger Murphy

Ger Murphy practices as a psychotherapist at the
 Creative Counselling Centre, Dun Laoghaire, having
 trained at the Minster Centre London in Humanistic and
 Integrative Psychotherapy.

The past months have been exciting ones in the development of humanistic and inte
grative psychotherapy in Ireland. We have seen the formal inauguration of the first 
professional body to represent practitioners of this section of psychotherapy. Like many
 such initiatives it has taken outside events to help to harness the energy required to initiate such a venture. In this case it was the evolving situation in Europe with regard to 
psychotherapy regulation (referred to elsewhere in Emmy van Deurzen Smith’s article
 in this issue) which created the context out of which IAHIP has emerged.

Psychotherapy in Ireland which has for years developed in a rather piecemeal fashion 
has found that, in order to have an input into discussions Europe-wide on the development of the profession, it needed to form a clear representative structure. This is
 currently taking place with the formation of the Irish Standing Conference for 
Psychotherapy. The ISCP is proposing a structure whereby the profession be divided 
along sectional lines based on the underlying theoretical model of practitioners. It has
 therefore been put forward to have five sections – Analytic, Behavioural, Constructivist,
 Family, and Humanistic and Integrative. Each section would assess, accredit and form a
 register of practitioners of those trained and practicing in this field of psychotherapy.

There have existed for some time training programmes in Humanistic and Integrative
 Psychotherapy in Ireland, ranging from the single method base of the Gestalt Centre to
 the integrative approach of the Creative Counselling Centre integrating Gestalt, Body
 Psychotherapy and Transpersonal Psychotherapy. However, these and other trainings,
 while qualifying graduates, have not undertaken an accreditation process (accreditation
 being seen as a renewable license to practice. Along with these there are a number of Humanistic and integrative Psychotherapists who have trained in England and the US.
 It is from this population mainly that the membership of the new Association are being
 drawn. Those eligible to apply for voting member status are those who have undertaken 
their own psychotherapy and have practiced as a humanistic and integrative psychother-
apist for a minimum of two years. There are now over 60 voting members in the
 Association. There are also a large number of associate members who, because of the
 incompleteness of their training/practice experience cannot become as yet voting members but who wish to be involved in the discussions on the development of the
 Association.

Members of the Association will only be accredited as full members when they have
 met accreditation standards. The ad hoc committee of the Association has drafted possible accreditation criteria which are undergoing discussion prior to adopting a firm set
 of criteria. The draft includes:

A. Personal psychotherapy of a minimum of 120 hours including not 
less than:


i) 60 hours individual one-way psychotherapy and

ii) 60 hours group psychotherapy.


B. A training component of 150 hours of humanistic and integrative
 psychotherapy theory.


C. A practice component of 400 hours psychotherapeutic practice 
under supervision over a minimum of two years. Supervision to be 
at least on a fortnightly basis.


D. The training component to also include 200 hours learning in a
group context which would include a focus on skills development,
 peer practice and experiential training workshops.


Furthermore, accredited psychotherapists would:

a) abide by the Code of Ethics of the Association
b) present themselves for accreditation every five years

c) show commitment to on-going professional development
d) be committed to maintaining appropriate on-going support and 
supervision structures for example peer supervision.


Such criteria will also need to take account of the necessity of allowing for equivalence 
by practitioners of long standing or a ‘grandfather clause’ as it is so called.

It is important also that in deciding on accreditation standards we pay due attention 
to issues of quality of practice as well as quantity in terms of hours. This is of the utmost
 importance as we move towards regulation and when a focus on hours of training can 
seem to take precedence. I would suggest that the Association might look to systems of
 peer practice review initiated in other professions such as medicine etc. to ensure that 
we do not get diverted from this crucial issue of quality.

The Association has a great deal of work ahead in the years to come and already work
ing parties are set up to draw together the thinking on various issues such as the code of
 ethics. The work of the Association is now to be overseen by the executive committee
 which consists of the following people:

Kathy Cunningham, Martin Duffy, Donal Healy, Susan Lindsay, Una Maguire, Mary
 Montaut, Catherine Murray, Ger Murphy, Patrick Nolan, John O’Neill, Joan O’Leary,
 Mary Paula Walshe.

In conclusion I believe that although the impetus for the development of the
 Association has been an external one, this is but in the short term. The Association is
 also already beginning to meet an important networking need for members and will, I 
hope, also be of assistance in providing a forum for ongoing professional support and
 continued education to its members.