Accessing Counselling Services in Ireland – the three main options for clients

A variety of people including those working in community & health settings regularly ask me about how to access counselling supports in Ireland, often confused about options outside private practitioners. This brief article explains the three main options available to clients seeking access to talking therapies in Ireland.

Talk Therapy Dublin is happy to provide free information & advice for anyone curious or confused with respect the accessing the right services or supports.

My Options – challenges for the new Irish Abortion Support & Information service

It became legal for women to seek abortion services since termination of pregnancy became legal for the first time in Ireland on January 1st 2019 but challenges are very much present for the new system.

It is understood that less than 170 GPs signed up to provide abortion services in time for the January 1 launch date, which represents about 5pc of the country’s total GP population of approximately 3,500. Four counties apparently have no GPs signed up at all. This situation does cause confusion for vulnerable people and there have been instances where the new My Options service has been hijacked with bogus websites using the brand to direct women to services which may try to influence their decision, offering perks such as free ultrasounds.

The My Options service is staffed by neutral, specially trained HSE counsellors and if people are looking at information online, look for the HSE logo. The correct freephone number is 1800 828 010.

Some of the signs the HSE encouraged people to look out for when determining if a source is reputable include:

·          they may require you to wait a long time between appointments

·          they may only meet you in public places such as hotels or car parks

·          there are delays in giving you pregnancy test results – these should be given immediately

·          their leaflets or information do not give information about all your options or uses language that is very negative or frightening

·          they may show inappropriate images, videos or DVDs as part of a counselling session, which are designed to influence a woman’s decision.

MyOptions was established by the HSE to act as the main referral path for women seeking a termination, providing non-directive and non-judgmental advice.  

Why do people become counsellors/psychotherapists?

This is a question I am often asked by people in general.   As can be seen from the below IACP video the reasons that bring people to train as a therapist are varied and tend to come on the back of previous work & life experiences.

Of course there are also those who work in the counselling/psychotherapy profession directly from training as psychologists having undergraduate and doctorate level training that can take nearly a decade.

Also see a second video below where IACP accredited therapists explain what they feel are the best things about the work of being a therapist.


“Going To Therapy For The First Time? Here’s What To Expect.

Below is a recent promotional video the IACP  made at a recent conference explaining to prospective clients what they might expect from their first session of counselling/psychotherapy.

“Going To Therapy For The First Time? Here’s What To Expect.

“Perhaps you’re struggling with anxiety or depression. Or maybe you’re unhappy in your job, and need some guidance in figuring out what career will really make you happy. Or, it could be that you’re having relationship difficulties or simply not feeling fulfilled but you are not entirely sure what makes you feel this way… 

If any of the above situations applies to your life, counselling/ psychotherapy could be helpful.   So what is stopping you?

Some clients say it was fear of the unknown keeping them from seeing a counsellor  because they just didn’t know what to expect…

So what happens during the first session. Here is what some experienced therapists have to say.”



How is your therapist doing?

Many clients (and people in general) become curious about the therapists they are talking to especially as the therapeutic relationship builds.  Indeed sometimes a client may bump into their therapist outside the therapy room, out shopping, with their family etc.

All sorts of questions seem to emerge – has my therapist children?  what issues have they experienced themselves?  What brought them to this vocation? How much money are they making from this?

While in many modalities  limited self disclosure does occur within the therapeutic relationship the process is obviously not focused on the therapist.

This article explores the issue from the perspective of a practitioner in private practice in Ireland and highlights issues many therapists will relate to.  Might have some answers for those curious too!