The majority of the Irish public have high levels of trust in counsellors and psychotherapists, a study of the profession has found. The survey, from the Irish Association of Counselling & Psychotherapy (IACP), found that 60% of those surveyed said that they trusted the input of the profession. 

The highest trust levels of the profession were among women and middle-class respondents, while the lowest level of trust was among the over-65s and respondents from the farming community.

In the same survey, 21% of respondents said that they had visited their GP because they were depressed. 

This level of trust is considerably higher than the public’s trust of the media or politicians/the political system.

According to a study carried out by the Institute for Future Media and Journalism at Dublin City University, only 46% of the Irish public trust the news, while another study, released earlier this month from Edelman Trust Barometer, showed that while trust levels in the Irish political system had increased, it was still only at 32%.

Commenting on the findings, IACP spokesman Shane Kelly said: “We are greatly encouraged by these results, which show that most of the public have very high levels of trust in counselling and psychotherapy. This is especially important because people who use our members’ services are vulnerable and are discussing sensitive issues and problems.”

“Regulation of counselling and psychotherapy was meant to have been in place by the middle of last year, but this has not yet happened.”

Mr Kelly added that regulation of the profession would serve to further raise trust levels among the public, but raised concerns about delays to this process.

“Regulation of counselling and psychotherapy was meant to have been in place by the middle of last year, but this has not yet happened.

“We are concerned that if the new government does not prioritise regulation of our sector, the public will be exposed to unregulated, unaccredited practitioners and the high levels of trust that this survey highlights will be eroded,” Mr Kelly said.

The IACP is the largest professional organisation for the counselling and psychotherapy sector in Ireland, with almost 4,000 members nationwide.

The survey was carried out by market research company Behaviour & Attitudes on behalf of the IACP