Fidelma Twomey is registered on the Register of Play and Creative Arts Therapists accredited by the UK Professional Standards Authority (PSA) which oversees the regulation and registration of all health and social care professions in the UK. This register includes play therapy practitioners in over 50 countries. It is being used as a set of standards until such countries establish their own regulation legislation, standards and procedures. The register is managed by Play Therapy UK (PTUK) who have been closely involved in setting and developing the PSA standards for accredited registers.
Fidelma has been appointed on the CORU registration board for Counsellors and Psychotherapists and the first meeting took place on May 31st 2019. This additional piece of work is in a voluntary capacity and will hopefully pave the way for the regulation of Play Therapy in the future in Ireland. Regulation of any profession is a lengthy process and Fidelma’s appointment on this particular board was ratified for a further 4 years on behalf of the Minister of Health. The duration for the regulation of professions in the Health and Social Care sector varies and it currently lies between 11 months and 4 years. Play Therapy is on a list of awaiting professions together with 16 others. The Minister of Health is in the process of setting up an independent body to carry out risk assessments for these awaiting professions, including Play Therapy.
CORU is Ireland’s health and social care regulator and its role is to ensure the public are protected through the promotion of high standards in education and professional conduct. This particular Board will ensure these high standards are fostered among counsellors and psychotherapists and its progress will be followed closely by Pay Therapy Ireland (PTIrl) so that any learning in the process can be applied to the regulation of Play Therapy as it comes on stream in the future.
Play Therapy Ireland, with over 250 registrants has had over six years’ experience of applying this model of standards for accredited members in real life practice. Post graduate certificate and diploma training courses to meet the register’s standards has also been established for six years by NUI Galway and are being delivered in Dublin and Cork as well as Galway.
It has been proposed by PTIrl that this model, in the form of a pilot scheme, be offered to the Ministry of Health and CORU to identify any modifications required to meet Irish government needs.
PTIrl believes that such a collaboration will save time and costs and result in a more effective model of regulation. With regard to the crucial area of risk assessment: Play Therapy Ireland, through Play Therapy UK submits an updated risk matrix to the Professional Standards Authority every year. This matrix is available from PTIrl on request.
PTIrl has also recently prepared a substantial report upon further developments required for the risk management of therapeutic interventions with children. Both of these are available for discussion with the Minister of Health and other senior officials.
It is also essential that it is recognised that the needs of children are very different to those of young people and adults as are the interventions required.