Where else can I go to get help?

Counselling and Psychotherapy

This section looks at how to access counselling and psychotherapy (free-of-charge and private services) and explains the difference between the two types of therapy.
The professional bodies for counselling and psychotherapy in Ireland have online lists (called registers) where you can search for qualified counsellors and psychotherapists. There are also a number of voluntary and community organisations, such as MyMind or Shine that can help link you in with a counsellor or psychotherapist in your area.

How do I access free counselling if I have a medical card?

Public Services: Health Service Executive (HSE) Counselling in Primary Care Service
The HSE is now running a ‘Counselling in Primary Care’ service which you can access if you have a medical card. Through this service, you can get short-term counselling (eight free sessions) with a counsellor or psychotherapist. To access the service, you must be referred by your GP, and you must be over 18.
You can download information leaflets and referral forms from the HSE website.
The HSE website also provides information on medical cards. To find out if you qualify, and for information and advice on how to apply for a medical card, visit: here.

How can I access other free and reduced rate counselling and psychotherapy?

Community and Voluntary Supports

Many organisations in the community and voluntary sector can also link you up with counselling and psychotherapy services. Some of Mental Health Reform’s members provide this service, and are listed below.


Shine offers counselling to people with serious mental health difficulties and their families.
Call 1890 621 631 between 9am and 4pm Monday to Friday. You can also drop into your nearest Shine Regional Development Officer. You can find your nearest one here.

National Association for Pastoral Counselling and Psychotherapy

The National Association for Pastoral Counselling and Psychotherapy offers counselling and psychotherapy with a spiritual dimension to people experiencing mental health difficulties, relationship difficulties and bereavement.

MyMind – Centre for Mental Wellbeing

MyMind provides affordable or free counselling and psychotherapy to those who can’t afford to pay in full. Based on the principles of social enterprise, they use profits from fee-paying clients to make services available to those who can’t afford it. They can offer reduced rates for part time employees, full time students and the unemployed. They may also arrange counselling or psychotherapy for free in special or exceptional circumstances. MyMind provides full, reduced-rate and free counselling for groups, individuals, couples and families. Their counselling and psychotherapy services can be accessed quickly and easily. Most clients can get an appointment within 72 hours. At the moment, MyMind is operating in Dublin (Ranelagh and Amiens Street), Cork and Limerick, and it will soon be available in Galway.
MyMind also offers online counselling and an email service for those who can’t travel to appointments.
For their price list, visit the MyMind website’s price information section. For more on MyMind’s services, visit www.mymind.ie.

Helplink Support Services

Helplink Support Services is a charitable organisation that provides a national low cost online counselling service – available 7 days a week from your own home or other private space. Our counselling service is also available face-to-face in Galway City. We operate a set fee policy for general counselling appointments. Reduced fee appointments are available for full-time students, people with full-time social protection payments, part-time workers (under 20 hours a week) and people on full-time disability payments. Go to www.helplink.ie for more or email helplinksupport@helplink.ie or call (091) 759887.

How do I find a private counsellor or psychotherapist?

You can access counselling or psychotherapy directly through the two main professional bodies in Ireland:
• Irish Council for Psychotherapists (ICP), and
• Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP).

Both have free online lists (registers) of counsellors and psychotherapists which will allow you to search by location or speciality.

Irish Council for Psychotherapy

Phone (enquiries): (01) 902 3819
Email contact form
Website: www.psychotherapy-ireland.com

Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

Referral helpline: 1890 907 265. Open Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm
Email: iacp@iacp.ie
Website: www.iacp.ie

Other questions you might have on counselling and psychotherapy

What is counselling and psychotherapy?

Counselling and psychotherapy, sometimes known as talk therapies, use professional skills in a one-to-one relationship aimed at making you feel better. They can help you to see things more clearly, make changes and feel better able to cope. They won’t try to ‘fix’ you – rather, they will support you to find your own ways to manage well and enjoy life a bit more.

Does it work?

Lots of scientific evidence supports the idea that talking therapies work. In fact, a recent Irish review by Professor Alan Carr of UCD School of Psychology said that the evidence that talk therapies work is “overwhelming”. Some research suggests that the effectiveness is similar to that of medical treatments for a range of physical illnesses.

How does it work?

Many factors come together to make therapy work. Research shows that the relationship between you and your therapist plays an important role. The relationship should be based on trust and respect and you should feel you can talk openly without being judged. This will help you to work together to find ways to cope with your difficulties.
Some people don’t “click” with the first counsellor or psychotherapist they see. You can always find another therapist. See the above section to find out how.

What is the difference between counselling and psychotherapy?

The differences between counselling and psychotherapy are subtle. Both counsellors and psychotherapists use skills to build a relationship that can support you, help you to manage your difficulties and feel better.

Both counsellors and psychotherapists undergo many years of training and experience. Most also take part in their own therapy as part of their training so they can understand themselves better and get an idea of what the experience might be like for the client.

However, there are some differences. In training, counsellors tend to focus on specific groups of clients. For example, they might work with people who have an addiction, or people who have been bereaved. Psychotherapists tend to focus on specific types of therapy (such as cognitive behavioural therapy). They then work with a wide range of client groups, who have many different kinds of difficulties. Some psychotherapists also train for a bit longer.
This doesn’t mean that one kind of therapist is better than the other. Whether you should see a counsellor or a psychotherapist depends on you and your situation.

How long does it take to work?

The time it takes to work varies from one person to the next. It can depend on the type of difficulties you have and the length of time you’ve had them for. Most people will benefit from therapy. Some people will benefit from a small number of sessions, while others might need more time and might benefit from on-going support and a more long-term relationship with their therapist.
To find out more, have a look at ‘The Effectiveness of Psychotherapy: A Review of Research’ by Professor Alan Carr, commissioned by the Irish Council for Psychotherapy.