Health and Social Care Professionals’ survey of HSE Panel System of Recruitment

The Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) recently commissioned Behaviour & Attitudes (B&A) to carry out research amongst just over 1,250 Health and Social Care Professionals (HSCPs). This piece of research was embarked on to understand attitudes towards the current panel system of recruitment within the Health Service Executive (HSE). From the responses of the HSCPs that took part in the survey, the following key findings are highlighted:

  • 92% of HSCPs say the current HSE National Panel System does not work well as a method of recruitment;
  • 86% of HSCPs say the current HSE National Panel System is an unfair method of recruitment;
  • 93% of HSCPs agree that the HSE National Panel should be replaced with an alternative system of recruitment;
  • 87% of HSCPs say the HSE National Panel System is not an efficient method of recruitment;
  • 88% of HSCPs say the HSE National Panel System is not fit for purpose.

To see the survey results in full click here.



Statement on Competency-Based Recruitment of

In relation to several advertisements regarding the recruitment of psychologists, the PSI sent a letter to organisations that recruit psychologists, and their respective HR managers, noting that advertisements specifying recruitment of psychologists on the basis of a named title (e.g. Clinical Psychologist) is not recommended. 

The PSI recommend a competency-based recruitment approach. 

To see the letter in full click here.



PSI makes Pre-Budget 2021 submission to Government

The Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) has outlined the need for funding of psychologists in the Society’s Pre-Budget 2021 Submission, ‘Fund Ireland’s Psychological Future Now’, which has been submitted to the Department of Finance ahead of next month’s 2021 Budget. The submission outlines the following:

- Additional Psychologists in Primary Care Centres for children & adults would tackle appointment waiting lists;

- Call for additional Psychologists in HSE School Age Disability Teams & Early Intervention Teams;

- Call for funding of Trainee Educational and Trainee Counselling Psychologists.

Read the PSI Pre-Budget 2021 Submission in full here.



August IP President's Column: 'The Politics of Psychology & Psychology of Politics'

"One of the things that has helped communities weather the worst of the impact of COVID-19 was them pulling together, having a sense of cohesiveness and collective and unity for the good of each other. Surely now is the time for psychology to pull together for the discipline of psychology and those we help?"

The August issue of The Irish Psychologist (IP) magazine saw PSI President Mark Smyth pen a column entitled 'The Politics of Psychology & Psychology of Politics'. In this column, Mark addresses mental health aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government's Sharing the Vision roadmap for mental health services, and PSI's advocacy work over the past number of months.

Read the column in full here.



2020 PSI Annual Conference Update

In light of recent increases in numbers of cases of COVID-19 and with public health concerns as the primary focus, Council made the decision on 19 August that it will not be possible to have the Annual Conference as planned in November. This was a source of great disappointment to Council but the health and well-being of our members and the public must come first. 

We will communicate with those who have submitted abstracts, registered for the Conference and all members very soon in relation to our virtual plans and we hope that as many of you as possible will join us. 



The PSI provides advice on psychological and mental health needs arising from COVID-19

The Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) has compiled a paper, Psychological and Mental Health Needs Arising from COVID-19, which identifies some of the impacts that can be expected following the COVID-19 pandemic. The information was compiled by PSI members sitting on the Society’s Science and Public Policy Committee. 

The paper from the PSI brings together immediate evidence on COVID-19 as well as some of the lessons which can be learned from related relevant literature around previous catastrophes, disasters and emergencies providing an evidence-base across sectors disciplines and countries

To view the document please click here.



The PSI provides guidance for returning to school post COVID-19 restrictions

The Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) has developed a guidance document to aid school staff, both primary and post-primary, as schools prepare to reopen for the 2020/21 school year. The Relaunch: Back to School After COVID-19 Restrictions provides advice, developed by the PSI's Division of Educational Psychology, to school staff supporting students in the transition back to school. Teachers and other members of school staff will be key players in helping children to relaunch their school lives as members of the school community and as active learners in this ‘new’ school environment, which will see some very real differences and new challenges.

To view the guidance document please click here.



2020 PSI Member Awards

The 2020 PSI Member Awards will take place as part of the 2020 PSI Annual Conference this November. These Awards are designed to recognise excellence in research, practice and education in psychology by members. These Awards will range from those studying or teaching psychology to those making significant contributions in their professional careers. 

For more information on these awards and to complete a nomination form, please click here



COVID-19: Guidance for Psychologists Returning to Face-to-Face Sessions 

The PSI Special Interest Group for Psychologists in Private Practice (SIGPPP) has prepared a PSI document offering guidance for psychologists returning to face-to-face sessions in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The information is purely from a guidance perspective for those that have opened, or are thinking of opening, their practices.


Read the full guidance document here or via the Guidelines, Papers & Policies section of the PSI website.



Student Offer for 2020 PSI Annual Conference

In 2019, PSI offered students a special discount to attend the PSI Annual Conference. This was received with a lot of happiness and enthusiasm and soon, all places were snapped up. We are delighted to say that we are once again offering this incredible offer to all PSI Student Members!

PSI Student Offer

To register for the 2020 PSI Annual Conference with your PSI Student Member discount, please click here



June IP President's Column: 'The Elephant in the Room'

"You may be wondering, why focus on this now? The conversation must start at some point. I am struck by how the implications of COVID-19 have for me, placed a real spotlight on the specific circumstances of these colleagues in psychology."

In each Irish Psychologist (IP), the PSI President writes a column to the PSI Members. In the June IP, PSI President Mark Smyth wrote about 'The Elephant in the Room' which you can read in full here.



PSI Launches 2020 Podcast Series

We are delighted to launch our new 2020 podcast series, which highlights the important role psychology plays in our daily lives.

The podcast series, which has been produced to mark the 50th anniversary of the Society, promotes the discipline of psychology, with each episode featuring professionals who have a wealth of experience in their chosen area. While applicable to everyday life, the topics discussed are also particularly relevant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Coping with Lockdown
• Anxiety in Children
• Social Media and Children
• Managing Suicidal Behaviour in Young People
• Emotional Intelligence and Stress
• What is Mindfulness?
• Problems with the Weight Loss Industry


The series begins on Thursday 21 May with a podcast, Coping with Lockdown, from PSI President Mark Smyth. New additions to the series will be released each Thursday for the following six weeks with contributions from PSI members Dr Eva Doherty, Dr Anne Kehoe, Dr Vincent Mc Darby, and Dr Damien Lowry. Expert contributions from outside the psychology discipline will see Prof. Brendan Kelly of Trinity College Dublin, Ian Power of and Registered Clinical Specialist Dietician Róisín Gowan join PSI members for various podcasts.  

Listen to the podcast series on all main audio platforms, or click here to listen via the PSI website. 



PSI responds to the UN Policy Brief on the global psychological impact of COVID-19

The Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) has welcomed the publication of the United Nations (UN) Policy Brief: COVID-19 and the Need for Action on Mental Health, addressing the global psychological impact of COVID-19. Mark Smyth, President of the PSI, said: “We, as a country, may not have been ready in advance for the COVID-19 health pandemic but we have ample warning of the likely psychological need ahead. Amid a recession everyone will be shouting for more roads, buildings, rail but we need to invest in the most crucial infrastructure projects of all, the psychological well-being of our nation. Mental health funding has never been a vote-defining issue, it now must be. Given the psychological impact that COVID-19 has had on us all, now is the time to make sure Government understands this should be thread that flows through any new programme for Government.”

Read the full press release here.



Temporary derogation to supervisor requirements for professional training programmes during COVID-19

In light of the unprecedented challenges faced by Health Services during the COVID-19 pandemic, and with particular focus on supporting the ongoing training of psychologists on doctoral programmes, the Council of the PSI has approved some temporary derogation to supervisor requirements for professional training programmes. This is a concrete example of the flexibility that the PSI committed to in the Guidance for Psychological Society of Ireland Accredited Professional Doctorate Programmes During COVID-19 Outbreak.

Read the full letter here regarding the temporary derogation



Guidelines for the Employment of Assistant Psychologists in Ireland

Note from Mark Smyth, PSI President. The updated Guidelines can be viewed here


The PSI first published Guidelines for the Employment of Assistant Psychologists (APs) in 2014. Since that date there has been a significant increase in the numbers of APs. As a role evolves, so must the guidance related to that role. A working group from the PSI Council reviewed the 2014 Guidelines and made a number of recommended amendments. The amendments were ratified by Council at our April 2020 meeting.

Recognition of the valuable contribution that APs can bring to a service was evidenced by the Department of Health formally establishing a grade of Assistant Psychologist in 2018, and establishing a pilot project for the roll out of paid AP posts in Primary Care.

The numbers of AP posts, in particular paid posts, has never been sufficient to meet the demand. I am aware that there have been calls for PSI to take a position that voluntary AP posts should be prohibited. This was never something that the PSI would have had the power or authority to enforce even if we had taken such a position.

We understand and empathise with the frustration that has been felt by early graduates feeling that they have to give their time and skills for free in order to try gain the experience necessary to apply for the small number of professional training programme places available. Where services do have the funds available, it continues to be the PSI position that APs should be paid for the work that they do.

However, there will be some circumstances whereby an early career graduate can take on a voluntary positon for a period of time. Feedback from our Early Graduate Group (EGG) members noted that they were not supportive of guidance recommending an outright ban on all voluntary positions.

What the PSI recommends is that this should not exceed 20 hours per week. It is neither fair nor feasible that a person would be expected to volunteer their time for 39 hours per week. The work completed during the 20 hours should not be that of a qualified psychologist but be limited to the scope of practice and role description of an Assistant Psychologist.

The second substantive change that was recommended and ratified was in relation to supervision. APs are at an early stage of their careers and require supervision to guide them in safe and effective practice. The PSI was made aware that there were some instances where APs were not provided with any individual supervision and offered group supervision only. The PSI now recommends that at least one hour of the monthly four hours should be allocated to one-to-one supervision.

We have also emphasised the importance of adhering to the recommended ratio of clinical to administration work time.

We hope that these recommended changes will assist our early career graduates and we will continue to be available to support you and advocate on your behalf as you progress through your careers.


Mark Smyth
The Psychological Society of Ireland



Remembering Professor Aidan Moran

In March 2020, Professor Aidan Moran sadly passed away. As a long-standing member of the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI), Aidan was known by many Society members. To honour Aidan, some of his colleagues and friends contributed to an In Memory piece for the April issue of The Irish Psychologist magazine. You can read the piece here



Psychological Society of Ireland's Chartered Psychologist Online Directory

In this time of uncertainty,  the Psychological Society of Ireland has made a significant change to their Chartered Psychologist Online Directory. Members of the public now have the opportunity to see if a psychologist is able to provide online/telephone therapy to clients. 

With the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, many people are looking for alternative ways of working with psychologists and we hope this new service is of help. To search for psychologists in your area, please click here



Closure of PSI Office: A Note from PSI CEO Shane Kelly

In line with the recent Government advice regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), all PSI employees will be working remotely from Friday 13 to Friday 27 March* inclusive. (*Please note that, following further announcements from the Government, the PSI office will remain closed with staff working remotely until further notice).

During this time we will be available to assist member queries via email only; however, if you do need to speak with us please email us your phone number, letting us know when it is convenient for us to contact you, and we will try our best to contact you.

The PSI Offices at Grantham House will be closed to members and the public from Friday 13 to Sunday 29 March inclusive. All events organised by the PSI during this period are being cancelled/postponed. If you are due to attend a meeting or an event over this period at the PSI Offices which has been arranged by an external organiser, please check directly with the organiser as these meetings and events will also need to be cancelled or rescheduled to a later date.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused, but the safety of our members and employees is paramount.

The PSI will continue to monitor and follow the advice outlined by the HSE: 

Please see all our email contact details in the following link: 

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation during this time.

Kind regards,

Shane Kelly
PSI Chief Executive Officer



International Women's Day: Celebrating PSI's female Past Presidents

International Women's Day (IWD) has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. IWD takes place annually on 08 March and is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The Day also marks a call to action for accelerating women's equality.


To mark this year’s IWD, and the 50th anniversary of the Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI), we are celebrating the Society’s female Past Presidents. The first female President of the PSI was Thérèse Brady for the 1974/75 term. Thérèse was a founding member of the Society when established in 1970 and went on to be appointed to University College Dublin (UCD) as director of the first postgraduate training programme in clinical psychology in the country. Thérèse was the first of 18 women, to date, to hold the title of PSI President.

In paying tribute to PSI’s female Past Presidents, we posed a series of questions to a number of those who have held the position since PSI’s founding 50 years ago. See the full article here.



Psychological Society of Ireland position on advertisement of Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) role in the Department of Health

It has been proposed that a Health and Social Care Advisor post would be located under the governance of the Chief Nursing Office in the Department of Health. If implemented, this would erode the independence and autonomy of Health and Social Care Professionals (HSCPs) by bringing them under the governance of another profession. HSCPs are excluded from applying for this post.

The PSI is a member of the Health and Social Care Professional Alliance (HSCPA). The HSCPA members have collectively written to the Minister for Health, and other senior officials, demanding that the recruitment campaign for a Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) role be immediately suspended pending a review, and have requested an urgent meeting with the Minister and his officials to discuss concerns.

The PSI President, Mark Smyth, has also spoken directly with FÓRSA representatives about his concerns in relation to this matter. FÓRSA are equally alarmed at this development and have also written to the Minister. Speaking on this, Mark Smyth stated: "We will continue to make strong representations to the Minister and the Department of Health about this matter and will keep PSI members updated on any developments."

The HSCPA letter can be read here.



PSI & NIBPS Careers Day 2020

The 2020 PSI and NIBPS Psychology Careers Event took place this year in UCC School of Applied Psychology. Another packed year, we were delighted to see so many people attend and we hope all enjoyed. For those who were unable to attend or for some who wished to see the slides after the presentations, the majority can be seen below. 


Health Psychology


Counselling Psychology

Careers in Research Psychology

Sport Psychology

Educational Psychology 

What to do with your degree in Psychology 




General Election 2020 - #Ask4MoreHSCPs

Health and Social Care Professionals: It’s Our Service You’re Waiting For

As part of the Health and Social Care Professions Alliance (HSCPA), the Psychological Society of Ireland is delighted to work with the other professional member bodies of the HSCPA in a collaborative General election campaign in calling for more Health and Social Care Professionals (HSCPs). The HSCPA is an alliance of the professional bodies of professions regulated, or due to be regulated, by CORU. HSCPA membership is growing and currently consists of representatives of the following professions: medical laboratory scientists; occupational therapists; orthoptists; social care; social workers; speech and language therapists; radiographers & radiation therapists; dietetics; physiotherapists; psychologists; chiropodists; and, podiatrists.

  1. The HSCPA calls for the establishment of an independent health and social care professions advisory unit in the Department of Health
    • To provide the Minister and Department with the expert advice and support that it requires operating in a similar manner to the Chief Nursing Office within the Department ensuring cost savings, efficiencies and reducing waiting lists
    • To provide the necessary expertise and coordination of care to ensure a more collective and cohesive approach for health and social care
    • To facilitate the development of advanced practice opportunities for HSCPs

  2. The HSCPA calls for the introduction of minimum safe staffing levels for health and social care professions services
    • This will cut waiting times for preventative, hospital, community and ongoing care
    • End the post code lottery for access to our services


In addition to the recommendations of the HSCPA, the PSI is calling on political parties to commit to improving the recruitment and retention of psychologists through:

1. Scrapping of the current national panel system of recruitment;
2. Funding of Counselling & Educational trainee psychologists & increase Clinical psychology training places;
3. Commit to bringing psychology staffing levels to at least A Vision for Change levels.

HSCPA member bodies are using #Ask4MoreHSCPs across social media to promote the campaign so all support of this is appreciated.

On 23 January, the PSI also released their General Election Manifesto calling for a Psychologically Healthier Ireland. To see the full Manifesto click here.



Psychological Society of Ireland releases General Election Manifesto calling for a Psychologically Healthier Ireland

Ireland will elect a new Government in February 2020. This is an opportunity for each political grouping in Ireland to have, at the core of their manifestos, policies that will work towards achieving a Psychologically Healthier Ireland.

The Psychological Society of Ireland (PSI) fully supports the existing Healthy Ireland initiative of the Irish Government, though it believes that a Psychologically Healthier Ireland initiative needs to prioritise and include other areas not embedded within the existing initiative. The PSI calls on the different political parties to consider placing these recommendations at the core of their political manifestos and programmes for Government. These policies are informed and shaped by extensive psychological evidence and expertise that seek to improve the everyday lives of the citizens of Ireland.

Each of the political manifestos should contain actionable and measurable commitments that focus on:

1. Housing / Homelessness;
2. Education;
3. Access to Psychological Care;
4. Climate Change;
5. Direct Provision;
6. Sport & Exercise.

PSI President Mark Smyth says: “We need a new Government that is committed to improving the psychological welfare of its citizens. We don’t need election promises, we need evidence-based, actionable plans that address the structural inequalities such that are impacting on our citizens now. Our most basic human needs of housing, education, and a habitable planet must be addressed if we are to achieve another most basic but crucial psychological need, hope”.

A summary of PSI's steps can be seen below. To see the full Manifesto click here.





Watch Mark Smyth's address as PSI President for 2020

Current PSI President Mark Smyth gave an insightful address at the Society's 2019 Annual Conference regarding his presdiency for this, the 50th year of the PSI. Mark received a standing ovation for his honest and heart-felt words. If you missed the address, or would like to see it again, you can watch the full video here.


  2020 PSI President Mark Smyth delivers his President's Address to delegates at the 2019 Society Annual Conference  



Introducing Mark Smyth - PSI President for 2020

On 01 January 2020, Mark Smyth became the Society's President for the year that will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the PSI. Mark, a Chartered Member of the PSI, is a Senior Clinical Pscyhologist with the HSE Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS), and has served on Council for a number of years. Mark is also an active member of the PSI Communications and Events Committee. For more information on Mark Smyth, as well as his Council colleagues for 2020, please click here