About Us

Meet The Team

Our Mission Statement

The AACPI aims to support and represent the network of service providers of Professional Community-based counselling services. It commits to be community-based and not-for-profit, to pursue standards of excellence in clinical practice and corporate governance and to support and value agency-based work.

It aims at all times to be accessible, to honour inclusivity and equality to all in the community.

  • AACPI is a Registered Charity in the Republic of Ireland. Reg. CHY. No. 18950
  • AACPI is a Company limited by Guarantee, Company No. 545085

Board Of Management

All members of the Board of Management are drawn from the member organisations that provide community-based counselling services nationally. Annual General Meeting of AACPI elects the Board of Management for 3-year periods and a rotation system is in operation.


The AACPI Strategic Development Plan covers years from 2017 to 2022

Executive Summary:  We did a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats) of AACPI and of the counselling & psychotherapy sector.

The key areas that have been identified are:

1. Raising the profile of the sector/not recognised nationally/regionally.
2. Unsustainable instability of funding.
3. Members in survival mode, deflated, burnt out & under resourced.
4. Changes to funding stream.
5. Value of sector not being recognized by key stakeholders.
6. Funding being provided to other counselling services, being continuously overlooked, reinventing the wheel
7. Insufficient number of AACPI board members.

Key Objectives for next 5 years:
• Strengthen our relationship with our membership
• Keep our members as updated as we can on relevant matters.
• Keep AACPI & its membership compliant and up to date with all governance matters, e.g. upcoming GDPR & Mandatory Reporting.
• Roll out our new Marketing Plan.
• Raise the profile of the sector, our membership and the services provided.
• Expand our membership.
• Have all members signed up to the AACPI Database.
• Establish new relationship with other key stakeholders.
• Maintain current strategic partnership with Tusla Child & Family Agency.


The coming Year 2020:

Continue to work on our PR & Marketing Strategy for raising the profile of community-based counselling & psychotherapy nationwide & regionally. This profile will be raised with key stakeholders and other community services. We have identified that our member organisations don’t need to raise the profile of the services they provide to the public as they
are already struggling to meet the demands on their services and to promote it would only add more pressure and increase waiting lists.

We want to have a stronger identity as an organisation and for the counselling services being provided in the community.

The Association for Agency-based Counselling & Psychotherapy in Ireland (AACPI) is an association of like-minded agencies who provide counselling services for people in communities across Ireland. AACPI member agencies uphold core-principles that define an agency-based approach to counselling. These core-principles shape and influence the counselling practice, administration, standards, and ethos of a centre or agency. We work together to develop standards of excellence for organisations providing counselling services with a wide and varied range of presenting issues to all in the community.

Organisational Vision
Is an Ireland where the well-being and mental health of all communities, families, children, young people, couples and individuals are supported through a network of professional community-based counselling and therapeutic support agencies.


It aims at all times to be accessible, to honour inclusivity and equality to all in the community.
• In 4 years time we want the sector to be secure; i.e. providing all of the counselling & psychotherapy to all of the people, all of the time.
• Well defined funding streams for counselling & psychotherapy
• Meetings with policy makers.
• Well defined relationships with key decision groups-policy makers
• Historic redress-Restoration of funding

Organisational Principals
The AACPI and its members are committed to Professional Standards and best practice through the following Principals.
• That member agencies operate from an ethos that strives to promote equality and diversity, to ensure that all legislation and policy requirements within the nine characteristics of equality and diversity are implemented in all practices.
• That member agencies recognise the needs and potential of individuals and families in the community.
• That member agencies have clear 'Clinical' & 'Corporate Governance' accountability structures.
• That member agencies have on-site systems of record-keeping & data collection; and continuous quality development.
• That member agencies are committed to on-going organisational development to ensure that they operate best practice standards.
• That member agencies are community-based, not-for-profit and strive to be of benefit to these communities within the limits of their competency.

In addition, on an annual basis, organisations monitor and evaluate their performance under a range of headings including: Corporate Governance, Employment standards, administration, professional boundaries, standards of client care and case management, record keeping and data collection, administrative support, management, supervision, accountability, ethics,
policies and procedures.

SWOT Analysis of AACPI 


AACPI identified the following as strengths:
1. Training & Networking: We provide trainings, forums and national counselling conference that provide good networking opportunities.
2. National Database: We collate counselling statistics and produce an annual national database report that reflects the amount of counselling work being done by our membership.
3. Standards & governance: AACPI is compliant and ensures that its member organisations are too.
4. Relationship with Tusla: This is a strong working alliance where our working relationship is that of strategic partners.
5. National Director: The front of the company, driving AACPI forward and building relationships with its membership.
6. IT & Finance Consultant: Ensures we are compliant in the areas of finance & governance. Develops our national database and supports our membership.


AACPI has identified the following as weaknesses:
1. Not utilising the National Director: The National Director has not been up skilled throughout her 4 years of employment.
2. Communication with its membership: We have not been providing quarterly newsletters as agreed. Not been updating members as much as we feel we could have been.
3. Insufficient number of board members: We need to source more board members as it’s difficult to operate with the minimum number requireed, puts too much pressure on the sitting board to be in attendance at all meetings.
4. Not recognised Nationally/Regionally: We have not promoted ourselves or responded to issues through the media. Have not
promoted AACPI enough within the sector.



AACPI identified the following as opportunities:
1. Strengthen relationship with our members: By keeping them more updated. Ask Tusla for updates that they would like circulated to the members.
2. To utilise & up skill the National Director: Identify a key training that would assist in further driving AACPI forward.
3. Develop a clear Strategic Plan: This is in process.
4. Provide more relevant training: e.g. GDPR & Mandatory Reporting. Provide training that would up skill psychotherapists that would support the organisation they work in to broaden the counselling services they provide.
5. Reliabilty on core staff: Having one core staff and being dependent, impact should we lose that person.
6. Develop relationship with other key stakeholders: e.g. National Counselling Service/ Mental Health Services.


AACPI identified the following threats:
1. Changes to funding stream: This could impact on the operations of AACPI.
2. Instability of funding: Impact on the development of our national database, providing training, expanding membership and continue to employ staff.
3. Non-engagement from membership: That our members don’t feel AACPI are working in their best interests or are getting value for their membership.
4. Not considered to be of value: That our role and relationship with Tusla becomes unnecessary.

SWOT Analysis of membership/counselling sector 


The strengths identified are as follows:
1. Established referral pathways: Organisations have two-way informal referral pathways established over many years within their
2. Accessible: To all in the community, no person is turned away.
3. Affordable: Counselling is made available at low and no cost to all in the community.
4. Great reputation in the community: Most of our member organisations have been rooted in the community for over 30 years and a relationship of trust has been established. Trust that the service is professional and won’t let them down.
5. Work to a Code of Ethics: All our member organisations ensure that their psychotherapists are fully qualified, professional and the organisations policies & procedures ensure that they work to a required Code of Ethics.
6. Well established & rooted in the community: As already mentioned these organisations are over 30 years operating in the community. They have developed good community models that meet the demands of those in community and have two-way referral pathways that help support all.


The weaknesses identified are as follows:
1. Individual organisations not promoting themselves: Counselling & psychotherapy by its nature of confidentiality tends to make it difficult to promote. Not all organisations are in a position to promote themselves say to their local TD’s or through local media e.g. radio and newspapers or websites, in most cases due to being under resourced.
2. Agencies in survival mode, deflated, burnt out & under resourced: Due to 50% cuts to funding and no restoration of funding organisations are working under a lot of pressure, more being asked of them without financial back-up. Not being able to employ more staff, therefore resulting in existing staff being over worked.
3. Non-AACPI database compliant: This will in the coming year have an impact on the allocation of funding and it affects the overall national statistics that Tusla require.
4. Funding to other counselling streams/reinventing the wheel: CIPC being a good example of this. Some clients who use this service end up going to community based counselling services. The private sector is another example.


The weaknesses identified are as follows:
1. To capture outcomes: Do we develop our database to capture specific outcomes in a way that fits for our members.
2. To not accept non-funded referrals: A key drain on our services is taking non-funded clients from social services. Organisations need to stand collectively together to not accept any referrals from any service without funding in place to facilitate the service being provided. This is contributing to organisations reserves being depleted.
3. To advocate who we are and what we do: To work with AACPI in achieving this.
4. To be funded to accept referrals from overwhelmed services with long waiting lists: This could be an opportunity to source a new funding stream.


The following threats identified are as follows:
1. Change in funding stream: May impact on the operations of an organisation.
2. Instability of funding: Continues to be a real threat, resulting in burn out and possible closures of services. Organisations find it difficult to put a strategic plan together for any longer than one year, not a good business model.
3. Referrers not funding their referrals: This poses a threat to depletion of reserves for the organisation, longer waiting lists and to those in the community.
4. Counselling & psychotherapy not recognised as valuable by key stakeholders: This results in our organisations being passed over for more funding and not being considered as important and professional as other mental health services.


AACPI Coordinator: Sarah Jane Hennelly 

Chair: Marian Keigher

Office Address: AACPI, Unit No. 6, The Village Centre, Churchlands, Slane, Co. Meath

Office Hours: Monday to Wednesday 9am to 5pm
(IT Support)

Mobile: +353(0)87-7391794

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