Roebuck centre course loses status

Roebuck centre course loses status

Irish Times Friday, November 9, 2007

Róisín Ingle

A Dublin counselling centre has lost its professional accreditation for its three-year training course pending the outcome of an inquiry into complaints made by ex-clients.

John Hughes, a member of the board of the National Association for Pastoral Counselling and Psychotherapy (NAPCP), said accreditation of the diploma course in counselling and psychotherapy at Roebuck Consulting Ltd in Rathgar has been suspended.

Mr Hughes also confirmed that the accreditation of Claire Hoban, a counsellor at the Roebuck centre, has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.

The decision was taken earlier this week at a meeting of the board of the NAPCP, when Mr Hughes said a three-person ethics committee was set up to look into the complaints.

“So far we have received eight written complaints about the way the course is run and also about the conduct of Claire Hoban, which we are taking very seriously,” said Mr Hughes, a psychotherapist and member of the newly established ethics committee.

“We cannot base our investigation around reports in news-papers or other media so we are urging anyone who has complaints to write to us with details,” he said.

Letters informing the centre and Ms Hoban of decisions to suspend accreditation were sent by the NAPCP yesterday.

The controversy emerged three weeks ago when The Irish Times reported that ex-clients of Roebuck Consulting were unhappy about being asked for large sums of money for counselling and other services.

These included Dubliner Des Martin, who gave €235,000 to a counsellor at Roebuck Consulting.

The money was subsequently refunded and it is understood that some people who have withdrawn from the training course in the wake of the allegations have also had fees returned.

It is not known how long the inquiry process will take, but Mr Hughes said a swift conclusion was “in the best interests of all parties”.

The Irish Times attempted to contact Bernie Purcell, director of Roebuck Consulting Ltd, for a response to the decision by the NAPCP, but was unsuccessful.

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