I have now closed my counselling practice for new clients, but will do voluntary counselling in third level colleges, rape crisis centres and Ukrainian centres, where I will use EMDR the world’s leading trauma therapy.. I will also be devoting much time to researching and writing.
I have written seven books and I hope you will find them some of helpful in trying to make sense of your life. My first book, since I became a counsellor, is on the death of a child and how it impacts parents and siblings. You will see this in the publications section of this site. I do not make any profit from this book, and those bereaved of children find it very useful. The book explores in a simple way the impact of our thirteen-year-old child’s death and how we coped with it over many years. Some of the details are taken from diaries we kept. Losing a child is immensely painful, but ultimately we can cope well with it. If you have lost a child, I am very sorry, and I hope this book will help you. It is titled When a Child Dies. Footsteps of a Grieving Family (2008).
When A Child Dies, Footsteps of a Grieving Family
You can order this book from Amazon or from Veritas Ltd.
As I continued on my new journey of counselling and changed from history writing, I decided my next book would be on abuse, because that is what I met every day in my counselling clinic. Abusive people can be equally named bullies, controllers and narcissists. The book is titled Abuse. Domestic Violence, Workplace and School Bullying (2011). About 30% of people have this controlling trait and they make life miserable for their targets. They emotionally, if not physically, imprison them. I wrote this book because people do not really understand what abuse is, and confuse it with domestic violence, which is only one form of abuse. In recent years the term coercive control is mentioned and that is separate from domestic violence, although they are still confused in peoples minds. The use of the word gaslighting is now frequently used, either in terms of intimate relationships or in the political world where the truth is mangled by extreme-right politicians, and in intimate relationships the victims doubt their sanity. The book explores the importance of boundaries. It is fundamental to build good boundaries to combat abuse, but it is not easy, because abusive people ignore boundaries and have a sense of entitlement that they can do what they wish. The book looks at the different types of abuse – physical, emotional/psychological, verbal, sexual and financial, and mentions spiritual abuse. Most importantly it examines boundaries, the abusive personality, remaining or leaving an abusive relationship, and what happens when you leave such a relationship.
The book can be purchased from Cork University Press, bookshops and on Amazon.
Clients find my third book, Understanding and Healing the Hurts of Childhood, (2018) very helpful. Originally the book was entitled Fear, but the more I thought about it the more I realised it is about attachment trauma, from which fear emanates. Fear is contained in the fear centre of the brain, the amygdala, the only part of the brain that is significantly formed before birth. Therefore, life in the womb is not always safe and babies can be born traumatised. For example, if a mother is anxious or depressed, or if there is conflict in the house, the mother releases the stress hormone, cortisol, through the umbilical cord into the placenta and this causes distress to the child, who may also suffer a deficit in serotonin, the calming hormone. It seems that in adult life that child may still lack sufficient serotonin, which can be replenished by daily exercise. In adulthood, this child may also be vulnerable to anxiety or depression. EMDR deals easily with this and can access ‘memories’ of life in the womb. I found this very gratifying. This book explores the concept of fear -fear of abandonment, fear of failure, social fear/anxiety, fear of death. It also looks at toxic anger coming from an insecure attachment, and toxic jealousy coming from the same source. About 40% of people have an insecure attachment and many require counselling. The book also examines how to deal with these wounds. It is not a self-help book.
This book is available on Amazon.
While I was still counselling I had an itch to write a biographical novel. I lived in easier times where people visited each other every night and helped each other out in many practical ways. I remember doing my homework by candlelight, and we had an old oil lamp to light the kitchen. I was twelve years old before electricity arrived and the cobwebs became visible! I came from a poor family and interacted with children from poor families. We had great freedom and played together almost every day. We courted lovely girls rather later that our current young crop. What, hopefully, makes the book interesting is the wealth of people that today we might call characters, whose behaviour was stranger than fiction. So, while the book is a novel, it is based on real life in a world that would be unrecognisable to the young people of today. No phones in every house, no televisions, no computers or internet, very few motor cars. Imagine.
The book is title I’ll Meet You At The Roundy O (2018) and is available on Amazon.
The roundy O, by the way, was a circular feature in a village called Grange, in the parish of Gurtnahoe and was probably erected in the early part of the Twentieth Century. It is still there today and is featured on the cover of the book.
My next book will be published in September. It is about ‘Margaret,’ a client who has DID (Multiple Personality Disorder). It is a very large book and traces her story from 2016 to 2021. She first presented in my clinic in 2016 and has weekly session of therapy with me since then.
This book is volume 1 of three volumes. It shows her story, the horrific abuse she suffered as a child, resulting in DID, and the coercive control that she experienced as an adult. The childhood abuse was so severe that it resulted in DID an extremely distressing condition, which causes the brain to split into ego parts or dissociative parts, each with its own personality and outlook. The book shows the story of her abuse, childhood and adult, it explains posttraumatic stress injury, DID, and looks at the impact of trauma on the brain. It also details many counselling sessions and my own interaction with the ego parts as I tried to befriend them. Unlike any other book on DID it traces the daily life of a person with this complaint over many years. Hence its large size.
Volume 2 will probably be published late next year, and is a book of poetry by her outlining her long journey from 2016 until the present time. Volume 3 will be published when Margaret is fully healed, which I think will take another year (hopefully!!) and will involve the integration of the parts. She had 87 parts, meaning she had quaternary structural dissociation. Many aspects of the story moved me very much, as I think it would any reader. It is a book about hope conquering deep despair and depression.
Before I became a therapist, I was a teacher and historian. I, therefore, began as a history writer. The first book I published was a rewrite of my Ph D thesis entitled Priest Politics and Society in Post Famine Ireland (1983). It is the first major book on the role of the clergy in Irish politics and it was an extensive role. The book initially looks at the social interaction between the priests and their flocks and shows how close this was. Despite the power wielded by the priests in religious matters, a large sector of society had a healthy sense of independence from them in the political area. The priests by and large were drawn from the agrarian classes and generally went with the outlook of farmers. They were extensively involved in agrarian movements such as the Tenant League and The Land League. Sadly, they were not really involved in the Labourers’ movement. I traced the social backgrounds of almost 600 priests and not a single one came from a labouring background. The reasons were mainly financial. Labourers could not afford seminary fees. Yet it was a massive mistake to have a large section of Irish Society omitted from clerical ranks. The book also looks at the Fenian movement which was largely condemned by the priests. One of the most interesting themes was the priests involvement in the Parnellite movement. They were ardent Parnellites, but many turned on him following the revelations for his divorce, showing that on occasion the moral aspect of politics was the one that chiefly motivated the priests, otherwise their social background dictated their direction.
This book is now out of print but may be available on Amazon.
The other book that I wrote as a historian was a biography of a politician and a swindler, John Sadleir of Shronell, West Tipperary, who lived a large part of his life as an MP in London and is buried in an unmarked grave in Highgate Cemetery. I remember standing in that cemetery looking at that unmarked grave, while a group of young people sat at a fire nearby! It was a sad occasion for me, because while he was one of the world’s biggest swindlers I felt some sympathy for him having spent so long researching his life. The book is as much about mid-Victorian business and politics as it is about him. Sadleir never married and was considered a leading Catholic and enjoyed the favour of the Catholic. He owned a newspaper, The Telegraph, which was in constant conflict with Charles Gavan Duffy’s Nation. The Young Irelanders despised Sadleir and used the label Sadleirism as a derogatory term for betrayal and corruption. Sadleir is best remembered for the collapse of the Tipperary Joint Stock Bank, which is well explored in the last section of this book. But his swindles were much more extensive than this.
The book is titled Prince of Swindlers. John Sadleir M.P. 1813 -1856. (1999). It can be purchased from Geography Publications or from Amazon.