Closure of Counselling Practice From Monday 21st March 2022
With great regret, I am announcing the closure of my counselling service this week and my heart is heavy as I write this, but time is catching up with me and I have worked for fifty-seven years. I will not replace my existing clients and the service will wind down as each current client finishes.
I call them clients, but they are my friends and I feel emotionally connected to each and every one of them. When I shake their hands in farewell it will be like a bereavement, but I will always be there for them, if they wish to ring for a chat or advice. Otherwise, they will always be in my heart. I have learned so much from these, my friends. I have seen how they carry distress, deal with bereavement and loss, shoulder the burden of suffering and in most cases, I have managed to alleviate this. It takes great courage to be vulnerable, but vulnerability is our greatest strength because it enables us to reach out to others. So, all of these, my friends, may feel distressed but they are strong. That is what I have learned.
I was very fortunate that I retired with a good pension and my principal aim was to provide low-cost counselling for unemployed people or those on social welfare payments. This gave me great satisfaction, because with the state of mental health services in Ireland they would never have been able to get counselling. There is a great need for more counsellors in the health services, and I worry about this, particularly with the psychological residue of the Corona pandemic. I need to say that I loved counselling distressed teenagers. I used EMDR therapy, probably the world’s best trauma therapy and found it worked effectively and rapidly to relieve their suffering. It was lovely to see this happen and it enabled them to cope with the pressures of school and third-level education.
I find it hard to believe that the years have flown by so quickly. I retired as Principal of Our Lady’s Secondary School, Templemore, in 2004 and began my practice the following year. I think I had one client for that entire year, but very gradually I built up a small practice. I spent my time either writing books or being with my friends in the clinic. I hope they remain my friends and that some of us will meet in different circumstances, for coffee or perhaps in some group or other, or perhaps at set-dancing classes.
Despite my age, I am fit and feel young and will always remain active, walking and cycling. I hope to join some organisations and perhaps walking groups. However, my main love will be writing. So far, I have written six books, and am currently writing a three-volume book on multiple personality disorder (dissociative identity disorder). When that is completed, I want to write a book on loneliness and another one on growing old in the Twenty-first Century. The last one is very apt!!
So, goodbye to all the friends I made in the last eighteen years, and I wish them health and every happiness.