I had concerns about SKYPE counselling – the difference between in-person and on-screen. Would the clients on-screen feel safe to disclose? Would the therapeutic relationship/connection take place as quickly as it would in the room? I was very glad to discover that these concerns were unjustified. It is particularly useful for issues such as anxiety, depression, addiction, relationship issues and bereavement, where solution focused therapy can be used alongside conventional psychotherapy. It offers clients who live a long way from a therapist, who have time or family restraints and those from other countries an opportunity to avail of therapy. I feel very privileged to live in an era where it is possible to work as a therapist using the medium of SKYPE.

I found Gillian Isaacs Russell book Screen Relations: The Limits of Computer-Mediated Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy very interesting. I would agree with her for the need for more research in this area.

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The harmful effects of bullying

Last summer I wrote a blog post about bullying. It covered the impact on adults who were bullied as children. It also referred to adults who had to admit they were bullies in school.

Some people contacted me after this blog sharing their stories of being bullied. Others mentioned that they found it difficult to confront the fact that they were bullies in school.

Jenny contacted me and asked me to share this website which describes the physical and mental effects of bullying. I found this post very interesting and I hope you do too.

The Appalling Mental & Physical Impact Of Bullying

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Bullying in childhood gets media coverage and attention. On the other hand,the impact for adults who endured bullying in childhood and adults who now recognise that they were in fact bullies when in school get very little media attention. Understandably there is a psychological impact of bullying but recent studies have show that there is the possibility of physical illness in later life.

In a 2014 study by Kings college London, they found that the impact of childhood bullying was still evident after 40 years.

On the other hand, some adults have reported low self esteem and guilt after being challenged as a bully by former school friends who went on to tell them the impact of the bullying. Some of these adults who were challenged as bullies reported they had just been joking to gain popularity with other students – albeit at another students expense. This would tie in with Rodkin, 2011 research who found that many bullies were popular with other students and staff who could not believe the reports of bullying.

Ref:Bullying–And the Power of Peers.PC Rodkin – Educational Leadership, 2011 – ERIC

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Most people admit that they often imagine the worse, put themselves down, mind read and use the word “guilty” and “I should” If you recognise yourself having these thoughts you might like to try CBT interventions which are evidence based to be helpful.

One important intervention is learning to relax – through deep breathing – and staying in the present moment with mindfulness.

Another is learning to solve problems and setting realistic goals for yourself.

Another is engaging in enjoyable activities such as hobbies – playing an instrument is particularly useful – social activities and exercise – such as walking

Many clients report that recognising and challenging negative and irrational thoughts and keeping track of feelings, thoughts and behaviours is very beneficial for them

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What is mediation – this is something as a mediator I am often asked. The definition of mediation refers to conflict resolution with the mediator as non-judgmental and totally impartial.   For me, the best part of mediation is seeing people at the end of the mediation being able to shake hands or even hug.  I remember when they came for the first session they were barely able to be in the same room together.

What is Mediation – it helps people to deal with their issues in a safe environment.  They are listened to by the other side and by the mediator.

It is sad if people do not take the opportunity to attend mediation or counselling and end up in a situation where they cannot communicate. One issue which may then arise is that one parent may try to turn the children against the other parent.  I meet many adults through my work who report that their parents turned them against the other parent. This is called parental alienation.  These adults report that this was emotional abuse.  What is mediation – another definition is that it teaches people the skills to communicate better.  In this way it is hoped that parental alienation and resultant emotional abuse of children may be avoided.

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As a couple your relationship may be experiencing many problems such as:


communication problems

sexual dissatisfaction

power struggles


conflict avoidance


Research has shown that it is not these problems that will lead to a breakdown in your relationship but “the reduction in expressing sentimental feelings, the reduction in positive emotional relationships and your sensitivity to each other”. Ahmadi, F.S., Zarei, E. & Fallahchai, S.R. (2014)

If you decide to come to me for couple counselling I can assist you to rebuild and change your relationship using Emotional Focused couple therapy and William Glasser Choice Theory for couples.

For further information on Emotional focused couple therapy you might like to read the following article.

Ahmadi, F.S., Zarei, E. & Fallahchai, S.R. (2014) “The Effectiveness of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy,%204%281%29%20118-123%202014.pdf


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Family Mediation Dublin 24

When a couple come to mediation to discuss co-parenting – listening to the child or children is very important.

As with all family mediation, prior to the commencement of mediation a couple are invited to speak privately first before commencing mediation.  When a child or children are invited to a mediation session – they are also spoken to privately before the mediation commences.

The importance of listening to the voice of the child in mediation is set out very clearly in the following website article:


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Counselling clients with eating disorders

A recent study in the UK adults found that only 9% would take advice on diet and exercise from an overweight GP. Naomi Moller wonders does weight similarly impact on the credibility of psychologists and I wondered about counsellors and psychotherapists?

There is a small theoretical as well as case study literature which argues that the body shape/weight of a therapist does matter to  clients. (Gubb, 2013)

Naomi writes that online discussion provides further anecdotal evidence that clients spent time talking to each other about their therapists weight/size, and feel uncomfortable with the therapist’s advice because of it.  Naomi mentions that preliminary findings link therapist with a weight problem  with emotional eating and the  link the therapist as not coping with their own life.(see the Psychologist, vol 28′ no. 2′ page 85)

It would be very interesting to hear from your views or experience on this topic.


Gubb K (2013) Re-embodying the analyst. Psychotherapy Analytic Psychotherapy in South Africa, 21(1),1-27


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Depression – I had a Black Dog his name was depression

If you are suffering from depression either with a small d or capital D – and have not seen this video by the World Health Orga jsatjk  it is well worth checking out

As it explains that you are not the only one suffering and explains that it is an illness.

Your loved ones might like to check out the video Living with the Black Dog

It gives sound advice on what to say and even more important what not to say to a person with depression.


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Nora Owens comments gave me the impression that she wanted us all to spend less at Christmas on presents, clothes, etc in order to have money to pay Irish Water.  She has a State Pension which is paid for by tax payers.

I work with many people on very low incomes and on the face of it it may look as if they spend a lot of money on Christmas for presents and clothing for their own children and presents for their families.  In fact, many report that they no longer buy individual presents for their nieces and nephews and use Kris Kindle instead.

The money they spend is at a high cost to themselves as they report summer holidays are a day trip to Howth, Bray or Portmarnock and visits to the local park.  Their children’s allowance are used for their children and July and August’s money is used for the back to school expenses.  September and October’s children’s allowance is used for the Christmas presents and clothing for their children.

I have lost count of the number of very low income parents who confided in me that they have already purchased and paid for the clothes and presents for their children at the first week of November.  They are such terrific money-managers and I can only admire them.


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