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



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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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Bronagh Hannon wrote an excellent article in the August 2014 issue of the Psychologist magazine.  “She writes of her experience of working in a carer/support role.  She describes her experience of starting work at 7 am and getting people up, showered, fed and medicated within a half-four call and a rota which leaves no travel time between calls which can take 20 minutes, thereby getting further behind throughout the morning until the final breakfast call is closer to lunchtime.  As her last client cannot get out of bed herself, the client is in tears thinking no one is coming.  Then she describes lunch and then tea/dinner calls and all the time she is behind again as she has no travel time between calls.   Some clients are given their dinner at 4 30 pm and put to bed at 7 pm – which in winter may not be so bad but in summertime it must be horrible to be ready for bed so early.  She describes up to 18 hours away from home for eight hours pay.  With low pay, long hours, tight time constraints it is difficult to think of positives about the job.  She writes about elderly people for whom she knows she is their only visitor that day, but is in such a rush that she barely gets the chance to ask how they are.  If she stops and chats it will only impact upon the next clients, making her later still.   Bonagh holds a degree in Psychology and hopes to work as an assistant psychologist and hopefully become a clinical psychologist.  She describes how learning to connect with clients has some relevance for a career in clinical psychology.  But the conditions create a very unhappy and stressful work environment.  Carers have no control over the rota but have to deal with the fallout.   She apologised for being late most calls but the office never passed on the information to the client that she was running late.” The Psychologist vol 27 No. 8 August 2014 The British Psychological Society

Bronagh’s experience related to the UK but these same issues are being dealt with by carers in Ireland.  I know of carers who have to be in Ballybrack from 8 am to 9 am and then Sandymount at 9 am to 10 am and then Kilternan at 10 am.  Although clients are due a 1 hour call in fact they receive a 45 minute call.   There are also 30 minute calls which with travelling time are actually even less than 30 minutes.  Carers have no control over the rota but like Bronagh have to deal with the fall out from being late.  If a carer stays the allotted time, then with the additional traveling time, they work an additional 2 hours or more over an 8 hour day and will not get paid for that time.  Also carers report that they do not get lunch breaks and many report eating in the car at traffic lights, etc.  Bronagh like a lot of carers I have met say that the satisfaction of helping people and the benefits of flexible working are lost through company policies such as bad rostering, no travel time, changing clients just when the client and carer have developed a connection, having to pay for parking and petrol and then waiting 6 weeks or more for the refund.  Carers who work for companies need plenty of self care and sleep.

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Recently I was in Boots Pharmacy and decided to get my blood pressure checked which they kindly did.  It was late afternoon and I had just completed a stressful day – so it was not surprising my first reading was very high, but worrying when the second reading was even higher.  In an effort to relax I started visualising the face of a loved one – who always makes me smile, I then noted that my feet and my body were starting to relax.  I was amazed that the results of that test showed that my blood pressure was significantly lower than the first two readings.  Kathie (the Pharmacist) said you must have been more relax – I was – and it was entirely due to visualisation.

Visualisation is known to relax , reduce stress and in my case blood pressure.  This article gives further information.   Martin, I. (2006). Guided Visualization: A Way to Relax, Reduce Stress, and More!. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 8, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/guided-visualization-a-way-to-relax-reduce-stress-and-more/000684

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I have found therapeutic interventions using stones – boards – markers – cards – spider webs – music – very helpful in allowing clients to explore their feelings – this is especially true of young teenagers – it is also very useful when working with groups and families.

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All families have disputes, but when they concern a Will, (Probate) whether it be a mother’s, father’s, or siblings, etc. it can lead to a lot of anomosity and can be very stressful and expensive if it involves litigation.   The Cohabitation Act 2010 has now “added to the mix”. In a situation where a person who has made a Will and left everything, including their home to family members, and makes no mention of a partner who has been sharing the Deceased’s home for many years, at the very least this can lead to lengthy delays and expensive (if litigation is involved) before the house can be sold.  Mediation is an ideal tool to resolve this type of  situation as it gives each side a chance to tell their story and at the end the aim is for all sides to reach a win-win situation.


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