A letter to all at ICPPD Athlone

Dear Precious Being,

My Journal entry reads:

“The stirrings are stronger these days, a knowing that I need to attend to my body mind spirit needs. The truth that I am almost depleted, burned out and physically overworking, overeating and drinking, mentally over thinking and “too much screening”, emotionally over anxious, and not getting enough exercise, enough sleep, fun and inner peace is taking its toll on me.

Anxiety  ICPPD college

“mentally over thinking and ‘too much screening’ is taking its toll on me”

I know all of this and dislike myself even more, for my weaknesses and addictive patterns.

My energy has become one of annoyance and irritation, of ranting and blaming – out of fear, fear of losing. I am communicating indirectly, afraid to express my needs, caught up in everything, so that I am lost and confused and doubting myself.

I am not sitting in my centre and communicating assertively, directly, respectfully and lovingly from this wise peaceful trusting place. Acknowledging, owning and expressing this now, as usual connects me back with myself and I am grounded in my safe harbour again.

safe harbour ICPPD college

“I am grounded in my safe harbour again”

All this anguish is coming from change that is happening. Transition. Change is an opportunity for unfamiliar unfolding and it brings with it, fear of the unknown. I have accepted a place on a Doctorate in Psychotherapy, for Public Works.

It is a wonderful opportunity being presented to me – a 1-year intensive programme. A celebration of achievement of work undertaken in setting up ICPPD Athlone, as a third level college delivering reputable counselling and psychotherapy training in Ireland.

studying ICPPD Athlone

“I have accepted a place on a Doctorate in Psychotherapy”

To do this, I need to stand back from ICPPD, to trust all is and will be well. This is easy at one level because I am blessed to have such good people around me, who are committed to me, to ICPPD, to learners and tutors. I have worked very hard these past 7 years to get the college to where it is today. I fully endorse the view I heard recently that a successful project is 5% talent and 95% arduous work.

To shift and transmute my fear, and to support myself at this time of transition and normal anxiety, my male aspect needs to support my female side now. I need my male energy to protect and stand up for me. This aspect looks after time, structure, money, practicalities and this then allows my female energy to nurture, to flow, to rest and creatively weave magic.”

team ICPPD college

“I need to happily and joyfully leave ICPPD in your hands for this year”

As I reflected further in my journal, I wrote the following letter of information, affirmation and appreciation to my people, my tribe at ICPPD:

“Considering my changing circumstances, I need to happily and joyfully leave ICPPD in your hands for this year.

Today, is a celebration. I had a dream, it feels more like I came across a dream that needed someone to manifest and it was my time to do it. We created it together, you and I, from 7 learners (2 of whom were family) to now over 100 adult learners.

I felt strongly at that time and I still do, that there is a need for a counselling/psychotherapy training that held the client at the centre.  The learner as a person is also at this centre, and central to this process of helping and healing are you, the tutors, the trainer, the educators, the masters, the guides who – you inform and impart your knowledge and experience, you are experts in the field challenging and supporting personal and professional growth and development. You model good practice, integrity and ethical awareness and connect through your humanity. You care about self and others and your environment. You embrace wholeness and strive to live a holistic philosophy.

Clients are at the center in ICPPD Athlone

The following pyramid helps me demonstrate my wishes at this time of change and growth at ICPPD. (In fact, I would much prefer to use a cyclical graph, except I am not able to create this on my computer) – so, from top down –

  1. Christine and Tom
  2. CEO, Management, Shareholders
  3. Quality Assurance
  4. Administration, House Keeping
  5. Tutors, Clinical, Academic staff
  6. Adult Learners

Of course, this works only from bottom up – These are my wishes – Keep your feet on the ground, get down to ground-level, grass-roots, stay in touch, listen to, hear… (wise words and good advice often heard, not to be forgotten or dismissed!)


And so, the Learners and Tutors and academic processes are served and supported by effective, consistent, and fair administration and quality assurance procedures.

ICPPD’s External Examiner this year said, “make sure and keep the heart and soul in your work, in your college, don’t let it become managerial”– this to me is balm to my ears, and means keeping the pyramid from turning, by remaining focused on what is most important.

The purpose and essence of setting up ICPPD Athlone 7 years ago was and still is:

To create a learning community where counselling and psychotherapy training is experienced by trainee and tutor and others as –

  • a mutual journey of self-discovery and expanded self-awareness
  • learning additional information and fresh perspectives
  • creating an atmosphere that encourages critical enquiry and an openness to difference
  • practicing a breadth and depth of skills that enhances personal and professional relationships
  • an agreement to uphold reflective practices, including body mind spirit processes
  • ongoing invitation to tutors and learners to contact and engage with their inner and outer world in a way that brings harmony and peace to the world
  • encouragement of creativity and fun as channels for joy and happiness


All of this is bravely and courageously attempted in an environment that is mostly experiential and conducive to this work of becoming a therapist. Our contract with trainees remains the same – on completion of this course we will have done our best to provide learning that enables you to be a competent, compassionate, ethical practitioner.

To support an educational and enlightening environment conducive to head, heart and hands learning, please ensure to bring nature, beauty, music and sensual delights into your place of study and work to incite and remind all that life-long learning is a call to the embodied known and the unknown mystery.

It is not so much what we do, rather than the quality and way that we attend to, our work, our surroundings, our relationships, our inner and outer landscapes – that brings us into a profound experience of heart – into, the spirit of compassion, kindness, generosity, goodness and love.

Thanking you sincerely for being part of a dream…as we continue to midwife together…for another academic year

Wishing you all only the best in your personal and professional lives…

In gratitude,


(Delivered by Christine as Academic Director to Programme Board Meeting at ICPPD Athlone, September 2017)

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