Athlone, Dublin & Galway

A Reflection: What kind of counsellor/psychotherapist do I want to be?


This Learner Reflection by Anne Healy brought us together at the beginning of class last Sunday in year 4 BA Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy in Athlone. Thank you, Anne, for this thought-provoking reflection. – Christine Moran, Tutor.

I attended a lecture this week where Michael Conway, Professor of Faith and Culture in St Patricks College, Maynooth spoke about passing on the Christian faith to younger generations and how that translates… he outlined two world views, The world view of the recent past, a linear one in which safety, conformity and knowing one’s place were key.  I could place my younger self within this model, remembering back to those times, my sub conscious awareness of following a path which had been marked out for me.  The certainty of it!  I would do my leaving certificate; I would study and I would become a teacher.  All safe, secure in my conformity;  and then he spoke of a new and emerging world view, the world in which we live today; where change seems the only constant,  a fast paced change experienced in our lives today; he described a  way of being in the world where diversity, equality, individual voice, bio diversity, climate change, information technology and above all, uncertainty, shape this newly emerging world view, the framework within which you and I are  now living.  His lecture allowed me to pause, and to question how I connect into this newly emerging world and even though this wasn’t the direction of Professor Conway’s lecture, it led me to reflect on the question…. What kind of a counsellor/psychotherapist do I want to be…

I found myself reflecting on this question a lot this week, … what kind of a therapist do I want to be?  and I’ve come up with as many versions of an answer to that as you can imagine.   In this emerging new world view, a world that is very different from the one that I grew up in I am beginning to find my way…  and…. I am beginning to realise that my role as a psychotherapist is central to my being in the world.  I hope it will be one that facilitates the clients that I will meet along the way, those people who are struggling (like myself) to make sense of their experiences, to make sense of their attempts to adapt to our new fast paced and constantly changing way of being in the world, those clients who are facing the shadow side of what this newly emerging world presents to them ….

I want to be a psychotherapist that can walk beside my clients when they need me to do that.  Not so much walking their path, (we all have our own paths that we must journey), rather, I want my role to be one where I really understand that;  where I really get  how privileged I am to be gifted with their time,  being allowed to spend it in their  sacred presence; to never lose the awe and wonder of being given that permission –  to journey with that client …and…. I want that for each one of the clients I will meet as I journey down my road, knowing that both my client and I are travelling our own paths. When I meet you on the road, I walk a little of the way with you.

So, in this reflection I offer you the words from The prayer of St Francis……

Make me a channel of your peace

Where there is hatred let me bring your love

Where there is injury, your pardon Lord

And where there is doubt true faith in You

Make me a channel of your peace

Where there is despair in life let me bring hope

Where there is darkness only light

And where there’s sadness ever joy

Oh, Master grant that I may never seek

So much to be consoled as to console

To be understood as to understand

To be loved as to love with all my soul

Make me a channel of your peace

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned

It is in giving to all man that we receive

And in dying that we are born to eternal life


The singer Susan Boyle sings this beautifully

and together with the melody, the words of this prayer manage to reach a place within my soul.  Lately, as my classmates and I draw nearer to the final chapter of our ICPPD journey together, closer than ever before to the finish line, I have spent more time thinking about what it really means that I will, hopefully, soon enough be a qualified, practicing and pre accredited holistic and integrative psychotherapist.

So… what kind of a therapist do I want to be… ? a congruent one, an empathetic one, a listener, a facilitator, I want to be a kind one, I want to be an effective one, I want to bring healing… what kind of a therapist do I want to be…. ? well I’m letting it unfold gently as I go along … but in the meantime every time I hear the words of this prayer or listen to the lyrics as it is sung I feel more aligned to a sense of being able to grasp the  answer to that question… an answer that I have yet to articulate clearly enough; and as I listen to the melody and to the words.. my answers sit within me a little more… settles in me a little deeper … all will become clear.   So, I trust.

It is not my intention to attach any religious connotation to this piece as I offer it to each of us, offered up to whatever you hold The Divine to mean or understand for you, or not.   I offer up this reflection for each one in the community that is ICPPD and my hope that it meets you wherever you find yourself in relation to the question… what kind of a therapist do you want to be?   

I believe that we all have the potential to be amazing therapists and I my wish for each of us is that we will be the therapists that we desire in our souls to become… or perhaps… already are!     

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