CEO of ICPPD, Christine Moran’s Graduation 2015 speech

ICPPD Graduation 2015, Athlone

Good afternoon everyone,

To all the graduates here today and those unable to be present my heartfelt congratulations. I hope your time at ICPPD whether that was during the Certificate in Holistic Counselling Skills and Practice, the Professional Diploma in Reflexive Supervision or the 3 year Diploma in Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy, whether you attended here in Athlone, Dublin, Galway or Wexford, I hope it was a beneficial learning experience and that you felt nurtured and supported in your personal journey by all at ICPPD.

Congratulations to all of you, particularly, the graduates from the 3 year Professional Qualification and Diploma in Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy. Congratulations, well done!

As you begin your work as therapists in your community, in private practice, in agencies, in schools, GP surgeries and clinics, and family resource centres, I would like to remind you of one of the first theorist you met 3 years ago – Carl Rogers and PCA, and the holistic ethos that underpins your training at ICPPD.

Carl R. Rogers – “When the other person is hurting, confused, troubled, anxious, alienated, terrified; or when he or she is doubtful of self-worth, uncertain as to identity, then understanding is called for. The gentle and sensitive companionship of an empathic stance… provides illumination and healing. In such situations deep understanding is, I believe, the most precious gift one can give to another.”

We are a college with a Difference; your programme is in Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy. In ICPPD, we try to deliver holistic education which is all-inclusive, universal. The Latin word “educare” means to lead out, to bring out what is in the person. Education is a life-long process and you are all the time learning to bring out what is inside you.

You are an alchemist. Like the gardener putting a seed into the soil and with nurturing, that seed is transformed into a beautiful tree – with branches, leaves, blossom and fruit, that is given unconditionally for up to 50 years – a wonderful alchemy. This is your sacred work as a therapist, making a difference that ripples out beyond the counselling room.

The work of the gardener is not to tell the seed how to become an apple tree, but to provide right conditions, soil, water, sunshine, protection so the seed can develop into a tree, he/she is loving the seed, caring for the soil,  relating to the wonder and miracle of life as the seed becomes a tree. This is a simple metaphor for therapy and adult education as we see it.

For your work as therapists, as holistic counsellors/psychotherapists, you appreciate that every human is born with potential, like the acorn into the oak tree. Hopefully we all get some support to develop our potential, to follow a journey of adventure, to discover ourselves, who we are.  Education is a journey of self-realisation.

Holistic education is learning with your whole being. We are born into this amazing wonderfully designed body. In the body we have the brain and the mind that is bigger and lives throughout the body, and we have heart, imagination, creativity and more. Sometimes we get lost and focus only on the brain and the head – all of our being holds elements of learning and education.

Educate our heads of course, with information, knowledge and ideas, but if your heart is not developed – how will you deal with relationships in your life? The key to our life is relationship. Training our heart, we learn compassion, to feel generosity, love, sorrow and all feelings. Hands are a magical gift to us, through our hands with our heart and imagination co-ordinated, we can transform ourselves and others.

According to Ananda Coomraswamy – “An artist is not a special kind of person, but every person is a special kind of artist.”

We are all artists. The greatest art is the art of living. We are always students of life. So education must help us to bring out our true artist, encourage us to open our minds to a bigger picture. You cannot learn about nature from a book, you need to experience nature to know it, knowledge without experience is incomplete. You know something in your head, but you have to experience it in your body, in your heart, in your senses, through your eyes, then your knowledge is truly realised, enhanced, completed. You have created a relationship, not a study of an object, but an experience of its fullness.

The challenge of education is producing well-equipped people with imagination, creativity, skills, ideas and heart relationships who will go into the world joyfully. As a learner, I hope you have experienced this kind of education at ICPPD.

So my wish for you all is that you will develop your own spiritual, ethical, imaginative, artistic self. Create your own path; follow the master in your heart.

On behalf of all at ICPPD – the members of the various boards, the administration staff, your tutors and support staff, it is my privilege and pleasure to see you claim (I use the word claim deliberately, in coming up to receive, you are honouring your commitment, hard work, sacrifices and learning involved) so come and claim your Diploma in Holistic Counselling and Psychotherapy, a Professional Qualification, and I am delighted to meet you today as a qualified therapist and my peer in the field of Counselling and Psychotherapy. Well done!

To you who have completed your supervision training, I look forward to meeting you as a supervisor, and to all of you here today, I wish you health and happiness.

Thank you for trusting ICPPD. From my heart to yours in gratitude –

Enjoy your evening. Thank you all.


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