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Graduation Speech by Colm Morris – ICPPD Graduation 2019

To help me look back on the last 3 years with ICPPD, I logged into Moodle one more time and put up a list of the modules that we all completed from year one, right through year 3. The overriding feeling I had, as I pondered my own learning from each module – was one of immense gratitude. A feeling that historically was tragically out of my reach based on my own emotional patterns.

That said, I have a brief list of the most valuable pieces of learning that I gained from each module, and specifically – the person who facilitated its message.

Paula on Day One, Module One, way back when:
– Thank your for not only introducing the intellectual concept of Roger’s core conditions, but for implementing and modelling them so consistently throughout Person-Centred Approaches and Personal Development.

Siobhan in Reflective Practice:
– Thank you for giving me and so many others, confidence in our academic abilities and through the ABCs of CBT – highlighting the importance of a pluralistic approach to our profession.

Brian in Counselling Skills:
– Thank you for being Brian – and planting the seed that perhaps our most potent ‘skill’ as therapists – is to just be ourselves. And that there is no such thing as a finished symphony.

Allison in Group Process:
– Thank you for embodying – embodiment. We learned so much from observing your ability to be present in your body and with your feelings in year one group process.

Christine in Holistic Approaches:
– For bringing fun, laughter and dancing into the room. And thank you for introducing us to Maslow/Wilber/Frankl and the greater spiritual questions that lay dormant beneath the comfort of our egos.

And Theory with Mary:
– For the tremendous insight and experience you provided. And for providing the learnings of Freud/Eriksen/Bowlby in a clear and understandable way. Your relaxed, playful and non-meticulous approach really took the anal out of PsychoANALyst.


In year 2. Skills with Siobhan:
– Thank you for guiding us through the living nightmare that was the recorded video sessions. Your laid-back approach was necessarily contagious and appreciated.

To Etna and Martina in Gestalt/Group Process:
– For helping our group through a difficult process of Reforming. The touchstones and non-judgemental narrative of Gestalt helped us through a time of necessary conflict and difficult emotion.

AnnMarie in Psychodynamic and Abnormal Psychology:
– For helping us rip apart our psyches, getting to know the various parts, having them converse with each other – and all the while, somehow – doing so without losing our minds. Thank you for helping me not only accept my weirdness, but to cherish it. And for Virginia Axline and Dibs.

Anna DeSiun in Research:
– For teaching us that there is no 1 observable reality and that, quantitative research is a load of nonsense. And for demonstrating that each new experience with another person is, in itself – hermeneutical enquiry and a venture in qualitative research.

Joanne in Family Systems:
– For bringing Satir’s heart and Bowen’s brain into our lives. For giving us precious context of who we are based on the systems we group up in. For shining light on our seeds of wholeness within us – and for modelling that…youngest siblings are easily the coolest.

Gertrude in Psychosynthesis:
– Thank you for terrifying me initially with your wealth of knowledge and your selflessness in Psychosynthesis. The exercises with sub-personalities and the nurturing mother meditation are resources I will continue to practice personally & professionally.

Therese with whom we shared so much:
– With whom we shared so much. Thank you for accompanying us along the two ends of the stimulus spectrum. The headache of Ethics and Law & Professional Development, versus the crushing heartbreak of Loss and Bereavement. Thank you for your consistency, attunement and sensitivity throughout. Second year for me would have been impossible without your support and guidance.

AnnMarie in year 3 Research:
– Thank you for sharing with us, perhaps the most surprisingly heart-centred day of year 3. What seemed an intellectual endeavour into a research proposal – became a touching experience of people’s search for a greater understanding of their own vulnerabilities.

To Liz in Clinical Practice:
– For nurturing us as professional babies. And becoming a prominent voice for our own budding internal supervisors. Your compassion and firmness when necessary helped me through the terror/self-doubt of the early days in Clinical Placement.

A thank you to the ladies in accounts and admin, who so often withstood our angry protests – and held them with grace and understanding.

To Christine and Tom, for all your efforts in giving birth to what this college is and what it stands for. I hope on days like these you can afford yourselves some moments of personal pride for what is brought to life through ICPPD.
Not just qualification/robes/certificates or even professional opportunity – but the type of education that allows someone to stand on the other end and say: “I like who I am – and how I am in relation to others!” I have acquired a humility and openness towards myself and others that I carry with me and cherish dearly.

To the Mums’ and Dads’ in the room, and my own – thank you for being chosen by the souls of your children, so that we could learn the lessons we were destined to in this life. Without your consistent love and support – I would be lost.

And finally, to the group/my peers/brothers & sisters in Galway & Athlone – thank you for sharing the last 3 years with me. For showing me the pain of who I needed to be in the past…helping me accept who I am in the present…
And giving me the courage to go forth in the future, (with all of you) …to facilitate meaningful change in the world.

I thank you all sincerely.



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