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Joanne Gilhooly - Psychotherapist & Counsellor - Dublin City

B.A. (Hons) Counselling & Psychotherapy, Dip. Gestalt, MIACP

Dublin Counselling and Psychotherapy Blog



Posted on May 30, 2014 at 12:59 PM Comments comments (825)


Posted on August 25, 2013 at 4:44 PM Comments comments (1491)
Psychotherapy in Dublin
"The cool water of the running stream may be scooped up with open, overflowing palms. It cannot be grasped up to the mouth with clenching fists, no matter what thirst motivates our desperate grab"
~ Sheldon Kopp, If You Meet the Buddha on the Road Kill Him!


Posted on August 5, 2013 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (1416)
Counselling in Dublin City Centre"J spoke about the natural laws that govern the seasons, how the fields could give the appearance of fallowness, yet the seeds were sheltering underground. Winter was a period of hibernation and incubation, when energy could restore itself. There could be a spiritual intelligence in staying low to the ground, but the ground itself was not dead. Green spring always came back."
~ To Call Myself Beloved, Eina McHugh

Beginner's Mind...

Posted on June 19, 2013 at 9:13 AM Comments comments (1959)
Buttercup on a Bray walk
Many mindfulness practitioners talk about a concept called 'beginner's mind', but what is it?
Beginner's mind is all about looking at or experiencing something, anything, as though we have never seen it before.
Whether it is this buttercup, your morning coffee, the street you live on, your work environment, or your partner, it is all about paying attention anew.
I took this picture of the buttercup while on a walk recently. Many of us will remember holding buttercups under our chins as kids. Our fascination with nature was almost brand new then, but I realised when I looked at this flower, that somewhere along the way I stopped looking at this simple thing, had stopped feeling fascinated, and thought I knew enough about them already. Looking at this picture I realised how much I had never noticed before.
Beginners mind asks us to challenge this resignation in ourselves. It asks us to look again, to challenge our assumptions, to keep looking afresh. It is about wondering, questioning, and staying curious.
Even about the people, places, and things, we have known our whole lives...even about ourselves.

Growth Has Its Own Pace and It's Own Rhythm, But We Can Learn To Move With It...

Posted on June 13, 2013 at 5:15 PM Comments comments (1565)
Go with the flow...counselling in Dublin
Ever heard a counsellor or psychotherapist talk about there being a 'shift' in a person or in the therapy?
That word, that perfectly encapsulates the sense of movement and growth a person experiences when they have worked towards change - "There seems to have been a shift". "I have shifted into the next cycle of growth"
As a counsellor, I am aware that change does not happen overnight, but that it is a series of shifts, of periods of growth, each shift often followed a by period of stuckness and frustration, followed by more growth. It happens all the time. Unfortunately, the stuckness, the occasional two steps back, is a part of the work. They go together, stuckness and growth, like light and dark.
Without the stuckness, we wouldn't fully experience the sense of achievement of getting unstuck. We wouldn't get to experience a 'shift' in our emotional well-being, feeling our own emotional growth as it occurs, and the feeling of mastery that goes hand in hand with getting there.
This cyclical process is how we build self-esteem, confidence, and self-knowledge. We grow, we get stuck again, we learn again, we grow again, we get stuck again, we learn again....
It can be frustrating, it can be maddening, and it can be brilliant.
And it is the natural cycle of growth.
Jon Kabat Zinn said "We cannot stop the wave, but we can learn to surf", and that really is key. We cannot stop the wave, but we if can develop the skills we need to move with it, to balance ourselves when a high wave comes in, we can keep going. Eventually, over time, we learn to spot the wave before it arrives, we see it coming from a long way, and it doesn't bother us so much anymore, because we know we can surf. 
We know we are in a cycle. That every point on the cycle is temporary and fleeting, but we get to know our personal experience of the cycle as well as we can. Sometimes so well, that we start to predict it. We know when we are moving into growth, or when we are headed back into stuckness, and when we are heading out of it again. We learn about what we need during the tougher times. We prepare, we deliberately move into self-nurturing mode, we ask less of ourselves, we go with it, we surf...
...and we come back out again, having learned some more.