My Background

When I was in practice, possibly unlike my fellow therapists, I have always felt a need to be open about ‘my warts and all’ personal background, since this is what is expected of you, my client. Moreover although your stuff I keep absolutely confidential, I do not regard you as similarly bound in respect of mine.

I was born in 1941, growing up in a middle class Irish Catholic family in Cobh, Ireland, at a time when the Catholic Church was all powerful. In the national school aged seven I experienced my first wake up call to the endemic bullying and worse therein, by the teachers and older boys there. After I experienced a bout of catatonia going through puberty, my father, a Naval Officer, contracted tuberculosis. I realized many years later I internalized this deep ‘abandonment’, at a time when I really needed him.

In my early teens to cover a deep resentment, I took to alcohol and inexorably became habituated. This was to become an addictive problem for most of my early adult life, in Zimbabwe and South Africa. To my lasting shame I handled most if not all of my lack of emotional intelligence and relatedness by way of this.

From 1962, in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe I was a policeman, insurance agent/manager, insurance broker. I was called up during the war of independence there, luckily surviving without killing anyone and yet witnessed a lot of brutality. I was overwhelmed by the siege mentality of my fellow Whites, oblivious throughout of the fact that Black people were fighting for their independence from British colonialism much as we Irish did, only half a century before. Only much later when I later witnessed the depth and extent of overt White racism in South Africa where we emigrated to en famille, did I confront own my personal racism and bias. Although liberating in a personal sense, I ostracised myself from previous friends. This culminated in personal neurosis and was the last straw in my marriage.

It had lasted for twenty five years. My ex wife, a psychiatric nurse, the mother of my son and daughter and five grandchildren are still alive and well, albeit living on three continents.

One night in Durban, towards the end of the marriage, feeling guilty and drinking heavily, I had a peak visionary experience, somehow warning me about my drinking and smoking. On the following day after many years of semi- addiction, I confronted myself, somehow stopped both and to this day, don’t smoke and hardly ever drink.

Five years after my first divorce I remarried to P. in South Africa. Scarcely a month later I had frightening dream and days later discovered I had a serious grade of cancer of the bladder. Only then did I realize with a shock that the dream had forewarned me of this and more. Feeling remorseful and very low I left P in Johannesburg and returned to England and there had major surgery, removal of bladder and prostate. Shortly after this operation I met Jennie, my wife now of fifteen years.

In the UK realizing after personal psychotherapy and much soul searching that I had all along a deeply rooted vocation for Jungian psychotherapy. I returned to Ireland and in Dublin although now financially broke, received a full bursary to study under the direction of a remarkable Indian woman, Jassbinder Garnermann.

Pat and I divorced after a marriage lasting less than two years. In 1993, Jennie joined me in Ireland. and we have been together ever since. In 1996 I started practicing in Dublin, but after our Dublin rental rocketed, could no longer afford to stay there, and moved to West Cork, where I have been practicing ever since.

From the time I stopped drinking and made an inner resolution to be unscrupulously honest with to myself and others, no matter what, I have been faithfully accompanied by guiding dreams and synchronicities. I discovered the ancient Chinese wisdom calls this being in the way, the Tao. My major decisions along that way, have you can guess, been informed by dreams and the Tao Te Ching.

Trusting that you also discover your way in your journey.