The Family Therapy Association of Ireland, FTAI held its AGM in the Aisling Hotel, Dublin on Saturday 28th May. As soon as the business was completed the delegates gathered for the official launch of the new FTAI website.
Chairperson, Marie Keenan introduced broadcaster Joe Duffy, reminding everyone that Joe himself was a Family Therapist in the 1980’s when the FTAI was called The Family Therapy Network of Ireland.
Joe Duffy began the launch by recalling his involvement in those early days of family therapy in Ireland, including his contribution to the first edition of FEEDBACK, the Journal of the FTAI. Joe humbly described himself as a ‘lapsed family therapist’ and talked fondly of his admiration for his colleagues many of whom continue to practice in the field. He also recalled with affection his time training in the Clanwilliam Institute (known then as the MFI) and the discourse amongst colleagues which he described as creative, open and vigorous.
Joe went on to talk about the transformative power of language in family therapy and on how constructive dialogue can change the lens through which we view problems. He talked about the importance of public conversations that can help us move from a discourse of blame to constructive action. He quoted the philosopher Wittgenstein whom, Joe informed us, had resided in the Aisling Hotel for a period during the 1940’s. According to Wittgenstein, “If we spoke a different language we would perceive a somewhat different world”.
Joe highlighted how the daily turmoil faced by people in Ireland today means ‘our compasses have gone haywire’ and that now more than ever it is important to stay connected with our family, friends, community and sense of self. Joe elaborated on the place of family therapy in modern Irish society where family relationships are under stress. Family therapy can provide opportunities for sharing, learning and solutions to help navigate the ups and downs of life. Joe talked about how conversations in family therapy can help us understand things from a different perspective and again he quoted Wittgenstein, “A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that’s unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push”.
Joe talked about the usefulness of a website where people can easily avail of information on family therapy and contact details for family therapists who are based all over Ireland. This website makes family therapy more accessible to those individuals, couples and families who may be in need of support. Joe talked about the importance of seeking help in a time of crisis and about how family therapy can help people move from sadness to humour and from despair to hope.
Joe wrapped up the launch of the with these last words translated by the author Frank O’Connor:
To go to Rome
is little profit, endless pain;
the master that you seek in Rome
you find at home or seek in vain.