A “Little Day” about Adoption


Friday, December 14, 2012 in Dublin:
UCD School of Applied Social Science :
Social Work Building : Room C001 10a.m. to 4p.m.
All About Adoption –
Search and Reunion, Opening of Closed Adoption and Open Adoption…How Many Families Does It Take To Make An Adoption?
This mini training/dialog is designed to provide all participants with a discussion of the current topics associated with adoption and complex blended families*, focusing on openness, search and reunion, and including the social media impact and sibling connections. The ‘little day’ will create discussion of the contrasting theories surrounding this wide topic, and the importance of advocacy in the world of adoption and complex blended families. It builds on the ‘first little day’ training held in March 2011.

For anyone
(professionals, birthparents and adoptive parents, adult adopted people, others)
who lives and works
in the world of adoption
and complex blended families*
Training is facilitated by
• Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao, PACT (pre/post adoption consulting and training) in Cambridge, MA and New York and Lecturer in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School (Joyce says that her best credential is that she is adopted)and
• Dr.Valerie O’Brien, from University College Dublin: an academic, researcher and a systemic practitioner . Her particular interests in child welfare are in adoption and in kinship care practices. She works clinically at the Clanwilliam Institute in Dublin
It is our hope to use these ‘Little Days’ to enhance the lives of everyone who works and lives in the world of adoption and complex blended families*.
Pre-registration requested.
40 euro for individuals and 60 euro for couples
Payable to Valerie O’Brien (PACT)
And we are happy to give partial scholarships to those that need it.
To Register, or for more information contact:
valerie.obrien@ucd.ie – Tel 087 2055523, martina.reidy@ucd.ie and/or kinnect@gmail.com
or Mary Limerick at /mlkinnect@gmail.com

* What do we mean by “complex blended families?”
• Root families are families where the mother and father who gave birth to the child are also parenting the child together…
• Complex families are every other type of family structure…
• Complex blended families are a blending of many families by adoption, fostering, kinship care, remarriage,

Review of workshop: How to get online from scratch with Sue Bourke

How to Get Online from Scratch by Sue Bourke
FTAI workshop
10 November 2012 Ashling Hotel Dublin.
By Eugene Donohoe

Having discovered the joys of digital gadget freakery in late middle age, I was thrilled to attend this FTAI organized workshop presented by Sue Bourke. What was even better was that it was for free! Something not to be sneezed at in the middle of a recession, and what was even better than that again – it was of an excellent standard, delivered with humour and a lovely human touch. Those of you, who missed it, missed something really special and many thanks to FTAI (especially Ann, Trish and Terence) for doing this for its members.

Sue Bourke is Founder of the Product Launch Method, author and producer of “How to Get Online from Scratch” and in this she delivered a comprehensive, hands-on introduction to doing just that.

The presentation outline covered the following areas: Niche (work specialization area); Domain name and registration; Hosting; Squeeze (of the non romantic variety, I’m afraid); Email auto responders; Traffic; Content; and finally, Income.

Sounds all very technical, doesn’t it? However it was explained in a non jargonized manner which made unfamiliar territory exciting to explore.

So what, in common English did we learn? We learned the immense value of the amount of business one can pull in from the internet by having your own site and it is doable without having a PhD in computers and web knowledge. The key is to be clear about your niche or individualized area of expertise and to put it out there in a manner that those seeking help will find you in a Google search.

So for example, we learned the value of ‘Wordpress’ to set up your own site in affordable, easy, step by step templates using Google ad words in identifying relevant key target words to embed in your site so as you can be ‘found’ in Google searches. An advantage of doing this by yourself rather than a company would mean that you own your site/domain name rather than the company. We also learned the value of having professionally based accounts on sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, all linked into your own site in order to increase your profile, and therefore business, through the web community of various professional forums and social networks.

Resonating very well with systemic people, Sue told us to that in outlining the problems we work with, to emphasize benefits rather than negativities arising from what we do! Overall, a surprisingly nice fit of modalities during a highly interesting Saturday morning, even if after a few glasses of wine the night before.

(Eugene Donohoe is employed as a systemic psychotherapist in Mater C.A.M.H.S.)

Social Construction and Social Work Practice: Innovations and Interpretations

‘Social Construction and Social Work Practice: Innovations and Interpretations’

On 19 April 2012, the School of Social Work and Social Policy Trinity College Dublin hosted a seminar to mark the publication of ‘Social Construction and Social Work Practice: Innovations and Interpretations’ edited by Professor Stanley Witkin of University of Vermont and published by Columbia University Press in Dec 2011. The seminar was addressed by Professor Witkin, Dr Marie Keenan, University College Dublin, and Dr Trish Walsh, Assistant Professor in Social Work, Trinity College Dublin, both of whom contributed chapters to the volume. Dr Keenan’s chapter is titled “Creating Hope in a Landscape of Despair: Trauma and Violence Work with Men who have Sexually Abused Minors”.

Invitation to join Family Therapy Group in Cork, Kerry, Waterford, Tipperary



We are a group of Systemic (Family) Therapists including Family Therapists in training who meet to link with other systemic practitioners for:  clinical discussion and exploration; journal discussion; peer support and to enhance clinical reflexivity from a systemic lens.  Our monthly meetings are based in Cork city centre (Wednesday from 12-2pm).  We welcome new members to the group.


For further information contact either:  

Joan Cronin at 0872793323;  e mail joan.cronin@bocss.org.

Margaret O Mahony at -0863539745;  e mail MargaretM.OMahony@hse.ie


We look forward to welcoming new members to the group  

The Systemic Cafe 27th March 2012 – Review by Declan Moran

The Systemic Café


Entry by Declan Moran – Family Therapist –The Lucena Clinic & Clanwilliam Institute.

The D4 Berkley Hotel is usually a renowned gathering point for the Leinster & Irish Rugby faithful. However on Tuesday the 27th of March 2012 it hosted a different type of gathering namely The Systemic Café. This was the fourth systemic Café to date and the topic of the evening was “Beyond stress, Therapists chilling out”.

Incoming Chairperson of the FTAI, Ms. Trish Murphy, hosted the evening and the guest speakers included outgoing chairperson Ms. Marie Keenan (Researcher & lecturer UCD), Mr. Dermot Coonan (Counseling Psychologist at Trinity College) & Ms. Michelle Magill (founder of MELT In Temple Bar, Sculptor & Chinese herbalist).

On this occasion the speakers & audience appeared at one and a most interesting personal account of how stress is viewed experienced & managed ensued. It was my experience that the multitude of layers & ideas explored helped to ignite the systemic mind (similar to that of a systemic team in session). Whilst the conversation is too vast to summarize on a website, a common theme of caring for oneself emerged & are evident in the following themes that weaved through this gorgeous Tuesday evening;

“May I be well”

“You are obliged to mind ones heart”

“Mindfulness & prayer”

“Relinquishing ones worry & stress to a higher power”

“Cultural views on stress”


After a long busy day at work the last place you may wish to go is the Systemic Café –Ironically it is just what you need!


Declan Moran- Family Therapist

It’s serious stuff, so call in the experts – Tim Smyth. Irish Times 27th March 2012

It’s serious stuff, so call in the experts


Irish Times Health Supplement: Tuesday, 27th March 2012

MIND MOVES: ‘YOU DO know that the Irish are supposed to be immune to this therapy business, don’t you?” I said to her, trying to sound wary rather than nervous.

“Why is it that the only bit of psychology that anybody can quote is from that film The Departed?”

I shrugged. “Because it’s deadly, I suppose.”

“Well, okay. Fair enough. But it’s also untrue.”

I folded my arms. “We’ll find out.”

I was back in for therapy after a gap of two years. The last time I was in was just after starting a course of anti-depressants. I stopped taking the tablets about nine months ago, and since then I’ve started to build on the lessons I’ve learned from depression.

Never waste a good crisis, they say, and I don’t think I have. Certainly I’ve been affected by the whole thing, but I don’t let it define me. If anything, I make use of it, and try to see it as an early-warning system. If I look too harshly on how my day went for too many days in a row, then I know it’s time to change the way I’m doing things.

That’s what led me back to a psychotherapist. It took me a while, because it’s always struck me as such a strange relationship. You can’t really compare it with anything else. They’re the ones you tell stuff you can’t tell a friend or to someone you’re going out with, but you don’t meet them out for pints or talk a huge amount about TV.

There’s a professional decorum about it all, even when the material under discussion is intensely personal. You have a respect for this person that’s close to parental, but the relationship is an equal one: it’s just two people talking.

Therapy is a kind of work, but you’re not quite colleagues. Most work aims at perfection and discipline, but the watchwords of therapy tend to be “flexibility” and “good enough”. It’s the strangest situation you can imagine.

And that’s precisely the point. A therapist isn’t like anybody else. The reason we can’t quite put words on what they’re for is because they’re there to fill the gap that every other relationship leaves out. They help you take care of the things that remain to be solved when everything else is in place.

Being normal means having things to sort out. Actually, I’d go further with that: having a full life means you have things to sort out. If I didn’t think that I could do something every day to improve my life, I can’t imagine I’d have a huge amount of fun. Looked at from a certain angle, everything we do is because things are a bit wrong, or at least aren’t quite right.

Updating the music collection, giving it loads at the gym, even trying to find the right place to go for lunch: it’s all part of that, even when we don’t realise it.

I don’t intend to diminish the size of the work that goes in to sorting your head out, though. It’s a serious business, and that’s why you get a professional in. I certainly wouldn’t trust myself to fix my laptop if it was acting up, same as I’m not going to try to sort out stuff in my life that I’m too immersed in to see properly.

When I’m in a rough place, all I can see is a mess of wires, like when I look at the inside of a computer. A therapist can help you see how they’re connected. That’s not to make it a question of pure expertise: you need compassion, patience and a serious amount of skill to do this kind of job properly.

If this strikes you as weirdly open, it’s because I genuinely believe we all need some form of mental health practice that helps us through the day. Whatever form they take, these practices are about improving our methods of dealing with the world. They are ways through the obstacles that we don’t even notice half the time.

I’m not going to mistake my initial flush of excitement at taking the first steps for recovery itself. I don’t get to make that call, because I’ve chosen to work with someone who will help me get to that point in life. There’ll be good and bad days, same as there are when you take on any kind of job or project, and I don’t know in the morning how each day’s going to turn out.

One thing I do know though, is that The Departed is still a deadly film even if it is off the mark about the benefits of therapy.

Tim Smyth is Youth Ambassador for Headstrong – The National Centre for Youth Mental Health ( headstrong.ie)


Systemic Cafe – Tuesday 27th March 2012: Beyond Stress: Therapists Chilling Out

Systemic Cafe March 2012

Welcome to  Systemic Cafe where FTAI  members, colleagues & friends met to socialise, share ideas, observe, or participate in a short discussion, have a drink & relax we are ready to roll again. It is free. It was our desire to come together in a more casual atmosphere of friendship and therapeutic curiosity that made the Systemic Cafe so enjoyable. This time we have a great new venue with a cosy fire, comfortable seats and warm ambiance (a fine, private section of the original Bar at the Berkley Court). 


Venue:         THE D-4 BERKLEY HOTEL

                      Lansdowne Road,  Ballsbridge,  Dublin 4.

                       (3 mins.from Lansdowne Rd. DART,   15 mins walk from Grafton St.)

     Date:              Tuesday 27th March 2012

    Time:                7.00 – 9.00pm

    Topic:              ‘Beyond Stress; Therapists chilling out’

“Beyond Stress: therapists chilling out”.  Avoiding burnout, our collective experiences that only we know. Lets share our communal tips, insights, secrets to coping with the subtle, and not so subtle pressures of our work. There’s definitely a light side to many of our stories and experiences. Lets share the experiences that make life fun!


Michelle Magill’s background is founded in art ( NCAD). For many years she taught students at secondary school level from her own ceramic studio, she was also a teacher in Parnell secondary school.For many years she taught life drawing classes and sculpture classes to blind and visually impaired.She first became involved in alternative medicine in 1989. She studied massage, body talk, polarity therapy, reiki, tuina massage, acupuncture, gestalt therapy, Chinese herbalism and Pilates teacher training. She opened MELT in Temple Bar in 1996, and she currently employs 12 therapists mostly in massage and acupuncture. Most of her treatments involve fertility treatments and backpain.

Marie Keenan is a Researcher and Lecturer at the School of Applied Social Science, University College Dublin and a member of the Advisory Board of the UCD Institute of Criminology. She was Chairperson of the Family Therapy Association of Ireland 2010-2012 and an Accredited Psychotherapist who has worked for over twenty years with survivors and perpetrators of sexual crime and their families in community and forensic settings. Her most recent publication Child Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church: Gender, Power and Organizational Culture was published by Oxford University Press in October 2011.

Dermot Coonan is a counselling psychologist with experience in working with teens and adults in community and 3rd level settings. For the past 6 years, Dermot has been working at the Student Counselling Service in Trinity College, gaining experience in online, face-to-face and group work. Dermot describes himself as a client centred therapist that tries to be integrative. He aims to facilitate clients to explore external social and internal personal factors and to identify strengths, values and supports to accept uncertainty and face their challenges. For 5 years, Dermot raced between 2 half-time jobs and his young family. Over this period he feels he learned a lot about stress.



For those coming directly from work, The D4 BERKLEY has a ‘Bar Food’ menu (at your own expense!). The discussion starts at 7pm.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) = 2 hours. CPD certificates will be issued by the Family Therapy Assoc. of Ireland (FTAI).      See you @ the Systemic Cafe.