Thursday 21 November 2019

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Cork Independent

Lifestyle & Leisure

An open door at Cork Counselling Services

Wednesday, 26th June, 2019 4:30pm

Opposite a majestic church, at 7 Father Mathew Street, is the long-established Cork Counselling Services building.

It was the first of its kind to offer community counselling services in Munster, and as a non-profit organisation, much of the good work the counsellors do is heavily reliant on the money they raise from providing training, and with the help of volunteers.

Hugh Morley, Head Of Business spoke to the Cork Independent about his experiences working in the area.

What is it that inspires you about counselling and about this place in particular?

“The best thing about counselling is the ordinary, everyday encounter of it. It’s ordinary people like me and you, who are going through difficulties that anyone would be going through in similar circumstances.

Shakespeare wrote ‘to thine own self be true’ – we’re all individuals and we need to live out of that, I think life is best when you begin to be yourself and learn to relate to others from that place.

That’s my experience. And as a client, counselling helped me do that.

The founder of the centre here was a German lady called Maria Huss. She founded this counselling centre here in Cork back in 1985, when the word was hardly heard of.

The centre provides education to students who want to be counsellors, and it provides counselling to clients from all walks of life, and accepts them all equally.

It doesn’t discriminate on the basis of money, so there’s nobody that can’t afford to go to counselling here. I myself was a client, a student and a counsellor here in turn.”

Why do you find people go for counselling?

“Usually people come for counselling when they hit a very difficult time in their lives, when they’re going through an experience that feels quite overwhelming, or distressing, or upsetting, and counselling can offer people a forum to look at that and to deal with it – to tell their story and to be understood, to learn new skills, to recreate or redesign the future and path they’re on. People come to counselling for very serious traumatic experiences, for trauma, abuse, relationship break-up; they come for experiences they sometimes don’t always understand, like feelings of anxiety and depression, and they don’t always know why they feel that way. People come to really try to understand who they are, their identity, sexuality, to cope with medical diagnoses; it’s as wide-ranging as people are individual.”

What do people fear in coming for counselling?

“I think a lot of people fear that they will be judged, or that they’re not really heard, not really understood, or that there is going to be a medical prescription given to them with medication that keeps them quiet. Some people worry that it won’t be kept confidential. And some people fear that their issues are not worthy of being heard.”

What do people gain from counselling?

“I think counselling is mainly about empowerment, and embracing life the way you want to live it. Of being somewhat in control of your own destiny, that the outside forces are managed or at least in balance with your own inner power, your own inner ability to cope first of all, and deal with yourself and others. Through counselling you can grow in self-respect as you voice your concerns, your fears and your issues, and you begin to deal with them, your fear lessens, and your sense of being radically different to other people maybe also lessens. not isolated or alone.

We face things together, and I think that gives people a sense of power and of hope that they wouldn’t arrive at on their own.”

What’s unique about Cork Counselling Services?

“Cork Counselling Services was one of the first to offer professional counselling in the south of Ireland. The unique identity of the counselling centre is that it’s a community-based counselling centre, so people who are looking for support don’t need to go into intense, hospitalised treatment by coming here. It’s possible for people to be at home, in their community and seeking help, for their ordinary everyday lives.

As well as that, the organisation offers opportunities for students who are training to come to the centre on placements and to see live counselling in action, in a community-based setting.”

To find out more, visit

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