Acknowledging race in mental health services

The 21st March marked International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

The following article from the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland blog outlines how race & ethnicity is an area that poses a variety of challenges not only in terms of the mental health of ethnic minorities generally but also in terms of the provision of supports and differences in how that support is experienced.

Talk Therapy Dublin currently  has  40% of active clients born outside of Ireland and these clients often describe issues & experiences affected & augmented by almost constant minority stress.  

Sexuality & Gender are broadly discussed by the mainstream in Ireland and much has been done in terms of acknowledging minority stress in these areas but when it comes to ethnic minorities and their experience of Ireland in 2018 there is a long way to go. Our attitudes to and the experiences of our own indigenous ethnic minority, the travelling community is an example of this.




Parenting – child development & learning about success & failure

The below article from therapist & author Stella O’Malley explores the topic of achievement in children,  and the interaction of their resilience, mental health & exam pressure.

An interesting point is made on fostering a “growth” as opposed to a “fixed” mindset in young people – based on the work of Sanford professor of psychology Carol Dweck.

Talk Therapy Dublin meets clients presenting in their late teens and 20’s struggling with the results of this experience, often with significant depression, anxiety & substance abuse issues.

We also have regular experience of adult clients struggling to do right by their children but this very struggle being the source of issues. One common example is an over the top extra curricular activity schedule from a young age leaving little time for exploratory play, trial & error and indeed family time.  Another common theme is how “failure” is presented & handled within a family.

  • Is it an opportunity to learn & for support?
  •  Should it be avoided at all costs??
  • If a child shows an interest in music, should they immediately be enrolled in formal lessons multiple times a week?
  • What is like for working parents to have to bring children to multiple extra curricular events every week/weekend.
  • Is there much family time after parents work, school, homework & activities?

Occupational Therapy & Mental Health

What does an Occupational Therapist (OT) do?

An  Occupational Therapy intervention can be invaluable to a person’s well-being but the reality is not enough people in Ireland know what OT’s do or what OT services are available to them, specifically in terms of Mental Health.

What is Mental Health OT?

Mental Health OT can offer support if your mental health interferes with your ability to do the activities necessary for living your life.

For  example

  • If social anxiety prevents you from meeting friends, forming relationships or going to work.
  • If depression stops you from getting to your exercise class or your GP appointment.
  • If issues around your physical health are putting a strain on your mental health

A Mental Health OT can  intervene to assess what difficulties a client is having with their routine and support them to manage the mental health challenges  while living a meaningful life.

OT’s work holistically alongside a person with the perspective that the person, occupation and environment are all interlinked. OT’s will address each of these areas with you to ensure that all the barriers to living a meaningful life are being worked on.

How is OT different from seeing a Counsellor or a psychologist?

  1. An OT can meet you wherever you need  to meet  e.g. at work, at home, at the local café, in the library and so on. By engaging in occupational therapy in a real life scenario you have the opportunity to actively work on your goals in a safe way. Your goals will drive where and when the meetings happen.
  2. For example, let’s imagine that your goal is to be able to meet a friend for a coffee. Currently your experience of social anxiety prevents you from doing so. Your OT may meet you at home over several sessions to help you to learn about anxiety (what are your triggers, warning signs, management strategies, relaxation approaches etc) so that you can eventually work towards leaving your home and meeting your OT for walk, then maybe outside the coffee shop, then inside, and eventually supporting you to meet that friend in the local coffee shop.
  3. Like a counsellor, psychotherapist or psychologist, a Mental Health  OT can help you to engage in “talk therapy” however this isn’t the main focus of the sessions. Counselling & Psychotherapy are an incredibly valuable process for lots of people, but not for everyone. OT’s work in collaboration with other healthcare professionals so that a person’s entire needs are being met.

Talk Therapy Dublin have linked in with Anchor Therapy to provide a Mental Health OT option for certain clients.

Mental Health OT’s work as part of the Community Mental Health teams in the HSE and in some NGO’s around Ireland. To learn more about OT in Ireland go to


Online Counselling – Who are you talking to??

The below article from the UK describes how the NHS is struggling to cope with the demand for online counselling services.

In Ireland online counselling & psychotherapy is also on the rise,  this demand provides an opportunity for unscrupulous individuals to take advantage particularly using the internet to mislead and confuse vulnerable clients looking for help.

Here at Talk Therapy Dublin we adhere to the IACP ethical guidelines on skype/online counselling.

Anyone thinking of online or phone counselling should research their practitioner and

1: make sure the practitioner is qualified & has training to work with clients  using this technology,

2: That they are a fully qualified/accredited therapist with one of the main accreditation bodies

3: Are familiar with the pertinent ethical guidelines covering this area of counselling & psychotherapy.