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The Beginning of the Institute of Couples Therapy

Hello, let me introduce myself, my name is Karen Murphy. Last month I celebrated my ten year anniversary as a full time psychotherapist in private practice. On 1st November 2013 I left behind my corporate career that had kept me comfortable for over 20 years and decided to turn my passion into my career.

My curiosity and interest in relationships translated itself in delving into further training in couples training and I began my work as a couples therapist. I was not a good couples therapist to start with. It took years of training, supervision, self reflection and feedback to find my feet and become confident in my work. I was continuously frustrated by lack of training and support in this field in Ireland. I was drawn to more relational and experiential ways of working and kept looking until I found these.

Couples therapy is challenging and significantly different from working with individuals. It is more volatile and the stakes are high. Often couples come in saying that they are close to the end of the road and this is the last chance that the relationship has. Often the couples will have children who are living in an environment which has been significantly impacted by their parents deteriorating relationship. This work is not for the faint hearted.

Now in 2023 there is an unprecedented demand for couples therapy. Separations and divorces are rising and the pandemic hit a lot of relationships hard. I get many messages every week looking for appointments. At the same time many therapists have an interest and eagerness to work with couples but don’t know how best to access professional training in this area. This is what has driven me to set up the Institute of Couples Therapy. People need to be able to access well trained psychotherapists to support them navigate their relationship difficulties and therapists need to be able to access good quality training and ongoing support in this area.

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