Update on Services – Telephone Counselling and Online Counselling Available Daily

Update on Services – Telephone Counselling and Online Counselling Available Daily

From 20th March 2020 Counselling and Psychotherapy appointments and general consultations will only be available by telephone and online. Face to face appointments have been suspended and will be available in the coming weeks. This is in line with the HSE and IACP guidelines to help support social distancing and flatten the curve of COVID-19 in Ireland. Looking after your mental health in a time of crisis is very important so that you can also support your family and wider community the best way you can.

Appointments are available every day and every evening Monday to Friday.

Online therapy is provided using secure HIPAA compliant Telemedicine Software called DOXY which is used by health clinicians around the world to provide professional services to their clients online.

You can view, book and pay for your appointments here.

Appointments are scheduled by secure Acuity Scheduling booking software.

Payments are processed online securely via STRIPE.

 

How Talking to a Sex Therapist Can Help With Erectile Dysfunction

How Talking to a Sex Therapist Can Help With Erectile Dysfunction

Sex and intimacy are an important part of sexual well-being and relationship health. Men can be affected by a range of conditions which may impact their sexual health and overall mental and emotional health and talking erectile dysfunction early is important.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a sexual dysfunction defined as the inability to maintain an erection sufficient for sexual intercourse. Men may experience mild to moderate erectile dysfunction or complete erectile dysfunction and other problems associated with sexual performance. The prevalence of ED increases with age and may be symptomatic of other medical conditions such as diabetes, heart conditions and chronic stress. Research suggests prevalence may be as high as 15% in some countries. Seeking professional help early is important. If you are worried about erectile dysfunction the first step is to talk to your GP or a medical professional to rule out any potential health conditions.  The second step may be to talk to a professional sex therapist who can help you come to terms with the condition in a positive way.

There are a range of reasons a male may experience ED. These can include lifestyle, physical health, psychosexual problems, hormonal imbalance, health conditions, stress, prostate conditions, surgery, childhood trauma and relationship problems. Excessive use of pornography and drug abuse has also been linked to mild to moderate ED. Some men may experience ED causing difficulty climaxing with a partner but they may have no problem climaxing alone through masturbating.

In my experience as a Sex and Relationship Psychotherapist working with men, women and couples with sexual issues there is always a combination of factors causing sexual problems which at first appear unclear. Through the process of therapy these factors become more evident, allowing the client to make conscious and informed decisions about the next steps to take.

Experiencing ED particularly over a longer period can be distressing and traumatic effecting a man’s sense of masculinity, self-esteem and overall confidence. For some men, the fear and anxiety associated with sexual performance can prevent them from dating altogether ruling out the potential for secure and loving healthy relationships.

Erectile dysfunction can be the result of treatment and surgery following a diagnosis of prostate cancer. It can be beneficial for men and couples who are affected by a prostate cancer diagnosis to talk to an experienced therapist to help them adjust to the condition together. Experiencing ED does not have to mean the end of a couple’s sex life. It often means however that they need to redefine their association of sex as being focused on penetration and more towards a focus of experiencing pleasure, touch, foreplay, sensuality, arousal and a deeper intimate connection together.

Sexual problems can feel difficult and embarrassing to talk about but that can change over time the more you talk through problems with a therapist. It is important not to let fear of talking about any condition prevent you from getting the right type of help.

The good news is that there are a number of health professionals who have expertise and training specifically in sexual problems called Sex Therapists, Psychosexual Therapists or Sex & Relationship Psychotherapists.

Talking to a therapist can help in a number of ways to deal with ED.  They are professionally trained to help you talk more openly about sexual problems by making you feel comfortable and supported. Therapists guide clients through difficult conversations and work towards helping them come to terms with the condition. Therapy for ED may include completing an assessment questionnaire to understand the level of ED and explores the history and potential causes for the condition. Once the client has gained some insight into the reasons behind their condition therapy focuses on intervention, adjustment and recovery.

Take the time to find the right therapist for you and work through your problem to rule out potential causes and identify factors. Therapeutically your therapist should be focusing on many levels such as lifestyle, sex and intimacy, emotional health and relationship healing.

It may take a number of sessions to properly assess the various factors and history of the sexual problem before any intervention is discussed. I always invite partners to engage in therapy for sexual problems to discuss the relationship and help the couple come together to support each other in a positive way. Dealing with sexual problems often means addressing the impact on both people in the relationship and working out how they can adjust together.  I find many couples I work with never learned to talk openly about sex or intimacy together. When one partner opens up in a relationship it makes it more acceptable for both partners to talk more about their intimate relationship leading to an enhanced connection together.

An important part of therapy for ED is helping men of all ages to regain their confidence, self-esteem and masculinity and start to feel good about themselves again.

 

Finding A Therapist – How To Find The Right Psychotherapist For You

Finding A Therapist – How To Find The Right Psychotherapist For You

Deciding to go to therapy might be one of the best things you ever do for yourself. Personal therapy is not just for individuals in crisis or who are suffering mental health problems. On the contrary, in my experience as a Psychotherapist many people come because they want to change something in their life, improve their relationships, get motivated to do something challenging, overcome fears or to feel inspired and empowered.

Therapy can be the perfect space for personal development with the support of a professional who can help you achieve your goals, only faster. When finding a therapist, people often make the mistake of attending the wrong therapist in the right location or the right therapist in the wrong location and find themselves feeling that ‘therapy did not work the last time’, a saying I hear regularly from new clients.

Finding the right Psychotherapist can feel mind boggling when you are not exactly sure what you are looking for. A therapist who provides general counselling might be just what you need if you want help with general everyday life stress or work life balance.

Here are some straightforward things to consider to help you narrow down your search and find the right Psychotherapist for you.

Be Specific.

There are thousands of accredited Counsellors, Psychotherapists and mental health professionals across Ireland each trained in various psychotherapy models and specialist fields from depression and trauma to individuals, couples and family therapy. Save yourself a lot of time in the long run by finding a therapist who specialises in the specific problem or area you feel you need help with.

For example, if you want to talk about a sexual problem then seek out a therapist who works specifically in sexual problems and sex therapy. If you want help to overcome an addiction and start a recovery process, then find a therapist who specialises in addictions. Maybe you and your partner want to improve your relationship or separate amicably then find an excellent relationship psychotherapist to guide you through the process.  There are many areas of expertise in psychotherapy which means a recommendation from your GP or a friend is not always a good way to find your therapist.

To narrow down your search, first identify what you want to achieve from your therapy sessions.

Most Psychotherapists who specialise in various fields also provide general counselling but many therapists who provide general counselling do not specialise in specific fields. Now with the internet you can find and profile many experienced therapists and websites to find the right professional. The benefits of online counselling also mean you could potentially access a therapist who may be practicing in another country but that you feel have the experience you are looking for. Expect to pay more for Psychotherapists who specialise as you are paying for their experience, expertise and training. It could save you money and time in the long term.

Accessibility.

When choosing a therapist consider that you may be spending weeks, months or maybe year’s working with your therapist. Many people find being in therapy so valuable that they choose to continue on an ongoing basis dipping in and out of therapy over time.  Convenient access to your chosen therapist is an important factor and should be up there on your priority list so that you can attend regularly.

Ideally you want to make getting to appointments as stress free as possible, arriving stressed is counterproductive. Even consider allocating time after your session so that you can get a coffee or have a short walk to process your thoughts and feelings on your own.

Traveling an hour to a therapist may seem fine in the early stages but longer term it becomes inconvenient and unrealistic. You may find yourself having to start all over again with a new therapist which is frustrating and time consuming. Many therapists provide online therapy which means that accessibility and location no longer restrict people accessing the right therapist in the comfort of their own home.

Trust Your Gut.

Therapists are people too with different personalities, traits and life experience. Just like in the real world sometimes we just don’t feel a connection with someone for no particular reason or maybe for a very specific reason. Possibly you saw a therapist already but did not feel at ease with that person or their practice on that day. If that happened, that’s OK, it’s natural, find another one. Don’t just give up there. Therapists are trained to be professional, ethical and approachable but even so it is human nature that your personalities or experience may just be incompatible for you to be able to really open up in the therapy room.

It is important that the therapist you are working with feels relatable to you as a person.

The client therapist therapeutic relationship takes time to develop, weeks at a minimum, psychotherapy is a therapeutic process after all. If, however your intuition and gut reaction is strong and tells you this therapist is not a good fit for you after two or three sessions then find another therapist. This time being even more specific in your search. Trust your gut but also give the relationship time to develop. Just as the therapist is learning about you, you are learning about them and how they work.

Finding the right therapist can save you a lot of time and money and really help you achieve your desired goals in a shorter space of time. Some other things to take into consideration when finding a therapist are if you would prefer a male or female therapist, affordability, agreeing to cancellation policies, age gaps and level of expertise. If you are attending therapy through your private health insurance provider, you may have no choice who you are referred to. You may need to balance up working with that therapist in the short term at no cost or choosing to see a therapist you find privately instead.

Finding the right therapist ultimately depends on your individual circumstances and what you want to achieve out of therapy. Just like relationships, it takes time to develop the connection so be open to opening up.

 

Starting Therapy – What to Expect From Your First Psychotherapy Session

Starting Therapy – What to Expect From Your First Psychotherapy Session

I wanted to write a short blog article to help potential clients feel reassured about what to expect in their first counselling & psychotherapy appointment for face to face and online therapy. Most new clients tell me that they have thought about coming to therapy for a long time, in many cases years, so I hope that this will help to demystify the concept of coming to therapy for the first time. Personally speaking I want clients to have a positive experience from their first session so that it helps normalise the idea of being in-therapy. If you have been thinking of starting therapy, don’t waste any more time, just go for it.

Many people consider therapy for between six months to two years before they make an appointment with me. The lead up to your first session can feel a bit daunting and nerve racking, the fear of the unknown and not really knowing what to expect but don’t worry too much. How do I start, what do I say, what will they think are common thoughts people can have first time around. Remember, every single therapist had first session nerves just like you! It’s really reassuring to know that your therapist will guide and lead you though your sessions every time, particularly your first session.

I like to break my sessions down into three parts which are an opening, middle and closing section. We know how difficult the first steps can be and meet new clients every day so an important part of our role as a therapist is to make you feel at ease and comfortable during each and every session.

What Should I Expect From My First Therapy Session

Most therapists will follow a similar process in the first session so this article outlines the process that I like to follow myself. The first session is very much an informal relaxed session of getting to know each other and a discussion around how we can both work together therapeutically with your particular presenting issue. What you can definitely expect to get from your first session is a safe supportive space to start talking about what ever it is you are going through. Below is a road-map of how I like to work through the first sessions.

Consultation Form. You will be asked to provide basic information such as medical conditions, GP details and contact details of a next of kin in the event of an emergency.

Introductions. I will introduce myself and my practice and what to expect from the first session to help put you at ease. Personally I take notes during sessions which I use as as a visual tool in therapy with my clients.

Explaining The Therapist Client Confidentiality Agreement. I will explain to you information about the our confidentially agreement and also the limitations of confidentiality and answer any questions you may have.

Sharing. This first session is really a safe space for you to talk about everything that brings you to therapy. I like to call it a session to just offload all your problems and worries. It can take some time to get used to taking about yourself but you will be amazed how quickly you can adjust and have plenty to talk about.

Identifying Problems. By the end of the session we will discuss some areas to focus on in therapy over the coming sessions and also discuss how many sessions to start off with. You may be asked to complete an assessment during the first session which will also help us narrow down some areas to focus on.

Closing The Session. I will spend five to ten minutes closing the first session and checking in with you to see how you are feeling or any thoughts and questions you might have. Many people are feeling much more relaxed as we come to the end of the first session and most report feeling relieved, happy, motivated that it is over after thinking about it for some time.

It is important to be realistic and not to expect to much from your first session. I think that many people expect to have life changing experiences in therapy and that they will walk out the door feeling fixed or better after just one hour. The reality is that most of the changes happen for the patient between sessions as they learn to practice what has been discussed in therapy and start to focus and reflect more on themselves. I regularly hear clients say ‘I tried therapy before and it did not work‘ and when we explore this more early in therapy, they may have attended just a handful of sessions, sometimes just one and had unrealistic expectations of the outcome. Therapy is where you come to talk about change, the next part is to actively learn how to change outside of sessions.

I can reassure you that your second session will feel easier to attend, as you know where you are going and what to expect. Ongoing sessions will feel like they have a nice natural comfortable flow as we get to know each other more and develop a relationship overtime. Therapy is a process of change, healing and personal insight. It is also learning to be vulnerable and open with another human being and using that connection with your therapist to help you to accept yourself, change and grow. All of which takes time.

 

20 Early Recovery Insights from an Addiction Counsellor

20 Early Recovery Insights from an Addiction Counsellor

Last week I saw a picture online trying to portray how complicated the process of recovery from an addiction can feel in the early days for someone who had no clue about recovery. It looked like a giant blackboard packed full of mathematical equations which equal (=) ‘Recovery’. Now for someone who could never get the hang of basic long division and also as a therapist who sits across from men, women and family who desperately want to understand the recovery process in order to get a feeling for what to expect, I can wholeheartedly empathize with how confusing that analogy depicting the recovery process must feel. Abstinence and recovery is not a straight road.  The various roles of an addiction counsellor are to support, listen, empathize, encourage and educate clients. But often in the early days, the individual is so clouded with emotion, stress, pain, dependence or chaos that they are unable to hear simple messages that anyone, including their therapist are trying to get across.

Early recovery should be about focusing daily on practical abstinence and harm reduction goals, support and positive habit forming behaviours. However, understanding recovery really comes from being in a recovery process and the personal experience gained from recovery and sobriety. Here are some of these insights and strategies which I hope will help to motivate and encourage individuals early in recovery to stick with the process through the good and bad.

  1. Make a clear conscious decision that some things in your life need to change. Make a long list of those specific things and how you might change them.
  2. Remind yourself you will have good days and bad days, it won’t be easy, but, it will be worth it.
  3. If you are blaming everyone else for all your problems, you are still in denial about your problem. Stop blaming others for the things only you can control.
  4. It really is ok not to be ok and to reach out to someone or a professional who can help you understand what might be happening.
  5. The first steps to getting help can feel like the hardest, you are not alone, there are people who will understand and help you, you just have not met them yet.
  6. You don’t always have to go to rehab to recover from dependence or addiction, you can try support groups and addiction counselling first.
  7. Start talking yourself ‘out of acting out’ instead of ‘into acting out’.
  8. Motivation to recover does not come naturally in the early days, sometimes sobriety and feeling better in yourself motivates recovery.
  9. Willpower alone is never enough to change. Willpower is all in your head BUT practice makes perfect.
  10. You will have cravings, physical, mental, emotional and psychological cravings, but they too will pass.
  11. You won’t really understand how addicted you are to a substance or behaviour until you stop feeding your addiction, focus on abstinence and actively try to stop for a period of 7, 10, 30 days etc.
  12. Recovery is a process of change, challenge, learning, abstinence, re-discovery and time.
  13. Expect mood swings, difficulty sleeping, frustration, aggravation, withdrawals, anger, sweat and tears but not forever!
  14. Do not expect your partner and family to understand what you are going through until you can learn to share with them what you are going through.
  15. Time – Focus on your recovery every day in everything that you do until you realize you don’t need to think about recovery and what you do anymore.
  16. Be realistic about your expectations of yourself and others once you achieve sobriety because real change and healing takes time.
  17. Learn and connect with healthy balanced people how to be healthy balanced and connected.
  18. Our addiction tells us everyone else is doing ‘it’, but that’s just the world you see around you, its not reality. When you are in recovery you will realise that in general most people are relatively healthy, functioning, non-users and enjoying life.
  19. You can recover, you are not your addiction, your addiction does not define the beautiful human being that you really are.
  20. Believe that you can change, trust in others to help you, tell yourself you are worth it, share your story and focus on getting mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually better.

Sobriety and meaningful recovery takes willpower, motivation, practice  support, self-love, connection and time. The goal should also be gently focused on finding meaning and connection in life. Ultimately, recovery from illness and addiction is a path of personal development, self-love and healing.

Read about Setting Short Term Goals in Early Recovery.

 

FERTILITY HEALTH – A Mind and Body Approach to Fertility in 2019.

FERTILITY HEALTH – A Mind and Body Approach to Fertility in 2019.

If you are hoping to get pregnant in 2019 there are many positive health & lifestyle changes you can make to improve your overall fertility. Natural fertility therapies help women to feel empowered and motivated to look after their body and mind while also promoting overall fertility. Trying to get pregnant can sometimes feel like a rollercoaster and what better way to feel supported then by a professional therapist who understands what you are going through. Fertility counselling and fertility reflexology promotes health and wellbeing and support’s women where ever they are on their fertility journey.

Specialist Fertility Counselling

Specialist fertility counselling provides gentle emotional support and understanding to women who are planning a baby naturally or through the various types of the IVF fertility treatments and beyond. Counselling can help to motivate women to make lifestyle changes while also dealing with any personal problems they may be experiencing. Sometimes counselling is the first step to getting help for sexual problems and unexplained infertility. Talking to someone in confidence helps reduce emotional and mental stress which has a positive effect on the body and reduces isolation. With a strong emphasis on self-care, fertility counselling provides a safe space to feel supported, encouraged and empowered.

Fertility Reflexology

Fertility Reflexology is a natural complementary health therapy which focuses on the reflexes of the feet to help bring the whole body into balance. This relaxing and soothing treatment is adapted specifically for fertility and focuses on the reflexes associated with reproduction and pregnancy. Fertility reflexology can be beneficial for women who are planning to have a baby naturally and has many physical and emotional benefits. For women who are planning assisted fertility treatments, reflexology helps to promote a stronger sense of calm, brings balance to the body and is a wonderful way to practice self-care during the various stages and cycles of treatment.  An important role of fertility reflexology is to help improve the overall health of the body so that it can better support a pregnancy.

If you are hoping to improve your health and fertility in 2019, then fertility counselling and reflexology for fertility is a wonderful place to start with the support and understanding of a professional therapist. Orlagh Gahan is one of the few therapists in Ireland who provides a mind and body approach with individuals and couples who are seeking professional therapy for health, fertility and pregnancy.

Orlagh Gahan  is a Specialist Fertility Counsellor & Psychotherapist and Fertility Reflexologist based at the Naas Holistic Centre in Naas, Co. Kildare. She is a member of the Irish Fertility Counsellors Association and the National Register of Reflexologist of Ireland. To find out more and book an appointment on-line visit www.orlaghgahan.ie or email info@orlaghgahan.ie 

The Irish Fertility Counsellors Association

The Irish Fertility Counsellors Association

Did you know that in Ireland we have a number of Counsellors & Psychotherapists trained specifically in fertility and infertility problems?

Specialist fertility counsellors provide counselling and professional emotional support to men and women who are effected by fertility issues. Talking to a counsellor can help get you through challenging times whether you are going through natural conception or assisted IVF fertility treatment. Counselling can help both men and women where ever they are on their fertility journey. Sometimes couples can experiences stress and tension as a result of ongoing fertility complications. Counselling can help couples to cope better together and plan for the future.

Fertility counsellors can help you through the following problems:

-Infertility
-Sub-fertility
-Secondary infertility
-Sexual problems & fertility
-Assisted fertility & IVF
-Natural fertility
-Grief & loss
-Stress management
-Relationship difficulties
-Preparing for a baby

You can find a list of some of these specialist fertility counsellors at www.fertilitycounsellors.ie or contact me at www.orlaghgahan.ie to book an appointment for Fertility Counselling in Co. Kildare.

Orlagh Gahan is a Psychotherapist & Complemenaty Health Therapist based in Co. Kildare who provides a range of therapies for physical, mental and emotional health. Find our more at www.orlaghgahan.ie.

10 Ways to Prepare for Therapy

People engage in therapy for a wide variety of reasons and each individuals experience of therapy is unique. The therapeutic relationship that is developed gently over time with your therapist is a vital part of the process, as you become more comfortable sharing and communicating your thoughts, fears & feelings. Making a commitment to this process and preparing for your sessions is the key to getting the most out of therapy. Here are some more suggestions;

  1. Be prepared to talk about yourself.
  2. Identify your main reasons for attending therapy.
  3. Think about what you would like to get out of each session.
  4. Take time to reflect on your previous session.
  5. Be open to exploring and finding new ways of thinking or dealing with your situation.
  6. Become aware of your thoughts and feelings between each session.
  7. Identify anything that you feel reluctant to tell your therapist and try not to withhold information.
  8. Be as open and honest as possible.
  9. Make time around each session so that you are not rushing in or out of your appointment.
  10. Complete any homework that was agreed and take some time to prepare for each session.

Making a commitment to the therapeutic process and preparing for sessions is the key to getting the most out of therapy.

Men’s Health Week – Free 30 Minute Introductory Counselling

“We cannot change anything unless we accept it”. (Jung)

 

This week is International and National Men’s Health Week from Monday 15th June to Sunday 21st June 2015. The aim of this week is to promote & drive awareness of men’s health issues around the world and very importantly to support and encouragement men of all ages to engage in a healthier lifestyle and to address any health concerns they may be experiencing.

In proud support of Irish Men’s Health Week, I will be providing free 30 minute introductory counselling sessions to men aged 18+ who wish to find out more about personal counselling from Monday 15th June to Friday 19th June 2015. Appointments are available at 11 Merrion Square, Dublin 2 on Tuesday and Thursday and also in Naas, Co Kildare on Friday 19th June 2015 by appointment. I understand that for many men who have never attended counselling before it can take time to get the courage to make an appointment and attend a session in person. This is an opportunity to take those first steps towards seeking professional support with a qualified therapist and to find out if counselling could help and support you and your mental health. There is no obligation to book or attend further counselling sessions unless you feel comfortable to do so.

Counselling is a confidential talk therapy which provides a safe, supportive and encouraging environment in which to talk about and explore personal problems. Counselling helps the client to address and overcome a range of personal issues such as;

  • Stress and Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Emotional Issues
  • Behavioural Addictions such as Gambling, Food, Sex, Porn Addiction
  • Sexual Problems
  • Sex & Relationships
  • Mental Health Issues
  • Health & Illness concerns

To request a free 30 minute introductory counselling session please email your details to info@orlaghgahan.ie or contact me on 087-1144656 to book an appointment. A limited number of sessions are available and are subject to a brief telephone assessment and suitability.

To find out more about this weeks Men’s Health Week in Ireland you can check out the following links;

Mens Health Forum in Ireland – International Men’s Health Week 

SpunOut – Mens Health Week 2015 Blog

GAA – An Overview of Men’s Health Week in the GAA

YourMentalHealth.ie – Men’s Health Week 2015

 

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