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.


Telephone Counselling – Minding Your Mental Health in Crisis

Telephone Counselling – Minding Your Mental Health in Crisis

Telephone counselling provides professional therapeutic emotional support which is non-judgmental, confidential and supportive no matter what you are going through. Telephone counselling is suitable for a wide range of problems, people and circumstances. It can be a wonderful support for anyone effected by illness or disability who may be restricted by mobility but who wish to access professional emotional support from home. Talking to your professional therapist by phone should be as reassuring as meeting them in person.

How we communicate is changing and evolving around the world and therapists are adapting their practice to meet the needs of their patients. Many professional therapists are now covered and insured to provide therapy face to face, by phone and face to face online using different technologies.

Telephone counselling can be effective and solution focused, helping clients to express their needs and find solutions to their own problems. The power of talking and feeling truly heard and understood is powerful beyond measure. In a world where all we do is communicate, rarely do we listen to hear, rather we listen to respond. Telephone counselling provides a medium for connection and self-expression and a safe space to discuss your inner thoughts, worries and fears with someone trained to understand what you may be going through.

The current situation in Ireland with the COVID-19 pandemic is a global and national emergency. Many people who are in self-isolation or impacted by COVID-19 are unable to go about their usual daily routine. Most of use are slowly adapting and coming to terms with the impact of this unexpected pandemic which is causing stress, worry and anxiety. A separation from loved ones in an effort to protect each other. This is a complete change of lifestyle and connection for most of us.

The power of talking and feeling truly heard and understood is powerful beyond measure.

Times of crisis and social isolation effect mental and emotional health and your general sense of well-being particularly for those already experiencing life stress. It is very important to focus on staying healthy and thinking positively. Connecting with family, friends, loved ones and also colleagues in any way possible helps keep a sense of normality.

If you feel that you need extra support at this time from a professional IACP Accredited Counsellor & Psychotherapist than telephone counselling may be an option for you to consider. You can find a full list of professional accredited Psychotherapists at www.iacp.ie.

Online therapy and telephone counselling is available to view and book online at www.orlaghgahan.ie

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.


Promoting Wellness – Positive Coping Techniques for Everyday Stress

Promoting Wellness – Positive Coping Techniques for Everyday Stress

Wellness is defined as feeling comfortable, happy and healthy. A state of being which most of us would like to achieve in our everyday life without having to think to much about it. But everyday life can be hectic and often we don’t get a moment to stop and take stock until the weekend or a break away. Burnout can happen as a result of long-term physical, mental or emotional stress which is not managed well.

The healthier you feel in your mind and body the better you are able to cope with all the symptoms of stress and a busy lifestyle.

In fact, the more positive you feel, the more motivated you will be to focus on your health and improving your overall quality of life. It is important to be proactive and be able to identify and manage stress in a healthy way that’s best for you.

Here are some simple positive coping techniques for everyday wellness which can also help anyone who is recovering from stress, anxiety and burnout or feeling overwhelmed.

  • Practice 2 minute grounding exercise during times of stress by focusing on your breathing and senses, what you can feel, hear, smell and touch.
  • Practice mindfulness by focusing on the present day and what you can control.
  • Embrace self-care by resting, relaxing, looking after your self, having fun and laughing.
  • Love your body and enjoy taking care of yourself.
  • Exercise regularly to feel good, release endorphins and burn off adrenaline.
  • Stop catastrophic thinking and ruminating about worst case scenarios.
  • Identify your negative though processes and focus on shifting to positive thoughts.
  • Stop being critical of yourself and others and focus on strengths.
  • Get plenty of undisturbed sleep approx. 6 to 8 hours to help the body heal.
  • Avoid negative influences which are unnecessary such as news, dramatic TV shows etc.
  • Practice positive self-talk and affirmations.
  • Find ways to feel inspired and empowered through reading, audio-books, groups, talks, music, workshops, hobbies, events.
  • Short breathing exercises through the day during times of stress can help improve mental clarity, oxygenate the body and relax muscles through the body.
  • Learn to say ‘NO‘ to others or ‘Can I come back to you on that?‘ when you have had time to think and start putting yourself first.
  • Ask for support and help from others and learn to accept help when offered.
  • Talk to your partner, family and friends about the things that bother you.
  • Surround yourself with positive loving people.
  • Let go of trying to control others or wasting energy on what they may be thinking or feeling.
  • Treat yourself from time to time, you are worth it.
  • Use commuting as an opportunity to rest, listening to audio-book, podcasts you enjoy or reading a book.
  • Leave work at work and stick to clear working hours.
  • Turn off work related phones, emails and devices early in the evening so it does not infringe on home life and valuable relationships.
  • Write lists of things that are on your mind or that you need to get done.
  • Let yourself feel what ever you are feeling rather than trying to suppress emotions, uncomfortable feelings will pass.
  • Most importantly find ways to cope which work for you.


Simple Everyday Tips to Help You Feel Calmer

Simple Everyday Tips to Help You Feel Calmer

Stress is a natural part of life. These days, it can be difficult to find a quiet moment to help your body and mind switch off and relax. The problem is that if you are feeling wound up, then it takes time to wind down again. Feeling calmer and relaxed can take time and practice if you have a very busy lifestyle. Many people do not realise how tense they are actually feeling until they try to relax. These simple everyday ideas can help you to feel calmer more often so that you can cope better with stress and feel more focused.

1. Switch coffee and tea for relaxing herbal teas such as Chamomile tea and Bed Time tea.
2. Put a few drops of Lavender or Chamomile essential oils into an oil burner which promote relaxation.
3. Enjoy watching your favorite film.
4. Get engrossed in an inspiring or motivating book.
5. Leave the phone at home, go outside and take a walk somewhere quiet in nature.
6. Have a relaxing massage or reflexology treatment.
7. Lie down in a quite space and listen to relaxation music or a meditation for 30 minutes.
8. Take some quiet time to yourself. Go buy a coffee, walk around a museum, park or a book store and give yourself space to think clearly or not think at all.
9. Practice breathing deeply and have a good stretch in the fresh air or relaxing on your bed.
10. Have fun and laugh often – do things that make you feel good about yourself.
11. Take a cleansing refreshing swim or walk by the sea.
12. Keep a journal and write down your thoughts and feelings at the end of the day.

Find out what works for you, everybody is different. Remember, practice makes perfect.


Orlagh Gahan is a Complementary Health Therapist and Psychotherapist based in Co. Kildare, Ireland. She provides a range of therapies for physical, mental and emotional health. To find out more visit www.orlaghgahan.ie



Ingredients For a Powerful Reflexology Treatment

Ingredients For a Powerful Reflexology Treatment

Ingredients for a powerful reflexology treatmentReflexology is a complementary health therapy that is about so much more than just a one hour foot treatment. I believe a reflexology treatment should feel more like a therapeutic experience which soothes the senses and leaves you feeling rested, relaxed and invigorated. The power of touch is naturally soothing and nurturing as it promotes the release of feel good chemicals in the brain such as dopamine, serotonin and endorphin’s. These days, relaxation can feel more like a luxury but in truth, it is a health necessity, one which we should practice regularly and learn to master. My advice when it comes to relaxation, if at first you don’t relax, try, try and try again.

Reflexology like most complementary therapies treats the whole person and not just specific symptoms. This means your taking care of your mind, your body and our often neglected, spirit. Here are my ingredients for a powerful reflexology treatment.

Ingredients for a Powerful Reflexology Treatment

#1  One inviting, comfortable and relaxing therapy room.

#2  One heated plinth with soft blankets that feel just right.

#3  A soft aroma of essential aromatherapy oils which promote relaxation or rejuvenation.

#4  Hot natural oils applied to the feet and legs which help your whole body to relax.

#5  Calming music to help your mind drift off and slow down.

#6  One pair of experienced reflexologist healing hands.

#7  YOU!

Combine together for 60 minutes as you give yourself permission to relax and feel nurtured. Finish with one glass of cold fresh water to help flush out toxins, re-hydrate and bring you back to reality. Repeat regularly. To experience reflexology for yourself or find out more visit www.orlaghgahan.ie

My advice when it comes to relaxation, if at first you don’t relax..try..try and try again.’

Orlagh Gahan is a qualified Counsellor & Complementary Health Therapist. She holds a Diploma in Holistic Healing Massage, Dip. in Reflexology, Dip. Indian Head Massage and a B.Sc in Counselling. She provides reflexology for health, relaxation, pregnancy and fertility. You can book a treatment with Orlagh at the Naas Holistic Centre, 25 North Main Street, Naas, Kildare, Ireland. Find out more at www.orlaghgahan.ie or facebook/TherapyForWellness

Seasonal Affective Disorder – Don’t Let S.A.D Get You Down This Winter

Seasonal Affective Disorder – Don’t Let S.A.D Get You Down This Winter

Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D) is a seasonal curse for many Irish people which is experienced during the late autumn and winter months when the days become shorter. It is understood that some factors which may lead to the disorder are a reduced level of daylight which interrupts the body’s biological clock and normal functioning. There is also a change in serotonin and melatonin levels, the brain chemicals which affects our mood and sleep patterns. S.A.D is a type of depression with many similar symptoms such as feeling low, tiredness, sadness, oversleeping, low energy, difficulty concentrating and hypersensitivity. It was traditionally referred to as the winter blues or winter depression and suffers often display hibernation like characteristics.

Finding what works for you to reduce your symptoms is important as there is no one single cure, rather a combination of many little daily remedies…

According to a survey in 2007, around 20% of Irish people are effected by Season Affective Disorder with women more prone than men. For someone who starts to experience low mood and negative feelings during the winter, it can be relief to understand that there is a reason for their change in mood which may in fact be associated with the shorter winter days.

Simple Ways of Coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder

  • Light therapy is a way of treating seasonal affective disorder using exposure to artificial light.
  • Talk therapies such as Psychotherapy can provide you with professional emotional support and understanding.
  • Managing and reducing stress is a useful preventative measure.
  • Practicing self-care by actively looking after your emotional and physical health and being sensitive to your own needs.
  • Holistic Therapies such as Reflexology, Massage and Reiki can help boost energy levels and promote relaxation.
  • Get as much sunlight or daylight as possible by spending time outdoors.
  • Daily regular exercise helps promote a healthy mind and body.
  • Sleep is important as it helps the body to recuperate if you are suffering from low energy.
  • Find the beauty in winter and connect with the positive aspects of wintertime.
  • Enjoy outdoor activities which are not overly weather dependent that you can enjoy all year round such as hill walking or running.
  • Keep a daily routine and make plans throughout the winter which you can look forward to.
  • Avoid stimulants and any mood altering substances such as alcohol can help to stabilise your mood.
  • Socialise with family and friends and surround yourself with positive people.
  • Nutritionists suggest that Vitamin D supplements and Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial for S.A.D.
  • Get to know and respect your own body and find what works for you each winter.
  • Talking to your loved ones and family about your symptoms of S.A.D can ensure that you receive ongoing emotional support and reassurance.
  • Medications prescribed by a G.P are sometimes used to treat symptoms.
  • Getting away for winter holidays in bright warm sunny destinations during the winter period can help significantly lift and relieve symptoms.

Prevention is better than cure but for most suffers, managing S.A.D is far more realistic than preventive cures. You might find it useful to be mindful and sensitive to changes in your mood coming into the autumn/winter months. Finding what works for you to reduce your symptoms is important as there is no one single cure, rather a combination of many little daily remedies and I guarantee you, every single one counts. Keep reminding yourself that S.A.D is seasonal and symptoms will eventually fade as the beautiful crisp brighter spring days arrive. Speak to your doctor if you are concerned about Seasonal Affective Disorder.

The Signs and Symptoms of Emotional Abuse in Relationships

White Ribbon Day is an national campaign to end men’s violence against women in Ireland and around the world. To find out more you can visit www.whiteribbon.ie #WhiteRibbonIrl

The cycle of abuse and violence often begins with emotional abuse within a relationship which intensifies over time. Emotional abuse, also known as psychological or mental abuse is a series of ongoing or continuing incidents which develop over time into a pattern or cycle of abuse. This emotional abuse can eventually lead to physical abuse such as violence within relationships. While there may be no physical signs of emotional abuse, its impact on the victim can be devastating and soul destroying. Before we identify the signs of emotional abuse, let’s first understand one of it’s definitions

Emotional abuse is “any act including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilization, or any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth.”

It is helpful to be aware of the signs and symptoms of emotional abuse so that you are able to name any unacceptable behavior which may have a negative impact on your sense of self. Prevention is safer than cure as emotional abuse takes its toll on the victim’s confidence, self-esteem, self-worth and resilience.

Emotional abuse may be an ongoing pattern of one or more of the below;

  • Blaming.
  • Bullying.
  • Constant put-downs.
  • Controlling.
  • Criticising.
  • Degrading.whiteribbon
  • Demanding.
  • Dismissing.
  • Disrespectful.
  • Extreme moodiness.
  • Ignoring.
  • Insulting.
  • Interrogating.
  • Intimidation.
  • Judging.
  • Manipulating.
  • Neglecting.
  • Passive aggressive.
  • Punishing.
  • Refusing to communicate.
  • Rejection.
  • Sarcasm.
  • Shaming.
  • Shouting.
  • Threatening.
  • Unpleasant tone of voice.
  • Withholding love and affection.

Many of these behaviors can also be associated with poor communication skills and a lack of awareness and empathy of the negative impact on the recipient. Naming and disclosing how you feel about the way you are being treated is an important part of preventing the cycle of abuse from developing. While respecting your own thoughts and feelings about what is acceptable to you in your relationship is equally important. Get support from loved ones, family and friends about how you are feeling and if necessary seek professional help and support.

To find out more about The White Ribbon Campaign and preventing violence against women visit wwww.whiteribbon.ie

The Centre for Addictive & Problematic Behaviours

Today, we are delighted to launch our new website for The Centre for Addictive & Problematic Behaviours, visit www.addictivebehaviours.ie. The centre is a private counselling & psychotherapy practice which provides a range of therapeutic services to adults troubled by or affected by problematic or addictive behaviours and any associated emotional problems.

Problematic behaviours are those behaviours that are causing difficulty in our lives because they are distressing to ourselves or to others. They may lead to emotional problems, health problems, marital problems, legal problems etc. We may also find that when we try to control or stop these behaviours that we are no longer able to. In such cases, the behaviour may have become an addiction. These behavioural problems and behavioural addictions tend to occur in areas that we find highly rewarding

Common problem areas are;

  • Gambling
  • Sexual Behaviour
  • Pornography
  • Food
  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Gaming

Our aim is to facilitate support, understanding, change and growth to individuals struggling with addictive and problematic behaviours.          Orlagh Gahan

For more information I invite you to visit our new www.addictivebehaviours.ie

Kildare Times – The Key To Emotional Health

In this weeks Kildare Times, I’m sharing my thoughts on The Key to Emotional Health.

Our emotional health is precious and gently resilient. It is fundamental to our mental, physical and spiritual health. Our emotions act as an internal thermometer gauging and measuring how we are feeling in ourselves and experiencing the world around us at any given moment. Emotions arise spontaneously and without conscious effort as we react to people, thoughts and situations every moment of every day. They essentially motion us to experience feelings such as happiness, joy or sadness. Our emotions surge and fluctuate throughout each day but are mostly consistent, subtle and manageable. Many of us are not actively aware of our emotions on a daily basis because we are busy in our mind with the ebb and flow of life and yet our emotions are delicately ever present. In counselling practice, I often hear clients say I don’t know how I feel or I can’t express what I’m feeling but they are experiencing some form of distress. Our emotions help to keep us safe, for example, in situations when we begin to feel fearful, nervous or anxious. Sometimes being exhausted or overwhelmed by emotions can leave us feeling powerless or unable to make decisions that may be best for us.

Our emotions act as an internal thermometer gauging and measuring how we are feeling in ourselves and experiencing the world around us…

On the other hand, emotions can be a wonderful source of intuition and gut instinct when something just feels right. We often make decisions based on our emotions rather than on logic. The more emotionally healthy we feel, the more we trust our instincts. Identifying your own emotions and understanding the source of your feelings both positive and negative is the key to emotional health. Use this information to help you make simple decisions and actions which will promote your overall health. Take time to sit quietly and get in touch with your emotional self which requires nourishing and nurturing. Talking to family and friends or a counsellor can help you to share and overcome on-going emotional problems.

Orlagh Gahan is a Psychotherapist & Complementary Health Therapist at 17 Main St, Naas, Co Kildare and 11 Merrion Square, Dublin 2. Visit www.orlaghgahan.ie or email info@orlaghgahan.ie

Kildare Times – Mental Health & Well-being in Every Day Life

In this weeks edition of the Kildare Times Your Health section, Tuesday 23rd June 2015, you will find my article on mental health Well-being in Every Day Life.


Mental health refers to your overall psychological well-being. There has been great emphasis on promoting positive mental health in Ireland in recent times and what a wonderful and liberating society for young people to grow up in where mental health promotion is alive and consistent.

Well-being is a state of feeling comfortable, happy and healthy.

Let’s focus on the meaning of the word well-being for a mindful minute. Well-being is a state of feeling comfortable, happy and healthy. In my mind, this is a simple concept which is easy to connect with on a daily basis. Ask yourself, how am I feeling today and what can I do to feel more comfortable, happy and healthy? Life can be hectic and complicated so keeping your well-being simple, achievable and enjoyable future proofs your long-term capacity to flourish. Learn to connect and really listen to yourself. Too often we ignore our own basic needs and emotions and disown what we are feeling or block them out altogether. We are each wonderfully different so get to know yourself, try new things and discover what works for you. Off course there are often situations which are out of your control, thread softly and gently turn your focus towards what is within your control.

There are simple basics which help promote well-being in daily life such as;

· Eating healthy

· Exercising daily

· Consistent quality sleep

· Drinking water

· Avoiding stimulants

· Reducing or removing cigarettes and alcohol consumption

· Learn to relax

It’s ok not to feel ok and it’s also ok not to know all the answers, so get to know yourself and share what you are experiencing. Reach out, talk, connect and learn how to feel comfortable, happy and healthy in your own way.


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