Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
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Carl Berkeley Memorial Award 2011

Ursula O'Farrell

Acceptance Speech

The only thing that could have kept me from being present to accept this award, was recent back surgery! And hey presto! I had a back operation 10 days ago...

I have asked Patricia to receive this on my behalf, and to say a few words, firstly to express my thanks to the Association for presenting me with this accolade, and also to express my belief that as a memorial award, it is much more about Carl Berkeley's memory than about me.

Patricia is the perfect ambassador for this task, as she knew Carl well, and is equally anxious that his memory should not fade. It is only 7 years since he died, but it seems even longer.

As you know, Carl played a pivotal role in our Association's beginnings, helping to outline and uphold the difficult ethical nuances of our work, and insisting on the highest standards and values for IACP, and its members.

He never accepted the blurring of the boundaries of integrity. He patrolled for us and still does in our memories of him - what Tim Bond called "the diminishing space between respect for client autonomy, the ethical priority, and an increasingly pwerful and regulatory professional body".

Do enquires to our office more often reflect the question " What am I allowed to do?" than "What is ethical?", and when did I last read our Code of Ethics and Practice?

At a time when it can appear that rules and regulations, material progress (and indeeed survival), are of the greatest importance, Carl's legacy reflects his passionate belief in maintaining ' best practice'. He became our collective conscience, and never failed to show us when we might be 'slipping' and listened with great humour to our immediate and lively reactions!

A sense of humour and a spirit of fun and adventure were constant. He wrote in 2004 about the impact on him of being a counsellor, when listening to evening birdsong in the US, "... for the first time in my life not envying them their ability to fly away, to escape". Only his untimely death could facilitate his 'escape' from his friends and his counselling world.

I am proud indeed to be thus connected with his work and his memory.

Thank you all.

© Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

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