Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy
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Carl Berkeley Memorial Award 2017

Gus Murray

Acceptance Speech

I want to express my appreciation to the IACP board for presenting me with the Carl Berkeley memorial award for 2017. My nomination for this award is associated with the role I have played in founding, developing, delivering and administering the Counselling and Psychotherapy training programme at the Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) over the past 26 years. I was deeply humbled and gratified when I was informed by IACP that I had received two separate nominations for the award, one from the Counselling and Psychotherapy Staff team at CIT and the other from the Graduate Association.

This award is bigger than me and is indeed rightly shared with the Counselling and Psychotherapy staff team, the graduate community and all those who have been involved in the development, delivery and management of the Counselling and Psychotherapy training programme at CIT over the past quarter of a century. Most importantly, it is shared also with the large number of clients whom I have been privileged to accompany on their journeys of resolution and healing over all those years.

My journey as a psychotherapist and trainer has been for me a labour of love. In many ways it seemed a natural evolution. Influenced by the social movements of the 1960’s I was inspired by a hope and optimism, desiring to make the world a better place. As a student this was expressed in my pursuit of the social and psychological sciences and in my volunteer work with various disadvantaged and marginalised groups.

My first employment was in post primary education which enabled me to join the Cork Social and Health Education Programme in delivering personal and social education to senior cycle students in facilitated groups. To train and prepare for this, I had the opportunity to participate in a facilitated personal development programme at evening-time and weekends over several years. I look back on this as a wonderful experience of personal growth and awareness which laid the foundation for my more formal development as a psychotherapist and trainer.  

My journey of development as a psychotherapist and trainer in many ways mirrors the evolution of counselling and psychotherapy as a profession. Not surprisingly, I found my first conceptual home in the Humanistic school, reflecting the predominant philosophy of the time with its emphasis on individual freedom and self-determination and providing a counterpoint to the established psychoanalytic and behavioural traditions.

By the time I joined the Metanoia Institute in London to complete my master’s degree training, the movement towards integration of the different orientations was firmly underway and from there on, Integrative Psychotherapy became a central paradigm. This became reflected in my practice and as it was embraced by the training team at CIT, it also became the paradigm that guided the course.  

My next big step involved embracing the emerging developments in the neurosciences which highlighted the central place of neurobiology in pain and in healing. I undertook training in some of the main therapeutic approaches that are inspired by these developments – EMDR therapy, Somatic experiencing, Internal Family Systems and more. These approaches promote a more bottom-up approach giving priory to the embodied brain in the healing process. It has been particularly gratifying to see the benefits of these approaches in my work with clients who had been struggling with the effects of deeply embedded trauma. And the journey continues…

On a more personal level, I want to acknowledge my wife, Kay. She has accommodated and adjusted to the unsociable life style of evening and weekend classes as well as the various trips away to trainings and meetings. She has supported and encouraged me and has often offered a wise, listening ear.

And finally, our daughter, Ruth. Ruth’s presence and influence has been deeply formative for me during those years. The students were hearing about her from me and constantly asked about her. They would say that they saw me mellow over the years and they credited Ruth for that!

As I accept this award, it is great to be able to say that psychotherapy has come a long way. My vision, to borrow a phrase from the Irish patriot, Robert Emmett is that psychotherapy “will take its place among the nations of the earth”. It will stand as a fully-fledged scientific discipline, integrating contributions from a variety of sources - psychology, biology, medicine, neuroscience, spirituality, music and the arts, social sciences, literature and more, all in the service of healing, resolution and growth.

Great strides have already been made. More effective methodologies of assessment and treatment continue to be developed. An impressive research base is emerging to support a variety of evidence-based approaches and of course much more research is needed. Advances in imaging technology have begun to make it possible to quantify the changes in a very tangible way. And, most importantly, the central role of relationship in human development and in psychotherapy is constantly being confirmed and validated.



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