Mary M Murphy Career Coach, CV Writer and Interview Coach in Cork City

Individual Counselling & Psychotherapy

I hope I can provide some useful responses here to the questions you might have about counselling and psychotherapy. If you haven’t tried counselling previously you may want to know a little more about counselling and psychotherapy and you may be wondering what the difference is between them.

Why Counselling/Psychotherapy?

In general feelings and symptoms of dissatisfaction and pain are what prompt us to think about talking to someone. Symptoms of disconnection and disturbing life events can bring us to our knees and push us into a search for relief and maybe an alternative way to live.

Alternatively, we might come to the realisation that the life we have is not the one we want. Sometimes we lose ourselves in pursuit of the life we think we are supposed to have but we don’t realise that has happened until we feel lost.

We all need help and support at different times in our lives. Today you might be the client, tomorrow it could be me. Essentially, we search for healing in whatever way we can.


Healing the emotional pain of life events and experiences is the work of counselling and psychotherapy. Pain and vulnerability is what we all have in common, yet each of us experiences and processes pain in our own unique way. The work of counselling is to honour and facilitate the processing and integration of that experience to heal from the inside out. We have to consciously go through it to heal it, and that is why it is a slow, gentle process that takes time, the pace of which is dictated by the client.

How does counselling help?

It is a space and a support during difficult times. The things we cannot say about ourselves for fear of burdening others or fear of being misunderstood, those things we can say to a therapist. To say what cannot be said and experience the different parts of ourselves, including giving a voice to those parts we would prefer to hide is a great relief when we are not judged for what we have said. We don’t have to wear a mask or operate from a persona in the counselling room. The potential benefits are many and are different for different people at different times. It depends on what we need and value most.

What to expect

As a counsellor I am responsible for providing a safe experience for you to talk openly. Without safety, there is no trust, and without trust there is no counselling. Building trust in one of the foundation stones of relationship building and it takes time to build. I will listen with empathy and humanity and assist you to tell your story, ask probing and clarifying questions, reflecting back and summarising what I hear. I will try to get it and understand how you feel about what you are telling me.

Counselling is what happens as the therapeutic relationship develops. It is an experience rather than a set of skills or actions.

What is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy, like counselling is a talking therapy and involves many of the same elements. Often there is a natural, unnoticeable blend between counselling and psychotherapy. The difference between them is primarily one of depth and often they go hand in hand. Counselling tends to focus on identifying ways to manage and cope with life events and current issues. While psychotherapy asks the big question, who am I? Bringing the unconscious into our awareness is a central aspect of addressing who am I, as is exploring the relationship between the past and the present moment, and how experiences and events of the past, long forgotten, are impacting on life today.

How many sessions might I need?

This varies depending on each individual’s circumstances. Some people come for brief therapy and others stay longer term. This will depend on the difficulties you are experiencing and your needs from counselling. Normally I would suggest giving the process a 6-session commitment and we can evaluate how it is going for you at that point.

How often will we meet?

Where possible sessions are weekly. This may vary over time depending on your needs and the stage you are at in the process i.e. if you are moving towards finishing counselling you might want to schedule fortnightly sessions for a while before ending.

Is what I tell you confidential?

Confidentially is a core element of counselling. You will be able to trust that the information you bring to the counselling room will remain in the room. There are some exceptions to the confidentiality rule. These are:

  • If there is a serious risk that you or another person may be harmed
  • If you disclose that a child may be at risk

    In our first session I will go through confidentiality with you and answer any questions you may have.

  • What is the cost of each session?

    The session cost is €50 for individual therapy and the session itself lasts one hour. Payment is made by cash at the end of each session.

    What happens if I need to cancel a session?

    Sometimes it may happen that you need to cancel or reschedule a session. Cancellations of less than 48 hours’ notice will incur a €50 charge.

    “There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.”

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