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In memory of Dr Áine Tubridy

 

Dr Áine Tubridy, one of the founders of the Wellbeing Foundation, passed away on the morning of Tuesday 5 April 2011.

Áine was a wonderful and effective healer, a brilliant teacher, an author whose popular books on psychosocial distress were translated Áine Tubridyinto many languages and a staunch upholder of the rights of mental health service users and all those suffering psychological distress.

Áine qualified first as a medical doctor and in 1990 took her Masters in psychotherapy at University College, Dublin. She later specialised at the Menninger Centre in Kansas in the management of anxiety and panic incorporating biofeedback technology and relaxation training, and brought this expertise to the cardiac rehabilitation programme at St Vincent's Hospital, Dublin as well as to her practice at the Institute of Psychosocial Medicine in Dun Laoghaire.

Áine developed and taught professional training courses for therapists, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. She was co-author of Going Mad? Understanding Mental Illness and Depression: An Emotion not a Disease, and the author of When Panic Attacks. The latter book continues to be one of the best-selling titles in this field.

Her keynote address to the Recovery conference in Cork in November 2010 was about how important the heart is, when considering healing from deep distress. She lived and worked from the warmest of hearts and a kind, generous and courageous soul.

Above all, she was a warm and generous spirit who gave prodigiously to her family and friends, to her clients and students, and to all who asked her help. All of them will cherish loving memories of her warmth and compassion, her commitment and her good-humoured approach to life and its vicissitudes.

 

Let all the strains of joy mingle in my last song — the joy that makes the earth flow over in the riotous excess of the grass, the joy that sets the twin brothers, life and death, dancing over the wide world, the joy that sweeps in with the tempest, shaking and waking all life with laughter, the joy that sits still with its tears on the open red lotus of pain, and the joy that throws everything it has upon the dust, and knows not a word.

— Rabindranath Tagore

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Psychotherapy and counselling

The Wellbeing Foundation does not directly provide psychotherapy, or any other clinical service.

To find a psychotherapist in your area, we recommend you use this website:
http://www.psychotherapy-ireland.com/find

For people in the greater Dublin area, we also recommend the Institute of Psychosocial Medicine, where Dr Michael Corry and Dr Áine Tubridy had their practice. The telephone number is
01 2800084 and the website is http://ipmed.org

Please do not contact the Foundation for appointments.

We do not make appointments on behalf of any provider.

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The Wellbeing Foundation presents: Soul Interrupted

Soul Interrupted, the film made in 2006 by Jonathan Woods and Dr Michael Corry, is now available for viewing as a series of four video podcasts on our Video podcasts page here.

This film explores the experience of several people in their encounters with psychiatry in Ireland, with the mental health services, with medication and psychiatric drugs, with electro-shock therapy, and with the consequences of psychiatric interventions. It covers such areas as forced detention, forced medication and forced administration of electro-shock 'therapy'.

A powerful and moving account of what it means to suffer psychosocial distress in Ireland in the 21st century, this film stands as a testament to the human spirit in its determination to withstand abuse of human rights and wrong-headed approaches to healing, and to recover from distress despite all obstacles.

Copies of the film are available on DVD for local groups to show in their community.

The movie is licensed for use under a Creative Commons code which forbids commercial use or any alteration or editing and requires acknowledgment of The Wellbeing Foundation as source and a link back to our website if it is reproduced on any other site.

CClicence Click image to view full terms

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Post traumatic stress disorder

Trauma refers to the wounding of our will to live, our existential beliefs about the self and the world, our dignity, and sense of security or permanence as an organism. The assault on the psyche is so great that traditional ways of thinking, feeling and behaving are inadequate. Áine Tubridy explores how to deal with PTSD. Read more here arrowback

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Agood laugh is great for your sense
of wellbeing: this baby will help

The Psychological Society of Ireland has created a list of 40 Tips for Wellbeing as part of its celebrations of 40 years in existence. We've checked out the list and it's helpful and comprehensive, so we have no problem in recommending it. You can find it for download here.

The second tip on the list is 'Have a laugh'. Laughter is indeed a sure way to maintain or recover mental wellbeing, so here's our quick way to raise a laugh — watch this video of a small baby laughing uproariously at a Wii golf game on his Dad's TV. We've always thought there is something inherently funny about golf, and this little guy does too. QUICK LAUGH LINK arrowbackarrowbackarrowback

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Marie Campion on eating distress

We have been hearing a lot about eating disorders in the media over the years, but very little about eating distress. What is the difference? Marie Campion of the Marino Therapy Centre explains the differences and their implications in this timely piece. Read more here arrowback

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In memory of Dr Michael Corry

 

Dr Michael Corry, founder and inspirer of the Wellbeing Foundation, passed away on 22 February 2010.

He was a fearless campaigner for the rights of mental health service users and all those suffering psychological distress; an opponent of bio-psychiatry and its reliance on psycho-pharmacology; an implacable campaigner for the abolition of ECT as a so-called 'therapy’; and a compassionate healer appreciated by thousands of patients.

After he qualified in 1973, Michael’s career included work as a hospital doctor in Michael CorryUganda in the Amin era before he went on to qualify as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist; work as a public service psychiatrist in St Brendan's Hospital, Dublin; and private practice. His imagination and desire to get things done powered both his work as director of the EU-sponsored Resocialisation Project at St Brendan's in the early 1980s, and as a founder of the privately-funded Clane Hospital in Kildare, where he served as consultant psychiatrist from the early days.

He was a founder of the Institute of Psychosocial Medicine in Dun Laoghaire in 1987. The Institute developed from a four-partner practice into an organisation with over 20 practitioners and nationwide renown as a healing centre, and which also provides training courses and encourages research and advocacy.

In June 2004 Michael began a series of articles on depression in the Irish Times which led to the establishment of the monthly Depression Dialogues seminars which he moderated with his partner, Dr Aine Tubridy, and to the launch of the depressiondialogues website on St. Valentine's Day 2005.

In 2006 he, together with a number of mental health campaigners who supported his existential approach to the treatment of psychological distress, set up The Wellbeing Foundation to pursue the aim of substituting an experiential, holistic and compassionate approach to mental health for the drug-based and often dangerous and ineffective approach of conventional psychiatry.

The Foundation’s successful conference in October 2006, attended by almost 700 people, helped open a public debate on mental health difficulties and on modes of treatment which had previously been virtually absent. The Dialogues, the conference, and continued interventions by Dr Corry and others were partly responsible for animating a wider patients’ movement, or survivors movement as many former patients prefer, and placing increasing pressure on conventional biopsychiatry which had enjoyed an easy ride until then.

Another area in which he made a mark was that of disability. For many years Michael worked with with Rehab, which provides services to young people and adults with physical, sensory and intellectual disabilities, people with mental health difficulties, people with autism and people with an acquired brain injury. It was an area dear to his heart on account of his close personal knowledge of the effect of profound brain impairment on children and families. As Rehab’s consultant psychiatrist, he championed the cause of integrating the psychiatric patient with the physically disabled, entitling them to the same educational and vocational training programmes.

He took up the cause of the sexually abused, too, in particular decrying the operation of the Residential Institutions Redress Board as an offence against the human rights of the clerically-abused. As he put it in one of his books, “This hideous legal circus, the Redress Board, that they [the victims] have been channelled towards, is a crime against humanity. One can only hope that its unconstitutional nature will be revealed, leading to its abolition, to be replaced by an open forum where the victim is not only properly compensated monetarily, but where they can have their perpetrators named and the scales of justice balanced.”

Sadly for the victims of clerical abuse in these institutions, this did not happen and they continue to be subjected to the Board’s iniquitous procedures and inadequate awards, not to mention being gagged, under pain of criminal prosecution, from speaking about their ordeal once they sign up to its jurisdiction.

Michael’s work in campaigning for an end to electro-shock 'therapy' led to a private members Bill being introduced into the Senate in 2008 which would bar the forced use of ECT — use without informed consent. While the Government did not accept the Bill as proposed, former Minister for Mental Health John Moloney started a consultation process which may lead to the first steps towards ending this practice.

But what of the private Michael?

Michael was into adventure of all kinds, so the work in Africa was a springboard for travelling and exploring there, and he kept up the travel bug until after his diagnosis, always taking off for some exotic destination quite different and distinct from the previous one.

He was a keen sailor, and used to bring a small dinghy down to Ballinskelligs every year as part of the family holiday — perfect for turns around Ballinskelligs Bay.

A big passion was horse-riding, and he loved his horse, Oscar, whose death was a big blow to him. His sense of adventure and willingness to try the new led him to start ski-ing in his late fifties, and bringing two of his children into it as well.

He also had a great interest in nature and ecology — living in the Wicklow countryside was paradise for him, where he was a keen gardener with a sense of how to seamlessly meld the cultivated and the wild. He was a contributor to and involved in publishing the first Irish eco-magazine, Source, back in the late 90s — it published from 1999 to 2001.

Michael read widely and loved poetry in particular, with a fine selection of poems made mandatory for the depression dialogues website. He was quite the art collector, and both his home and practice were packed with sculptures and paintings by artists he liked. And finally, he was an accomplished pianist and musician and spent a couple of years working with Larry Hogan and others on a musical theatre production, The Soul Show, which probably could have been very successful if they had found financial backers.

And to all of these Michael brought passion, as well as to the pamphleteering and campaigning. I recall, for example, how some of our more tactically conservative collaborators blanched when they heard Michael declare publicly "My intention is to drive a stake through the heart of psychiatry in Ireland", with all the implications of that metaphor, but that was Michael — he thought it, he believed it, and he spoke his truth, always, in private as in public.

Michael’s courage in prosecuting his ‘causes’ was immense. He had the quality of being willing, immediately and without hesitation, to go the last mile for something he believed in, or for a friend or family member, no matter the cost to himself.

For example, when he discovered that the then Eastern Health Board had diverted EU funding for his pilot Resocialisation Project in 1983, leaving it unable to continue its work of preparing long-stay, institutionalised patients for normal life, the subsequent fight was explosive. Rather than continue in an organisation which expected him to accept and collude in what he saw as theft from his clients, Michael resigned, with no job offer and no other practice.

On many occasions he put his head above the parapet on behalf of patients and their rights, and against what he saw as malpractice by psychiatrists or other doctors — over-prescribing by GPs of drugs carrying serious risks, such as SSRIs like Seroxat or Cymbalta, was a continuing theme. He was not afraid to be controversial in his pursuit of change and of justice for the psychologically distressed, nor of the consequences, however threatening. Upholders of the status quo referred Michael to the Medical Council on several occasions, but none of the referrals ever came to anything.

If opposition is any sign, then Michael’s campaigns certainly rattled the ‘great and the good’ of Irish psychiatry. Professor Patricia Casey sued him and RTE for libel in 2005, a case settled by the broadcaster, and Professor Ted Dinan of UCC made a complaint to the Fitness to Practice Committee of the IMC over his public comments on the role of SSRIs in the killing/suicide carried out by Shane Clancy in Bray in 2009.

Many of their colleagues opposed the campaign to bar forced administration of ECT, despite Irish practice in this regard breaching WHO guidelines on informed consent and falling far below best practice in comparable jurisdictions.

Above all, his patients loved him, and there were thousands. Their tributes since he died emphasise again and again his compassion, his concern, his wisdom and his exclusive focus on their need for healing.

While his consulting room was entirely private, these qualities could be seen at the Dialogues meetings, where patients, relatives of troubled people seeking some illumination, or those needing advice, found an equally safe space where they could confide, share their difficulties, and draw on others’ support. Even without any formal protocol in operation, the effect was healing, as many who attended testify.

His obvious and deep compassion was the secret, as it was also the foundation for his commitment to advocacy and campaigning. Michael was a rare being, loveable, inspiring and thoughtful, a loving warrior and a gentle rebel.

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