Graduate Testimonials

Fiona ClothierCo Limerick, graduated 2013

I chose to train with the IGC because of the rich diversity of the people who were on the training programme and the strong emphasis on the personal development of trainees. I knew how important the latter was because I had previously completed a counselling course in which this was sadly lacking. The consequences were that when I did secure work as a counsellor, on the strength of having done that course, I became ‘burnt out’ after a year. My own unaddressed personal issues had come to the fore and I was ill equipped to deal with them.

So I retreated after this debacle to being a sail boat mostly tethered to a jetty in the harbour, at times tempted to sail but rarely moving beyond the nearby coast. My life was frustratingly restrictive and preoccupied with others opinions of me. Then during my training with the IGC I learned to venture out again into the ocean with support, going further and further, retreating less and less. My world expanded, my life became richer. So these days I don’t need as much support as I have grown in strength to be who I am and not who I think other people want me to be.

Having completed my training I am now working towards my accreditation as a psychotherapist with IAHIP.  The work I do with clients is rich and varied and my personal and family life has been enriched too.   My teenage daughter has taken great inspiration from seeing me live a fuller life and also find work I find deeply rewarding.

I am presently working as an intern in Oakwood Counselling and Psychotherapy Services. 

Harriet McGuigan –
Co Limerick, graduated 2013

It’s hard to put into a few lines what I achieved by doing the IGC training! What stands out most for me is that four years I found my gorgeous beating heart. My availability to myself and my heart is of great benefit to myself, my family and my clients.

There is huge emphasis on personal development and process on the course whilst always linking the process with the academic theory. I feel that I have gained a lot more confidence in my academic ability as a result of doing this course. A huge amount of this is due to how I was held, nurtured, encouraged, and supported throughout my years with the IGC.

I cannot recommend the course enough.

I am now working in Private Practice  and as a consultant with

John Connolly –
Co. Limerick, graduated 2012

I came to IGC initially to do the one year personal development programme because I was very lost, confused and felt I was just going around in circles in my life.  This course is suitable for anyone who wants to progress their well being, gain confidence, self reliance and a stronger sense of themselves.At this point I was not thinking about becoming a therapist however, I got so much learning and information about myself through the personal development programme that I did not want to stop there. I decided to continue on to the training.

As a result of my work  with IGCI am a much calmer and more contented person. I am enjoying my life instead worrying about my life.I am a warmer father with a very strong connection with my children.  In my training I met a wonderful group of supportive likeminded people, many of whom are now friends for life.I have also gained a new career, moving from working for twenty three years in construction to working as a psychotherapist.

In my connection with IGC I have learned that nothing is too big a challenge and it’s never too late in life to start something new. I really feel this course supported me to become a fully mature adult.

Although the standard is rigorous, this course is not only about the academic side of learning. Some courses could be likened to sitting at a desk, reading and writing about cookery books. But the IGC course is about getting the ingredients, going into the kitchen, and cooking the meal. We didn’t just read, talk and write about the subject, we practised it, learning skills through practising under supervision in a very supportive environment.When it came to getting a placement for working up client hours I found that IGC trainees were well respected and in demand in many counselling centres.

The way the course is timetabled in four residential blocks each year really suited me.  I could forget about home and work life for a protected time and give myself the uninterrupted space to learn. Course work which was actually very well placed and designed.  It was based around learnings appropriate to my stage of development and this made the learning very interesting and easy to approach.There are between two and four trainers and about 15 students on each workshop. With such a high ratio of trainers to students, I felt I got excellent tuition, guidance, feedback and support, all of which was tailored specifically to my needs at the time.

I am now working full time as an accredited Gestalt therapist in private practice, just 18 months after graduating.


Áine Ní Leime–Co.Galway, graduated 2011

The Diploma in Gestalt Psychotherapy was a fantastic experience! Its  blend of academic rigour  combined with reflective, experiential and personal exploration in a supportive community of fellow students and staff is unique.  I have gained awareness, skills and confidence that greatly enhance my ability to contribute in my current role in third level education and research and my continuing  engagement with Gestalt psychotherapy.

I recommend the course without reservation for its personal and professional benefits and for the sheer enjoyment and enrichment it provides

Dr. Áine Ní Leime
National University of Ireland, Galway


Marian O’Donnell-Byrne – Co. Meath, graduated 2010

I can highly recommend the IGC training course. I was already an accredited practicing counsellor when I decided to do the Gestalt training. I was well rewarded for my decision.  Having completed  that training I am able to work much more deeply and creatively with my clients. Personally, I got significant insight into my processes.  I feel so much more confident both personally and professionally. Enrolling on that course was one of the best decisions I ever made.


Kate Murphy – Co. Donegal, graduated 2006

I still carry the benefits of the IGC training with me and it gave me a real sense of being part of a therapeutic community.

The training involves doing a personal development year. For me this is one of the things that makes the training stand out.  It gave me an idea of what Gestalt is all about in an experiential way, and a taster of what the training would be like and was it right for me.

Another strength of this training is the fact that it is residential. This means living together as a community, which was so supportive. I was able to leave my life and demands behind and have time for myself. The learning in this experiential way is invaluable.

It is 8 years since I graduated, and I now work for The Irish Family Planning Association as a crisis pregnancy counsellor, and as a therapist for a couple of community based organisations.  I also have a small private practice.

I am still involved with The IGC community, so being a part of it did not end when I graduated, which is very positive for me.

Emma Gannon – Dublin, graduated 2001

I graduated from the IGC in 2001.  For me the strengths of the programme were the ways in which I learned and grew as a therapist.  I am now able to be with my client without fear in a very present and aware manner. This allows and transforms the therapeutic relationship by creating a meaningful and supportive space which enables the client to explore their deepest thoughts and feelings without any judgement.

I am now working in a Hospital setting as a Senior Medical Social Worker.  I work in the area of Oncology as part of a multi-disciplinary team. Training as a Gestalt psychotherapist has given me increased skills and abilities in making meaningful interventions in a measured and holistic way.  It has given me an inner strength to be able to sit with the patient and family members in the many and varied aspects of their cancer journey.


Declan Aherne –Co. Limerick, graduated 1992.

My time spent in training with the IGC has been one of the most valuable experiences of my professional life.  All these years later I can still look back with fondness and pride at what we accomplished in our training.  The learnings from then have stood the test of time and form the very core of all that I do in my work up to the present day.  It has been the solid platform on which I have been able to explore and examine the human condition, both for myself and for my clients.  I am eternally grateful to Joan and hank for all that they invested in creating this space for personal growth and healing.

Dr Declan Aherne,M.A., M.Psych. Sc., Dip. Psych. (Gestalt), Ph.D.,
AFPsSI, Reg. Clin.  / Couns. Psychol.
Clinical Psychologist and Head of Counselling,
University of Limerick