For those of you who do not know me, and I’d expect there may be a few of you, my name is Dermot McCarthy. I’m a qualified Counsellor and Psychotherapist that fell into therapy work after a series of events that took me to a dark and tumultuous place in life. I am a member of I.A.C.P ( Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy).
After finding my calling in therapy, I’ve gone on to learn so much about the underrepresented and often ignored people in Irish Society – especially when it comes to therapy. I want to change this. If you’re interested to hear about my story as an openly gay therapist looking to serve the trans community, and want to learn more about the services I provide, follow along!
Finding your inner voice
It was almost ten years ago to this month that I was working as a corporate accountant. I had been made redundant and thought it would be easy to find myself a new position. After all, everyone is always looking for an accountant, right? The reality turned out to be quite different. Ireland was going through one of the worst bouts of the recession in 2009 and finding work proved to be near impossible.
While I found myself some part-time positions, the relief was only momentary. I remember waking up each morning feeling a sense of absolute gloom and despair. I had fallen to the grips of depression and could not find a purpose in life. I honestly didn’t know what to do. It wasn’t until a friend of mine mentioned they were going to see a therapist that I got the courage to reach out.
Heading to my first appointment, my body was there but my mind was certainly not. At times I wonder how I got myself to the therapy practice in the first place. My first session was a verbal volcano. The inner voice that I had kept hidden for so long just erupted; spouting everything that I’ve dealt with in life, including the shame and guilt concerning my sexual orientation.
Had I never gone to therapy that day, had my therapist not embraced me as my true self, had I not listened to my inner voice and accepted who I was, I can’t say I’d be the same person today. It became my mission to provide this to as many other people as I could. And so, my studies soon commenced.
The main lesson that I took away from my time in therapy is you need to embrace your authenticity to truly be content. Hiding parts of yourself, attempting to change your identity to something that another person expects of you, all of these things, only compound the other issues you’re dealing with. This is why I’m particularly interested in helping provide support to the trans community in Ireland.
Building an Inclusive Counselling Service
I believe the rights of trans people in this country are some twenty years behind of the rest of the LGBQ+ community. Trans people spend most days being questioned, having their privacy invaded, and being denied healthcare. I’m amazed and inspired by any person that has the courage to come out and be openly trans. At the same time, I’m inspired for all those that have not yet come out too. By all accounts, the world is working against the trans community.
I want to provide trans people the space to come to therapy where it is not a battle. There is no need to justify to me your existence, you don’t need to convince me that being trans is a real thing, you don’t have to worry about being misgendered or me using the incorrect pronouns. I want to create a space wherein people’s transness is not a barrier to getting the help you need.
There is a great barrier for trans people to find mental health services in this country. Not only is there a financial burden, but as a trans person you risk coming across a transphobic counsellor, or someone that has no knowledge of the community. As a cis gay man, I remember the fear coming out and telling people I was gay. I remember what it was like to risk your safety by being honest, even though you aren’t hurting anyone. The same thing is currently happening to trans people and has been for so long throughout history. While I can’t instantly change the world, I can ensure the spaces I have control of are trans inclusive.
At Inner Voice, I provide counselling services in-person and online based on a sliding scale. I believe everyone should be able to access therapy, no matter their circumstances. You can get in contact with me over at InnerVoice.ie. My main physical location is 106 Capel Street , Dublin 1 (right beside Outhouse) . I rent a room from Insight Matters there. Please enquire on my website on accessing online counselling.