Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Take a journey of self-discovery with NUIM & Vita House

Around 20 students from all walks of life gathered in Vita House, Roscommon last week to mark the completion of a one-year certificate course in psychology offered in conjunction with the National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

  Vita House is well-known locally as a family centre that provides a whole host of services and supports, such as professional counselling, to meet the needs of families in the county. 

The centre also hosts a number of educational programmes such as the one-year certificate in psychology and other personal development courses, which will appeal to people of all ages and from all walks of life.

  More than an academic course on psychology, students explained how this one-year outreach course had given them the opportunity to take a journey of self-discovery and how it was of benefit to them, both on a personal level and also in their work life.

  Gerry Vesey from Castlerea spoke of how he benefited from the course, both personally and professionally, and how he hoped that it would eventually lead him down a new career path. 

Currently working in Masonite in Carrick-on-Shannon, he explained why he was initially interested in the course: “I have been working in industry for 20 years and, working with people, I wanted to find out more about people’s different personalities and also about group thinking and why people have their own thoughts and feelings and how this can change in group situations.” 

  Gerry enjoyed the opportunity to explore the issue of motivation in the workplace during the course and has since applied this knowledge to his work. Having lost his father at a young age, the course also had particular personal significance for Gerry by allowing him explore how this affected his childhood, as well as other issues such as grieving and loss.   

  “It brought back a lot of memories to me because I lost my dad when I was young and I took on a lot of responsibility. It was something I never really thought about until I actually went through that on the course and I found that a really big experience,” Gerry said. 

  For Gerry, the course also represented the first step towards pursuing a new career in counselling. “The change happened before I came on the course because I had decided that I wanted a change. Having done the course, eventually I hope to work full time in the area of counselling,” he said. 

  Another student of the course Bernie Nestor said that she had always intended taking the course having first heard about it 10 years ago. Last September Bernie’s intentions became a reality when she signed up for the year-long outreach course run by Vita House and NUIM and since then she hasn’t looked back.

  “The course has been fantastic and has been of huge benefit to me in my work,” she said, explaining that she works as a counsellor and psychotherapist having come from a background in psychiatric nursing.

  The course comes highly recommended to those looking to take a voyage of self discovery and to explore the behaviour of people in general and what we can learn from this.  

  “I would recommend it not just for the academic content of the course but also for the personal and emotional journey that if offers. The course combined an academic element and a personal process, which proved to be very valuable,” Bernie explained.

  Students attend lectures on Monday evenings and eight Saturdays throughout the duration of the course, which is delivered by Sr Mary Lee and Marian Keigher of Vita House and visiting lecturers. As part of the course students submit a learning journal, essay and research project. 

Sr. Mary Lee, Director of Vita House and one of the tutors on the course pointed out that this year also marked the 10th anniversary of the course being offered from Roscommon. 

  “The course has proven very popular over the years and attracts people from all walks of life and all ages. Everyone from parents sitting at home who want to expand their horizons to people who work in management to nurses, teachers, and trades people; it’s really open to everybody,” Sr. Mary said. 

  To assess the impact of the course on the lives of students, Flan Spaight a community worker and trainer from County Clare has been commissioned to carry out an independent evaluation of the course.

  “The course is going 10 years now and that is why we have decided to do a piece of research to assess the impact of the course on people’s lives, on their personal development and confidence, and opportunities for life, family and work,” Sr. Mary explained. 

  To find out more about this course or other educational programmes, seminars and services provided at the Vita House Family Centre call into Vita House, Abbey Street, Roscommon, or phone 090 6625898 or e-mail: vitahouse@eircom.net for further details.