Mike Hackett on being a student of Liam McCarthy

We were met though, by the soul of education in the man who was Liam McCarthy


I consider myself privilidged to be among those lucky students who got to experience our founder, Liam McCarthy’s teaching style first hand. After a long day’s work in the corporate sector, travelling out to Corrig House, in the dark and the rain of the winter of 2004, into a room with a dozen other psychotherapy students, I often arrived feeling the pressure of the demand my degree studies bore on my energy, engagement and enthusiasm. We were met though, by the soul of education in the man who was Liam McCarthy. For three hours, he sat. Holding the group by spinning a web of knowledge, lived personal experience and professional practice. Not a single slide was employed, just the art and mastery of teaching by story telling, as Liam deftly constructed a model of therapist-as-person in the best tradition of humanistic psychotherapy.


I remember leaving those evenings wondering ‘what the hell just happened there’ as time seemed to disappear, feeling nourished both intellectually and emotionally, somehow! Education by osmosis I think on reflection. Liam’s casual style of teaching, his down-to-earth approach and his ability to really see each student has left an indellible mark on me as a therapist, an educator and as a person. To understand the student’s experience, to feel their struggle and to offer words of encouragement and support represent the threads of learning and humanism which have been woven into my own practice. I hope in some small way, those of us who had the privilige of been seen by Liam, in turn, honour his legacy by choosing to see the humanity of our students, our clients and ourselves.


Mike Hackett, Programme Leader, January 2021.


Course Venues:   Athlone   |   Belfast   |   Carrick-on-Shannon   |   Cork   |   Dublin   |   Kilkenny   |   Limerick