Sociological Context of Mental Health

The things I found most helpful, interesting or useful from this module.

I loved this three day focus on Sociology and looking at Mental Health from this perspective.  Sociology was my first academic subject at third level and as my imagination and the lens through which I view the world tends to be rather sociological, revisiting the notion of  the ‘sociological imagination’ was very interesting.  So it was a great opportunity to revisit theoretical ideas in a different context – counseling and psychotherapy – some ideas, with which I was very familiar that had accompanied me throughout my professional life, and to remember others that I had not quite forgotten, but filed away.I very much appreciated the exploration of mental health and inequality; stigma, an area that I am most interested in (with regard to my proposed research topic in relation to the experience of women addiction counsellors with lived experience of drug use) and focusing on age, gender, class, ethnicity and functionalist, structuralist, symbolic interactionist and marxist ideas, theories and explanations.I really enjoyed the application of the ideas in discussion and participation in some extremely thought provoking exercises and looking at different possibilities and ‘solutions’.A fantastic module. Thank you Maria!
(Marguerite – First Year M.A. Student 2014)


Our M.A. students looking very relaxed on the last day of their first year with M.A. Programme Leader Prof. John McLeod

Advanced Research Methods 2

The things I found most helpful, interesting or useful from this module.

I don’t really know where to begin or end in terms of identifying the MOST helpful, interesting or useful aspects of this module because in its entirety it was so comprehensive and coherent in what it set out to do and achieve or perhaps it even achieved more and above what John, Marcella and Triona set out to accomplish. The first two days were just full of ‘gems’ and the third day focusing on the tasks ahead, while a little more fraught in terms of examining all that needs to be done and achieved next year, allowed me/us to review also what had been achieved and the point now reached after Year One.   During this weekend I feel I experienced and lived pluralism and came to understand it and appreciate it as never before. In addition, there was so much learned about the research and knowledge base with regard to pluralism and the PROCESS of assessment, collaboration, feedback tools, being/doing pluralism or being and doing things pluralistically in research and counselling practice.  It seemed to just come alive!  A sort of culmination of all that I had experienced in Year One and the layers and layers of learning and experience – the ‘onion’, the ‘russian doll’ – appeared to crystalize in some way alongside the recognition of the ever changing nature of experiences.

So the ‘gems’?

  • The ‘lived experience’ of the weekend, participating in small and larger groups scenario throughout and the interaction between individuals in the groups and among the groups. The learning experience seemed to reflect, mirror, model what pluralism is in my mind – it is hard to name, tie down, define, ineffable – the shared learning.
  • Collaboration – looking at Pluralism and the work in small groups and the bringing together of the work into the group on collaboration; the collaborative nature  of the activity focused on collaboration – the collaborative learning process and experience in the classroom modeling for practice; the creativity and ‘co-surrender’ involved; bringing together of differing perspectives of individuals in each group and then the bringing together of the differing perspectives from the different groups and layers uopn layers of perspectives – reflecting such diversity and ‘putting difference to work’ in terms of exploration, collaboration and learning;
  • Discussions of reflexivity, reflexive writing and the challenges of such writing. Emotion in research and practice and the extent to which this can be acknowledged or not – depending on our different audiences. Its importance – the reflexive demeanour and the writing – in terms of both research and counselling practice and ourselves in both and our ethical relationships with participants and clients/service users.
  • Reflecting Teams – telling a story and ‘bearing witness’, reflecting, responding, reacting – about knowledge, research, evidence. There was so much learned from the story of the research about client feedback as told by John, and in addition from the responses of the individuals in the reflection group – Miriam, Josie, and Lizzie –  to that one story so that as those of us not in the reflection team were observing, we were witnessing the layers and layers of knowledge construction that seemed to be occurring and unfolding. It was a powerful exercise about stories and gave me some ideas to take away for my afternoon lecture with the BA (Hons) group!!! Thanks!!! ALso the value of using this reflection team strategy in terms of our own individual research projects and case studies is so evident.
  • Discussion about reflexivity and ethics with regard to the research projects, cases studies; evaluating the counseling process – the therapist interview and the client interview;
  • Witnessing the demonstration role play of the client interview;
  • Group interaction and dynamic – as ever;
  • Great fun and rather hysterical laughter at moments – particularly on the final day when talking about assignments!
  • The contribution and participation of the lecturers and tutors – thanks to John, Marcella and Triona – all at IICP!

Thank you IICP!
(Marguerite – First Year M.A. Student 2014)