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  • BY CÓILÍN Ó BRAONÁIN

Psychotherapy & Counselling for Children

The recent scandal concerning child care centres raises some questions about the priorities of Ireland with regards to our children. I’m reminded of the very low turnout for the Children’s Referendum (33%) and the small majority in favour (58% of 33%).

Are we, as a nation, ambivalent when it comes to child welfare? I wonder if some adults are uncomfortable thinking of child neglect because that topic points to unhappiness in their own childhoods. Not necessarily neglect, just unhappiness. Blocking out unhappy childhood memories is a natural childhood psychological defence. Anxiety and depression are sometimes related to unresolved childhood issues and unconscious psychological defences do cause us to avoid reminders of unresolved issues. Fortunately, counselling and psychotherapy can usually treat these problems. But if the emotional blocks remain unconscious, the personal suffering may continue, albeit under the surface. I believe, that collectively, our reluctance to look at the importance of childhood may contribute to the prevalence of child neglect in Ireland.

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