A conversation with Tiglin counsellor Brian Synnott 


Tell us about what you do?

 "I practice a model called Theortheraphy, gods healing and what I do is assist people in their internal and external world. 

It's a Christian therapy model, and it's not just psychological; it's a spiritual, psychological and biological holistic approach to therapy.

People would generally come to me when they are stuck in their lives. (You don't want to be in therapy for a long time unless you have a mental illness.) people typically don't have obstacles stopping them from progressing, and those obstacles are more internal. When we have problems in our lives, we need to find where the problem is, and the problem is usually in us. The phrase in Theotherapy is " we don't have problems; I am a problem", which means that you can't change anyone else, but we can change ourselves. 

We try to solve problems the wrong way to change the world around us, but we need to change.

When a person comes in for a session, they usually are stuck and have pain or are unable to progress. My job is not to get them out of pain but to get them well so they wouldn't be in pain, so the objective of drugs is to get out of pain. But, unfortunately, drugs only make it worse.

The holistic manner or the therapy is the maturation of the clients. Of course, maturing happens in a counselling room, but it also occurs in a therapeutic environment like Tiglin. 

The struggle is crucial; the drug addiction tries to take away the struggle. Life progression needs to be like a caterpillar. It is breaking the caccoon that strengthens the individual". 

How do we prevent people from going back?

"We are products of our past; we must resolve the past. But, then, problems arise we don't deal with the past correctly. Only then we can move forward.

My objective is to bring people to their full potential. Help them overcome obstacles to increase intelligence to find stability, overcome temptation, find strength, and resolve relationships".

How did you get involved in this line of work? 

"I had struggled myself and needed help, and I got help, and it changed my life significantly, and I want everyone else to experience that freedom."

Brian Synnott (left), Ryan Tubirdy (right) in Carraig Eden, Greystones

How does one become a counsellor? 

"You need to study a lot!. I was a student in the UK for nearly 20 years. To become a good counsellor, you need many studies and apply the content to your life. To some extent, life experience is also needed to be a good counsellor".

Any complex cases that you feel comfortable sharing?

"A 16 year of boy that dropped out of school came into a counselling room with me and was very aggressive. He had lost his 2-year old brother when he was six and never grieved. He needed to find who he was. He was struggling between being a child and a man and didn't know where to go. By default, he was participating in an educational system that didn't compliment his talents. He became hopeless and, therefore, reckless.

His parents forced him into counselling, and he didn't want to talk. We played play station in the office. Finally, we started to speak, and he said he felt hopeless, lost and that everyone was against him. I helped him discover who he was and where did he fit in the world".

How does one find him himself?

"You have to give them the freedom to talk. Counsellors are a mirror to see themselves as they genuinely. Our self-identity comes from those around us. 

A quote that describes well is We are who we are in the context of relationships. I think Karl Barth said this.

Teenagers find this hard when they are detaching from their parental figures. People get stuck in various stages of development. Mainly when they start using drugs, this happens because drugs are taking the person from reality. The learning curve is how life works. The drugs give a great feeling, but this stops the feelings and normal development of relations.

To summarise, one needs to get away from inappropriate distractions and learn how to deal with reality. We experience our problems in our heads, so we must resolve things internally". 

Why do you think counselling is so important both in recovery and for everyone in society?

"In recovery, counselling is vital as it helps people resolve why they have been self-medicating. But, of course, not everybody needs counselling, but everyone needs to talk and share. 

Often, we experience people who project one past relationship onto a current relationship, and it causes terrible problems in their lives. So what I do is I discover the patterns and the "bitter roots" of past relationships. 

When someone comes in, I talk to them (free association). Things usually come up, and I get to see the top of the iceberg- presenting the issue. I examine the presenting problem, and I find out where those things originate. I then develop a system to reorganise the perception of reality. In this process- forgiveness is an excellent antidepressant.

Helping man and women to realise their full potential".

What is the message you would tell to our readers, both struggling and those that are not?

 "In Ireland today, there is always help and hope- you need to find it. We are all a bit odd, so there is no shame. We may not all need formal counselling, but we all need help".

Tiglin Column, December 30th 2021