Reclaiming The Sacred Feminine: a passage towards empowerment and rebirth

20/10/2018 to 21/10/2018
10am - 5pm
Stone Arch Centre, Kenmare, Co Kerry

A workshop & seminar for psychotherapists, counsellors and psychologists

with Michele O’Brien MIAHIP & Dr Sylvia Murphy Tighe, Midwife and Lecturer at University of Limerick

In recent history there has been a culture of silence, secrecy and shame around women’s (and children’s) individual stories of conception, pregnancy and birth.  This secrecy means that what is a natural, essential, fundamental and empowering part of the feminine becomes an experience of shame and regret. The events and discourse leading up to the recent referendum has shown that women are now ready to talk, to come out of the shadows and to share their personal stories and experiences. For others it is still a step too far, too painful, complex, riddled with trauma, guilt or shame.

So, how can we, as therapists, create a space that gives women permission to speak their truth. How can we support, hold and guide women to integrate their stories into a meaningful personal narrative that supports healing? Would you like to be part of a process of assisting women to heal and reclaim their power through the transformation of such experiences?

Are we as therapists ready to listen and be present to the unfolding of these very personal, sacred and sometimes tragic stories? How can we assist women to find strength and transform their experiences; to find healing and discover authentic pride in adversity; to reclaim bodily autonomy and find agency.

How does this impact on our own stories of what it is to be woman? Our values and ideas?

This weekend workshop is an opportunity to explore and further work through these issues, both in our own lives and those of our clients.  Particularly aimed at Counsellors, Psychotherapists, Psychologists, Social Workers and other helping professions.  Experience of therapeutic process and reflection would be helpful.

A collaboration between Psychotherapist Michele O’Brien and Dr Sylvia Murphy Tighe, Midwife, and lecturer at University of Limerick.

You will have a chance to understand and learn from Sylvia’s ground-breaking research on concealed pregnancy from the ‘Keeping it Secret Study’. She will share elements of her doctoral thesis entitled ‘Regaining Agency and Autonomy: A grounded typology of concealed pregnancy’, based on interviews exploring the experiences of 30 women in Ireland.

Michele will host the weekend in the beautiful setting of the Stone Arch Centre, Kenmare, County Kerry.  She will present her own practice-based research which contributed to the study and will facilitate process and reflection around pertinent issues raised by the study and by workshop participants.


This workshop will be limited to 14 participants.  It will include didactic input, art, movement and group process. A safe therapeutic space to explore the often unspeakable.

Due to the sensitive nature of the workshop there will be a selection process for places.


The workshop aims to explore the some of the following issues:

  • Concealed pregnancy
  • Adoption whether secret, forced, illegal
  • Experiences of the mother and baby homes and Magdalene laundries
  • Infanticide; abortion
  • Foetal fatal abnormalities
  • Pregnancy due to rape and incest
  • Disempowerment in the often over medicalised process of giving birth


Javascript is required to view this map.