In the final year of my counselling studies, I wrote a dissertation called:
‘Coming Out or Staying In?: The Persona & Shadow of Being Gay, and its Relevance to Psychotherapy in Modern Ireland.’
This work sought to map the concepts of Persona and Shadow, as put forward by Carl Jung, onto the lived experience of being a gay man or lesbian in modern Ireland.
The Persona can be seen as a mask that we wear to navigate through society and interpersonal relationships, while the Shadow is like a private backroom full of things that we would rather most people not see. For me there were many parallels here with the experience of being gay, so, inspired by people like Panti Bliss and Ursula Halligan, I decided to explore further. With the Marriage Equality referendum of May 2015 as its backdrop, the piece examined concepts such as internalised homophobia, ‘passing’ as straight and coming out, from an Irish perspective.
Some months later, I was honoured to learn that my work had been selected to receive PCI College’s annual Martin Kitterick Award for academic excellence for 2016. An edited version was subsequently published in Éisteach, a quarterly journal published by the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP).
You can read this shortened version by following the link below:
All comments welcomed!