Professional Counselling Services Kerry

O’ Halloran Counselling Services

Every one of us experiences problems on a day to day basis but for the most part we cope. Sometimes, however, life can be very hard and it can throw something at us that we simply cannot deal with, but support is available. Our motto is ‘People start to heal the moment they are heard’ so we’re here to listen and to support.

Counselling and psychotherapy are related and interchangeable practices that involve a therapist facilitating a client to confront their problems and find a way to work through them. Margaret O’Halloran is a qualified counsellor and psychotherapist and is trained to work with clients on a range of issues.

Clients present to O’Halloran Counselling Services with issues around depression, anxiety, emotional crisis, relationship problems, bereavement and grief, suicide and self-harm, work-related stress and bullying, sexual identity and sexuality, women’s maternal mental health, addiction, eating disorders, anger, abuse, low self-esteem and personal growth.


Depression is a common mental health condition that has a variety of physical and mental symptoms. Although we all feel down and fed up every now and again, depression is more than just that. If you have the condition, you can be sad for days, weeks or even months at a time.

Living with this condition can be difficult, not only for sufferers but for those around them. Despite this, many sufferers will wait a long time before seeking help. This is especially true if they fear it will see them rejected, ridiculed or deprived of a sense of control. Others may simply be afraid to confront their problems.

If you have the condition, you are likely to have at least five of the following depression symptoms:

You may exhibit:

  • changes in sleeping patterns – broken nights or oversleeping
  • changes in eating patterns – loss of appetite or overeating
  • tiredness and a loss of energy
  • like you can’t concentrate
  • persistent headaches and/or stomach upsets
  • chronic pain
  • a slower speaking pattern than usual
  • loss of libido
  • changes to your menstrual cycle

You may also:

  • neglect hobbies and interests
  • isolate yourself from friends and family
  • take part in fewer social activities
  • notice your productivity falling at work

You may not notice if you have developed depression, especially if it has been a gradual process over a number of weeks or months. Sometimes it takes a friend, a family member or a partner to point out that you may have a problem.


Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension or fear and is almost always accompanied by feelings of impending doom. The source of this uneasiness is not always known or recognized, which can add to the distress you feel.
Anxiety is a feeling of unease. Everybody experiences it when faced with a stressful situation, for example before an exam or an interview, or during a worrying time such as illness. It is normal to feel anxious when facing something difficult or dangerous and mild anxiety can be a positive and useful experience.

The physical symptoms of anxiety are caused by the brain sending messages to parts of the body to prepare for the “fight or flight” response. The heart, lungs and other parts of the body work faster. The brain also releases stress hormones, including adrenaline. If you experience anxiety, you might find that you identify with some of the physical and psychological sensations on the list. Anxiety can feel different for different people, so you might also experience other kinds of feelings, which aren’t listed here.

Physical sensations:

  • Nausea
  • Tense muscles and headaches
  • tiredness and a loss of energy
  • Pins and needles
  • Feeling light headed or dizzy
  • Faster breathing
  • Sweating or hot flushes
  • A fast, thumping or irregular heart beat
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Needing the toilet more frequently, or less frequently
  • Upset tummy
  • You may experience a panic attack

Psychological sensations:

  • Feeling tense, nervous and on edge
  • Having a sense of dread, or fearing the worst
  • Feeling like the world is speeding up or slowing down
  • Feeling like other people can see you’re anxious and are looking at you
  • Feeling your mind is really busy with thoughts
  • Dwelling on negative experiences, or thinking over a situation again and again
  • Feeling restless and not being able to concentrate
  • Feeling numb

Panic Attack

What is a panic attack?
A panic attack is an exaggeration of your body’s normal response to fear, stress or excitement. It is the rapid build-up of overwhelming physical sensations, such as:

  • Pounding heartbeat
  • Feeling faint
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Chest pains
  • Feeling unable to breathe
  • Shaky limbs, or feeling like your legs are turning to jelly
  • Feeling like you’re not connected to your body


Almost everyone experiences stress from time to time and while a small amount of stress can motivate us, too much or prolonged stress can be damaging to both our physical and mental health.

Stress typically begins as pressure – from ourselves or others – and if we are unable to cope with this pressure, we feel stressed. The effects of stress will differ from person to person, but if left untreated it can lead to illness.

Emotional stress symptoms:

  • feeling agitated, frustrated or quick to anger
  • feeling overwhelmed and teary
  • feeling anxious
  • having a low sense of self-esteem
  • avoiding other people and social situations

Physical stress symptoms:

  • using alcohol/drugs/food to seek comfort
  • difficulty sleeping
  • digestive problems and upset stomach
  • feeling dizzy
  • sweating excessively
  • experiencing chest pains or palpitations

Talking with a professional about the difficulties you’re experiencing can help you understand any underlying issues that may be causing your stress – for example, low self-esteem. Working with your counsellor you will then be able to identify your personal stress triggers and discuss ways of coping with them.

Work Related Stress & Bullying

Work related stress is a growing problem. Increasing numbers of people report feeling undervalued, overworked, underpaid and unfulfilled in the workplace – feelings that can lead to further complications with mental health. Anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and even suicidal thoughts can all be triggered by work related stress, along with physical health problems, relationship issues, sleep loss and feelings of self-doubt and inferiority.

Work related stress is quite simply a form of stress caused by things that happen at work. Challenge is a normal part of having a job, and most people enjoy it to a certain extent. However, when those challenges override the ability to cope, the body and mind can begin to suffer. While stress is a natural and useful human response, in excess it can be very unhealthy and cause all sorts of havoc across the body, including headaches, high blood pressure and depression.

Feelings associated with work related stress include:

  • dreading going to work
  • self-doubt
  • sensitivity i.e. tearful, aggressive
  • loneliness/solitude
  • loss of motivation, passion or enthusiasm

Physical symptoms of stress include:

  • aches and pains
  • diarrhoea and constipation
  • feeling of sickness or dizziness
  • chest pains
  • lack of sex drive
  • frequent colds

What causes work related stress?

  • Your workload is unmanageable
  • Your hours are too long
  • There’s too much pressure to meet unattainable targets
  • You feel undervalued – you feel you deserve a pay-rise or promotion but your boss won’t give you one
  • You feel like your skills are being suppressed – there are no opportunities for further training or qualifications
  • You don’t get along with your colleagues
  • You are being bullied
  • You are being made redundant

Bullying at work can often be very subtle and underhand. For this reason, it can be quite hard to spot. Some of the main forms of bullying at work include gossiping, verbal abuse, public humiliation and emotional manipulation. Being bullied at work can lead to feelings of self-doubt, low self-esteem and depression.

Counselling can bring these issues to the surface and deal with them one by one in a confidential setting. By addressing your work related stress and /or bullying, you can lower your risk of it developing into a more serious problem.

Bereavement and Grief

If you have experienced the death of someone who was very important to you, you might be finding it very difficult to adjust to the immense changes happening in your life right now. Grief can shake everything up – your beliefs, your personality, and even your sense of reality.

Bereavement is the time we spend adjusting to loss. There is no standard time limit and there is no right or wrong way to feel during the bereavement period.
Grief, although normal, can manifest in a huge range of unexpected ways. Some people get angry, some people withdraw further into themselves and some people become completely numb. Sometimes, grief can turn into something more serious – like depression.

Bereavement counselling provides support during these very difficult times. Talking about the loss often allows a person to adjust to the changes in their life . Keeping things bottled up or denying the sadness could prolong the pain. Any loss has to be acknowledged for us to move forward. Bereavement counselling assists the client in finding a place for their loss so they can carry on with life and eventually find acceptance.

Sexual Identity

O’Halloran Counselling Services provide a confidential and non-judgemental environment to explore thoughts, feelings and perceptions around sexuality and gender identity. We will work with you on the exploration of the coming out process and how you would like to create this for yourself; developing coping strategies to deal with distressing situation such as homophobia, trans-phobia and stigma. Explore issues related to sex and relationships in safety.

Effective counselling can assist you in considering the implications of gender transition, while neither encouraging nor discouraging you as you make life changing decisions. Together you and your therapist discuss the requirements, pitfalls, challenges, questions and decisions you’re likely to face in a transition process. Counselling can be effective in assisting you in finding other resources – medical, legal, speech, wardrobe, financial, etc., that will assist in whatever transition process you have chosen.

You can discuss how you feel this will affect your spouse, parents, children and other family members in dealing with the changes that are occurring or that will occur. The impact of this in the workplace and other professional issues are also valuable focus points. For many individuals undergoing a gender transition, the need for socialization is important. Therapy and support groups are effective resources in helping you to refine your social skills and become comfortable in your new gender expression.

The counselling space can also help in exploring realistic alternatives to gender transition. This requires creativity, flexibility, and the capacity to envision resolution when there seems to be no easy answer. This can also result in the need for ongoing supportive counselling for as long as you require.

Maternal Mental Health

O’Halloran Counselling Services work in partnership with a maternal mental health charity called Nurture. We are the sole counselling support for Nurture in Kerry. We provide immediate supports in the following areas:

  • Perinatal depression
  • Post natal depression
  • Miscarriage
  • Stillbirth
  • Infertility issues
  • Supports around a diagnosis

Post natal depression:
It is estimated that one in five women in Ireland will suffer from a depressive disorder in the antenatal or postnatal period
About one in 10 new mothers will suffer from postnatal depression (PND); a debilitating condition which can develop at any stage in the 12 months post delivery. It affects about 12,000 mothers each year in Ireland.
Not to be confused with the “baby blues” which is typically short lived, if left untreated PND can last for many months or longer.

Some symptoms of PND include:

  • Loss or increase of appetite
  • Inability to sleep or excessive sleeping or fatigue and not wanting to get up and face the day
  • Tearfulness or feel like you want to cry but can’t
  • Despair
  • Feeling numb
  • Lack of concentration or memory difficulties
  • Feelings of guilt, shame or hopelessness
  • Loss of interest, joy or pleasure in things you used to enjoy
  • Possible thoughts of harming yourself
  • Irritability or aggressive behaviour
  • Loss of libido
  • Loss of confidence and self-esteem and feeling inadequate
  • Alienation and lack of interest towards the baby and/or no feeling of a bond with your baby

It can be very confusing for new parents to figure out if what they are feeling is normal because of the major changes to their sleep and lives or is it more serious, if you are anyway concerned about how you are feeling or how a loved one is feeling please contact Nurture on (01) 8430930 and they will set up an immediate appointment within 24-48 hours for you.

Baby Loss during Pregnancy

Baby loss during Pregnancy includes miscarriageectopic pregnancystillbirth and other conditions that cause a pregnancy to end before birth and is officially called pregnancy loss.

The loss of a baby during pregnancy is heartbreaking for everyone involved. You may feel stunned or shocked. You may wonder why this happened to you and your baby. You may feel cheated and angry. Or you may just feel sad. It’s OK to have these feelings.  You may not have had the chance to touch or hold your baby, but you may still need time to grieve and heal. Losing a baby affects both the mother and father and it is vital to talk about the affect this loss is having.

Counselling allows a couple to express their feelings and relieve pain in a confidential environment without judgement. We believe it is helpful to talk with someone who is impartial and can help you start to heal emotionally.  Contact Nurture on (01) 8430930 and they will set up an immediate appointment within 24-48 hours for you.

Counselling support around fertility issues

Infertility can cause enormous stress and anxiety and emotional pain for both partners individually and as a couple. Having the support you need and good coping skills can help you and your partner get through this difficult challenge. Many people find it helpful to talk with someone who is impartial and can help understand or see things from a different perspective.

In 1991 the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Act was agreed and in that act it recommends that counselling should be available to all women and men undergoing fertility treatment. We offer a confidential, independent counselling service to all our clients before, during and after treatment.
Not all couples will conceive and appropriate counselling can be of great value in assisting a couple to cope with this. Contact Nurture on (01) 8430930 and they will set up an immediate appointment within 24-48 hours for you.

Support Around Diagnosis

Have you have just received news of a family member who has been diagnosed with an illness? Or maybe you have been diagnosed and don’t know where to turn? Do you need support? We can provide support for you and your family.

You are likely to experience a range of emotions throughout your diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Shock, anger, sadness, sorrow, denial, guilt and anxiety are all very normal feelings. Recognising these feelings and emotions can help you to cope better and feel more in control of your illness. Sometimes your feelings can lead to anxiety and depression. Signs of depression can include feeling low most of the time, lack of motivation, poor concentration and a change in your sleeping pattern. Talking openly about your feelings and emotions can be a huge help.

Get In Touch
Do not hesitate to contact us through our form or in emergencies use our contact details below.

Phone: 086 0673740

Margaret O'Halloran | B.A. in Counselling and Psychotherapy
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