Joanne Gilhooly - Psychotherapist & Counsellor - Dublin City - B.A. (Hons) Counselling & Psychotherapy, Dip. Gestalt, MIACP
Dublin Counselling and Psychotherapy Blog

Pandemic Life: Understanding Backwards and Living Forwards



Existential philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said “Life can only be understand backwards, but must be lived forwards”. There is a limit to what we can control and what we can plan for and if 2020 so far has anything to teach us, it is that.

In these pandemic days we have been plunged into uncertainty, into a situation that will only truly be understood backwards and must be lived forwards. There are times that we can get around this to a certain extent, we can keep our personal world small and surround ourselves only with the familiar and predictable.

Your brain in anger or distress, and the power of your breath.

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"Just Breathe" by Julie Bayer Salzman & Josh Salzman (Wavecrest Films)
The inspiration for “Just Breathe” first came about a little over a year ago when I overheard my then 5-year-old son talking with his friend about how emotions affect different regions of the brain, a...

I Haven't Shaken It Off Yet....

"There is much that is wrong with the world. The road twists and turns and it is long, and I forget, sometimes, about the horizon and the mountains and the blue. I forget where I am and I narrow my eyes and clench my fists when strangers approach me to offer me kindness, and when I stand alone on an empty beach I check the time in case there’s someplace else I need to be. I haven’t shaken it off yet, this instinct we have to annihilate our moments, to turn them into dust and build them into hours and days and weeks and months and years, just so we can look back and see all these piles of time that we’ve collected, burial mounds of dead time, because we didn’t have the sense to live the moments that it’s made of.

On Guilt...


"You should never reduce the mystery and expanse of your presence to a haunted fixation with something you did or did not do. To learn the art of integrating your faults is to begin a journey of healing on which you will regain your poise and find new creativity. Your soul is more immense than any one moment or event in your past. When you allow guilt to fester and reduce you like this, it has little to do with guilt. The guilt is only an uncomfortable but convenient excuse for your fear of growth.

On Missing the Journey...

"No one imagines that a symphony is supposed to improve in quality as it goes along, or that the whole object of playing it is to reach the finale. The point of music is discovered in every moment of playing and listening to it. It is the same, I feel, with the greater part of our lives, and if we are unduly absorbed in improving them we may forget altogether to live them." 

                                           ~ Alan Watts