Press Release

Minister O’Malley Addresses the 3rd European Reality Therapy Convention

Mr. Tim O’Malley T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, today (Thursday 7 July, 2003) addressed the 3rd European Reality Therapy Convention in Dublin. The theme of this conference is “Mental Health not Mental Illness”.

“A convention of this nature provides a forum where those interested in mental wellbeing can meet. It provides an opportunity to consider the changes which have been taking place in the delivery of mental health services throughout Europe and to exchange views on the direction which our policies might take for the future” the Minister said.

In his address, the Minister referred to reality therapy, which was developed in the mid-sixties by Dr. Glasser, an American Psychiatrist. It is a method of counselling which teaches people how to direct their own lives, make more effective choices, and how to develop the strength to handle the stresses and problems of life. “It seems to me that this would a useful tool for all of us, as we have to face reality and choices on a daily basis” the Minister added.

The Minister also referred to the core objective of counselling, which is the empowerment of the individual. The personal resources of the person are drawn upon to help bring an undesirable personal situation to one where the person is in control of his/her own life and free from damaging influences. “The fundamental principle of encouraging genuine personal communication and listening in our encounters with each other, and in particular with whose who are going through a “bad patch” needs to be emphasised” the Minister added.

In his address, the Minister stated that mental health promotion is a very broad concept, as it emphasises the promotion of the psychological health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities. “I see it as a key task of the health services not just to treat mental illness but more importantly, using the principles of health promotion, to try and improve the mental health of the population” the Minister said.

The Minister acknowledged the very important work performed by the William Glasser Institute Ireland in promoting a positive attitude in the community towards mental wellbeing and wished them continued success in their work.