The School of Psychotherapy

SVUH architect aerial pictureThe School of Psychotherapy was set up in 1983 to develop the teaching of psychotherapy in the Department of Psychiatry in St. Vincent’s Hospital (subsequently St. Vincent’s University Hospital). Its first Director and co-founder was Dr. Cormac Gallagher who had attended the seminars of Jacques Lacan in Paris in the 1970s and introduced Lacanian psychoanalysis into Ireland. UCD Professor of Psychiatry Noel Walsh and Dr. Mary Darby, consultant psychiatrist, founded the School along with Dr. Gallagher. Both practised a psychanalytically informed psychiatry in St. Vincent’s. Since its launch the School has offered a Masters programme in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy  awarded by UCD. The teaching on this programme introduced the work of Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan to students who (for the most part) already had formal training in psychiatry, medicine, psychology, social work, chaplaincy, teaching or philosophy. It was the first formal psychoanalytic teaching in Ireland and serves as the foundation for most other developments in psychoanalysis in Ireland since. It has always required its students to take up their own psychoanalysis as a prerequisite for any real encounter with the field. The School has from the outset practised an openness to the representation of other traditions within psychoanalysis and related practices, requiring only that there be respect for different positions and learning from the differences. Hundreds of Irish students have encountered psychoanalytic practice through this extraordinary wave of work.

The School of Psychotherapy and Lacanian psychoanalysis


The teaching of Lacan in the School of Psychotherapy and LSB College (now Dublin Business School) was made possible through the work of Cormac Gallagher who has, to date, translated 19 of the 27 years of Lacan’s Seminar along with other writings. The website www.lacaninireland.com carries this work as well as translations of work by Jean Allouch, Christian Fierens, Guy LeGaufey, Charles Melman and numerous papers by Gallagher which provide very effective routes into Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalytic thought.

The Letter Irish Journal of Lacanian Psychoanalysis is published by the School of the-letter-idPsychotherapy. Launched in 1994 it has, to date, published over 60 issues, which represent psychoanalytic work in Ireland in this period as well as cutting edge articles from further afield. The title of the first paper in the first issue quotes Patrick Pearse’s statement: Tír gan teanga, tír gan anam. Arguably the work of the School of Psychotherapy has been to provide a psychoanalytic tongue in Ireland.

Dr. Patricia McCarthy continued the Freudian-Lacanian teaching of the School of Psychotherapy as Director between 2006 and 2014. Dr. McCarthy served as editor of The Letter from 2013 – 2017.

klein-bottleIn more recent years the Irish School for Lacanian Psychoanalysis (ISLP) formed on a cartel basis to provide a forum for the production of psychoanalytic writing. While involving many  graduates of the School of Psychotherapy ISLP succeeds in its work by being situated outside the demands for qualification and recognition of training and academic study which the operation of  the School of Psychotherapy is tasked with handling.

Another development out of the work of the School was the formation of the Association for Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy in Ireland (APPI). It  began as a learned society of graduates and became a separate company in 1998 having the important role of professional body for the accreditation of psychoanalytic psychotherapists.

The School of Psychotherapy and Group Analysis

In 1987 the School saw the introduction of  the first training in Ireland in Group Analytic Psychotherapy delivered by practitioner teachers from the Institute of Group Analysis in London led by Tom Hamrogue. This training has developed to include a UCD MSc in Group Analytic Psychotherapy. It continues to be delivered by the School of Psychotherapy in accordance with the principles of Group Analytic Practice as articulated by the Irish Institute of Group Analysis.

Psychotherapy Studies

In 2007 the UCD Higher Diploma in Psychotherapy Studies was launched and has been delivered in the School of Psychotherapy since then.  2012 saw the launch of the Specific Modality Training in Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy. This provided recognition of clinical training and study in psychoanalytic psychotherapy over a minimum four-year period.

Child Art Psychotherapy

In 2015 the School launched a two year clinical Post-MSc in Child Art Psychotherapy in order to provide recognition of training and study in this mode of work  over a four year period which includes the two year UCD MSc in Child Art Psychotherapy. This UCD programme developed out of the work pioneered by Vera Vasarhelyi in London and developed in the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital.