A Castlepollard psychotherapist who wants to get the nation talking about the things that really matter believes that her 'conversation cafe’ can help.
Experienced counsellor and therapist Mary Stefanazzi, who hails from Loughpark, Castlepollard, believes that the value of a good chat cannot be overestimated.
“From mobile phones to Facebook, people today have far more communications tools but I believe we are having less meaningful conversations,” says Mary, who has a Masters degree in ethics and is currently working on her PhD.
“We are frightened of talking about the significant issues. We don’t talk about death and dying, or about getting older, or why we are stressed, or even about what our idea of a good life is, even though every decision we make is focused on trying to create a good life for ourselves.”
Mary has already started some important conversations hosting her 'cafes’ on college campuses and in local homes and coffee shops. She plans to bring the fledgling movement to a wider audience starting with the Mind, Body, Spirt and Yoga Festival in RDS this weekend, October 24 to 26.
“We are all doing a lot of talking but it often seems as if no one is really listening to anyone. Therapy shouldn’t be the only place where people can open up. Everyone has chats over a cup of tea or coffee and the conversation cafe is an extension of that idea.”
She says her get-togethers are meaningful but they are not allowed to become a form of group therapy.
“In my role as facilitator I ensure that no one person dominates the conversation and that people’s deeply personal traumas or issues are not aired in that setting.”
“If I feel that people would better benefit from individual therapy I refer them to appropriate counsellors,” Mary explains.