Anthony McSherry PhD
I first became involved in the therapies in 1994 when I joined the Order of the Friars Minor (Franciscans) who follow the example of St Francis of Assisi. My training – or Formation – as it is called, involved living in community and studying philosophy and theology in Dublin, London, and Rome. At the same time I also worked part-time in different areas of caring for the marginalised (with refugees, in hospices, with AIDS patients, in homeless shelters, learning disability services, and with the Irish Traveller community).
There was time and space to get a lot of peace and quiet, to learn to meditate, to become mindful and appreciative of nature, as well as being supported by numerous caring Franciscan men and women. It was during this time that I came across the world of psychotherapy, becoming a client with three different kinds of psychotherapists – but what was most important was the individual therapists themselves and their attitudes of openness and attention.
I was very struck by this unusual quality, and thoughtfulness of being with another – how helpful and even revolutionary it was; and when I left the Franciscans in 1998 working as a psychotherapist was the only way of living that was appealing. Even though before this I had worked in the sciences as a geologist and still loved the natural sciences.
After working in Dublin with refugees and the homeless, I qualified as a mental health nurse in 2003; the same year I began formally training as a psychotherapist near London. I began long-term psychoanalytic therapy with a psychoanalytic psychotherapist then also, as well as long-term group therapy. I was drawn to my training college in Guildford due to its engagement with humanism, philosophy, phenomenology, feminism, critical theory, and psychoanalysis.
Although I didn’t clearly understand what all that meant in practise at the time, I felt ‘at home’ with these ideas. I have worked full time as a psychotherapist since 2008 (in the NHS in mental health services and now solely in private practice). Training in psychotherapy never really ends. There is also a constant learning process.
I was accredited in 2010 as a Psychotherapeutic Counsellor, and Humanistic and Integrative Psychotherapist, with the UKCP, and further accredited in 2016 as an Existential-Analytical Psychotherapist with the UKCP. I completed my PhD in 2018. I am currently undertaking a Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Supervision.
I also offer supervision to psychotherapists and counsellors.