Derry counsellor Marina Sweeney has become the first from the North to win the prestigious Carl Berkeley Memorial award.
Marina works as a psychotherapist, counsellor, counselling supervisor and trainer in both Derry and Donegal, and she is the vice-chair of the NI branch of IACP. She has also been a member of the IACP Accreditation Committee.
In the North West she’s been involved in the development of counselling services with the Derry Well Woman Centre, the Donegal Rape Crisis Centre, Letterkenny Woman’s Centre and The Koram Centre in Strabane.
Making the award, Michael Chambers of the IACP said; “Marina has been deeply involved in the development of counselling as a profession from its infancy in this country. Due to her work, and her commitment, counselling is now a in a healthier position as a registered profession.”
A colleague in the IACP commented; “Marina’s work in the development of training programmes has had particular and significant impact in relation to counselling for people impacted by The Troubles.”
Marina has been working in voluntary and community agencies for more than twenty years. This work has helped to gain people to access free counselling, specifically in relation to trauma treatment in Northern Ireland.
Her work in developing counselling training has been aimed not only at offering specialist training to qualified practitioners working with the trauma of the troubles in North of Ireland but also in enabling women to return to education in a manner that supports their needs, and takes into account their position in life.
Her colleague added; “One of Marina’s greatest achievements has been her involvement in the growth and empowerment of women and she has contributed largely to addressing the gap in the provision of emotional health care for women of all ages.”
“Through her work, she has helped women to value their unique “selves” and their lives through counselling, through education and also by empowering and encouraging women to progress through ‘second chance education’.”