How Lucan Village Has Met my Needs

Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2018

‚ÄčI’ve been working as a therapist in Lucan Village now since September 2017 and I’ve found a great little rhythm to my working life here. There’s something comforting about the familiarity of seeing the same people every day, from the friendly faces in the cafe ‘Coffee Works’ to the smiling lollypop lady who helps parents and children alike cross the road into St Mary’s National Boys School just opposite where my office is situated. As a huge fan of ‘Downton Abbey’, I often find myself wondering about the history of small Irish towns; who lived here before and what was the rhythm of life like then. As I’ve come to feel accepted by Lucan locals – and of course meeting clients from Celbridge, Maynooth and Leixlip too – I’m reminded of Abraham Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ and the importance of feeling a sense of ‘belonging’. Maslow developed his model in 1943 and his theory was that our needs span from the most basic (such as survival needs) to higher goals (such as spiritual needs). If our basic needs are not met, then we will be unable to have those higher-level needs met. So, if we are hungry, we are unlikley to have the luxury of seeking spiritual solace or, in other words,  “How can I afford a yoga class if I can’t even pay my rent?”.  Last September, I needed to find a space to work to carry out my work with clients. I had previously worked as a therapist in Maynooth, initially in Maynooth Village and then further out the road just past Maynooth University in a medical clinic. Searching for a new place to work started me on the path to having my needs met in Lucan Village, needs which I was unaware I had in relation to my workplace; I needed to form friendships and find connections with other people who worked nearby. Thankfully, this was facilitated through my crazy coffee addiction and allowed me to connect in with Lucan’s many great baristas. As I work with clients on a wide array of presenting issues, I find that this issue of needs arises a lot. My work with couples often highlights what can go wrong when one person’s needs are not being met within the relationship, leading to bitterness, hurt and resentment. Sometimes therapy can feel like asking people to run when they cannot yet walk. I often remind myself to slow down, stop being in such a rush, simply keep the client company on their own journey. You see, there are many small but significant steps that may have to take place before expecting a need to be met by another person. Firstly, I have to realise “I have needs”. Secondly, I have to name what that need is – it’s not always easy to put our vaguely felt feelings into words. Thirdly, I must grapple with my discomfort around depending on another person; afterall, to ask someone to meet a need can be scary. What if they don’t hear me? What if they choose not to attempt to meet my need? What if I feel worse after being so vulnerable? What if they think I’m ‘needy’? When I set up shop in Lucan, I thought perhaps it would be a place to come to work and then go home. However, I have come to realise that this place means so much more to me and I feel grateful that Lucan has welcomed me with open arms.

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