Epoché is an educational psychology practice based in Dublin. It is owned and run by Patsy McCaughey, an educational-psychologist and secondary school teacher with over a decade of experience working with adolescents. The focus of epoché is on helping any student achieve their very best by eliminating any difficulties they may be currently encountering in the areas of school and learning.
Patsy’s specific interest in the positive mental health of students can further help them improve all aspects of school life. Epoché works both with individuals and schools to ensure that all barriers and obstacles to learning are recognised, and the supports that are required to overcome them can be identified and put in place.
The idea behind the word epoché comes from ancient Greece but also from a way of seeing the world called phenomenology which tries to examine any concept or object simply on its own merits. In the same way, epoché considers that every learner has unique needs and that it is important to find and address them: what works for one person does not necessarily work for someone else. Epoché also recognises the importance of listening to the learner themselves and to the challenges they face, and not necessarily accepting what other people think are their difficulties. As a result of this process, the recommendations that epoché makes are both scientifically based and specific to the needs of the client.
My qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts (International) from University College Dublin and the Universität van Amsterdam. In 1998, I received a Master of Arts in Political Science from the Central European University Budapest. I qualified as a secondary school teacher with a Higher Diploma in Education from UCD in 2004 and commenced employment in a school in south county Dublin that year.
Over the last decade, I have taught classical studies, history, CSPE and SPHE. I completed a professional qualification in educational psychology in University College, Dublin. I am a member of the Psychological Society of Ireland, and the British Psychological Society. In 2011, I authored a successful Junior Certificate history text book and revision book entitled Discovering History and History Resource and Revision respectively.
Having worked as a secondary school teacher of classical studies and history for over a decade I became increasingly involved in the pastoral aspects of teaching. I was appointed as a year head for the junior cycle and this role posed new challenges about how young people face the numerous difficulties and challenges in their school life.
To assist me in my work, I completed a primary degree in psychology in the evening. I did this as I considered that the training I had received as a teacher did not adequately provide the requisite skill set to work with those students with the greatest educational and behavioural needs. When I completed this qualification, and to ensure I could meet the needs of the students with whom I worked, I completed a professional qualification in educational psychology in University College Dublin.
My professional focus is on how to assist students within the post-primary setting to best access their learning potential. In my experience, there is often a link between learning difficulties of students within the school setting and high levels of anxiety and poor mental health. Recognising the importance of positive mental health for the student, I have developed a unique holistic approach to mental health provision which seeks to embed positive mental health practice within the entire school community. This approach is currently being implemented in a number of schools across Dublin. Recently, I have taken a new role coordinating positive mental health provision within a school in Dublin. I also work with students in a DEIS school in Dublin’s south city, while also taking occasional private individual clients and consulting with other secondary schools across Dublin.
My experience working directly with adolescents and young adults, coupled with my qualifications within psychology, has provided an understanding and empathy with the needs of students. It has also allowed me to bring the professional rigour of evidence-based psychological approaches to my engagements with students.
Recognising the importance of viewing every student, child or person as an individual, with their own unique set of challenges, my philosophy is to ‘bracket-out’ all other biases and preconceptions about that person, and instead identify with a renewed clarity the issues and barriers to achieving their own unique potential that exist for the client. Remediating these barriers and finding individualised, evidence-based and effective strategies and interventions appropriate for the client is what I seek to offer.