Meet The Team
Aisling Hearns - Therapy Coordinator
My name is Aisling Hearns and I am a psychotherapist and therapy coordinator in Spirasi. I have worked in Spirasi for over seven years. Originally from Wicklow in Ireland, I have spent the last couple of decades studying and working in the area of mental health. I have an undergraduate degree in Psychology, masters degrees in Addiction Studies, Cognitive Science, and Psychotherapy, and I am currently in the final stages of a doctorate in Psychology. I am a mother of one and share my home with two very large dogs. I enjoy walking in the Wicklow hills or taking in the sea air on the beach near my home.
I rescued a Tarantula a few years ago. She has lived with us ever since and her name is Aragog. We think she is at least 7 years old, but she could be older. When she first came to us, she did not look very well and was quite fearful, but now she looks healthy and beautiful and even allows me to hold her.
What attracted you to your role at Spirasi?
Being able to combine human rights with psychotherapy drew me to my role in Spirasi. Politics, human rights, and social justice were a big part of my upbringing. I grew up with stories of my great-grandfather and his involvement in the 1916 Rising, his imprisonment in Frongoch internment camp, and his work with the Irish Transport and General Workers Union. Throughout my studies, I was always drawn to the area of trauma and the complexities underlying the psychological response to traumatic events. My training in psychoanalytic psychotherapy encouraged me to approach each client as an individual with complex needs unique to them, and my work in Spirasi allows me to connect with clients at this level. In Spirasi I meet complex people who exude resilience and strength and I learn so much from working with them. Overall, my work in Spirasi allows for me to combine my passions of psychological healing and support with human rights and social justice. I absolutely love my job.
What are the challenges and rewards of your job?
Challenges to the role are like that of any NGO. We are under-resourced and working beyond our capacity. In my experience, the people who are drawn to this work are usually those who will go above and beyond; giving more of themselves than they have to spare! For this reason, we try to emphasise the need for self-care and organisational-care. I try to keep this in mind and practice yoga and meditation to balance out some of the more stressful aspects of my job. The rewards of the role definitely outweigh the challenges. The clients I work with are some of the best people I have met in the world and I feel lucky to be able to know and support them during their rehabilitation journey. I also enjoy learning about different countries, cultures, and perspectives from my clients. The staff I work with are incredibly hard-working and committed. It is nice to be surrounded by people who share similar values and passion.