Towards a Mature Society

Society is made up of networks of relationships and the nature of those relationships – mature or defensive – makes all the difference to the quality of our experiences in the places in which we live, work, learn, heal, play and pray. The starting point for the creation of a mature society is the relationship that each one of us has towards ourselves; how we are with ourselves determines how we relate to others. The crucial responsibility that each of us has is to find our own inner security and self-reliance so that we may be able to relate to others in an open, mature and responsive manner. This is the philosophy underlying the two Relationship Mentoring Courses run by University College Cork  - one of which is specifically  geared towards Parent Mentoring, parents being seen as the first and very significant leaders of our society, and the second geared towards wider social settings such as the school, the workplace, the community and the church. Both courses are of two-year duration and are accredited at Diploma and Higher Diploma levels respectively.

The newly established Irish Association for of Relationship Mentors (IARM) is the professional body which supports and oversees the professional practice of the University-accredited Relationship Mentors. These professional Relationship Mentors offer mentoring services on a one-to-one basis, in group courses, through seminars and workshops.  The Mentors work with adults; these adults come because of different kinds of defensive behaviours – aggression, passivity, perfectionism, multiple fears, addiction to work or caring for others – which are seriously interrupting their personal and interpersonal lives. Their services are available in a variety of social settings: home, school, community and workplace.

In the mentoring relationship itself the guiding ethos is that it is a co-creational undertaking between client and mentor.  The essence of Relationship Mentoring is enabling the person to notice, pay heed to, take responsibility for and respond to what is happening in her/his internal world so that what s/he puts out there in the external world is open, responsive and mature. The mentor starts from the position that all behaviour makes sense and is meaningful in the context of the particular life-story of the person. Through unconditional valuing of the person and compassionate understanding, the Mentor creates the safe relationship environment that allows the person to bring into conscious awareness the defensive strategies s/he has necessarily and wisely created to offset the fears, hurts and unmet needs experienced in her/his life-story. It is the recognition that we are not victims of our circumstances but creators – creators of defensive strategies when we experience fear and threat – that enables change to be brought about. But our defensive strategies arise in the unconscious – they were developed in the early years of our life and reinforced in later life stages – so the Mentor seeks to create the safe relationship now that will enable the person to reflect on and bring into conscious awareness what up to now has had to be hidden. Feelingful, conscious awareness is what provides the impetus and desire for emergence towards more open and mature relating towards self in the first instance and out of that towards others.

Details of the vision, values, theoretical foundations and modus operandi of the Relationship Mentors and a listing of available mentors and their work location are available on the website: