Introduction to the Irish College of TCM (ICTCM)
In October, at the start of every Academic year, the College Founder and Director Tom Shanahan welcomes new students to the Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
His ICTCM introduction places the study of TCM and Acupuncture, as taught at the college, within the philosophical framework of Daoism.
This gives students a sense of the precious inheritance that was shared with Tom by his own teachers and professors in China, and is being provided and shared with people who come to study with us here in Dublin.
Here is an extract from the Introduction called: “Medicine and the Practitioner”:
All medical systems have their use and value; each satisfies certain needs. Every system is only as good as its practitioner. As the practitioner is the most powerful medicine in the surgery, it matters hugely who you are and not just what you do. Thus, the study of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has to be not solely a study of medicine but also a way towards personal development.
Acupuncture is part of TCM. TCM is a supremely preventative medicine with a sophisticated theoretical structure. Essentially it is a simple and profound system, not based upon man-made laws but upon laws of nature, the natural laws of the universe, or what the Chinese refer to as the Dào – the Way. 道
The Dào predates human civilization and transcends all boundaries of space and time, race and culture, since it is the universal and enduring Way of nature. It is the primal power that forges all phenomena in the universe, from the infinite to the infinitesimal. Invisible yet ever present it permeates the world with the very breath of life, and those who learn how to harmonize themselves with the Dào may harness that power to enhance and prolong health and life itself.
This Way is not simply a philosophy of life but rather an entire way of life based upon the most fundamental of laws. These laws do not change and will never become out of date. They are permanent and immutable.
In spite of the current pandemic of Coronavirus, the Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine is happy to report that we are continuing to provide teaching to the students on our Acupuncture and TCM programmes.
Of course, Covid-19 has meant that we have to do some things differently. So, during the last year most of the Acupuncture training programme has been taught via video conferencing.
In Summer 2020, (when infection rates were low and there was no lockdown) second year students met their Clinical Supervisor, in college, to practise some of the essential clinical skills that are required in the Teaching Clinic. This Teaching Clinic, which relates to the development and refining of Clinical skills, requires face-to-face supervision in College and will commence as soon as it is safe, and permitted, to do so.
Our new intact of students on the Professional Acupuncture Training programme, who started in October 2021 are successfully undertaking their first year via Zoom.
Medical Qigong programmes also recommenced, via Zoom, in early 2021.
Having run the teaching sessions for our current students via video conferencing so smoothly and successfully, we intend to teach much of the theoretical content of the Acupuncture Training programme, the Licentiate in TCM, in this way from now on, thus reducing the number of weekends in which students will need to travel to the College in Dublin 3.
However, all practical and clinical aspects of the programme require hands-on, face-to-face practical skill development and need to be taught in the College in Dublin. For our current students, this will be provided via intensive weekend workshops during Summer 2021, (or as soon as it is safe to do so.)
For students who start with us in October 2021 a certain proportion of weekends will be allocated to face-to-face practical skills teaching in the College.
The Year of the Ox starts today. Happy New Year to all our friends and colleagues, in particular those working, or training, in Chinese Medicine in Ireland and Europe and those working in this field of medicine in its motherland, China.
Chinese New Year is a good time to make announcements, so we are happy to inform you that:
- This website have now had many pages updated to reflect the information about entry to courses starting in 2021. The professional 2021 Acupuncture Training prospectus is available here.
- We are now accepting applications for this course and look forward to hearing from suitable applicants.
All the staff at the ICTCM are very happy to welcome in the 2021 New Year. We send good wishes for a healthy year ahead to all our students, friends and colleagues. The College Directors thank all the staff and students for their optimistic, practical and flexible approach to the educational changes that they are experiencing due to Coronavirus.
A brief update on changes to our Acupuncture Training teaching and learning protocols is provided here.
Due to Coronavirus, our first and second year students are currently studying with us via Zoom. All aspects of the curriculum are being provided in the normal way – just “at a distance.” Examinations and assessment procedures have been altered to fit the new ways of teaching and learning.
The practical clinical training for the Third Year students has had to be deferred until we can meet clients face to face in the Teaching Clinic. These students have now nearly completed all the theoretical aspects of the Clinical year, including project work, and are attending, by invitation, some additional teaching sessions to keep themselves up to date with all the theory and point location work. The practical Teaching Clinic will only start when it is safe to do so.
Additionally, our Qigong teachers are currently designing Zoom-based training in Health Promoting Qigong for the Spring.
The Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Dublin Ireland wishes all our staff, students, colleagues and friends a very Happy Christmas and a healthy, productive and prosperous New Year.
In January 2021 we will be announcing the details of our next Licentiate in TCM professional Acupuncture training programme and will open applications for the 2021 start date.
In the meantime, our offices will be closed during the festive season until 4th January 2021.
As our Acupuncture TCM training programme begins on 10th October, it is now too late to apply for a place on the 2020 programme.
We will start accepting applications for our 2021 intake in early 2021.
The details of the Professional Acupuncture TCM training provided on the site are up to date. We are not expecting to change the syllabus, teaching methods or assessments for the 2021 course. The fees for next year will be confirmed later.
As the Covid-19 situation is still with us, we will be keeping current and future students up-to-date with our Covid- specific heath and safety procedures, from time to time.
Our next Acupuncture TCM professional training begins on 10 October 2020. The closing date for applications is Friday 25 September.
The Applications Form, Fee information and Fee payment plans are on the Acupuncture Prospectus link of our website.
Applications should be sent to us as an email attachment.
Here at the ICTCM in Dublin 3, we thought you would be interested in our recent Coronavirus update about our TCM Acupuncture Training programme.
We are looking forward to seeing our new first year students on the weekend of 10th and 11th October for the start of the new Lic.TCM group. A few places are still available for this programme and we are still accepting applications and arranging Zoom interview for suitable candidates.
I wanted to let you know about the location of the teaching sessions in 2020. As some of our staff and students normally travel to the college in Dublin by air, and the quarantining regulations are changing day by day in some parts of Europe, we have decided that the first few sessions of this academic year will be held as Zoom meetings.
As the winter progresses, and we see how well the Covid-19 situation is under control, we will review this. We are also arranging to be able to have mixed groups of distanced learning students and face-to-face taught students. So, when the situation is right and it is safe to do so, we will introduce some face to face teaching sessions in the College and, if a student or member of staff is not able to attend college due to quarantine restrictions, there will be a facility available to enable that/those students to join the group via Zoom.
When we do resume some face-to-face teaching, the College is very suitable to ensure social distancing can be maintained. We have 2 large classrooms and can easily arrange a one way system and good cleaning protocols around the college areas. We have small groups and each student will have his/her own desk at a good distance from other students.
Having run last year’s first and second year groups from March to July 2020 via Zoom we are all used to this method of teaching at a distance, and it has worked well. So, no matter whether we are meeting in College of via Zoom we are sure our students’ learning experience will be productive and enjoyable.
How did a Finnish woman end up being a teacher and Clinical Supervisor at the ICTCM in Dublin?
I have always been drawn to teaching – my younger sister knows this well. When I first went to Primary School, after coming home in the afternoon I would sit her down and try to teach her everything I’d learned that day. She may not have appreciated this much – I do hope that my current TCM students are able to make better use of my efforts of imparting knowledge!
Originally, I started out in General Linguistics at Helsinki University. Language and grammar were my first love. I had hoped to arrive at some kind of deeper, more profound understanding of human cognition, perhaps even human nature, through the languages that we use as the interface with the world and with each other. But as I progressed with my studies, I begun to realise how theoretical and book-bound a career as a linguist would be, and that seemed daunting. So I took a break and went traveling, left for an adventure.
I had always been into theatre and literature and there were a great many Irish authors and playwrights that I was fascinated by, James Joyce of course, Oscar Wilde, John Millington Synge, and others. That is what brought me to Ireland and to Dublin. I wanted to know more about this place that had produced such incredible writing.
What attracted you to the Acupuncture TCM profession in the first place?
While in Dublin I had acupuncture treatment with Professor Tom Shanahan. I had never even heard of acupuncture before, but it worked so well that I really wanted to understand what it was, and not just understand at a theoretical level but I wanted to be able to do it myself. He pointed me to this great little book called ‘The Web that has no Weaver’ by Ted Kaptchuk. I read it and it gave me the first little glimpse into the medical system that is TCM and soon after I enrolled into the Acupuncture Training Lic.TCM course at the ICTCM.
As I learned TCM I could see that, compared to General Linguistics, it had one huge advantage. When I studied linguistics, my very accomplished professor said to us students:
“Listen, don’t think you will ever make a difference by being a linguist. If you want to bring about a political change, if you want to bring about a social or individual change, you need to do it elsewhere, you will not do it through linguistics. This is a theoretical endeavour, this has no practical relevance”.
Well, Acupuncture TCM is hugely relevant. It can make a difference. It can make a difference at an individual level, and through the individual it can change the family, the neighbourhood, perhaps even the society. TCM is not just an elegant, pretty theory – it works, and it can be applied directly to help people. And there is no better feeling in the world than to be able to help somebody, especially when other things they’ve tried have failed.
Also the medical tradition that is TCM is so old and vast, that you never really run out of things to learn. Your patients prompt the search for a better understanding and you go back to the medical theory to be able to better help them. Then you go back to your patient and back to practice and apply what you found in your research. It never becomes stagnant, or boring.
Editorial Note: Titta is one of the Acupuncture TCM Teachers and one of the Acupuncture Clinical Supervisors working with third year students in the Teaching Clinic.
What’s it like being a Clinical Supervisor?
Being a Clinical Supervisor in the ICTCM’s Teaching Clinic is incredibly demanding but also incredibly rewarding. You have to keep track of everything, be on top of multiple things all at once, and be able to diagnose and devise a treatment strategy and points selection on the spot, all the while overseeing the running of a busy student clinic. However, it is doubly rewarding in a way. Not only do you get to see patients getting better, but you also get to see students transitioning from a TCM student to a TCM practitioner, learning how to put the theory into use. It can be very exciting and the Clinical Supervisor himself or herself also learns a lot from each clinic.
Do you run a clinic of your own?
I run three clinics in London, in three different locations although one of them is now closed until the Autumn due to the Covid-19 lockdown. I also work with vulnerable women through a charity in London’s Kings Cross. Practising in different clinics is interesting because different sorts of people with different kinds of problems find their way to you depending on the location and type of clinic you’re in.
Editorial Note: Titta is a fully qualified and insured Acupuncture TCM practitioner and also has a Diploma in Chinese Herbal Medicine. She is also qualified as a Medical Qigong practitioner.
What do you do for enjoyment?
I am a passionate swimmer. There is no such thing as a bad day that a few lengths of butterfly-stroke could not wash away! This year because of the lockdown, I set up a little pool in the back garden where I could swim with the use of a “tether”. That means being tied to a pole with a bungee and swimming stationary. I’ve also been traveling out of London to lakes and the sea because the pools have not been open, and that is actually great. Less chlorine, more fresh air and much better scenery.
Have you thought about Acupuncture as a career? During the lockdown imposed by Covid-19 restrictions many adults are reviewing their life choices and thinking of training for a new career. Here at the ICTCM we train adults in Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). We have adapted our training methods during Covid-19 so that our current students have had the opportunity to progress on the path to becoming a fully qualified and fully insured practitioner. We have not had to interrupt our training schedule, though, of course, we have had to adapt our teaching methods to encompass all necessary health and safety requirements. As our Director and Registrar are fully trained Cambridge University educated teachers, and our staff are flexible and committed, this has not been difficult to achieve.
We are currently interviewing suitable applicants for places on our next training programme which begins in October 2020, so, if you are thinking of changing career we would like to hear from you. Our Prospectus can be reached here and includes an Application form, Fee information and a summary of the Licentiate in TCM Acupuncture Training.
Our part time 3 year course provides full professional training in Acupuncture TCM. The Lic.TCM qualification provides entry to the oldest TCM professional body in Ireland, and full professional insurance for practice in both Ireland and the UK. We pride ourselves on setting and maintaining high standards for ourselves and our students. We accept applicants who wish to achieve a high level of both under-pinning knowledge of TCM and confidence and competence as a Chinese Medical Acupuncturist. This does, of course, require commitment and hard work. However, the programme is organised in such a way that it can be successfully studied by busy adults who are wishing to change career – provided they have the interest and determination to succeed. The link here gives detailed information about the differences between various types of Acupuncture and Training.
“As a fully trained, professional and insured practitioner of Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine and Medical Qigong, and teacher at the ICTCM for more than 30 years, I feel privileged to be in a field in which my work contributes to people’s health and well-being. I also value being part of an ongoing transmission of a more than two thousand year old medical tradition. The whole study of TCM is fascinating and encompassing and I look forward to welcoming you to join us.” (Mary, Registrar).
From time to time we provide profiles of our Staff and graduates. In our next post we will be telling the story of one of our Senior Clinical Supervisors from Finland, who was a Linguistics specialist before training with us in TCM.