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.
In spite of the current pandemic of Coronavirus, the Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine are 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.
For more than 35 years we have run our successful 3 year part time Professional Acupuncture TCM Training face-to-face. So, it has been an interesting challenge to enable our current students to continue uninterrupted with their studies during these difficult times of social distancing. We have introduced much more online and video conferencing learning. And our staff and students have risen to the challenge.
Since the 2020 intake began in early October, the Teaching weekends have all been via Zoom. Regarding later in 2021, much will obviously depend on whether the spread of the Coronavirus is under control and whether it is allowed to meet in groups. When it is safe, the students will meet face-to-face with staff for practical training in the College in Dublin.
Given the success of our current teaching methods, once the pandemic is over, we will introduce more Distanced Learning sessions into our normal teaching schedule. This will mean that students, who normally come into the college for 2 full days every 4 weeks (approximately), will not have to come to Dublin in person so often.
Information about this will be updated at interview for applicants for October 2021.
The Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine has suspended face-to-face teaching at our College for the foreseeable future, but we will be running all the remaining teaching sessions via video-conferencing and will be providing other online support, as required.
New Year’s greetings from the Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The Chinese year starts today, on 25 January 2020, and ends on 11 February 2021, when the Year of the Ox begins.
Each Chinese New Year is characterised by one of 12 animals that appear in the Chinese zodiac – this year, is the Year of the Rat. It is the first animal in the zodiac cycle and is, thus seen to be a great time for new beginnings. New ventures should flourish.
So, if you are thinking about changing career and moving into Chinese Medicine as a trainee practitioner why not consider making the change this year and joining the 3 year part time Professional Acupuncture TCM training programme which begins in October each year?
If you would like us to send you a paper-based prospectus pack please send us your postal address, via our Contact page. Alternatively you can find the recently updated pack online. If you are already a practitioner perhaps this is a good year to set up a new clinic in another town. Or, you might want to consider extending your range of therapeutic options with a post-graduate course.
Whatever your plans for the year ahead we wish all our students, staff, colleagues, practitioners and friends every success and hope you will be blessed with good health and happiness.
Tom Shanahan and Mary Plunkett
Happy Christmas and a joyful New Year
Wishing all our friends, colleagues, students and staff a wonderful time during the festive season.
From all at the Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Happy New Year to all our Students, Staff, Colleagues and Friends, from the Directors of the Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
We hope that you had a peaceful festive season and wish you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2019.
The Director of the Irish College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Tom Shanahan, and one of the college’s Clinical Supervisors Michal Niedzialkowski were pleased to attend an event hosted by the Chinese Embassy in Ireland, on 25th September 2018.
The ICTCM has enjoyed many years of support and encouragement from the Chinese Embassy during its more than 35 years providing high quality training in Chinese Medicine in Ireland.
The photograph shows Tom Shanahan shaking hands with His Excellency Ambassador Dr Yue Xiaoyong.
The ICTCM was one of the first independent colleges in Ireland to get a website. So many years ago!
Now we are in the process, yet again, of updating the look of our site to make it more user-friendly for those using mobile devices.
We want it to be easy for you to find out about the courses we offer.
- Profession Acupuncture Training and
- Postgraduate programmes.
During our recent visit to Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Macao we were delighted to meet old friends in the TCM and Qigong field, and to make new ones.
At a conference on Health and Longevity the Irish College of TCM’s Director Tom Shanahan received a special award for presenting an outstanding academic paper.
Senior college staff have been training in Medical Qigong with their Chinese Qigong Master Professor Song Xinhong since 2000 and are happy to announce that another Qigong weekend workshop will be running in the college in June.
Book your place now to get the early bird offer.
Professor Song Xinhong was one of the event organisers for this very successful international conference.