Talking talk therapy


LEGACY Michael Hegarty, with his book, ‘Gateways to Psychotherapy’. Pic: Andrew Downes

Psychotherapist and counsellor Michael Hegarty, who spent the early years of his life in Westport, has published his first book.
Michael’s family lived on the Newport Road from World War II to the early 1950s. His father, Jack, was a bank clerk with the Munster & Leinster Bank (AIB) while his mother, Rita reared a large family, and they are well remembered by the old stock of the town.
After Jack was moved on by the bank he returned to Westport every year to fish ‘the mayfly’ on Mask and meet his old Westport friends.
Michael, who has been living in Galway for many years now, has written short stories and poems previously, but his first book bridges his personal story and his passionate career in talk therapy. It’s a story tinged with great sadness.
Talk therapy is described as Michael’s ‘third career’, after banking and financial consultancy. The sad part is that he was diagnosed with terminal cancer in December 2020 and – as if that were not enough – his partner, Brenda, aged 53, was given the same diagnosis in the same week. One of his friends commented, “It’s like the two of you winning the Irish and Euro Lotto the same week, just in reverse.”
In the early part of the book – entitled ‘Gateways to Psychotherapy – A practical and structured approach to Talk Therapy’ – Michael talks about the traumas and the joys in his personal life before going on to outline how he works with clients. He presents this in a format that makes it easily readable and understood by all.
Hegarty’s aim is to leave a legacy of his time helping clients heal, while presenting his own unique style in a forum accessible to everyone, before he died when it would be lost forever.
“The feedback from readers of the first edition is that it takes the mystery and fear out of talk therapy,” he says. “If it achieves that much for some people it makes it hugely satisfying for me.”
The book was launched by Galway GP, Dr John Lally, who commented: “This is a must read for all therapists, all medics and healthcare professionals, as well as the general public.”

‘Gateways to Psychotherapy – A practical and structured approach to Talk Therapy’ is for sale at a variety of outlets, including Charlie Byrnes, Kennys and Moycullen bookshop in Galway, and online at You can also check out Michael Hegarty’s website,