Br Pat McCarthy, a man passionate about education and psychology, is well known for his knowledge and experience as a counsellor in Australia and abroad.
The Young Lasallian Team from Lasallian Mission Council, invited Br Pat to share his wealth of knowledge and expertise through a series of Professional Development resources, focused on assisting Youth Ministers (YMs) working in schools.
A chat with Br Pat, is an initiative developed by Youth Ministers Jordan Bottalico and Damian Khoury after hearing an unforgettable presentation by Br Pat himself at a Youth Ministry Formation event last January.
The interactive one-hour sessions are held once a month at the De La Salle Provincial Office, covering a range of issues YMs encounter on a daily basis. Known as the first-ever appointed Director of Counselling for Kids Helpline in 1991, Br Pat not only shares his clinical expertise but also offers pastoral care and spiritual advice YMs can tap into as a practical and valuable resource.
"I developed a great interest in psychology early on in my teaching career. We started up something called a 'Youth Retreat' program back in the days when coeducational Catholic schools didn't exist. Observing group dynamics was what peaked my interest on how to use groups to facilitate learning in an education context," said Br Pat.
The Melbourne-born Brother worked in senior roles at De La Salle College at Malvern, O'Connor Catholic College in Armidale and Oakhill College in Castle Hill. However, he never gained the same satisfaction from administration roles as he did from working directly with students in the classroom, especially those experiencing psychological problems.
"For Youth Ministers it's about being able to be a good listener. In their line of work they do come across students who want to talk about their personal struggles or often encounter students who come from troubled backgrounds," explained Br Pat.
The diversity of topics presented offer some insights into: how to determine the potential warning signs of abuse; advice on working with victims and offenders of bullying; when to refer a student for external help; gender discussions and ways on how to deal with varying emotional states; what to do when you can't empathise and how to practice empathy; and suicide prevention techniques and ways to handle a personal disclosure.
Sessions with Br Pat run the last Wednesday of every month from now until November 2017. All YMs are welcome to attend or connect through Skype. Information is sent out by the Young Lasallian Team prior to the session.
For more information about these sessions, please contact Amanda Proulx, Assistant Director of Formationamandaproulx@delasalle.org.au
Pictured top left: Richie Leilua, Youth Minister from Oakhill College, Br Pat McCarthy, Philippe Dulawan, Jordan Bottalico and Sebastian Duhau. Front row: Damian Khoury, Southern Cross Catholic College, Scarborough QLD, Stefanie Breda, La Salle College Bankstown and Elias Bounader Holy Spirit Catholic College, Lakemba.