The first Irish Adlerian event took place in Limerick and was organised by John Murphy. John, a senior probation and welfare officer, had journeyed to Montreal to attend a seminar on family therapy hosted by the renowned therapist, Virginia Satir. There he met two Adlerian counsellors; Jim Bitter and Barbara George and John extended an invitation to them to contribute to training in Ireland under the auspices of the organisation now known as Accord. They also gave an evening workshop in Sligo in the form of a joint forum for parents and teenagers.
The link between John, Jim and Barbara continued. In 1983, John attended an Adlerian family counselling workshop in West Virginia led by Professor Manford Songstegard. There Professor Sonstegard taught Adlerian parenting principles through the family counselling demonstration. In this approach, created by Adler, other families observe the issues raised in a family counselling session and in the aftermath discussion, share common concerns. Thus the family in focus become teachers to other families and families support each other in finding solutions to problems.
The chain continued. John returned to Tralee with a copy of the manual for a parent programme (STEP) and courageously initiated the first Adlerian parent study group in 1983. John travelled to the UK the following year and there met Anthea Miller and Rita Udall. Both Rita and Anthea contributed to the training of parent study group leaders in Tralee and thus began many years of connection between the Irish Adlerian scene and the UK.
In the meantime, coincidentally, there was beginning in Clonmel, parenting groups very similar to the STEP programme. Janet O'Brien, a social worker and parent had been asked by the VEC to implement a parenting programme and she had recruited a psychologist colleague, Anne Byrne-Lynch to work alongside her. The coincidence continued when John and Janet met up and so the Clonmel-Tralee link was established. With John's transfer to Clonmel in 1987, there could be a bringing together of resources. Already Kerry, in the person of Val McGinley had carried Adler to Cork with parenting groups becoming established there. The Adlerian programmes for teachers also began to establish and grow. In 1988 in Tralee, 80 teachers came together to study democratic principles in the classroom (STET). The Clonmel link was in the persons of Norberta O'Gorman and Mary O'Dwyer and they worked closely with John to organise the first Summer School.