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My Friend Richard

Updated on April 22, 2011

Annoying Interruptions

Sitting in a lecture room at Marino College in Dublin I was listening intently to Dr Joseph Keaney as he explained the finer points of Hypno-Psychotherapy. I had decided to retire after 20 years of teaching and I was excited about my new career as a Hypno-Psychotherapist. A tall skinny man in his 30's kept putting up his hand and asking so many questions that I was becoming quite irritated by the chap. I just wished he would be quiet and let Joe, as we all affectionately called him, get on with the lesson.

During the break I made a point of introducing myself and made a joke about the way he kept interrupting the lecturer hoping he would get the hint. He didn't get the hint and I just had to put up with the interruptions and learn a bit of patience.  

Hypnotic Local Anaesthetic

During every lesson Joe would call one of us up to the front of the room so he would demonstrate every point he taught us. When we returned to the room for the next part of his lecture Joe called “Mr Interruption” to the front to perform a demonstration on how hypnosis could be used as an alternative to anaesthesia. Even as Joe was settling this man down to put him into the relaxed state necessary to achieve anaesthesia he kept asking questions. When he finally cooperated and entered the trance state it was obvious that he was an ideal candidate for deep hypnosis.

While in trance Joe passed a long sterilised hypodermic needle through the man's hand and asked him if he felt anything. He looked perfectly relaxed and showed no signs of pain when he answered that all he felt was a slight tingling sensation where the needle had entered. The brave man with the needle through his hand was to become one of my very best ever friends. His name is Richard Burke and he runs a very successful private hypnotherapy practice in the south of Ireland in Waterford in a beautiful house overlooking a harbour. His clinic is called Safe Harbour and Richard has helped many people over the years overcome all sorts of illnesses created by the mind including Depression, Insomnia, Anxiety, and many more.

Safe Harbour Boatstrand Co Waterford

When lectures ended that evening Richard took out a bottle of Jack Daniels and asked if I was interested in sharing it with him. We went out for a Chinese meal and we sunk a few pints of Arthur Guinness's best that night and many nights after that. We had so much fun during that course and I grew to love this man with all his quirks. We met in the canteen every morning for breakfast before lectures would start and we just laughed and laughed.

When the course ended we went our separate ways and me being me I never thought anything more about Richard. But we did keep in contact and we arranged to meet up for other courses as part of our continued professional development. Over the years I had heard a lot about Richard's wife and children and about his parents and brother. And then one year I received an invitation from Richard for me and my family to come and visit him and his family at Safe Harbour.

Wetsuits for all

When we arrived, all 6 of us, we were made very welcome. Richard seemed to be in a hurry to get us somewhere so I followed him out into his back garden where he emptied out a box of wetsuits and asked us each of to put one on. I did as he asked not really knowing what he had in store for us. I was quite overweight that summer and was hard pressed to squeeze my body into a wetsuit. I did finally pour myself into an extra large with Richard's help and waddled off beside this man who is built like a Greek God. He said it was high tide so our timing was perfect. I wondered what he meant by this remark but didn't pay it any more attention than that.

Father and daughter getting ready to jump
Father and daughter getting ready to jump

Jump you wimp

He led us to the harbour and he jumped up on the storm wall. He beckoned for us to join him up on the wall. My children and I were feeling a little more than apprehensive at this stage but we followed him. His own children leapt up on that wall like panthers and ran off the end into the sea. Richard pointed at the sea and said, “now its your turn old man .” I let my children go first as I mustered up the courage to jump.

There were lots of people around and that added to the pressure. It was very high up and I had never worn a wetsuit or jumped off a wall into the sea before. I thought about how brave Richard had been to volunteer without question that day Joe put the hypodermic needle in his hand. I also knew that I had developed a way of overcoming fear a long time ago when I was a boy. I simply imagined I had a switch in my head and when I pressed this switch I turned off my fear. It had always worked for me so I switched off my fear and I jumped.

It was such an exhilarating feeling to just trust that everything would be all right as I leapt into the Atlantic that afternoon. Richard knew that I did not have the opportunity to do these things as a child so that week was a week for the little boy inside me who jumped and jumped some more everyday.  

Richard & Xavier with Clara and Ruth
Richard & Xavier with Clara and Ruth

The Dive

On the last day of our visit I had decided that I was going to do something that even Richard thought I shouldn't. I wanted to dive in properly head first. I had never been shown how to do this and Richard said I could hurt myself if I didn't get it right. He showed me how to do it and I listened and watched carefully as Richard became like a Dad carefully describing in detail everything I had to do in order to and be aware of in order to pull this off.

I got up on the wall with everyone watching, I raised my hands to heaven and I said “God, this one is for you,” and I executed my first ever dive. I felt so proud of myself and the look on Richard's face as he congratulated me meant more to me than anything else. My Dad was proud of me and the little boy inside me was satisfied.


Those of you who are offended by the rap music by Eminem please do not watch this video as I have his music in the background. My comments match the music. 

This video was the very first video I put together using Nero and I am quite proud of this.

I'm Not Afraid

Thank you Buddy!

To this day I still regularly jump and dive from the storm wall here in Peel harbour from April right through to till October. The children love to see me coming as I am usually the only adult jumping with them. They chant my name as I ready myself to jump and though I pretend not to care the boy inside me loves the attention and feels so happy to finally have the opportunity to play.

Thank you Richard for this precious gift you have given me. I will treasure it forever.

Strength and Honour Buddy!

I Love You Too Much

Richard's Website

Richard also writes hubs in Hubpages under the name Safe Harbour and you can read all about him and the work he does by visiting his website Safe Harbour Hypnotherapy Clinic.

A funny story

Richard told me a very funny story one day. He said he was driving home from somewhere with his family one day and he was doing some brainstorming with his children about how to advertise his clinic more efficiently. His youngest came up with the perfect slogan: “If you are mad, bad or sad then call Safe Harbour and my Daddy will cure ya!”


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