Operation Transformation, the hugely popular RTE series is returning to our screens this week, with five new leaders poised to change their lives and lose weight.
Vital to their success is the mental motivation provided by a Portarlington man, clinical psychologist Dr Eddie Murphy. He has been part of the eight week series for the past three years.
“It’s very exciting to be part of it. We get involved in some of the challenges, it’s a lot of fun. It’s not just about weight loss, it’s about the whole journey to becoming healthy and overcoming those inner demons,” he said.
Along with dietician Dr Eva Orsmond, fitness coach Karl Henry, and the Irish Army, Eddie provides support and motivation to the leaders and various groups, who in turn recruit thousands of online followers over the eight weeks of filming. The success of the show is evidenced by the three million website hits it received last year, along with 30,000 facebook followers.
A son of Billy and Joan Murphy, Eddie gew up on Main Street Portarlington where his father had a bicycle shop, along with his sisters Jean and Una and brother Noel. Along with many other school leavers, he left in the 80’s to find work in London, and completed a Masters in Health Psychology there. He returned in 1997, got a doctorate in Psychological Science in Clinical Psychology in UCD, and has since worked for a range of hospitals and services.
He chose psychology out of his interest in helping people solve their own difficulties.
“It encourages out of the box thinking that promotes and skills individuals. There is great diversity working with children, adults, families and communities,” he said.
Now he is settled back in Port with his wife Carol, a social worker, and their two small boys Oisín (4) and Daragh (2). He has a small private practice, and also works for the HSE in the Carlow Kilkenny area. Helping the participants to achieve their goals in the TV programme is a welcome change from his day to day work, he finds.
“You build a strong connection, I help them out what brought them to this point, to get to that inner part of themselves. I give encouragement, positivity and motivation. I am on call over the eight weeks, giving support with the publicity that comes with the show too,” he says.
Eddie is deeply involved in the community, and organised Port’s Goal Mile walk on Christmas morning, with his whole family taking part.
He is hopeful about the future of his town, which is undergoing its own transformation of sorts, thanks to the Port 2020 plan, and another RTE programme, “Dirty Old Towns”.
“I hope the Garryhinch reservoir progresses as I believe this will act as a new catalyst for Portarlington in so many ways, such as health, economic and leisure. I’m very optimistic, through sharing a strong positive community vision the way forward is up, up, up,” he said.