I am a counsellor and supervisor.
I have a successful private practice, as well as many years experience working in local agencies. My theoretical approach is integrative, which includes working psychodynamically with the past, and humanistically with the present. I also find CBT and other tools and props to be an important resource. I enjoy attending workshops and seminars for my continuing professional development on a variety of subjects including abuse, self harm, bereavement, and PTSD.
I am also a qualified teacher and for some years I taught counselling courses in local colleges – from Introductory level through to degree modules. These days my work is concentrated in local schools and at a local prison. I teach the Cinnabar workshops, and I feel that I will always be a teacher through my work as a supervisor.
I have worked toward and attained accreditation three times in my career: as a counsellor, as a supervisor, and as a senior practitioner. Earlier in 2015, I was made a Fellow of the Counselling in Prisons Network. This was a huge honour in recognition of my fifteen years’ work with prisoners.
My thoughts about counselling
I believe that my job as a counsellor is to help people help themselves.
By offering insights and suggesting connections, counsellors can guide clients toward a better understanding of themselves and their behaviours. From that point, clients can see a way forward. This is especially true with young people; my work in schools focuses on encouraging communication and motivating them toward change.
In my work in the prison I find it important to identify the triggers and founding traumas that underly the client’s experience. I believe that what happens in childhood reverberates throughout our lives.
Counselling treads a fine line between guidance and advice. I’m not a friend or family member. We won’t have coffee. There are no strings to our sessions, no social expectations to our relationship. The client can offload to me without fear.
My thoughts about counsellors
It sometimes seems to me that trainee counsellors think they will make money in this job. I think counselling is a vocation and should be pursued because a person wants to help people. Although it is possible to build a successful practice, you will never be a millionaire!
Experience is hard won and takes time. A few hours here and there won’t do it. A few years, with a variety of places, issues and approaches will give you a good start. I believe supervisors should have many hours of experience with clients – how can they guide counsellors if not? Don’t rush yourself through your experience. And don’t assume that having a qualification automatically makes you wise!
We’re all human. Sometimes we are vulnerable and its important to accept that during those times our performance may be affected. Be kind to yourself, and back away for a while. Counselling people is a privilege and a responsibility. If you were a chef, you wouldn’t cook while you had the flu would you?