My Counselling Experience
I am Lead Counsellor of the Victim Care Project at a Plymouth based charity offering support and information to young people between the ages of 13 and 25. As well as seeing a number of clients myself, I carry out the initial assessment for all young people accessing the counselling service, either allocating them to the appropriate counsellor or sign-posting them to other relevant agencies when needed. On Mondays and Fridays, I see private clients of all ages in Lifton Surgery.
Prior to this, I was a Counsellor at a Plymouth based Community Interest Company, working with a wide range of clients in both short term and long term work. I worked on a number of funded projects with clients who were carers; those who had experienced domestic abuse; those living with heart related illnesses or rebuilding their lives after a stroke. I worked in a pair with another counsellor providing counselling to parents and their children who were coming to terms with domestic abuse. I also worked with clients with a wide range of issues such as depression, loss or bereavement, anxiety or low self-esteem.
I was also a Counsellor at a Plymouth secondary school for girls aged 11 – 18 years.
Continued Professional Development
I feel really fortunate to be doing a job that I enjoy so much. Although in my twenties and thirties I had done a variety of jobs such as working in research for Headhunters; temping in Advertising and the City and helping to run a hotel, I never felt that work was fulfilling. Whilst all of these jobs equipped me with really valuable skills, it wasn’t until I had children that I began to think that it could be possible to train to do a job that I would enjoy and find rewarding. I had always been interested in how people relate both to each other and the world around them and had thought that it must be great being a counsellor. I decided to do a Psychology Degree to give me a really firm starting platform and went on to train as an Integrative Counsellor.
I had always been interested in Existential Philosophy and was really pleased to find it to be not only a part of the Psychology Degree but also an essential component of Gestalt Therapy. I am enjoying continuing to develop that side of my learning and it feels like a real bonus to be doing a job that requires a continued commitment to study when I am so interested in the subject matter.
I really enjoy helping people work towards accepting themselves as they are right now. This is another key aspect of Gestalt Therapy, explained in the 'Paradoxical Theory of Change' (Beisser, 1970). The paradox is that when we strive and struggle to change ourselves we remain stuck. Only when we accept ourselves as we are right now does the process of change begin to occur.