Disclosure should be served in measured amounts. This is what I was told when initially training to be a counsellor. Afraid I have always worked on the theory that (many) rules are there for the breaking, so I begin my first blog with some disclosure of how I came to be a ‘therapist’. Hey – you come and trust me with lots of details of yourselves, why shouldn’t I reciprocate in advance as it were.
I have always been one of Santa’s little helpers – as an only child I would spend hours making things to sell on a stall outside our local corner shop. This was long before the days of supermarkets. I also made a puppet theatre and puppets so that I could run puppet shows in our back garden over the summer holidays – charging admission as well as selling biscuits and cakes I’d made. All of my takings went to OXFAM.
In a former life I was a Special Needs Advisory Teacher. I loved the work but not the huge amounts of report writing which took up most evenings and week-ends. I knew that when I retired I would still want/need to keep the grey cells active and to continue the pattern of helping others begun in childhood.
My first foray was a week-end course on counselling skills run by Relate. I was hooked – and the feedback (which I still have) seemed to indicate that others felt I was able to listen.
I then signed on the dotted line to do my formal training at Keele and Manchester Universities. It was good to get back into studying, though I did find some of the visiting speakers a bit of a challenge – especially one social worker. I happened to be near the door as she arrived. Being a caring type, I greeted her and offered her a coffee. 15 Minutes later, I was asked to go to the tutor as said social worker had reported me for being racist as I had asked if she would prefer black or white coffee! Never was very PC I’m afraid.
Whilst on my first course, I began a placement which was to last for 19 years with a voluntary group called Survive, working with survivors of all forms of abuse. This made me realise that in order to fully support my clients I needed to expand my skills beyond my initial Person Centered approach. This I have done and continue to do – and includes CBT, Life Coaching, Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and hypnotherapy. Apart from the latter, the skills seem to just meld into one another – people do tend to notice if I put them into hypnosis though (and it isn’t used without full discussion of what is involved and whether the client would like to try it beforehand!!)
The Hypnotherapy course led me to study Hypnobirthing using two different formats as well as becoming a fertility consultant. I love the hypnobirthing work as it gives a wonderful balance to other areas of my work which can be rather ‘heavy’.
My most recent tool added to my skills list is Mindfulness which I am loving practising as well as using with clients. I definitely take more time to be aware of my surroundings and not beat myself up if I don’t get things right – two really good lessons to learn.
There are so many practitioners and therapists around these days. How do you choose who you think would be appropriate for you to work with? I guess I used the wrong word there – it is more important to feel that the person is someone with whom you could develop a trusting relationship. This is why I am always happy to meet people for a no-strings-attached chat so that they can feel that we could establish this bond. I am also pleased when people refer family members or friends to me as this shows that they must have been able to trust me in order for the referral to happen.
Doing this work has led me to meet some really wonderful people. People who have had babies using the techniques we have worked on together; people who have turned their lives around following abuse; people who have kicked phobias in to touch; people who have developed into stronger and more complete people having struggled with a lack of confidence etc etc. I feel so very privileged to have been a part of their lives and the changes that they made.
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I offer therapy and treatments for a range of issues. I work with individuals and couples for counselling.View Treatments