You don’t need to know my life history, but I thought it might provide comfort if I told you a little about me and my journey into the world of counselling. First and foremost, I’m a mum to two adult teenagers (feels crazy saying that but I guess they are!). Watching them grow and navigate their world is both a privilege and a challenge. It also takes a great deal of patience and a heap of empathy.
I love nothing more than a dog walk with our faithful pooch Monty (the very crazy cockerpoo). I can often be found, covered in mud, in our local woods. I have a love / hate relationship with running which has pushed me well and truly out of my comfort zone on many occasions. Let’s just say I am not a natural athlete so the fact I’ve completed a couple of half marathons is somewhat of a surprise and a massive personal achievement. I love travelling, meeting new people and trying new foods. This passion began with a backpack and a rail pass for Europe when I was nineteen and I’ve not stopped exploring since. Although these days you might not find me in a 12 bed dorm in a hostel!
Many moons ago I studied psychology and sociology at university as I was fascinated by people, the way the mind works and social interactions. I’d always wanted to be a counsellor but the timing was never quite right. After having children I ended up working in education for 10 years and just talked about counselling every year or so. Then I gave myself a talking to and said it was either now or never… Do something about it or stop talking about it. So, I did, and I have never looked back.
I enrolled on a counselling course when my children were old enough to be more independent and juggled teaching, studying and placements for what felt like forever. Being back in the classroom on the other side was great. Working in counselling you soon realise that the learning never stops. You always want to learn more and expose yourself to new training to enhance your counselling practice. A few years after qualifying I decided to add Cognitive Behavioural Therapy into the mix and so the journey continues.
I have been really lucky to work with some wonderful organisations who support people when their mental health is suffering. Initially I used my knowledge of young people and began my counselling career for Catholic Care. In this role I supported young people and their parents. I also worked as part of Leeds City College’s counselling team supporting students. This was a great experience and made a real difference to young people that could not access support through CAMHs.
After undertaking bereavement training I used my skills to work on the Covid Pathway, supporting people with sudden loss. This was so challenging and rewarding helping people to understand how to rebuild lives after losing loved ones to Covid.
Life experiences have taught me the importance of emotional support and how valuable it is to have a space where you can be open and honest with yourself. Mental and physical health are intrinsically linked, and it is important to realise that sometimes we need support. We can see it is a failure to need support with mental health yet wouldn’t think twice about accessing support for a broken leg. I want to help people see that asking and accepting help with life’s challenges is not only okay, but a positive choice. Counselling is such a positive experience and can build some solid foundations for self improvement.