The first leg of my training was Humanistic and took an integrative approach which drew mainly on psychodynamic principles in which the counsellor uses a wealth of knowledge and strategies to help the client find their way. In the mid 90’s as I completed my qualification as an integrative counsellor I discovered the work of Carl Rogers, the founder of the Person Centred Approach to Counselling. His work spoke to me and I realised that I believed with a passion in the resilience, resources and potential of each living being, rather than my own expertise as a therapist to know the way for others.
And so began the next phase of my training and development. I explored Person Centred Theory in depth, and accessed much Person Centred training with people who had trained under Rogers to help me develop as a therapist and to continue developing my personal awareness.
The first decade of my career was spent managing a busy town centre drop in and counselling service. This was a steep and rewarding learning curve which has given me a solid foundation in working with a wide breadth of clients many of them suffering from anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. During this period of time I became involved in Women’s Aid and worked a great deal with survivors of domestic violence and childhood abuse.
Over the next decade I had some amazing opportunities, not least four separate stints delivering training abroad. Here I delivered training to teams of counsellors to develop their work in their own communities with sufferers of HIV, AIDS, child prostitution and drug addiction. These were in Namibia, South Africa and Tenerife and were times of huge personal and professional growth for me. The greatest learning was working across cultures, not in the comfort zone of my own cultural setting, but experiencing being the minority in cultural settings different to my own.
I spent the this decade in Further Education facilitating on, and for a time leading, the Advanced Diploma in Person Centred Counselling programme on a BACP accredited course, while continuing to build my private practice. I left this post ten years ago. This move did not signify any loss of passion for working with trainee counsellors or facilitating groups but was more a decision to step away from the organisational setting.
I carried on in private practice working with a wide spectrum of clients which continues to this day. Since 2007 one strand of my work has been in collaboration with a young persons’ drug and alcohol service in the role of family therapist. My work has involved developing Family Therapy which is rooted in Person-Centred theory and seeks to meet families where they are in the vastly changed landscape of family culture. Having developed and matured a way of working, and written up the underpinning theory, I am now involved in the training and supervision of other family workers.
I have always had a strong interest in the role of animals and their benefits in a therapeutic situation. I have read and researched widely over many years. So in the summer of 2015 I became the owner of two adorable cockapoo puppies whom I have trained to work in a variety of settings, not least my own counselling room for those who wish to access their support.