What is counselling?
Maybe it would be easier to say what it is not. For me, it is a process of learning to be in relationship with another, hopefully a process that is both active and still, evolving throughout the time of the engagement. Words I’d use to describe it: challenging, a polishing of one’s life, looking at the cracks, despair, healing and repair.
Who has inspired you on your counselling journey?
Many people, but my previous therapist in particular. He was incredibly passionate and that always shone through. I felt held, and enthused by his enthusiasm for psychotherapy. Other people’s narratives and stories inspire me: my clients and colleagues, people on the street. My family, who gave me the narrative and experiences to work with, inspire me too.
What does spirituality mean to you?
Most useful piece of advice for a student or newly qualified therapist
Take your time. Slow down. There is no rush. Take good care of yourself along the way. Find times to be at peace with yourself.
Do you have a favourite quote?
‘The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.’ Hellen Keller
‘An abnormal reaction to an abnormal situation is normal behaviour.’ Victor Frankl
Favourite counselling book?
Patricia A Deyoung’s Relational Psychotherapy: A Primer.
It was like listening to beautiful music in places. I felt at home listening to the words as I read it. It enabled me to identify who I was as a therapist in relation to others.
I actually recently emailed her in Canada to thank her for writing the book and let her know it really influenced me. She responded, which was lovely! And I recommend it.
Favourite podcast or website?
That’s a difficult one. I think there are many good resources right now online. However, I often encourage people to take a look at the Dr Kristin Neff, Self-Compassion website, which has free guided meditations and exercises.
Favourite piece of music?
There are many, but I have one piece that I always go back to, by a band called Mumford and Sons, and the song is called Roll away your stone. It reminds me of a time in my life when I was immersed in my own counselling therapy. The words remind me of my whole being but also of the trial and tribulations life can throw at you. It also makes me think of revival and restoration, even if it’s my own.
Top tip for a successful supervision session
Take all of you to it. Leave no part behind. Don’t feel you should stay with a supervisor if you don’t feel a fit. Work with someone you can trust and who will challenge you and enable you to grow within the supervisory relationship. Be open as safely as you can be.
What is the most important issue facing the counselling world today?
The significant trauma and inequalities that exist in the world, including the destruction of others and our environment. Not realising the capacity for spiritual growth and development within the counselling relationship for both therapist and counsellor. The minimisation of the impact of talking therapies and lack of investment in long-term psychotherapy.