I qualified in person-centred counselling at the University of Cumbria following a total 180° career change in my early 30s. My path to this work was unusual – I worked as a solicitor in the public sector for many years before seeking the help of a therapist myself in order to explore my sense of dissatisfaction with the work I was doing. Therapy helped me to realise the importance I placed in meaningful work, and from there I embarked on the scary, and very rewarding path of changing my career.
As a therapist, I really care about providing an experience and environment which allows my clients to access their own capacity for change, healing, progress (or however you might describe it!). I aim to be calm, compassionate and honest with all my clients, and place great importance on really hearing and understanding my clients properly. Being trusted to work with my clients always feels like a precious honour and I always want to acknowledge and protect that.
As well as my work as a counsellor, I am also a clinical massage therapist. In that work I specialise in helping people with chronic pain and illness. I keep the two sides of my working life quite separate. I do not offer massage therapy to counselling clients, and vice versa in order to maintain clear ethical boundaries.
I am a Trustee at a charity which provides low cost counselling as part of my commitment to make counselling more accessible and inclusive.
Looking for meaning
I left my previous career not only to seek more meaningful work, but also because I had a growing feeling that there were deeply important aspects of myself which were being squashed. The experience of feeling those parts of me come back to life in recent years has given me a real interest in issues of identity, how we define who we are and how our identities change during our lives. My own experiences of living with chronic pain as a child and young adult have also given me a deeply felt personal and professional interest in working with people dealing with pain and illness.
A little about my own life
Although counselling sessions are for and about my clients, I do think it is important to let my clients get to know me a bit too. I am not a blank canvas! When I am not working I have many diverse interests. My partner and I are currently renovating our old house to its former Victorian glory and (although I don’t always love the process) I get an immense amount of pleasure in seeing the outcome when it finally starts coming together! I enjoy quiet creative hobbies such as sewing, embroidery and crochet. I am a keen swing dancer, and love to revel in the joyfulness of music, dance and making new friends from all around the world. Time in nature is very soothing for me and I try to surround myself with green as much as I possibly can (never enough!). I am a learning magpie, so I can usually be relied upon to be taking some sort of course or training programme at any given time!