I am proud to be a fully-qualified counsellor, shaped by my long and varied career and life experiences. Throughout my career, I have worked with different people on a one to one basis. In the early days whilst based in London as a personal fitness instructor, then later in life I owned a guest house and restaurant. So it is fair to say I have heard many stories about people’s lives, what they felt was holding them back or what they have done to improve their lives. I have always enjoyed working with people hearing about their dreams for the future. Some of their stories were about pain and discomfort in their life or problems within the family or relationships.
My partner and I decided to sell the guest house and restaurant, what was I going to do next? After many conversation with friends and family about my options, it became clear there was a common thread. I kept hearing how they thought I was great with people and how motivating I was. I couldn’t see this myself but thought I have to listen to what they are telling me.
How do I make use of the skills I already have and transfer them into another direction? What line of work could benefit the most? Aware I wasn’t getting any younger, I decided fitness was not the way forward. (I have a few injuries that would prevent me from being the best I could be in that field.) One of my dear friends insisted I became a life coach, she would not let it go, and she gave me many reasons for her decision. So I had a long hard think and researched both life coaching and counselling.
I chose counselling, because it was going to give me an in-depth understanding of people; how to support people and give them time and space to be heard, how to encourage personal growth or a belief in themselves. My previous experience had taught me this is what so many people were looking for, amongst many other things.
As a counsellor in training you have to unravel your own thoughts and feelings, your life history and experiences. You basically pull yourself apart and rebuild yourself again. At least that is what it felt like for me. I totally immersed myself into the process and my training. This is a must before you can work with people. For me this was the best part of learning. I wasn’t the person I thought I was. it required lots of hard work and changes, tweaking and practise, learning so many new skills. How to communicate better in life, how to negotiate relationships dealing with loss, which comes in many forms not just bereavement, loss of employment, children leaving home and even pets passing on. I became a better version of me. My training opened up my mind, giving me understanding, reasons and answering many questions. I became the new and improved version of me! I love it.
Now I am able to work with people, helping them to make sense of their life experiences; how it has affected them; how and why the past has impacted their present life; how to make the changes required to live a settled life, to see clearly to achieve their goals and life dreams. Learning to become a counsellor has changed my life.