I first experienced counselling in my mid-20s, when I began to suspect that difficult feelings I was experiencing were actually rooted in events in my childhood. I found the experience of counselling transformational; there I was, spending an hour each week with someone who simply listened to me, apparently without judging me, regardless of what I told him. He helped me to recognise where I had developed fixed ways of thinking that were self-defeating. I found myself saying things out loud that until that point had been repeated thoughts, many of them self-punishing. I felt respected. Heard. Liberated.
The experience of being counselled led me to decide that I wanted to be a counsellor myself. At that time I was working in homelessness hostels in London, seeing evidence that I was able to help people to make material changes to their circumstances – but I recognised that as a counsellor I could be helping people to make more fundamental changes. I knew that I wanted to have a far better understanding of myself before entering training; after 16 more years working in supported housing and after much further personal therapy, I began my training.
Who am I now? I think I know myself quite well, but I recognise that I will always have more to learn. I aim to be as accepting of my strengths and talents as I am of my flaws and short-comings. I love to dance, laugh, bake bread and throw pots. I’m not keen on marzipan.