Tag Archives: counsellor

The growth of a counsellor…..

I find as a counsellor, I am continuously growing and changing. When I first became a counsellor, I was outcome focused and wanting to make a difference. My work centred in helping the client have a better life and I worked hard, often seeking reassurance. Continue reading

Identities Working Together

Counselling and social work – can two identities can work together?

Guest blog post from Lynn Findlay, (counsellor and psychotherapist based in Sheffield) who reflects on whether two career identities can work together. You can find more of her reflective writings here


I never realised until recently how much my identity is bound in my career and my job role. I now see this too in my clients, it can be expressed as a dilemma, a frustration and a loss. A loss of Something that we traditionally think is external until we are without it, or facing being without it, then it becomes our safety net and comfort zone.


Identities working togetherWhat is it? Our job role or title becomes our identity and an important part of our “I am”. Imagine you are introducing yourself to people you have not met before, perhaps at a family event or new social gathering. What is the next thing you say after your name?

For me it was always “I am a social worker”, often before my roles in my family, those I care about the most who accept me unconditionally, or the hobbies I enjoy which give me more enjoyment and pleasure. Work was always there, always second on the list.


Who ‘I am’ in my career?

I have been a qualified social worker for over 20 years, and over the past three years as I completed my counselling training, I have grappled with who I am in my career. I noticed I began to add on to my introductions an “as well”, usually “I am also training to be a counsellor”. But this was an add-on and I thought perhaps it was because I was still in the doing phase rather than the being.


I am now a qualified counsellor and psychotherapist. But I am still a social worker first. My working week is shared between the two roles. I am trying hard to see myself as both my identities, but this isn’t easy at times. I have considered moving on from social work but I know I am not ready to let
this part of my identity go, just yet. It is my safety net and my comfort zone.  I am still getting the “I am a counsellor” to flow. 

 

Reflections

Working in dual roles also enables important reflections on the shared values and skills across the professions, with building relationships and making a difference to people’s lives, alongside some of the differences, most notably in power and assessment. Being a counsellor has changed how I view power and I consciously address this now in my practice where I can, both in how I am working and being perceived by others, and in the wider systems we operate in.


Having these different roles brings privilege and I can use this to empathise with clients who are too facing change, wanting to make changes to their “I am” or moving on from being stuck. It is a loss we often don’t consider, especially if it is through active choice, rather than retirement or redundancy.

 

Now when I am introducing myself to others, I consciously try to remember all the roles I have in my life, and bring these into the conversation. Just as I encourage with my clients when we explore their wholeness and all their parts of self which come together to make the whole person. It does feel
strange not to put work first all the time and I often try to begin with my hobbies, although these often precede with ‘aspiring’. Noticing how you introduce yourself to others highlights what you value and what you think others value in you. It might be time to try things in a different order….?

Grab a cup of tea and let’s talk about mental health

Jess Glynne inspiring me to write about mental health

Last year, it was This is me, I make no apologies song that inspired me for #timetotalkday. This year my inspiration is Jess Glynne’s song ‘Thursday’. Although it is a love song, some of the words struck a chord with me and seemed apt.

Often clients who have had time off work for anxiety, stress or depression, worry about returning to work. ‘What will people think of me?’ they ask me? ‘What will my colleagues say?’ ‘No-one will understand’? The stigma of mental health is something they fear. The importance of Time to Talk is to create conversation and discussion. This will help stop the stigma around mental health. Stop the fears that my clients and others who suffer from poor mental health.

I’m sick of covering up

Jess’s second line of the song says ‘I’m sick of covering up’. That is what #Timetotalk is saying. Let’s stop covering mental health up. Let’s talk.  We don’t need to hide or be ashamed if we have a mental health problem.

Jess’s second line of the song says ‘I’m sick of covering up’. That is what #Timetotalk is saying. Let’s stop covering mental health up. Let’s talk.  We don’t need to hide or be ashamed if we have a mental health problem.

I’m tired of feeling so broken

‘I’m tired of feeling so broken’ continues in the song.  Yes, those suffering mental health problems are exhausted from feeling broken. Many want to move on but don’t know how too or feel afraid too. It is isolating as people as people that they feel they are the only ones broken or depressed. Talking about mental health and their struggles, would help stop people feeling isolated. This can be achieved through talking to friends, sharing on social media or through a qualified counsellor.

‘I wanna love, I don’t wanna cry, don’t want those tears inside my eyes’

Jess’s song continues. Often clients who come to counselling sit embarrassed by their tears or will announce they will not cry today. They see tears as a sign of weakness. It is not. Crying is an emotion. Sometimes you cannot stop the tears falling. The emotions need to come out. Perhaps it comes from our childhood trying not to cry in front of others. I remember as a child being told to wipe away my tears or being called ‘cry baby’.  How shameful is that? In fact, all I just wanted was a hug and a chance to talk. So where is this going? Well, maybe next time you see someone crying, why not sit with them, and ask if there is anything you can do for them. Show them empathy.

‘I try to embrace all my insecurities’.

 Insecurities can cause highly emotional responses, and make us feel bad about ourselves. This in turn causes a lot of mental stress or anguish.  Embrace your insecurities and try to tackle them one by one. Notice it when feel an insecurity. Rather than react to it (for example, run away or ignore it) try to tackle it. Feel it. Look at where it comes from and think how you can change or build upon it. Don’t beat yourself up. Try to put positive words into your head and be rational. 

‘I was always taught to just be myself. Don’t change for anyone.

How inspirational these words in the song are? It important to have the confidence to be yourself. Believe in yourself. If you are going to change, only do it because you want too. If you notice a behaviour in yourself that does not help or makes you feel bad, then change it. Only make changes because you want to. It is helps you be happier. Remember to do it at your own pace. 

The song ends ‘I wanna to feel beautiful’. Yes! Learn to love yourself. Feel positive about who you are, and grow from your mistakes. Don’t struggle.

How would you continue the conversation of talking about mental health? #timetotalk

Motivations to being a counsellor

Motivations to being a counsellor

When I first began my counselling diploma at Sheffield Hallam University in 2003, I never knew how much I would be more aware of myself or how it would change my thinking or who it would affect the way I interact with my peers, friends and colleagues. I did not imagine that becoming a counsellor Continue reading

Counselling Supervision

Counselling supervisionWhen my previous counselling supervisor retired, it took a long time for me to find a new one. I finally found a new counselling supervisor that I did connect with and one I was able to be myself. I’ve had a great couple of years with her so I was therefore disappointed to hear that she too is retiring. Unfortunately as I had a poor experience during my training during my counselling supervision leaving me being cautious with whom I choose.  However, as I look for a new one it does feel new opportunity to help me gain a different perspective on my work, as well as start a new relationship with a different colleague.

I am about to start a counselling Supervision course and with me looking for a new supervisor, I thought it would be a good opportunity to reflect on what is counselling supervision and what is it that I am looking for. Continue reading

Self-disclosure of a counsellor

self disclosure of counsellorsIn order for a counsellor to remain focused on the client, self-disclosure during a session is not encouraged. Self-disclosure is sharing information with your client that they would not know about you. It is generally felt that self-disclosure of a counsellor may get in the way of the client’s journey. The counsellor’s past and issues, if disclosed to a client, may ruin the trust between the counsellor and the client or it may influence the client in their decision making.

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Counselling process and me

 

counselling processMental stigma often stops people from admitting that they are receiving counselling or have had counselling.  What about if the counsellor admits they had counselling? Is that self-disclosing or reassuring for clients to know that their counsellor has been through the counselling process and believes in his or her heart that counselling can help? This question led me to self-reflect on how the counselling process helped me develop to train as a counsellor and increase my self-awareness with my clients. Continue reading

Boundaries in counselling

boundaries in counsellingWith the recent report of two therapists being abused by another counsellor in a counselling relationship, I can imagine it has made people wonder if they are safe with their present therapist. It could also make potential clients wonder how to ensure that their therapist will not take advantage of them. It was clear in this case that the boundaries in counselling were broken. The topic does open the debate of whether the professional organisations, such as British Association of Counselling (BACP), should be regulated to ensure all clients are protected in counselling. At the moment regulation appears to be not on the immediate agenda. It is therefore important for us therapists and counsellors to ensure that our clients are fully aware of what to expect from us.

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Twitter Guide for Counsellor’s

 

counsellor and twitterEthics in counselling is paramount so if you are a counsellor that wants to use twitter for business, you will need to think about how to use twitter both ethically and professionally. Following on from my ethical guide to using social media, I have devised these twitter guidelines to assist you tweet in an ethical and professional manner.

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Counselling in Sheffield

counselling in sheffieldFinding the right counsellor for you.

We can find a lot of information about counselling and the service that counsellor’s offer in Sheffield and worldwide. Committing to counselling can be a difficult decision and often an intimidating one. It is often not easy to admit that are you feeling depressed, anxious or stressed. You want to find a counsellor that you trust and one that works to a high standard. But then you have a difficult dilemma of finding a counsellor. If you look at the Counselling directory you will see there are over 1200 counsellors with just over 100 counsellors in Sheffield alone. I am sure if you are considering counselling this can make you feel confused. What is counselling all about? Who and what counsellor do you choose? It’s a tricky choice and decision. Continue reading