I’ve mentioned briefly about me being a student Counsellor before with the promise of doing a more detailed post about it.. so here we are!
i got into counselling purely by accident, it was totally random and surprised everybody – including myself! But it was the best random thing I’ve ever done! I used to work full time on the tills in a large local store and I hated it! I lived the same day for 5 days a week. The same types of customers, scanning the same crap that people thought they needed, the same songs on a loop that played at the same time of day every day, the same drama when someone was exactly 1 minute and 43 seconds late back from their break…. with every beep of my scanner I felt like I was losing a brain cell and the will to live!
So I went back to college to study Health and Social Care, I thought I wanted to be a midwife. I worked a day on a maternity ward at the local hospital and watched One Born Every Minute – more focused on what the midwives were doing than the women delivering their babies! Nothing was going to stop me. Until we did a Psychology module and I was fascinated, I thrived off this stuff and wanted to know more about how people worked. My interest in Mental Health was increasing suddenly. One day a friend had a problem that she wanted to talk to our teacher about. I stayed behind with her and listened to her talk to the teacher. Without realizing I had said something to her and then the conversation carried on until the teacher stopped and looked at me. “Have you ever thought about being a counsellor?” she said. I shook my head in surprise. “You should look into it, honestly. You’d be a fantastic counsellor, you just have a really calming aura and presence and you’re just listening and intervening when you think it’s needed…”
Wow. What do I do with that? I went home and Googled what Counselling is for a start! The more I read the more it ticked all the right boxes for me and before I knew it I was looking at university courses and applying! I completed a Level 2 in Counselling while finishing my Health and Social Care Course so that I could get into uni the same year. Now I’m writing this, in the summer holidays before my second year, full of intrigue, passion and excitement about a career I never thought I’d want! I feel totally out of my depth but yet so comfortable and as though this is what I was born to do. I never thought I’d have this feeling. It’s scary, but the best kind of scary!
People still ask me if that means I work at the council offices or if it’s like mentoring or if I give advice to people and the answer is always a big fat no! My definition of counselling changes every day because it’s so simple, yet so complex and so beautiful but ugly too. My definition today is that counselling provides a safe space for people to talk about their issues and feelings and try to come up with their own answers and solutions with the support of a counsellor, free from judgement and unhelpful advice.
Only, it’s so much more than that. Yesterday I worked with a client who had such an emotionally charged session that I had the most surreal feeling, like our souls were touching (I very visually imagined palms touching) and I was able to be there for her completely.
Counselling is met with a lot of scepticism and doubt because of the unfortunate stigma around mental health but I would encourage anyone who feels they would like it, to seek it. It’s not for everyone and you need to make sure you’re ready for it but in my experience, those 50 minute sessions have been more rewarding than anything I have ever done.