I am married with grown up children and live in Leeds. I have always enjoyed working with people. My first career involved helping people to find employment. I volunteered at The Citizen's Advice Bureau whilst on a career break to bring up my family. I enjoyed the CAB work but found it frustrating to only see clients on a 'one-off' basis. Through helping them with their practical problems, I realised that many clients had emotional issues affecting their lives, which I wasn't able to explore with them. I became a counsellor because I wanted to help people understand themselves by making the 'unconscious conscious' and to give them the strategies and knowledge to break free from any negative self beliefs and destructive patterns of behaviour. I found counselling helpful during a difficult time in my life and when Relate advertised for counsellors, I applied and was accepted for their training.
Relate used the Relational Model which is my core theoretical approach. The Relational Model is an integrative model, which believes that 'Relations between people are the basis of social and individual life and relational concepts are used to understand human life in all its complexity'. The relationship is of major importance in counselling; early relationships are at the heart of what is happening for us in the present, 'here and now', and affect how we behave, think and feel. The relationship between client and counsellor will reflect issues in early or current relationships that are also happening for the client outside the counselling room. In counselling those issues can be explored therapeutically in the safety of the counselling room.
The Relational Model uses as its base Psychodynamic and Person-Centred theory, but also draws upon and integrates other models which have the relationship as a core element; Transactional Analysis and Gestalt. I also work with Imago Relationship Therapy which is an integrative model based on Psychodynamic beliefs, namely that past relationships and experiences have influenced current behaviour and feelings and choice of partner.
Throughout my counselling career I have attended many courses and workshops to learn new ways of working and gain insights into different approaches; for example I use Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) to address problems such as negative thinking when people are stressed and depressed.
I work in partnership with my clients to enable them to achieve the outcomes we have mutually agreed they want to gain from counselling. My clients are the true 'experts' on their lives. I see my role as: helping clients to explore and understand their issues, to discover their resources, facilitate their choices and empower them to cope with a given situation.