2020 - my reflections
2020 has certainly been a very strange and crazy year for the whole world.
In the counselling world - in March 2020 - Covid restrictions forced counselling to move online overnight. This was a strange and incredibly unsettling time for the whole profession.
So in today’s blog I wanted to reflect on the year and how it's been for me.
Firstly, I wanted to start by saying that in October last year, after having completed my professional training to offer counselling online in 2018, I had already decided to move my training and counselling practice 100% online.
What strange and eerie timing!
Most of my colleagues and counsellor friends were pretty disapproving of this decision. Many would ask if I would miss face-to-face work and gave the impression that they weren’t convinced counselling online could be as effective or enjoyable.
You see, pre Covid there was quite a strong attitude amongst many in the counselling profession that online counselling was second best.
However, I love online counselling and here's why.
So, in January 2020, I moved my practice 100% online. This not only gave me the opportunity to offer a diverse range of accessible therapies to clients, but also gave me the freedom to work where I wanted. So, as part of my plan, I re-located to Scotland. Thankfully, I managed to do this in late January, just before the UK went into nationwide lockdown in mid March.
Ever since, I’ve been amazed at how quickly counsellors have embraced working online. Many of whom are now undertaking their own online counsellor training and planning to stick with 100% online sessions even once it’s safe to return to face to face counselling. Something no one could have ever predicted.
Sadly pre Covid, online CPD workshops were also looked down upon by many counsellors. After spending 18 months trying to get my online workshops off the ground with very low numbers I was so excited to see a huge surge in popularity in 2020.
In June - in partnership with Online Events - I ran 4 online workshops each with 100 to 150 people booked on! With such high demand we ran them again in October, and continued to see huge group numbers.
It was so great to have so many counsellors up for learning more about working with LGBTQ clients. If you want to join us in 2021 check the dates here.
The big groups ironically led to demand from some counsellors wanting smaller workshops where they could have a more intimate leaning experience with me.
With no option for CPD trainings to run in person in 2020, I was excited to see a surge in CPD workshops being offered online by other fellow counsellors. I enjoyed attending online workshops on blogging, gender diversity, kink, HIV/AIDS and even an online book launch by Juno Roche!
I also featured 2 guest bloggers ...
Patricia Gough - How LGBTQ affirmative is you counselling practice?
Emma Crossland - LGBTQ Relationship Counselling
In other news …
In August - Pink Therapy awarded me as an Accredited Gender, Sexuality and Relationship Diversities Therapist.
This shows clients my high standard of knowledge, training and experience in working with gender, sex and relationship diversity as a counsellor.
In September I hired a coach who is working with me to develop and promote the training side of my counselling practice. Watch this space for more exciting ventures in 2021. There’s a lot of ideas in the pipeline.
In November, after running suicide awareness online workshops, the young person’s mental health organisation ‘Ditch the Label’ invited me to guest blog on their site about suicide.
Here’s my blogs on suicide:
The year ended with a live online interview in December with John at Online Events where I talked about my Free LGBTQ Resources Hub on my website.
Here's the recording if you missed it >>>
I'm very passionate about helping fellow counsellors feel more confident and knowledgable working with gender and sexual diversity in the counselling room. And so hope this free resources hub helps more counsellors as they begin their journey into learning more. You can access the Free LGBTQ Resources Hub here.
So as 2020 comes to a close, I'm left thinking about all the awful things that have happened in the world in this year with Covid. But also the positives that have come to the counselling profession.
I'm left thinking about what I wrote at the end of 2019's blog ....
"I look forward to taking my counselling and training workshops forward in a future facing way, and offering choice and accessibility to help more people access LGBTQ counselling and training." (my 2019 blog)
I am so excited that as a profession, counsellors have opened our eyes to online counselling and I'm look forward to see where that takes us in future years.
I wonder what 2021 will have in store for me, and for the counselling world.
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