Happy Birthday - Sussex Rainbow Counselling is 5 years old!
In October 2016 I launched Sussex Rainbow Counselling a counselling service run by and for the LGBTQ community in Sussex.
Back then LGBT Switchboard which offered specialist LGBT counselling in Brighton and Hove had recently closed its counselling service due to a lack of funding. This left the city (to my knowledge) without a counselling service aimed specifically for LGBTQ people.
I really wanted to help share my knowledge and experience and offer people a place to get support.
So having worked in the LGBTQ community for years in various Brighton charities (including Allsorts, MindOut and LGBT Switchboard) I decided to set up my own counselling private practice to offer a specialist service for the LGBTQ community.
I named it Sussex Rainbow Counselling with the vision that I would travel around Sussex and offer appointments in places such as Eastbourne, Lewes, Worthing as well as my hometown Brighton and Hove.
Rather than using an acronym like LGBT or LGBTQ or LGBTQ+ which was likely to date with time I instead went for the word Rainbow which is a lovely inclusive word which the LGBTQ community know well as a symbol of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans pride.
This also provided a great clear image for my business logo which has the S of Sussex as a swirling rainbow of colours.
After qualifying as a counsellor in May 2016, I first set up my insurance, clinical supervision and website, and then my counselling service was launched.
The service began its days on Church Road in Hove where I saw my first clients in 2016 and 2017. Back then I was sharing these rooms with other therapists whist I built up my counselling practice alongside my part time job as a mental health advocate for Mind in Brighton and Hove.
In 2017 I was invited on Brighton's local Radio and TV!
Here's a copy of me on TV in 2017 being interviewed on Brighton's Latest LGBT+ TV news.
Here's a copy of my radio interview in 2017 with Kathy Caton on Radio Reverb's 'Out in Brighton' LGBTQ show.
After just over a year of launching I was becoming so busy with clients so I made the leap and left my part time job at Mind so I could dedicate full time hours to my counselling practice.
2018 marked the start of me being able to grow my counselling practice further. This is the year I studied for my online counselling qualification and began offering counselling to clients in a range of options including video call, phone call, instant message and email counselling.
2018 also marked the beginning of me offering training workshops to counselling organisations on LGBTQ awareness.
By the summer of 2018 it was time for me to take the next leap. Sussex Rainbow Counselling moved to a lovely new private counselling room on Goldstone Villas in Hove.
With online counselling continuing to grow in popularity and a personal longing to move back to my home country Scotland, at the end of 2019 I decided to relocate and move my practice 100% online.
With lots of time for clients to think through this change and decide if it was right for them we had the luxury of time to prepare for the switch to online counselling. This of course was very different for most other counselling colleagues who were swept online suddenly in March 2020 due to the Covid Pandemic.
I decided to keep my counselling practice name as Sussex Rainbow Counselling despite no longer living in Sussex. This was a difficult decision, but makes sense to me as keeping the name keeps the consistency of how people know me. I lived and worked in Brighton for 15 years and my counsellor training and experience working in the LGBTQ all started there.
So, although I’m no longer in Brighton in person I still feel very connected to the place and still get many folks living in Brighton wanting counselling with me.
Today in 2021 as I look back, I remember all the big changes I made along the way and am reminded how courage and openness to change are all so essential to running a counselling practice and to therapy itself.
I continue to see clients online and run training on working with sexual and gender diversity for fellow counsellors.
To date I have run workshops for National Counselling Society, Online Events, Counselling Tutor, Sussex Counselling and Psychotherapy, As You Are, Cruse Bereavement Care, Open University, BIMM Institute, University of Wolverhampton and YouthLine.
Join me in raising a glass to celebrate!
Here’s to the next 5 years.