As the New Year begins I have decided to write a summary of a year in the life of Sussex Rainbow Counselling. I enjoyed doing this last year (read my 2018 summary here) as it gave me time to reflect back on the year.
The year started with the first of my 2019 online workshops on LGBTQ awareness for counsellors. The following month I was headhunted, by the fantastic Onlinevents to run my workshops on their platform. I jumped at the chance, and am now proud to be working together with this well-known and respected organisation.
In the spring I continued to run 2 more online workshops independently and then by June I moved over to running them solely on the Onlinevents platform. This year I ran a whopping 11 online workshops for Onlinevents. I was pleased to get some good feedback and so plan to run more in 2020.
Working with the Onlinevents team I have been able to free up my admin/marketing time to focus on continuing to learn novel ways of using the online platform to create new interactive training activities. I have also focused on building a community of counsellors wanting to learn more about working with LGBTQ clients in our new Facebook support group.
Alongside my online workshops I have continued to run face-to-face trainings in Brighton. In the spring, I really enjoyed training a big group of counsellors and supervisors at Sussex Counselling and Psychotherapy (SCAP)
In May I was invited to MindOut’s 20-year celebratory lunch and photo-shoot. MindOut is an LGBTQ mental health charity in Brighton founded in 1999. All current and former staff were invited, and as an ex-staff member of MindOut I enjoyed getting together with my old colleagues. When I worked for MindOut I coordinated the LGBTQ Time to Change anti-stigma mental health campaign to raise awareness of mental health stigma. I trained over 50 LGBTQ volunteers to talk to the public about LGBTQ mental health at big events including Brighton Pride and the UK’s first ever Trans Pride.
This year I also attended many conferences, trainings and talks, including the Pink Therapy Queering Psychotherapy conference, Polyday (a conference about polyamory), Meg-John Barker’s training on Taking about Sex in the Therapy Room, and Juno Roche’s book launch of the fab new book Trans Power.
I also spent time this year improving my website. I took the plunge into recording videos, which was a bit nerve-racking initially, but it felt important to give people a sense of who I am. I also updated my directory of free LGBTQ support organisations, created a new webpage with free support (videos/reading/podcasts) for counsellors wanting to learn more about working with LGBTQ clients. I also created a free top tips guide on pronouns in counselling, as well as supplementary guides for the online workshops I run.
Towards the end of the year I participated in my first online panel interview run by John Wilson at Onlinevents. I was joined by Phillipa Weitz, Kate Thompson, Joanna Sharpen and Felicity Runchman. Together we discussed how/if online counselling can increase reach and access to marginalised groups of people. I spoke about my online counselling work with LGBTQ clients, and the rest of the panel spoke about experiences working with other marginalised groups.
You can watch the interview here.
As I come to a close with this blog, I would like to announce that, in loving online counselling so much, I have made the decision to move Sussex Rainbow Counselling solely online. All new clients in 2020 will be able to choose to work with me on video calls, email sessions, phone calls, and/or scheduled instant message sessions.
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.
Wishing you all a Happy New Year.