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My Year - Reflections of 2023

At the end of each year I traditionally pause and reflect on my past twelve months in private practice. By committing to an annual blog, I like to account for this time by sharing with you all that I’ve been doing.

Rainbow background with words "MY YEAR - REFLECTIONS OF 2023"

Keep reading if you’re curious to hear what I’ve been up to in 2023.

In this blog I share:

1. why I wrote my new ebook

2. how my email counselling course was born

4. my CPD and networking in 2023

5. a sneak peek at my plans for 2024

This year Sussex Rainbow Counselling took a new direction when I decided to put a big focus on email counselling.

Email counselling is a unique form of accessible counselling, which allows clients and counsellors the flexibility to write at a time that works for them. It has many advantages and is increasing in popularity every year. You can read more about what email counselling is and how it works in my blog here.

With my passion for email counselling being so high I felt determined to find a way to help more clients access this fabulous type of counselling.

However, I noticed that many counsellors I spoke to hadn’t heard of it and had no training. Some had covered it briefly in their online training but were scared to try offering email counselling to their clients because they either didn’t have enough confidence or they felt there to be a lack of ongoing support.

Others I spoke to had tried – after only a few slides on a generic online counselling course – offering email counselling, but having gotten into some very sticky situations, had given up :(

This sucks!

There are so many clients who want email counselling and not enough counsellors trained and confident to offer it. I am making it my mission to change this.

My book launch – Email Counselling, an introduction for counsellors

Photo of front cover of Chloe Foster's Email Counselling ebook

The first step was to create a book, which I started writing in 2022 and launched in March 2023.

My short, accessible ebook called Email Counselling, an introduction for counsellors is available here.

This ebook gives counsellors an introduction and helps them work out whether email counselling is something they are up for learning more about.

"Wonderful beginners guide to email counselling" (Donna Buxton — Counsellor)

My book launch led to me being invited to speak to The Good Enough Counsellors’ Facebook group where I was interviewed by counsellor and coach, Josephine Hughes, to talk about the advantages of email counselling. You can watch this on catch-up here.

Screenshot of title page image for Email Counselling interview with Josephine Hughes. Shows photos of Chloe Foster and Josephine Hughes

I was subsequently invited by Online Events to run a training on Email in Private Practice. In this talk I spoke about 5 things you should never do when using email as a counsellor, as well as giving an introduction to Email Counselling. You can watch this on catch-up with the recorded workshop here. (this is an affiliate link which means if you use this link I will earn a small percentage of your purchase of the recording, there is no additional cost to you). Get your recording from Onlinevents here.

Screenshot of image advert for Chloe Foster's online events workshop. Image shows the workshop title and a photo of Chloe

In addition, in early 2023, a tutor at Metanoia Institute who has been following my work for years invited me to contribute to a chapter on online counselling for a new edition of a well known counselling text book published by PCCS. I am not allowed to announce the book title as the book has not yet been officially announced, but I'll let you know when it is out in the shops.

In this submission I wrote about my day in the life of an email counsellor as well as sharing a composite case study of my work with a trans client using email counselling.

The words "Email Counselling Training for Counsellors" on a yellow background

How my email counselling course was born

My e-book was so well received counsellors were emailing me wanting more, so I decided to go ahead and take on the huge project of creating a brand new Email Counselling training. This felt very important as there was nowhere to signpost counsellors ready to learn more. More info here.

testimonial saying "I was curious about email counselling, but unsure whether it was something I'd be able to use in practice. The course helped both improving my understanding, as well as equipping me with the skills to do it myself." Diane Foy - Counsellor - Participant Email Counselling Training

I took time to collect lots of ideas from readers of my book about what they wanted from the training so I could design a course that would be as useful as possible rather than just a tick-box exercise.

By the summer of 2023 I had the training ready to open for booking. It was so popular it sold out in just a few weeks. I could already see there is a huge demand for email counselling training as, to my knowledge, there is no other training that specifically focuses on it.

Email counselling is commonly added on to longer online counselling courses and often given very little focus compared to its favoured cousin, video counselling.

testimonial saying "Fantastic accessible well thought out email counselling course. I’m so pleased I attended, it allowed me to provide counselling to people who would have struggled to access support otherwise." Liz Maskew - Counsellor - Participant Email Counselling Training

I ran the first course in September 2023 and got excellent feedback – see here.

I had so much fun running it and I am super-psyched to run it again in January 2024.

The tickets for this next round sold out in less than 24 hours – wow!

I now have a huge waiting list of counsellors waiting for it to run again later in 2024 and I have been rapidly thinking of ways to transform this training so that I can offer it to more people.

Join the waitlist to be notified when new dates are released here.

Sneak peek at plans for 2024

2024 written in cartoon style text with rainbow shadow on a pink/blue background

I have not officially announced this yet but wanted to let you know that there is a plan to offer a new recorded course in 2024.

I am busy working on this behind the scenes right now and will share more details with folks on my waitlist as soon as it is ready.

Waitlisters will get first dibs so make sure you're on the list.

Join my waitlist now to get updated.

In the meantime, if you are a counsellor or trainee and are interested in learning more about email counselling, the best place to start is reading my book. Grab your copy here. This is a great introduction and helps you work out if email counselling is right for you.

I have recently recorded an audio version of my book as I am a big fan of listening to books and want to make my resources as accessible as possible. All purchases now come with a free BONUS audio book, more info here.

"Easy to read book and extremely helpful at getting me to see how it can help with talking about sex." (Jane Murphy — Counsellor)

Photo of front cover of Chloe Foster's Email Counselling ebook

"Really got me excited about starting email counselling" (Sandy Blair — Counsellor)

The time has come – I am becoming a supervisor

In other news, 2023 became the year I decided it was time to train as a clinical counselling supervisor.

It’s been almost 8 years since I qualified as a counsellor, so I decided it was time to take my counselling career to the next level.

the words "Diploma in Clinical Supervision" written in white on a black/grey background

In September 2023 I started my Diploma in Clinical Supervision at the Contemporary Institute for Clinical Sexology. This amazing course, taught by Silva Neves (well known expert counsellor in working with compulsive sexual behaviours) and Rima Hawkins, covers lots on diversity and inclusion as well as focusing on power and privilege.

It’s very accessible and I love that it covers not just individual, but also group, supervision.

I love learning in groups and definitely want to offer group supervision to counsellors when I qualify.

I chose this course because, as a specialist in working with gender, sex and relationship diversity, it was very important to me that I completed a comprehensive course that puts diversity and sexology at the forefront.

I am currently working with supervisees who jumped at the chance to get some reduced cost supervision whilst I train.

If you are a counsellor who is interested in working with me in the future, I will be taking on new supervisees when I qualify in summer 2024.

Send me a message now if you want to be notified when I open up new slots.

I plan to write a blog about what motivates me to become a supervisor. In it I will share more about my personal experiences as a supervisee over the past 9 years (including my training placements).

I have a lot of thoughts on how my experiences with several different supervisors has shaped my work as a counsellor and fuelled my passion regarding how I want to work as a supervisor.

The blog will include a lot of reflection on poor practice and what is unhelpful, as well as what does work well for me.

My CPD in 2023

My supervision diploma is keeping me very busy, but I have also found time (I don’t know how … lol) to engage in lots of other CPD (continuing professional development) short courses this year.

Here’s a list of courses, talks and conferences I attended in 2023:

cartoon picture of a person with red hair in bunches and a green dress sitting on top of a pile of large books with one book open on their lap

  • Sex work in Therapy – The Sex Consultant with Ness Cooper

  • Political Movements and Decentering Privilege – with Dr Orna Guralnik (from Couples Therapy TV show!)

  • The Queer 7-Eye Model of Supervision – with Silva Neves and Rima Hawkins (June)

  • Doing It Well: A Therapy Conference on Working with Sex and GSRD Clients with Rainbow Therapy Scotland – with Silva Neves and various other speakers

  • Autistic people and therapy – AutAngel – with Erin Stevens

  • Celebrating Neurodivergence: panel of ND therapists share lived experience – with various ND speakers

  • Living and working with Neurodivergence: Mental Health and Wellbeing – with various ND speakers

My networking in 2023

I have also done a bit of networking in 2023; here’s a round-up:

I stopped using Twitter (or X as it’s now known) as it was becoming too problematic with the way it is now run, as its new policies do not strive to keep fellow LGBTQ+ folks safe.

LinkedIn icon with the words "connect with me"

Instead, I decided to join LinkedIn – finally! I have been sporadically posting on there and enjoying networking with fellow counsellors.

Send me a request on LinkedIn to connect/follow me here

NUM logo with the words"Working hard to end all forms of violence against sex workers" and 3 images, 2 with individuals smiling, the other with 2 police officers walking away.

This year I also joined NUM (National Ugly Mugs) which is a UK-wide charity committed to ending all forms of violence against sex workers.

I am now listed on their counsellor directory, which is aimed specifically at sex workers who are looking for a safe/knowledgeable counsellor. I have lots of experience working with sex workers and hope this helps clients find me.

I met up with Chris Oxborrow a few times this year. Chris is a neurodivergent counsellor who has a lot of experience in offering accessible counselling and training. She really helped me to reflect on how I could design my email counselling training to make it as accessible as possible. Thank you Chris!

Lastly I was excited to join the new Rainbow Therapy Edinburgh networking group for queer therapists. Those of you who have read my previous blogs will know that I moved my private practice entirely online at the end of 2019 and relocated to Scotland. I am now in Edinburgh and look forward to networking with local queer therapists.

If you are a counsellor in the area please do get in touch to say hi. I’ve not yet made it to a group meetup as I’ve been so busy, but it has been great to have a group of local therapists to pass referrals on to as I keep getting new enquiries and have been unable to take on any more clients.

I currently have a client waitlist so if you are thinking of having counselling with me add your name here to be notified when a slot comes up.

As I come to a close, I realise this is probably the longest blog I have ever written. Well done to you for making it to the end. I am so excited for all that is in store for 2024.

But for now, I am going to take some time off to recharge over Christmas and New Year.

Happy holidays!

rainbow fireworks on a white background


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