Reflections of 2018 – the year of change
Updated: Mar 29
Hello, welcome to my new blog!
One of my 2019 goals is to write a regular blog and be more active on my counselling practice’s social media.
As the new year begins, I thought; what better way to start than to reflect on 2018?
It’s been a busy year for me with lots of exciting new ventures and changes. After spending many years training and developing my counselling practice on a part-time basis I was very pleased to make the decision to leave my other part-time job at the end of 2017 and become 100% self employed. It was a courageous and exciting leap but I am proud to report that 2018 has seen my counselling practice continue to flourish!
With more time on my hands to invest in growing Sussex Rainbow Counselling I embarked on an extensive 6-month-long course to train to work as an online counsellor with the Academy for Online Counselling and Psychotherapy. Through group teaching sessions, peer workshops, tutorials, assignments, research and reading I really enjoyed learning about all the different types of online counselling and how effective it can be for many clients. I plan to write more about this in another blog.
In February I joined The Association for Counselling and Therapy Online (ACTO). ACTO promotes (and improves) online counselling and psychotherapy as a recognised method of therapeutic delivery within the mental health professions.
In March I joined Dr Julian as a freelance counsellor. Dr Julian is an online counselling service with high standards. They use a very secure platform and only list counsellors who are undertaking or have completed online training and also have specialist online supervision. I am very proud to be a part of the team. Since completing my training my experience was valued and I was promoted to Senior Therapist level. I am now available to work worldwide (except the USA and Canada, due to insurance reasons) on Dr Julian.
Then in April a local counselling organisation (As You Are) asked me to run several bespoke LGBTQ counselling training days for their counselling team. I really enjoyed putting together a very interactive training programme, which was received well, with great feedback and reviews! It was very inspiring to meet fresh-faced counsellors still in training who were keen to learn how they can aim to be more inclusive when working with LGBTQ clients. Although I have lots of experience having worked as a trainer over the past 15 years, it felt great to develop a LGBTQ counselling-specific course.
After completing my online training course in August, I decided not only to launch online counselling as part of my private counselling practice, but also to develop an online LGBTQ awareness training for counsellors. Running my first in October was a major success. It was very different from training in person but, like online counselling, I can see many advantages, notably that it is more widely accessible.
Also in August I moved to a new counselling room. It is a big improvement on the last. It is much quieter, being away from the main road traffic, but is still very central in being only 5 minutes' walk from Hove Station. It is also a private room, so I have exclusive use of it and have filled it with lots of plants and books, which I find gives it a more human and less clinical atmosphere. It also has a beautiful view which clients tell me feels calming.
In September I attended an excellent talk by one of my favourite authors, Meg-John Barker, at The Freud Museum in London. Here they spoke about gender and consent in our current society, focussing on gender, sexual, and relationship diversity (GSRD) and the moral panic about trans issues in the media.
In October I set up a new online peer supervision group with 2 other LGBTQ counsellors. Supervision is very important and something all counsellors have. It helps me reflect on my work and supports me as I continue to work as an ethical and safe counsellor. I learn so much from my fellow colleagues and enjoy having this space every fortnight alongside my regular one-to-one supervision.
In November I engaged in more training, this time with Gendered Intelligence on their course 'Working Alongside Trans, Gender Diverse and Questioning People' for counsellors and therapists. Although I am already experienced in working with this client group I wanted to top up my knowledge with one of the leading organisations in working with gender diversity. I was very impressed by how well it was run and catered for a huge range of knowledge levels.
Then in December I created some new flyers and was busy circulating them around Brighton and Hove. If you’re a local keep your eyes peeled to spot them. Thank you to all the organisations that are supporting Sussex Rainbow Counselling by displaying them.
Big thanks to ...
Also in December I joined Sandra Wilson’s Social Media Planner group. It is such a great new initiative to help counsellors get more social media savvy. I hope that this time next year I am indeed more savvy.
Until then keep checking here to make sure I am keeping to my word to keep blogging :)