One of our Volunteer Counsellors has shared a story.
What motivated me to become a counsellor?
An unexpected conversation with my niece changed the direction of my life. In the family lounge of the hospice where we visited my sister for many weeks, my niece remarked that I should become a counsellor as I was always listening and supporting other relatives while we waited to see her mum.
Although I’ve always been told I’m “a good listener” and seem to be the kind of person that people feel they can tell their troubles to, I didn’t know very much about what counselling involved. I did a bit of research and thought it sounded interesting. So, I enrolled in an introductory course at the local college and discovered that it was definitely a path I’d like to explore further. I then did a follow-on course before I enrolled at university to study for a Masters Degree in Counselling, which I’ll complete this summer.
As part of the course we complete two years working as a volunteer trainee counsellor in a placement setting and I was lucky to join FASS in 2019 where I received specialist training before I began working with clients who were looking for support to change their problem drinking.
The whole team at FASS are such a great source of learning and support – my supervisor, fellow trainees, experienced counsellors and admin staff – have all been fantastic, both professional and supportive. I’m learning so much but mainly that the learning never stops!
I’ve also met so many lovely people both in face-to-face counselling sessions and, since lockdown, on the telephone: men and women of all ages and from all walks of life. It’s such a privilege to listen as they share their stories. In FASS we have a person-centred approach. Everyone is unique and I enjoy collaborating with clients to find what works best for them as they change their behaviour around alcohol and we explore the underlying issues that may be at the root of their difficulties, helping to identify and develop the skills they need to move forward in their lives.
Recently, I’ve been reading about the importance and power of connection for those seeking help with difficulties in life: maintaining good connections with the people around us that we trust and are supportive, as well as wider social connections to gain purpose and direction in our lives can have a really big impact.
Developing trusting relationships with clients and offering them hope that they can make changes are fundamental to how I see my approach as a counsellor. It might be a cliché, but l feel lucky to be doing something that I love, that is worthwhile, is making a contribution to our community and that might make a difference to someone’s life.
You out more about volunteering for FASS here: https://www.fassaction.org.uk/support-us-volunteer/