Whilst I came to the counselling profession later in life, mental health and wellbeing has always interested me. A close friend of mine had a mental health diagnosis as a teenager, which made me curious about why this happens and what can help.
In 2006, I began listening to people in crisis for a charity. After 4 years, I made a career change, to support people with complex mental health issues. I decided to train as a counsellor as this seemed to be the next logical step in increasing my ability to support other people. During the years of training, I also continued to work in a voluntary capacity for different organisations, listening to and supporting people who are finding life challenging. All the people I supported had different presenting problems, from alcohol or drug dependency, suicidal ideation, challenging thoughts and behaviours or a very negative view of who they are. Some I met when they had no home, or had fallen foul of the justice system, but often the underlying reasons for their situation were similar.
I am often asked if I specialise in any particular area. I like to think that I specialise in people, as I find there are more similarities than differences in all of us. I have a particular interest in those with chronic mental health challenges and how an acceptable standard of life can be achieved.
I follow groups that support the de-medicalisation of mental health diagnoses such as A Disorder for everyone https://adisorder4everyone.com and the Soteria network https://www.soterianetwork.org.uk I have also signed the ERNI (Emotions Are Not Illnesses) declaration.