This is me aged 4. I am now 65, and may have changed a little over the years - physically at least.
I hope that I may have acquired some degree of wisdom over the last 60 years and more; though I still sometimes wonder where all the grown-ups have gone.
I have been working as a (reasonably grown-up) counsellor for well over twenty years.
I trained for a post-graduate diploma in counselling in 1996, and then again in 2008.
Why two diplomas?
My first diploma, with an organisation called the AMAP organisation - now defunct - was eclectic, eccentric, inspirational and completely undisciplined.
My second diploma, in Person-Centred Counselling with the University of Brighton - a course accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy - was a far more sober affair. I try to draw on the best that these two experiences had to offer.
How did I become a counsellor?
I was forced, over thirty years ago, to confront my own demons and to realise that my life was being run by a combination of addiction, depression and bewilderment. My story is not your story; but my experiences do help me to understand what it is like to feel stuck, hopeless, frightened, and unsure where to turn.
I have been fortunate enough to meet a number of quite brilliant counsellors, working in very different fields and disciplines, who have taught me a lot about what can be helpful. I have also met counsellors and therapists who seemed to me less helpful. I hope that I have taken lessons away from both experiences.
Much of my own route to recovery came through twelve-step groups - on the model of Alcoholics Anonymous. I am very grateful to twelve-step groups. I also appreciate that many people find the AA model completely unsympathetic to their needs. Put bluntly, some people really hate 12-step groups; whilst others feel uneasy in any groups. Whilst I will always support clients struggling with addictions to seek help and support through AA and similar groups, I would never impose this as a condition.
I also provide support for many problems which have little or nothing to do with addiction.
I am a registered member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), and I am bound by the BACP's Ethical Framework for Good Practice in Counselling and Psychotherapy.
For more information on the BACP please click on the links above.
I am also affiliated to the Brighton Person-Centred Community.