ONLINE counsellor in Surrey – HOW I BECAME A COUNSELLOR
Before I became a Qualified Christian Counsellor I worked for many years as a Personal Assistant Secretary/Office Manager. I remember how at times I became the “agony aunt” of the office to many staff offering a listening ear, to give help or offer advice whenever I could. But I remember how reluctant I was to seek help when I needed this myself; I thought no-one would be able to help me or understand.
At rock bottom, I ventured into counselling and did a basic course to see if I could discover things about myself; for one, that I cared a lot about people’s suffering. Learning about myself and how I dealt with my own problems enabled me to better understand what counselling was about and it was then I embarked on further studies.
- Basic Counselling Skills: Thames Valley University, West London
- Diploma in Counselling: The Institute of Natural Healing, Somerset
- ASET Certificate in Business Management: Open Study College, Cumbria
I achieved my Diploma as a Person-centred Counsellor in 2007 and have been counselling people for some eleven years, including young offenders and women in prison. I am a born-again Christian of some eighteen years and regularly practice my faith. My base is in Surrey and offers a free counselling service in England and other parts of the world.
My outreach experience
My outreach experience started when our church cooked food and brought this to homeless people in Central London, as an individual I also brought blankets to them in the winter. There are many reasons why people become homeless and I heard at first hand the things that easily happened to them. When I decided to do voluntary visits at Feltham Young Offenders Institute (FYOI), it was not by chance for long before this, I had met a young man whilst on outreach when he was released from prison before Christmas on a bitterly cold evening and this was not something I forgot. But there was more to this than I realized when I decided to become a voluntary prison visitor that lasted for almost five years, two of which gave an opportunity for employment when my work of seventeen years as a PA/Office Manager was no longer available – those words referred to as 'being made redundant!' But even that got me out of my ‘comfort zone’ to go on and do better things. After my visits and work at FYOI came to an end. It was then that I started to visit women in prison and spoke face-to-face with them. It is unimaginable the difficulties women face. Saddest of all is to give birth whilst being in prison and family members cut themselves off or the women are foreigners and have no one to visit them. Trying to settle back into the community can also become quite daunting not only for women but also men and young juveniles. So, it is useful if they can receive mentoring or help that will signpost them into the right direction such as housing, welfare benefits, completing forms and a host of other things.
As a Christian Counsellor and Mentor for over eleven years, my life experience has given me the opportunity and privilege to counsel people from various walks of life and commit much time to doing so.
I have been to Cologne, Miami, India and revisited my native Jamaica. My first visit to South India was for two weeks and the memory of those weeks extended to a further visit of three months during which time I visited Karnataka, parts of Bangalore, Tamil Nadu and Andra Pradesh, mostly remote villages where I got to experience some of its cultures and to see at first hand, people in their natural habitat, many being extremely poor, and an experience that has changed my outlook on life completely.
Outside of my counselling work
My children are all grown up which allows time for me to enjoy doing the things that I love; ministry work mostly in India, meeting and helping people, gardening, cooking, and writing.