I recently had the pleasure of meeting with Heather. We had an amazing conversation about her role as a counsellor. Heather is the first person I have spoken to who has a professional qualification and is running a page to help spread some hope and inspire others. As you will see we had some common interests and discovered a shared love of books!
Heather has an amazing page full of useful information and can also direct you to her professional services if needed. All of her details are available over on her page Compassionate_counselling_uk on Instagram.
Heather specialises in counselling which is person-centred, so it is focused all on you, and she goes on to explain more about this as we spoke. Hope you enjoy reading our little chat, and please feel free to pop on over to her page to check out the content she is sharing.
Hi, and welcome. I think I explained previously why I was writing these blogs; did you have any questions before hand?
No, I don’t think so, I’m just grateful for the opportunity:)
I am grateful that you have given me your time, so thank you.
I have a few questions which I would like to ask, but it’s really just a bit of a chat, to get to know you, how you came about starting your page, and what your hopes are for the future is that ok?
Yes of course.
So, I know from your about me post you are a person-centred counsellor. How did you come about going into this field? What was it that drew you to this?
Well, I have always struggled with anxiety and during school my mental health gradually got worse. I was bullied a lot and lost a few close family members suddenly so it all took its toll I suppose you could say. I was diagnosed with depression and panic disorder and I used to self-harm, so I have been through a lot over the years. I have also seen a fair few counsellors in that time, and I didn’t feel the right connection with them, and I didn’t feel supported to be perfectly honest. So, I wanted to go into counselling to help and support people who are struggling, because I have been there too, and I know how much of a difference feeling listened to and supported can make. I wanted to be there for people and give them a different experience than I had.
The focus is on the working relationship between client and counsellor in person centred counselling, this is one of the main reasons why I decided to train in this field. Being able to be there and work with the client to help them to help themselves is very rewarding.
I like that you were able to take your own experience, despite it not being the most positive and turn it round to promote your own strengths.
As a result, you are where you are today, and that is amazing.
Thank you, I just wanted to be able to be that support for other people.
How long have you been a counsellor for?
I did 7 years of training, which included both a psychology degree and 2 counselling diplomas. I qualified fully in 2019 but I have been a volunteer counsellor whilst I have been training for the past 3 years now. I decided to try to set up my own private practice earlier this year.
I also used to be a volunteer counsellor for ChildLine which I loved.
That is a long training programme, and a lot of commitment. It definitely shows your passion for the role.
Yes, I am deeply passionate about counselling and raising awareness of mental health.
What was it that made you decide to start up your Instagram page?
Well, I had been thinking about it for a while as I was thinking about starting up my own private practice. Since I had a lot of free time during lockdown (as lots of people did!) I decided, with some encouragement from my sister, to do it and set up my Instagram page.
I wanted to promote mental health awareness, show people that it is ok to not be ok and that there is hope out there. As well as promote my private practice.
Your sister sounds like a good support.
Yes, she is, I do have a lot of support around me.
Since you have had your page going, have your views, or practices changed in anyway?
My practice is constantly developing and growing I would say, rather than changing. It is important to keep learning and keep developing yourself as a person as well as a counsellor.
I have learnt a lot from other counsellors and mental health pages on here, there are so many!
Yes, there are, it is amazing how many pages there are with experiences, and knowledge here.
Have there been any standout moments for you in your career that you can share?
I have been fortunate to work with lots of different people who have had a wide range of mental health problems but mostly I have worked with people suffering from anxiety. I had a client previously who was a single parent and was suffering with anxiety due to a past abusive relationship. I worked with her for a good few months, but her progress was inspiring, she was inspiring!
Hearing success stories is soooo nice.
I will never forget working with her, she wanted the support, she wanted to change, and she did it for herself and her child and she “found herself again”.
That is amazing,
Yes, I was so grateful to be a part of her journey.
I was going to ask what is it that keeps you motivated, but I feel like that is probably your answer.
Yes, definitely my clients are my motivation. I just want to be able to continue to support people through counselling for as long as I can.
That’s a rather good motivation.
I think so too 🙂
If you have the motivation to keep going, and you enjoy it then that’s an amazing recipe for success.
So, with your work, keeping your page up to date and active, how do you keep yourself balanced? After all it is all important, and so is your own mental health. So, what do you do to keep yourself grounded?
Oh, good question! For me, yoga really helps to keep my mind clear and focused. It helps me to destress.
I also try to get outside when I can for walks in nature, it helps even more when the sun is out, but as we know in the UK that isn’t always the case 🙂
I am also a book lover! Reading helps my mental health a lot actually, I love the escapism they bring.
Getting outside is great when we can.
oohhhh what are you reading at the moment?
I have just finished reading a book called “The Golden Sea” which is book 2 of a series called The Mapmaking Magicians by Emma Sterner-Radley. I am currently reading “Inhibited” which is a complex fantasy by Cerynn McCain.
ooohhh I’ve not read those; I may need to do some research. (when i have finished my course)
I love reading and writing so I read literally anything.
Me too, my bookshelves are jam packed with books I still need to read, but i am always buying more!
Same here, I have an e-reader, but it is not the same as an actual book.
Oh no I completely agree! Although I do read some books on my phone through apple books, nothing beats the real thing 🙂
lol definitely. Literally the sofa, blanket, book, I am sorted. My kids can leave me there for hours.
I just need to get them to read, I have one reader so far. I guess it’s better than none.
You can do it! It is just a question of finding the right book! 🙂
Yes, I agree
I have a final couple of questions for you if that ok, then I will let you get on with your day.
Unfortunately, they are not about books or reading.
That can be for our next conversation.
What a great idea!
What are your best hopes for your page and even your having your own practice? For the future
My hopes are to be able to reach more people who are in need of counselling and mental health support. I want to spread more awareness of mental health and the message that there is always hope. I would also like my page to keep growing and for people to enjoy my posts.
I would like to keep learning, growing, and developing myself and my practice as well.
I love that, it is hard to get the support, and the fact that you want to be able to provide that support and make it reachable is amazing.
Literally would like nothing more.
what key message would you want all the readers to hold on too?
That there is always hope and support out there, it is just about holding on and finding it. You are loved, you are cared about, you are not alone ❤️
I love that. Thank you.
I do not have any other questions for you.
you are freeeeeeeeeeeee.
Thank you so much for inviting me for this chat.
I think a book talk definitely needs to happen!
And yes, a book talk most definitely has to be arranged.
So, a massive thank you to Heather for sharing some inside information on herself and showing us the importance of having some down time, and also that we all have a story. Our own story doesn’t have to define us, it can build us and give us strength to help others and develop us in ways that at times we not imagine. Watch out for some joint book reviews, as I have a feeling, they may be coming this way soon, now we have discovered a shared love of books, I can’t help but wonder what the vast array of genres spread across our bookshelves, I am very much looking forward to that conversation. Don’t forget Compassionate_counselling_uk is only on Instagram, you can click on the link anywhere in this post or from my page. Thank you for reading.