I trained to be a counsellor because I had struggled over the years with low mood and poor self esteem and felt there must be a reason why.
I just couldn't understand it, I'd had a lovely, rural childhood with 'decent' parents and as an adult, I had all the things in life that most people aim for.
I discovered that my 'perfect childhood' was missing some vital elements and this is something I often encounter with clients. My study of childhood development and attachment styles made me aware of what children need in order to thrive and become fully individuated adults. Along with these missing elements, my father's serious illness when I was a teenager meant I had also experienced what is know as an 'Adverse Childhood Event' or ACE.
This had hugely impacted the family but the 'keep calm and carry on attitude' prevalent in my family, and possibly society at that time, made it worse. Psychological support was not offered and no-one suggested going to see a counsellor.
As I grew up I was left with the (hugely erroneous) idea that children were thought to be 'too young' to suffer from anxiety, the effects of emotional neglect or trauma, so I discounted what I had been through.
Many years later, I finally realised I needed help, and booked in to see a counsellor. After just the first session, I began to get some clarity about what had happened to me throughout my childhood and how it was affecting me as an adult.
"It's never too late to have a happy childhood"
I was finally able to talk about my issues, have my experiences, and more importantly my feelings about them, validated.
At this time, I was studying for a degree in Psychology at the Manchester Metropolitan University, and the counselling I accessed had a huge impact me and I made the decision to start studying for a Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling. Therapy had helped me so much, and I was certain I could help others in a similar way.
I first went into private practice in 2016 when I realised there were a lot of people, who like me, had been exposed to negative experiences in childhood and had not been able to access support. I was aware that many people struggled daily, with low self esteem, depression and anxiety, but managed to 'do sort of okay' in life, but never flourished or reached their potential.
I realised that for me, 'doing okay' wasn't the same as living a full life, and, with help I was able to change that.
I believe this can happen for you too.