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Meet The Counsellors – Gemma Interview

Written by on December 5, 2019

My name is Gemma and I’m one of the senior counsellors based at the Meadow-Well Centre for Anxious Minds.

► How long have you been working as a counsellor Gemma?

Two years – roughly two years, it feels longer, it’s brilliant, about a year as a trainee.

► What qualifications are required and what led you to consider counselling as a career?

What led me to consider counselling as a career is my own personal battle with mental health, anxiety and depression and I just wanted to help others and the qualification route that I took was a foundation degree level 5.

► What happens in a typical counselling session and how long does it last?

Whatever the counter client brings is what we work with and that’s not for me to decide so we just kind of go with the flow. Sessions last around an hour.

► Is it confidential? for example would you talk to somebody’s doctor beyond the referral process?

It is confidential unless anybody was to tell me that they were at risk of harm such as an immediate suicide risk, terrorism risk – then I would have to take that up with supervision and kinda go down all the safeguarding routes with that. G.P’s not ordinarily but there is a process we can do with G.P’s.

► Do people recover with counselling?

► How many sessions are needed?

► What difficulties may be present?

It is considered beneficial to have counselling, it doesn’t work for everybody, the amount of sessions differs as well – some people come in for 6 and leave feeling a lot better – some people require up to 18 which is what Anxious Minds offer. Difficulties that people face, it varies again, all different kinds of mental health issues from anxiety ,depression but underlying things, self-esteem, confidence issues things like that, PTSD, grief and loss, yeah lots of different things.

► What’s the most rewarding aspect of counselling and what are the main challenges?

The most rewarding thing about it is just seeing people change and grow you know and being a part of the process and what I find challenging about that is it can be quite heavy at times and managing my own self-care to make sure that I’m the best I can be for my clients and Ive got my own ways of doing that and generally they’re quite beneficial.

► How would someone know if they needed counselling and how could it help?

I would say somebody would know that they need counselling when everything just becomes too overwhelming, they don’t see any other way and they just reach out for that little bit of support. I think a lot of it is about accepting the help.

► What is the difference between counselling sessions or appointments with a psychologist or psychiatrist?

Well a counsellor is very much one of the first points of call for anybody aside from a GP who is having mental health issues. We deal with sort of bottom line issues and psychologists and psychiatrists – they can diagnose ,they can kind of go into things on a deeper level in terms of how the brain processes and things like that. Counsellors don’t diagnose, we work with what comes into the room at that time.

► How did you become aware of or discover Anxious Minds in the first place?

I discovered Anxious Minds when I was looking for a placement for my college degree and despite living a couple of minutes away from Anxious Minds I wasn’t previously aware of it.

► Could you describe your experience as a volunteer counsellor for Anxious Minds?

My experience has been amazing, I love everything about it, it’s so rewarding for me on a personal level and professionally.

► How has Anxious Minds helped shape your opinion of pursuing counselling as a career?

It’s just cemented what I knew, that this is what I have to do, I need to be doing this to help other people and it also helps me.

► What would you say to other counsellors who were considering volunteering for Anxious Minds?

Just go for it! Give it a go!

► What would you say to any potential clients considering getting counselling sessions?

What I would say is if they’re already considering it, they’ve obviously identified that it’s something that they may find beneficial so give it a try! We’re all very real people you know, We have been through a lot of things similar ourselves – just give it a go!

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