“I decided to become a counsellor following a particularly difficult period in my own personal life, having suffered from depression some time ago, caused by a number of factors over a short period of time.
“I was referred to counselling and experienced two very different counsellors – one who I felt was of limited help and the other who was engaged in the counselling process and very supportive.
“At this point, I started telephone volunteering helping people in mental health crises, and through these experiences I decided to train in counselling, so I could help people in one-to-one sessions.
“My experiences of being a counsellor are that I enjoy meeting different people and feel privileged to be given the opportunity and trust of the clients to share in their innermost feelings and problems. I feel that if I can facilitate and support people I see in some way with their problems then my training has been worthwhile.
“I enjoy being able to share my learning with clients when using cognitive behaviour therapy techniques, but I work to a more integrative style with each client’s needs and by working in this way I can hopefully help the client to gain insight into their issues and help to equip them to feel empowered to deal with future problems.
“I have been with DCCS since 2015 and I love my role so much so that when I finished my degree I stayed on as a volunteer counsellor and have since increased my days in the office so I can help people over the phone and face to face, offering the widest variety of counselling possible.
“The telephone counselling project was relatively new, and I had been a part of it since the planning stages, which truly made me feel part of the team and it is a great experience and a way of helping DCCS to reach out to Carers in remote areas who may otherwise struggle to access services.
“DCCS also helped me to gain my supervisors certification, so not only do I have my own caseload, I also help to do triage calls and clinical supervision sessions with other counsellors, so I get to use my experience for helping Carers and share my knowledge and expertise with other counsellors and help to develop their skills and confidence.
“During the pandemic, we introduced online counselling on platforms such as Zoom, which has been another great learning curve, and as well as increasing my own skill set to work in this way, I really enjoy being able to provide peer support to other counsellors.
“Overall, I have found volunteering to be really rewarding and hope to be part of the team for a long time. I would recommend DCCS to people who find themselves in a caring role and anyone looking to volunteer.”