Here is some more information about me and my background, including what I have undertaken academically and professionally, as well as some details about my personal experiences, which have also contributed to my development and what I feel I am able to offer as a counsellor.
- Certificate in Counselling Studies (University of Leicester, England, 1993)
- Advanced Certificate in Counselling Studies (University of Leicester, England, 2000)
- Diploma in Counselling Studies (University of Leicester, England, 2003)
- Higher Diploma in Counselling Studies (Atlantic Technological University, Ireland, 2022)
- Motivational Interviewing for Substance Misuse (2004)
- Brief Solution Focussed Therapy (2006)
- Post Trauma Management (2008)
- Introduction to CBT for Depression, Anxiety and Trauma (2010)
- ASIST Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (2016)
- How to do Counselling Online: a Coronavirus Primer (2020)
- Working with Bereavement and Complex Grief (2020)
I have been a registered member of the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) since 2001. I have maintained my membership since moving to Ireland and in 2015 I successfully applied for accredited status on account of my level of training and experience.
My membership with the BACP ensures that I am working to a high level of professional standards. I am required to have monthly clinical supervision and to complete ongoing training as part of my continuing professional development. The BACP also has an ethical framework which all members are expected to adhere to.
While completing my counselling training I worked as a psychological assistant in the prison service and a social worker in residential children’s homes. I also completed placements in a counselling centre and a university counselling service in order to accrue counselling hours required for my training.
After completing my training I initially worked within the substance misuse field, helping clients to tackle their drug and alcohol issues. After a few years I took up the position of telephone counsellor with an employee assistance programme, a role I continued in for 10 years. This work has given me extensive experience of working with bereavement and trauma.
My Personal Story
My decision to work specifically with bereavement is partly due to my own personal experience of having two significant bereavements in 2012 and 2013. Despite having substantial training and working with many clients who have been in the midst of grief, when it happened to me, I was still deeply affected by it. This has given me an appreciation, from first hand experience, of how difficult it can be to endure, survive and to come through bereavement.
When I returned to work after each death I found myself being a lot more attuned and more naturally empathic and connected to other people’s losses. My training had given me a level of competence in working with the bereaved, but my own experience of grief has given me an understanding that is much more natural and intuitive. I also had my own personal counselling for my losses, which helped me considerably, and showed me just how valuable this support can be at such a time in one’s life.
I moved to Ireland in 2014, mainly for personal and family reasons, and on the back of the losses I had experienced. My wife is originally from Ireland and my father was also born in Ireland before he moved to England. It was always my intention to make the move at some point and my grief probably provided the state of flux in which to finally do so. Not to say that this didn’t make it more challenging, and the move itself brought with it further changes and losses to adjust to. In retrospect, however, moving to Ireland, and what it has offered me, has been a major component in my own recovery.
One thing, however, that has always been noticeable to me is the lack of services which specifically offer counselling for bereavement in Ireland. Some support services do exist, especially in the voluntary sector, but these would not be as extensive or organised as those that operate in the UK, in my view. This is another factor in my motivation to provide counselling for bereavement, to be another option for those in need of this support and, hopefully, to be able to offer a service which can be a help and comfort in times of grief and loss.