I talk to myself in the shower all the time. I play out scenarios in my head and have conversations, I think it is a way of being in tune with myself. If I feel like I’m not ok, I name it.

I might say to my partner, “I’m just agitated today, I don’t know why”. Naming it can help shift the feeling or at least it makes me laugh. I work with a lot of people who feel like their mind is always on the go, they have difficulty with being present. It reminds me of a book I read - “Mindful monkey, happy panda.” The monkey was always jumping from one task to another. His mind was always somewhere else other than where he was. But the panda would give his full attention to whatever he was doing. I think it is a good illustration of how all of us can distract ourselves from what’s in front of us.

There is not a one size fits all strategy. What works for me will not necessarily work for a client. It is about supporting the client to come to their own decision about what works best for them. The relationship is always evolving and changing. I love that to do this work, I need to be myself every day.

I bring a lot of myself into the counselling room. I need to be honest about myself to create that real connection.

We are all human and we all need connection. Just to be present in a session is one of the most helpful things I can do. Not putting expectations on myself allows me to be as authentic as possible and be transparent with the clients.

I think prior to being a counsellor, I viewed the role differently. I thought you had to solve everyone’s problems and fix things. I have realised that you can’t wave a magic wand to fix everything. It’s a lot more about being there and supporting them, helping them find the solution. I think that was a big challenge for me at the start. You’re sitting there thinking; if I could just change that, it would help. But it doesn’t work like that. It’s about finding a way to maintain your own values, but not let them interfere with the client or the session. It’s about acknowledgement; just knowing it is normal and it is ok that there are differences, is enough.

Sometimes when I see those clients have those lightbulb moments about their own life, it can help me to have my own realisations. The client is not there to be in line with my values and beliefs.

I can be very tough on myself. I do experience doubt around if I am the right person for the client and if I will be what they need. Not assuming, I think, is an important part of a successful session, checking in to see if I am understanding things correctly. No counsellor is the same.