'Becoming...' My journey to Personal Consultancy - Before the beginning.
Hi. My name is Sue Trent and I'm a Therapeutic Coach now. I have been lots of things, a Sales Assistant, a Postal Assistant, a Housing Assistant, a Teaching Assistant, a Learning Support Assistant and many more besides. Always the bridesmaid, as they say, and never the bride.
Over the last 20 years I have been working in schools supporting the mental health and well-being of children and young people. With ambition to be more than assistant, I started studying my psychology degree with The Open University and graduated six years later with First Class Honors. This is where the beginning really is. This is where I learned that someone who was average at school, passed everything, excelled at nothing, dropped out of Sixth Form, struggled with mental health problems as a teenager and ended up unemployed could also get a degree. Who'd have thought? Definitely not me!
So then what? Become a teacher, an Educational Psychologist, a Clinical Psychologist, or a counselor? I looked into them all. Problem was, my years of experience working with children and young people had shown me that what worked best was what best met each individual's needs. Which career would enable me to become the provider of that? Seemingly none of the above. Unfortunately, problems don't neatly fall into the categories used to define the services designed to meet them.
Struggling to find a way forward, I jumped into the tidal wave of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) that was sweeping in at the time as the new cure all. In my year at The Anna Freud Center I learned a lot, about myself as much as CBT, all of which still stands me in good stead today. Sadly, CBT isn't a cure for all. This became apparent when my support for a disadvantaged pupil who had experienced trauma, and which enabled her to go on to achieve accelerated progress in Year 6 SATs, was attributed to my therapeutic relationship given my intervention had not strictly been CBT. As if there could be no other explanation? Or an approach which may also have been helpful? So there I was again, looking at another dead end. Another career path leading to a destination where my support would be defined by my service and not my client's needs.
Fortunately, this is when I found Fusion Therapeutic Coaching. Suddenly it was possible to combine the strengths of multiple approaches. What a light bulb moment! Maybe this would meet the demands of my work with children and young people? Fusion has served me, and many children and young people, well in the 2 years I have been in private practice. After many dead ends, I have finally found home. There is much work to be done though! More children and young people to help. More awareness needed of the benefits of integrative working in response to clients needs. More research needed to satisfy the demands of being 'evidence-based'. More adults could be better helped too. This is where I belong and this is what I want to do.
Despite increasing interest in integration, the historical weight of purism remains strong. It is hard to be heard over established voices. Looking for a louder voice I found Personal Consultancy and UEL's postgraduate integrative counselling and coaching course. This is the only course of its kind in the world and is accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. Is this how we can stand on the shoulders of giants and raise our voice?
So I arrive at the beginning of my journey to Personal Consultancy. Will it help me better meet more needs of more clients? Will it fulfill the demands of my work with children and young people? What will I learn on my journey, about Personal Consultancy and myself? Am I ready for the challenges? I hope so! My aim is to leave a series of blogs as a trail. If my story resonates with you, follow me. I am excited and scared, but I am ready. Now let's begin...