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Past Students

Aimee Morgan-Boon

AimeeSpecialist Psychotherapist, Royal Hallamshire Hospital

I spent some years following graduation in a wide range of jobs, ending up working for a record company. Although it was fun and exciting I wanted to do something more grounded and rewarding. I started by volunteering as a buddy for Terrence Higgins Trust (for people living with HIV and Aids).

Later I moved to Sheffield and started Diploma training (2002-4). My first child was 6 months old and the most challenging part was fitting assignments into occasional weekend slots when I could be baby-free! My placement was with South Yorkshire Police, where I had fantastic support and supervision, and first encountered trauma work, which is the basis of my job today. I then did a PG Cert. Couple Counselling, and spent five years working a private practice around two children whilst gaining BACP accreditation. In 2011 I joined a team of psychotherapists at the Hospital’s Neurology department.  I am now Manager of the Neurology Psychotherapy Service at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. Most of our patients present with physical symptoms for which no organic cause can be found. Many have experienced extreme trauma and the emotional effects manifest later as debilitating physical illness. Therapy consists of symptom management alongside trauma processing, and I couldn’t wish for more interesting, stimulating and challenging work.

 

Connie Chapman

I am one of the first graduates from the Professional Diploma course in The Academy: SPACE in 2014. The course was assessed and granted accreditation by National Counselling Society (NCS) during my final year. I am therefore, an accredited member of NCS and I am also a registered member of BACP.

I am a Chinese born and bred, holding a teacher’s qualification from Hong Kong. I have worked over 10 years with students in various capacities. I then chose to study in Britain in the mid-90s with the fresh dream of becoming a counsellor. I completed my initial counselling training in Nottingham, but life events took over and I took a different path. When my husband accepted an appointment to work in Sheffield in 2010, at the age of early 50s, I was looking for another a career change. “What is my heart’s desire that worth my commitment in the next 10 years, at least?” Counselling and Psychotherapy caught my attention again. I felt I am more ready for the challenge this time round.

When I made an enquiry to SPACE by email, I was replied to with a personal phone call and was warmly invited to meet Gail personally. I was then advised to attend an open day to find out more about the course. I was given plenty of opportunities to ask questions and to consider my needs.

Due to the long years since I last completed a counselling course, I was advised to take two of the Foundation modules. I found that was good preparation for me to proceed to the strenuous but warmly supported three-year part-time training.

During the course, the key experiences were around learning in a group of about a dozen, the application of skills and theory in placement settings and my formation as a practitioner. These were well knit together by the continuous requirement to reflect on my own personal as well as professional development, with reference to the client work and the professional ethical framework. Being able to put the above in writing as precise and concise as I could was a valuable exercise to carve out my understanding of the core theoretical model in an integrative approach.

The other key experience during the course is the additional CPD events I attended. I was a frequent attender of the Development Forum sessions at The Academy where I met other counselling professionals in various work and voluntary settings. The wide range of subjects included in these sessions has expanded my knowledge and helped to make choices on what to focus on in the course. It also gave me a chance to network with individuals of like mind.

Currently, I am getting close to applying for BACP accreditation and I am a full time counsellor in an IAPT service, which is part of a multidisciplinary community team within a NHS foundation trust. I feel fortunate to be able to secure a paid employment within 15 months after completing the course but I owe this achievement to the demanding training process through SPACE [demanding on me as a person – to be open to others and allow changes to happen to my own self, as well as giving time and effort to catch up with all the readings and assignments required; and this does not come easier when I use English as a second language]. This foundation, built with the constant awareness to reflect and to assess has helped me to sit confidently within the diverse and evidence oriented IAPT service. I am also developing Soulace Counselling as my private practice.

If you are considering to be trained at The Academy: SPACE, I would suggest you to seriously set your time (and financial!) priority for the learning. There will be time feeling frustrated and stressed out but these are all good ingredients for more rooted personal development. Saying so, it is also important to put self-care as part of the mainstream development, rather than an additional entertainment in your spare time – receiving quality support from the close ones and good friends you can make in the process. … and taking advantage of the moments you can share tea, coffee and biscuits (and even homemade cakes!) with your fellow colleagues, etc. You will need these!

*NB Six of the seven counsellors shown on the website are ex-students of Gail Evans

Alvan Brooks

AlvanCounsellor in the Voluntary Sector and NHS to gain experience

I have been a landscape gardener for over twenty years, so whoever reads this, don’t assume counsellors have to come from any particular background – just be a ‘person’! Several years ago, without apparent reason, I felt a particular urgency to enrol for the SHU Certificate in Counselling and I continued on to the Diploma. This ‘urge’ was instinctive, fulfilling and appropriate. There are endless positives to this training and work. Although it appears altruistic, it enables a greater understanding of self and others, mentally and emotionally and I can personally vouch for self-growth and a kinder outlook to others, more importantly to myself. Being mixed race, losing my father at twelve, I encountered grief, loss and discriminatory segregation. These experiences help my empathic stance in my practice.

My practice placements were at a homeless shelter and St. Luke’s Hospice, where I still volunteer as a bereavement counsellor. They provided contrasting and diverse situations which promoted my counselling skills. I am now nearing the end of a two year post-qualifying placement at an NHS service for staff. It has provided me with all sorts of experience and a wealth of depth and variety. I have now gained the hours, experience and supervision to apply for BACP accreditation.