Past Students

Gemma Geary

I always knew from completing the introduction course (elsewhere) that counselling was where my heart was. Unfortunately that training provider decided to stop their diploma course and so my tutor recommended the Academy S.P.A.C.E to continue my training. 

I’m so pleased I found the Academy – the support and encouragement is what keeps you going and is truly inspiring. 
I won’t ever forget Sally’s initial support. I needed to find some balance to all the spinning plates I had and she took the time out of her weekend to chat through some of my concerns. I knew I wanted to complete the diploma course so I needed to make some difficult decisions in my career to make way for the study and the placements. It was a big risk but one I am truly glad I took. 
Being a graduate of class 2020 was one of my most proudest moments. I don’t know how the Academy got us through the pandemic but they did and they did it all with minimum stress to their students! 
I’ve now left behind my old 20yr career to set up private practice with a fellow peer/graduate who I started with from the very beginning. I now have a positive balanced lifestyle that suits me which is worlds apart from what I’d been used to. 
I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this without the the encouragement and support from the Academy, tutors, peers and my supervisor. I won’t ever forget my time at the Academy and i certainly would recommend others to do their training here as well as the great CPD events they run. 

Caroline O’Keeffe

After working in academic research for almost 20 years I finally decided to take the plunge and start counselling training at S.P.A.C.E in 2013.  I had always had a yearning to work as a counsellor and experiencing trauma and tragedy in my own life (which led me to my own very positive experiences of therapy), confirmed in my mind that it was the right thing for me to do.  I started with the Introductory course and enjoyed it so much, I went straight on to do the Foundation course and then the three year Diploma.  Studying at S.P.A.C.E was the most wonderful experience.  There wasn’t a single thing about the course that I didn’t find completely fascinating.  The work was extremely challenging at times and juggling studying with a demanding job and family life was difficult for sure.  However, the fantastic support of my peers and all the staff at S.P.A.C.E made it so enjoyable and rewarding.  I did placements at the University of Sheffield Counselling Service and Sheffield Mind. I was extremely well supported by S.P.A.C.E in finding placements and the Supervision I received throughout was absolutely first class.  This gave me the confidence to set up in Private Practice as soon as I graduated.  After all the hard work I was keen to start earning a living as soon as possible.  The first three months were fairly slow but after that, things really took off and I very quickly had a full list of clients.  This has been consistently the case ever since.  I had heard very mixed stories about whether or not it is possible to earn a realistic living from counselling, especially in the first couple of years after graduation. I have been surprised and thrilled to find out that it absolutely is!!  I share a lovely counselling room with a friend who I studied with and we also do peer supervision together. It’s lovely to have such a close relationship as both friends and colleagues, having supported one another through the years of training at S.P.A.C.E.  I absolutely love my job (in fact most of the time it doesn’t feel like a job at all) and I couldn’t be happier that I decided to take the somewhat daunting step of completely re-training in my forties.  My client work is endlessly fascinating and every day I learn something new about my clients, myself and the world.  I’m not sure there are many other jobs which offer such rich rewards, nor many other training providers which offer such a professional, supportive and inspiring learning environment.

Bex Fennell

I began my studies with S.P.A.C.E just over 4 years ago and I can not tell you how much my life has changed since then. I have 3 young children and a part time job and wondered how I would ever manage to fit everything in. It soon became a really great part of my life and I looked forward to being with a group of amazing, like minded people each week. I have made some amazing friends. The content of the course is fantastic and thought provoking and really made me question many areas of my life and relationships. It changed me, and by the end of the course I feel more confident and settled with who I am and what I have to offer. I have learnt so much. The lecturers are all so knowledgeable and personable and the course is laid out in a really thoughtful way. You are guided and supported over the entire course. 
Since qualifying, I have set up my own private practise and currently share a space with a fellow student to offer face to face and remote sessions. We are busy! I never imagined I would be at this point so quickly but it just seemed to happen and I am loving it! 
I am due to leave my other job in a few weeks to focus fully on my private practice. 
I also have a small business creating ’emotional support boxes’ to send to children who may be struggling with grief or anxiety and this has been a great way to channel some of my creativity and offer something else.

Link to my website :

Sophie Croft

I applied to the Academy S.P.A.C.E to train when my curiosity was piqued after a particularly impactful EAP counselling session from my very corporate role, at the time. I initially did the foundation course as I had no previous experience whatsoever in working in this field, and went on to complete the diploma. This included two placements at local organisations – one of which I am now employed part time with and the other where I continue to volunteer. Since graduating last year, I now also work in a self-employed capacity at another local organisation, as well as offering ad-hoc support to the employees of a nationwide student support service. I also am gradually building a small private practice of 2-3 clients. 
I found the course to be nurturing and supportive with an emphasis on self-reflection and development. This combined with the encouragement to establish and ground into what ‘Integrative’ means for me,  allowed me to build the confidence I needed to pursue counselling and psychotherapy as a career, which I can now say, happily, is my full time work. I feel privileged every day to be able to do this work, which without The Academy, I wouldn’t be doing.
@sophiecroftcounselling – Instagram