Life, for me, has been a mixed and truly wonderful, yet at times painful journey. Whatever I’ve achieved, whatever I’ve lost, the truth is that nothing stays the same for me. Ever. And that’s a good thing - keeps me on my toes. Another thing I’ve learned is that I never ‘arrive’. The Universe is constantly testing me, challenging me on the next stage of my life journey.
Just when I think I’ve got all the elements in my life sorted, be it relationships, the working on my health, the job role, whatever, someone rings a bell and shouts “All change!”
I believe my life is also about making the best of what I've got. One favourite saying of my Dad’s was, “when Life throws you lemons, make lemonade!”. Saying this is sometimes easier said than done, and yet how we live our lives is a choice we make, whether consciously or unconsciously.
The good thing is that being able to make choices is available to everyone who has the capacity to think, and to change those choices if they don’t suit. That’s one of the reasons I chose to study Transactional Analysis (TA). I had the choice of which mode of Psychotherapy I wanted to be trained in. The Link Centre website made the choice for me, a ‘no-brainer’. TA says that everyone, without exception, is OK. When I was training in my Foundation year I found this a difficult tenet to grasp.
“What about murderers? Paedophiles? Criminals?” I’d ask.
Back would come the answer that whilst their behaviour was definitely not OK, they, as people, were OK.
Sometimes deciding that things needed to change in my life has required me to seek the support of a trained counsellor. During my clinical training, personal therapy was a weekly occurrence and a must. Providing the chemistry is right (you should always seek an introductory session with at least 3 therapists, to help you decide who you want to work with), it’s been a valuable experience every time! Counselling/Psychotherapy has supported me through challenging changes and, without fail, has moved me forward in positive ways.
I’ve felt hugely supported too. The experience of sharing deeply personal topics and checking things out with someone who isn’t there to judge, has felt, for me, enormously empowering. Don’t we all deserve a hand to hold at different stages of our lives? For our good mental health at least? Friends and relatives can’t always do this as they’re filtering what you choose to share with them through their own value and belief systems, which could leave you and them, feeling unsupported, judged, or worse still, shamed.
My career choices throughout my life have been colourful and varied. I’ve gone from professional musical theatre actor, to learning & development specialist for the corporate and professional services world. And now I’m setting up my Counselling and Psychotherapy private practice. I’m excited and nervous and am keen to get started.
This is a new career for me, although I’ve practised for 6 years, 5 of which have been at St Barnabas Hospice on a Saturday morning, offering Loss and Bereavement counselling.
So, if you’ve got challenges ahead that you want to check out, or even are experiencing right now, whether it’s people, relationships, work, health, be it your own or someone else’s, don't feel you have to weather the difficulty on your own.
Seek the help of a qualified counsellor/psychotherapist. Visit the web for the UKATA or the BACP, UKCP and NCS Registers, amongst others, to find someone in your area. And should anyone be reading this who lives in West Sussex, I’m here. I’m listening. Let’s work together to bring about the positive next stage of your life.
Mandy lives in West Sussex, working as a qualified counsellor in TA Practice, with more than 6 years' Client experience. Mother, Wife, Artist and fledgling Cellist, Mandy works with adults and couples over 18, relationally, with what's in the room. Creative techniques and Mindfulness are practised where necessary. My working hours can be visited on my website.
Get in touch with Mandy at MRG Counselling & Psychotherapy