Sandra is an experienced Counsellor offering person-centred therapy using CBT techniques. She supports adults and young people wanting to have a better understanding of themselves whilst promoting emotional health and is based in the Forest of Dean. Here is Sandra in her own words.
Who Am I?
My background was in retail then as my boys grew older, I worked in a nursery as a play assistant. I also worked with profoundly disabled children offering personal care and was an outreach worker with able-bodied young people who were disadvantaged and had a range of difficulties such as global development delay or autism.
My interest in the therapeutic space came from working in retail. I have always found I was interested in people and what they had to say, their life experiences fascinated me. I do believe everyone has the right to be heard, understood, treated fairly and not judged.
My Days Look Like This
My day starts sometimes with exercise, keeping my home safe in these times or off to fill my house with food and nice things for the week. I always have breakfast – something that has green labels on the boxes. I enjoy my food times and plan my days well ahead. Rarely do I decide to have something different this maintains my body weight too.
I usually start work a little later mid-morning, I am an owl, so the night suits me better. I only drink a few carbonated drinks and manage the rest of the day on water or camomile tea. I only have a few clients at a time before a break. As its winter I make a homemade soup – this week was tomato with peppers, veg stock tomato puree and garlic in my soup maker so I stick to my healthy eating plan. A piece of fruit is always present, and I eat at the same time every day – lunch that is.
I go back to work and this can be a mixture of telephone, online video chat and a mixture of employee assisted work or private work. Food time again after this. One of many meals which are filled with carbs, protein, fresh veg homemade sauces sweet and sour or bolognaise/chilli sauce. I tried a sticky pork stir fry recently and really enjoyed this. I have ventured the last couple of weeks making pies and have surpassed myself with a delicious steak pie and a chicken, bacon and mushroom pie much to my husband Marks pleasure.
My day will end with one client and I never work past 8 pm. I spend the evening catching up with my Mark watching silly TV. I really like reality shows, I think it the analyser in me. When the football is not on that is! Big football fans in my house – me being a West Ham fan, Mark and my boys Brad and Sam, Tottenham fans. I enjoy red wine too this is my guilty pleasure. Fortunate for me Brad is a manager for a wine outlet. [smiles]
I have grown to love my phone and I don’t know what I would do without it. I have so many apps that I use regularly; from my exercise app that I book my fitness exercises into, my calendar, to having my banking online so easy, moon pig cards, amazon, I really don’t have to go out at all.
My Online Client Work
Mark converted our garage many years ago and has just recently turned this into an office for me providing me with a secure and confidential space for myself and my clients. The colours I have chosen are grey and pink with pictures of my family and all my favourite people that I love are on my wall whilst I talk to clients. I have yet to think about what to add to my only pink wall I was thinking of a quote that is a favourite of mine.
‘The day came when the risk it took to bloom
was less painful
than the risk it took to stay as tight as a bud’
I am finding initial contact finicky with clients. I direct them to my website however some struggle with downloading forms. I am looking into adding these on my website as a PDF for client ease. I am also looking into another method of directing client’s but keeping a track of our agreements easier too to make this accessible for all. I do find I am chasing a lot of contracts that may have not been downloaded or agreed too. I do find this becomes more about me than the client, although the documents are important its only important that I do my bit by sharing them, I can’t make people read them.
I am keen to start using some creative techniques with clients as I work with 12yrs and over. Using whiteboards and sharing pictures with clients to understand what the world looks like to them. I am keen to allow clients to use their own environment to understand how they are feeling, objects they have.
I keep a diary of counselling hours as well as a paper log also an online log of client work, in my diary, I keep a track of CPD and update this on my online record to show how I meet the requirements for my professional bodies. This what clients don’t see – how hard we work to appear seamlessly organised!
My Support System
Mark has enabled me to have my space and he worked hard on this being achieved. Therapy helps with the feeling of doubt alongside this supervision helps me to do my job well or to reconfirm I do my job well. I do suffer from low self-esteem and I have to be reassured and reminded of this from time to time. I also have friends who help to support me in meeting my needs and I protect this time with them.
My boys, well they are both adult men are my greatest support. I rarely go a day without a text or a like on social media their girlfriends. One is newer than the other and are a great addition and bring balance to our heavy manly clan. I love spending time with my family and consider this my favourite time.
I’m a big believer in mindfulness and will take at least 10 mins every other day where I finish work early at 5/5.30pm to spend thinking of nothing and emptying my thoughts. I use guided imagery which I do believe reduces my anxieties. A wonderful way to recharge!
My tutor Gerry Buckland used to say “Trust the process”. I still hear her voice. Who knew the process would be so complicated!