First of all, tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today.
I became a counsellor as my office job was boring me to tears. Experience confirmed I was a good interviewer and had already been a Samaritan. I saw a counselling skills course at the local college and I enrolled. I thought, if nothing else, I would stimulate myself and not drag everyone else down in the office.
After I qualified I attended a CPD about online counselling. I met an interesting counsellor who was a tutor for a different company. When I got home I emailed this therapist and asked for some more information about her work and training. I was running a local Freecycle group at the time so spending a lot of time in the corner of my room online. I thought this might be something else I could “tag on”. Oh goodness, I couldn’t tag anything on. I discovered the hard way I needed the time stated to absorb the course and do my research. Online counselling was most definitely not something that you “just” added on to your day – it needed the time, space and respect you would offer face to face counselling.
Take us through a recent workday.
Today is a mixture of everything. I’m online right now doing marketing for Online Training for Counsellors. I will also do some admin for the same. I have been answering enquiries regarding my counselling business and generally making sure my diary is up to date. I have a work station downstairs and a counselling room upstairs. I prefer to work downstairs, next to my dog, and near the coffee machine. I have a supervisee who I sometimes see online coming to my home today and a client I normally see face to face attending online. No two days are never the same! I don’t have another job that’s not counselling/supervising/tutoring.
What apps, gadgets, or tools can’t you live without?
My diary as I have a very poor memory now! My head is full of clients and students! I use an electronic diary and every aspect of my life is added to it. Dragon is my speech to writing software which I am very fond of. I am prone to sore shoulders and this means I can type and walk about if I want to. I use both notepads and scrap paper for my day to day. I have been known to staple scraps of paper to my notepad to ensure I don’t lose it. I do like the notepad on my phone for saving links and information I come across too.
What’s your workspace setup like?
I am lucky to have my 2 dedicated spaces to work from and my husband would object if I started to spill over from there. I do have some certificates on the wall but not all of them. Sometimes I leave my sand tray in sight but mostly it is in the cupboard alongside my printer, filing cabinet and assorted sex therapy equipment
Take us through an interesting, unusual, or finicky process you have in place at work.
Not interesting but I do have a finicky process for managing my files. I work with less file covers than I need. When I run out this gives me an extra prompt to check whether files need to be closed and therefore the data deleted which is held online. I realise this is unusual, but I am more than aware of how easy it is to ignore my own notes and reminders! It works for me
Who are the people who help you get things done, and how do you rely on them?
I couldn’t manage without a decent support network which of course includes colleagues friends, family and supervisor. Underpinning this are Julie and Clair who pick up after me, clean my house, and generally make sure my home and counselling room a respectable for those who visit.
How do you keep track of what you have to do?
It’s a mixture of electronics, notepads and recycled paper. Never print anything in my house without checking the other side of the paper!
How do you recharge or take a break?
My weekly routine includes choir and dance. I made an extra space in my week as I felt I needed time out and had stopped cycling. I am delighted to have found these classes which allow me to be creative, breathe deeply, and chase client details from my brain. As often as possible my husband and I disappear in our caravan, slow down and I reconnect with the non-counselling world. This is our time to watch films together without me falling asleep!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
This person is still alive but I wouldn’t name her. She advised me to be careful what I did for free. As someone who likes to be busy, likes to help, and has a genuine desire to support what I believe to be good this is very good advice.
What’s a problem you’re still trying to solve?
I’m not a confident public speaker. I like to sing and dance, I enjoy the company of other people, yet put me behind the camera or a podium makes me feel like I would rather be anywhere else in the world.
Suzie is a Co-Director of Online Training for Counsellors Ltd, a Psychosexual and Relationship Therapist, Supervisor and Tutor. She has a face to face private practice in addition to her online therapeutic work. She contributed two chapters to Online Supervision: A Handbook for Practitioners, edited by Anne Stokes of which she is very proud. Her private practice is www.suziemosson.org