My journey of becoming a therapist started in 2009. My children were 10 and 13 and I was working part-time in our village pre-school. I knew that I did not want to work in early years care and education long-term and had an interest in psychology. So, I joined an introductory to counselling skills course out of curiosity which I loved. When it ended, I felt compelled to apply for the diploma in counselling and start my training and life as a therapist.
What a journey it has been. Over the years I have grown and evolved as a woman, a mother and a therapist. I have trained to Masters level, worked with children, teenagers and adults as well as engaging in my own personal therapy and experiencing life’s inevitable ups and downs.
I loved the years I spent working with children and teenagers. I was passionate about holding an unconditional space for them where they could express themselves, feel heard and validated, and develop their autonomy. I realised how much they valued this space but was it enough? Who I met in every child and teenager was a young vulnerable person struggling to cope in a world where their needs were not being met.
I started to dream of a time in the future when children and teenagers do not need therapy. A time when the adults in their lives felt supported and resourced to provide them with the conditions that they need to grow into healthy authentic people.
One of the hardest things for me about becoming a therapist was realising the ways that I had got it wrong for my children. I love my children and love being a mum and so these realisations that I was periodically confronted with felt very painful. In looking back, I can see that how I showed up as a mother was influenced by my family and cultural conditioning and unresolved trauma. I realise how unsupported and un-resourced I was to navigate motherhood in a way that truly honoured my children’s needs as well as my own. I believe that doing my own personal work – developing self-awareness, healing emotional wounds and becoming more secure within myself - has helped me to embrace life as a woman and become a better mum.
My journey as a whole has fostered a fascination with human development, motherhood and the cultural contexts of our lives. I have strong feelings about the expectations placed upon mums in our society and would love for them to feel valued, supported and respected for the integral role they have in raising our future leaders, carers and creators. At the same time, I would love for mothers to feel seen and supported as women with their own needs, desires and potential outside of motherhood.
How to balance our children’s needs with our own is an emotive and complex question. I do not think there is a one-size-fits-all answer and it is an answer that is constantly shifting as our children grow and we continue to grow ourselves as women. Helping mothers connect with themselves and interrupt unhelpful cycles and patterns to raise whole, authentic children is where my heart is.