Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
I am finding my own way through trial and error, and I have learnt that it is okay to ask for help. I have found it useful to tap into the wisdom of “the group”, by way of swapping stories with others in formal and informal parenting groups, as it helps to normalise things when you are having a tough day. With my partner, it’s a bit of a dance for us in order to both have our needs met. To balance our parenting, household responsibilities, wellbeing, and work, I think we attempt to communicate with care and consideration for each other. I advocate for the concept of “good enough” parenting and I like the COSP philosophy that it is never too late to improve our relationships with our children. They can be our best teachers and if we tune into them and try to understand what their behaviour might be telling us, we may be able to reinterpret what presents as a “challenging behaviour”, reframing it as a bid for connection.
The drive: What challenges have you overcome?
Parenting can lead to things that fall short of our hopes or expectations, but it can also bring immense joy and personal growth. I am committed to natural and attachment ideas in my own parenting journey and admit it can be difficult to maintain in modern society. I have built a knowledge base using various wellbeing frameworks, including preventative mental health and positive psychology, and have gained understanding of the importance of helping clients to reflect on their cultural and spiritual beliefs. I encourage people to research the options to find a path that works for them. I have enjoyed the challenge of trying to describe what counselling is, especially when it is such a different journey for each individual. Counselling is a gentle and non-judgemental way to help a person express their story. It does not necessarily have a set number of sessions, but a counsellor will walk alongside you to help you figure out what is best for you and your situation. Counselling puts you in the driver’s seat, because you are the only person who really knows what it is like to be you – you are the expert in your own life.
For better or worse: What are the pros and cons of running your own business?
I am learning the ins and outs of how to share who I am to people I haven’t met in person. I look forward to connecting with people who might resonate with my philosophy and who want to be supported through this significant period of change. Communicating with potential clients about what I do in written forms (email or text) can be a way of people seeing if counselling with me is a good match for them before committing to a telephone or video call. Also, making sure that website information states opening hours, so people can find out when I will be available to answer any communication and book sessions is important. Stating what I do, and don’t do, helps to manage client expectation and improve therapeutic outcomes. I am not providing a crisis service and there are other 24/7 helplines and services available (see below) who provide immediate support.
Hopes and dreams: What next?
It is hard to believe that less than a year ago, I attended a conference where it was mentioned that counsellors may need to be futurists in order to adapt to the changing world. Online options were being suggested then as a way to help people who cannot attend face-to-face appointments due to personal circumstance and now, just a short time later, it has become commonplace! As I grow my own practice, I hope to also offer face-to-face parent groups, and drumming groups for children and for women’s circles.
Useful contacts AUS:
beyondblue Call 1300 22 4636, 24 hours / 7 days a week.
Lifeline provides 24-hour crisis counselling, support groups and suicide prevention services. Call 13 11 14.
PANDA (Perinatal Anxiety & Depression Australia). Call 1300 726 306, 9am-7:30pm AEST (Mon-Fri).
Suicide Call Back Service: Call 1300 659 467
Is it an emergency? If you or someone you know is at risk of immediate harm, call triple 0 (000)
Useful contacts NZ:
Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor
Lifeline – 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP)
Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
Healthline – 0800 611 116
Is it an emergency? If you or someone you know is at risk of immediate harm, call 111