cupcake with gold frosting, 3 balloons the number 4 and 3 baubles all in gold and the words Happy Birthday above in silver all on a grey and gold background

Happy 4th birthday Counselling West Bridgford!

Well where did that year go?

I’ve just re-read my post from last year, and it’s a useful marker of each year and how things are progressing and changing.

I’m so grateful that the business now feels like it’s on firm ground at last.  That can change at any moment – I’m in need of a constant pipeline of new clients as existing ones reach the end of their work with me – but fingers crossed my strategy so far is working.

I completed by training at the Couples Institute in October, which was phenomenal.  It’s made such a difference to my practice and I have so much confidence in the work.  It’s very different to individual work, so much more directive and with a particular structure that focuses the work and provides an interesting contrast.  It’s still a minor part of my business though, as individual work continues to have the most demand.

My goal for 2024 is to achieve a position where the only marketing I pay for is my website.  To this end I’ve signed up as an AXA provider and am waiting to hear back form BUPA. Signing up with insurance companies is an interesting one that needs a little care to navigate.  Some only offer small hourly fees and I’m not prepared to devalue mine and colleagues’ worth in the eye of the insurance industry.

I offered on a property with the intention to move my practice away from a serviced office to somewhere in more of a nature setting.  It’s still in West Bridgford.  My offer was rejected but I’ve not lost hope so I’m aiming to get back to negotiations next month at some point.

Some of the other ideas I had to create online content have stalled a little.  These things take so much thought and time and other things have taken priority.

Which brings me on to my year with UKCP!  I’m really enjoying being part of a team, my colleagues are a lovely bunch of people.  There’s lots of challenge but ultimately we all have the same goal: working in the best interests of UKCP and its members, and I can see we’re starting to make a difference.

The last few weeks have been hugely challenging though and have been stressful to navigate. 10 years ago when my place on the UKCP training programme was confirmed, and 1 year ago when I stepped forward to become a trustee, I didn’t imagine I’d be caught up in culture wars and (by association) subject to online hate.  It is heartbreaking how the online work seems so polarised and full of unnecessary hate, with no prospect of that changing any time soon.

Last week I wrote the following:

Our job as psychotherapists is to hold the space. To provide a safe environment for exploration of difficult, confusing or unpalatable topics. We hold boundaries that exclude hateful interactions whilst allowing exploration of feelings of hate. If we feel unable to hold the space, we step aside and allow someone else to hold it instead. But we don’t abandon those in that space simply because it’s “too difficult”.  That is the power of psychotherapy. It’s why it drains our energy. It’s why we must have each other’s back.  It’s not always dark and pain-filled. Even the most challenging conversations can contain light, exploration can be thrilling as well as frightening. And always full of possibility.

You’ve caught me at difficult moment, but also as psychotherapists it’s important to aim for authenticity.

Next year?  Well hopefully Counselling West Bridgford will continue to thrive.  And you never know, I might finally have found that elusive space.

Michelle x

cupcake with gold frosting, 3 balloons the number 4 and 3 baubles all in gold and the words Happy Birthday above in silver all on a grey and gold background