medium_go_be_kind_art.jpgSunday 17th is #RandomActOfKindnessDay or #RAKDay.

Have a look at the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation website for more.

I found this awareness day particularly interesting because we take being kind for granted.

In my life, I know I know I do it too.

medium_be_kind_hh_dalai_lamaI might be grateful for someone being kind to me, but I forget to show them how thankful I am, and how much I appreciated it.

Or I might do something kind for someone and not realise how big of an impact I might have made on them.

This post really, is to think about and consider how much we can impact someone’s life with one good word or action.

It doesn’t have to be expensive or cost anything at all.

It doesn’t have to take hours or encroach on our already busy schedules.

one_note_to_selfSome kind things to do that won’t put us out of routine or what we need to do for ourselves:

smile at someone

buy a homeless person a bite to eat

listen to someone’s story (sometimes listening is more than enough!)

compliment someone

be happy for someone else’s achievements and show them how happy you are for them

call someone that you know might feel lonely


invite someone for a cuppa

bite your tongue when something not nice wants to come out (find your therapist or vent about it in another way)

What other things have you done or have you had others do to you that have been kind?

Let me know in the comments!


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How to talk about mental health stigma #TimeToTalk2019

tea-twitter-01This week’s post was prompted by Time to Change, who take the lead in the fight to end mental health discrimination and stigma. So today, I want to join in the movement by writing this blog post, as well as sharing on Social Media to get even more attention placed on this important topic.

Heads Together, a charity set up by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, is also active in working on removing the stigma around mental health.

There are many other charities and organisations that also deal with this very important topic. Here are links to three of them.


Scattergood Foundation


#timetotalk   #TimeToTalkDay


It takes guts to accept to ourselves when we are not feeling quite right with our mental health. It is even more difficult to accept it to our friends, family or even a therapist.

Drop in the added bonus of being looked at as [insert negative adjectives here] and also discriminated at work or your local community because your illness isn’t visible and you are probably exaggerating or making it up anyway, right?


    • Frees us to be authentic, honest and real with ourselves and others about how we are really feeling and what we are willing to do about it.
    • Challenges others to view mental health problems in a different light, and allowing more conversations to happen
    • From the two above stems the fact that relationships can improve and become more supportive as a result of these difficult conversations
    • Helps challenge the stereotypes that exist when someone mentions mental health problems
      • People with mental health problems are unpredictable
      • People with mental health problems are dangerous
      • People with mental health problems are incompetent
      • You are to blame for your mental health problems
      • There is no hope for recovery
      • (click here to read more) http://www.scattergoodfoundation.org
    • The chance of recovery increases significantly once the person is honest with themselves, and the support system is in place – more understanding family, friends, employers, and seeking professional help even if for a short time.


  • Seeing someone talk about their mental health problems in an open and honest way will help normalise what ill mental health actually means
    • “if my friend has it, and I’ve known him/her all my life, then mental health can affect all of us.”
    • “actually I’ve felt my mental health dwindle in the past but have been afraid to have the conversations”
    • “I know him/her and wouldn’t say they’re unpredictable, dangerous, incompetent or that they brought it on themselves, or that there is no hope for recovery. My friend’s mental health problem challenges my view on mental health.”
  • tttd-2019screensavers07Mental ill health should be a topic of conversation as simple as physical ill health topics of conversation.
    • It is much easier to call in sick at work and say something like “I broke my leg and will need some time to recover” than “I feel so anxious today that I’m unable to get up from bed”.
    • It probably hurts just as bad – physically, psychologically and emotionally – to break your leg than to feel anxious or depressed.
      • The difference is one is quantifiable and visible, whilst the other isn’t.
      • It doesn’t mean that one exists and the other doesn’t or that one should be taken more seriously and with more compassion than the other.


I feel blessed to live in this day and age where, even though mental health stigma and discrimination still exists, it is easier for it to be challenged and views changed about it. There are even laws and white papers created that protect people with mental health issues from being discriminated (See The Mental Health Act 1983 and The Equality Act 2010).

As a mental health practitioner, I value the conversation about mental health and overwhelming life situations that stop us on our tracks and/or hinder our everyday life. It is a privilege to listen to people’s stories and help them work through their difficult feelings, thoughts and behaviours that, so that eventually (sooner than later – it all depends on each person’s individual journey and process) they can get their lives back on track.

tttd-2019screensavers06Whether I see clients for 6 sessions, 3 months, a year, two years, three years or more, I trust that they have the strengths and resources within them and within their support group to help them get back on track. I trust in the therapeutic process and that together in the counselling room we can work through, process, understand, feel and think what needs to be worked through, processed, understood, felt and thought of so the person can move forward.

I believe in allowing our feelings to come out – I often use the phrase “out is better than in”, which is definitely applicable for getting your anger, sadness, upset, and any other feelings, out. Keeping them in might make us mentally ill but also physically ill or make it difficult for us to heal our emotional and psychological wounds.


Something that I find is useful for certain things but not as a therapeutic tool, are mental health diagnoses. I don’t underestimate a diagnosis (such as depression or bipolar disorder), but I won’t treat my client as a depressed person or a bipolar person. I will treat the person as a whole, and talk about whatever they bring on a particular session. I find this is more helpful and has felt like a relief to some clients. Yes they keep their diagnosis and the medication they might be taking, but they are not treated like a part of themselves or like the only thing they are is that depressed or that bipolar side of them.

There are a few things that definitely won’t work and will do more harm than good when talking to someone that’s telling you about their difficulties with their mental health:

  • “go have a nap or a bath, you’ll feel better after”
  • “I’m sure it’s not that bad, you’re a bit dramatic”
  • “Aw, just get over it”
  • “you are just doing it for attention”
  • “you have mental health problems, therefore you are weak and broken”
  • “it could be worse”
  • “someone is worse off than you”
  • “I know exactly how you feel”
  • “go do something to distract you”
  • “stop being lazy”


I want to end this post on a positive note. So, how can you support someone with mental health problems? It doesn’t have to be a massive thing. As you can see above, words can have a massive impact. Try these:

  • “you are not alone, I’m here for you”
  • “I’m listening”
  • “what can I do to help”
  • “have you tried talking to a counsellor”
  • “I understand if you want to be on your own, but I’ll be here when you’re ready to hang out”
  • “I believe you, I believe you are struggling”

I hope this post has been helpful and has challenged you in regards to mental health stigma and discrimination. Do share this post and the links I’ve left around the post, so others can have this conversation as well!

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Mystery Blogger Award

20170810_114447I’ve been nominated By Dr.Tanya for a Mystery Blogger Award and I’m very happy and honoured!

It’s nice when things like this pop into your inbox and it’s one of the first things you see when you wake up in the morning.

Dr Tanya writes about a variety of topics that affect or touch us all in one way or another.

Go check out her blog and find out more about her amazing posts!



What is the Mystery Blogger Award?

‘An award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.’

– Okoto Enigma, Creator of the Mystery Blogger Award

Some general rules:

1. Put the award logo/image on your blog.

2. List the rules.

3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link back to their blog.

4. Answer the 5 questions from the blogger who nominated you.

5. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.

6. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.

7. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people.

8. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.

9. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).

10. Share a link to your best post(s).

directory of services (1)3 things about myself


  1. I am very passionate about life and the things I enjoy doing. I will give it my all and make sure it’s the best it can be. I strive to do this in every area of my life, whether it’s work, having down time, or spending time in nature or with other people that mean a lot to me.
  2. I am from Guatemala, but also have German heritage which comes out now and then even though I’ve never lived in Germany before! I have recently become British, due to the current situation, but it’s nice to have the nationality of the place I now call home.
  3. I enjoy doing many things, so I’ve decided to incorporate them into a lifestyle and businesses – tutoring, content creation, counselling, supervision, writing (books and blogging), self-care coaching. I don’t like to just put all my eggs in one basket, and I am happy developing the different areas I’ve chosen to work on in self-employment. I also do part-time care work with kiddoes with special needs and autism, which is great and rewarding. I am doing much less of that as my businesses are growing, but I still enjoy it.

Dr. Tanya’s Questions to me

1. What was the main motivation behind your blog?

The main motivation for writing my blog was using my writing skills to add value to people reading and looking for information and tips about mental health, self-care, supervision, and more.

2. How do you see the future of blogging? Do you think blogs will still be around in 2025?

As with anything, blogging will change. We are already seeing VLogs appear (video versions of blogs, which I’m going to start getting into soon too!). I do hope the written word doesn’t get bypassed or forgotten.

Writing is a creative endeavour and it is also a therapeutic way of expressing what is inside of us, what we love and what we want to share with others that might not come out the same in any other way.

I think blogs will still be around in 2025, I just don’t know what the arena will look like yet. Things are moving quicker and quicker. It’s only 6 years away but technology moves so quick and trends do also.

3. Are conventional/printed books becoming obsolete? Am I the only dinosaur who does not possess a Kindle?

Book Cover

I love the smell of books! I still own some books, but I have to admit that I’ve started buying more kindle books lately. It saves up space and prevents clutter, but I’ll always have books around. They are comforting and great treasures!

There’s a different feel between reading a physical book to reading a kindle or online book. My book (a product of blogging) is in both Kindle and Paperback versions. I couldn’t let go of the paper version, still old fashioned like that I guess!

4. If you were a cartoon character, who would you be? (funny/weird question).

Oh the toughest question 😉

I wasn’t born in Britain so missed out on The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s child. So having read both recently, and watched both films on Christmas day, I’d say I’d love to be the mouse!

He’s feisty and doesn’t think his size limits his ability to be in the world. I love that!

5. What kind of blog posts, and of what length, do you like to read?

Anything that’s well written, informative and interesting. I don’t like them to be that long (my posts are between 700-1000 words, so possibly around that length too!)

My Questions

  1. Where do you get your inspiration from to write?

  2. How does blogging add value to your audience?

  3. What superpower would you choose if you had the chance? (Funny, weird question)

  4. What puts you off reading a blog post?

  5. Where do you see your blog in 5 years time?

I Nominate these bloggers whose work I admire:

Josephine Hughes at The Good Enough Mum

Jane Travis at Grow Your Private Practice

Sandra Wilson over at Get Social with Saz – Therapist’s Social Media Coach

Karin Sieger, Therapist and Writer

Erin Stevens, Therapist and Blogger

Nathan Gould, Therapist and blogger

Ian Pittaway, Therapist and Vlogger

Paula Newman, Therapist and Blogger

Becky Stone, Therapist and Blogger

Hannah Paskin, Therapist and Blogger

Some of my favourite posts

Relationship Success Series 

Autism Series

Supervision Series

In Therapy Series

Blog posts en Español: En Terapia, procesando

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Christmas Meditation

Christmas meditation

Hi, and welcome to the Christmas edition of my blog!

Christmas means many things to different people.

I’m not going to try to figure it out as there are many, many different ways to celebrate and ponder on this time of year.

Instead, I’ll leave you with a few words, their meanings (from Google Dictionary), and a quote (in the image) for you to meditate on.





Freedom from disturbance; tranquillity.


Mental or emotional calm.





A strong feeling of affection.


A great interest and pleasure in something.





A short prayer of thanks said before or after a meal. Smoothness and elegance of movement.


(In Christian belief) the free and unmerited favour of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.





Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.


A strongly held belief.





 Stop feeling angry or resentful towards (someone) for an offence, flaw, or mistake.

No longer feel angry about or wish to punish (an offence, flaw, or mistake)cancel (a debt).

Used in polite expressions as a request to excuse one’s foibles, ignorance, or impoliteness.


I hope you enjoyed thinking about and meditating on these words.

See you next week for the last post of the year!

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Christmas meditation

Human Rights Day – Monday 10th

human rights day

Today is #HumanRightsDay and I’d like to talk about some rights that I believe should be respected in the realm of our personal and professional relationships.

I found this quote in the United Nations Human Rights Day page, and thought I’d share it with you here:


This quote talks about the exact thing I was thinking about before sitting down to write this post.

It’s in the small places, close to home, that we most need our humanity and our rights respected.

Here are five rights to consider upholding for yourself in your relationships, and possibly helping others enforce them in their own lives.


1. The right to set boundaries 

If you’ve been following my posts, you will know boundaries are a big topic for me.

We sometimes have to learn to set them after a major incident with someone.

Other times we are better at setting them because we had a good example through our relationships growing up.

The main thing is that we learn to set them and stick to them. In my book, I talk about how to set clear boundaries and plan ahead when someone challenges us.

It’s important to stick to what we know is right for us, and what will help us have good realtionships with ourselves and others.

42. The right to personal space

We all have different ways of measuring a safe physical and emotional distance from others.

We also gauge this as each relationship develops. We might enjoy being closer to some people, but might want to put a bit more distance with others.

We need to respect this fact within ourselves so others will also respect it. If we set the example, we will communicate clearly what our boundaries are in regard to personal space, and we will be listened to.

If we’re not, then we can decide whether to set an ever bigger distance with some people.

If we are, then we know we can feel safe being close to some others.

53. The right to shelter and food

I walk past so many homeless people. I sometimes ask them if they want some food and get it for them.

Other times, I might not have enough time or money. But walking past them, I feel a sense of anger and feel that it’s so unfair that they are in that situation.

I’ve spoken to some homeless people and they are fantastic, profesionals and creatives that find themselves in a horrid situation due to relationship breakdowns, losing a job due to mental health issues, and more.

I find it appalling that this is happening in a First World Country. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it should happen in any country, but it is a reality.

These lovely people still have the right to shelter and food. There are things to do to remedy this (I won’t get into politics, you know where this was gonna go if I did!).

I do know that there are cafe’s and churches and other places that support and provide food and shelter to rough sleepers and homeless people, which is great as they are acknowledging these people’s basic needs.6

Nobody should be denied the right to a warm bed or a warm meal.

4. The right to healthy and safe relationships

We all have the right to healthy relationships where we feel loved, appreciated, respected, safe and understood.

We also have the choice to leave a relationship when it’s not healthy for us.

Sometimes this is made difficult as the person we’re trying to get away from is toxic, aggressive, and we might be scared to leave.

It might feel like you are trapped in a relationship, but there are lots of places that help you find refuge and support. You don’t have to suffer any longer!

75. The right to happiness and preserving our wellbeing

We all have the right to pursue happiness in any way we find works for us, as long as it doesn’t break any laws or impinge on the rights of those around us.

One aspect of this that is very important to me is doing what I love to do as my profession and job.

I’ve never stayed in a job that I didn’t enjoy anymore. I defy the idea of staying in the same job for the rest of your life even if you’re miserable.

We spend a lot of time at work so it makes sense to enjoy what we do. I love being self-employed and working in my businesses. I wouldn’t change them for the world!

Another way in which we can pursue happiness is by keeping those people in our lives that are good for us. Those that provide positive vibes and those that support us when we need it most (it works the other way around as well!).

Having hobbies and likes that make us smile is also a way to pursue happiness and keep us feeling well.

Finally, exercisng and eating healthy meals is also something that will help us keep healthy, well, and happy.

What other ways can you think of to keep your (and others’) human rights?

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human rights day

How to avoid breaking the bank this Christmas!


Hi, and welcome to this latest entry, where I’ll be talking about Christmas and how to keep safe and within budget.

I won’t be giving you number-crunching ideas, or maybe I will a bit – I do love an Excel Spreadsheet!


What I want to focus on is on giving you some food-for-thought about the usual societal expectations and how to break them without feeling guilty, or break them and have a better time this holiday season!

If you’ve read some of my past posts, I do love to challenge society and the unrealistic and sometimes unachievable expectations they place on us.

I like to free myself and those around me from those impositions… or at least prompt some thoughts so people can make up their mind!

Book Cover

You can read these previous posts here:

Blog Series: Looking after yourself

What to do with the should/must/have-to’s

A Don’t Do List


This Christmas, don’t break the bank. Avoid yourself some heartache by trying out some of the following:


  • Think of your priorities

It’s tricky to get the balance right when we are bombarded with adverts to buy the latest phone or gadget.

There’s also adverts selling you yummy looking food and drinks.

What I want you to think about is:

Do I really need this and that?

Can I afford this or that?

Will they get upset if I don’t get this or that?

Can I live with their reactions?

Will I thank or resent myself for buying stuff that is neither necessary or a priority?

Do I want to treat myself and splurge with this one thing? 

Think about the answers that came up for you as you read them.

If you get that awful feeling in the pit of your stomach, you have your answer.

You might also get an excited, nice feeling. There’s your alternative answer!

Go with your gut and your priorities.

  • Keep track of your spending 4

One of the easiest ways to keep within budget is to keep track of your spending.

You don’t have to be fantastic at Excel to use it, or you can just tally your totals on a sheet of paper.

Whatever works for you, as long as you know how much you’ve got going out and how much you’ve got to last you until the end of January (we generally get paid at the end of the month if we are employed; if you are self-employed, consider the gap in earnings for the holiday period and keep that amount on the side or in your savings, just in case).

It would be great to hear what you do to keep track of your spending, leave your comments in this post or if you found it through social media, retweet or comment in that post. Or both!

How to avoid breaking the bank this christmas.jpg

  • Come up with creative ways of giving gifts

In order to keep with the “don’t break the bank” theme, using your creativity to your advantage will work well for your budget and your bank account.

My husband and I love to travel and have meals out so we tend to save up our money for that.

They are great rewards for us after working hard for a while. It gives us a bit of a break from cooking or work life, and we can reconnect with each other without any distractions or responsibilities.

For Christmas we tend to get each other presents within a budget of £10, £15 or £20. We then pick a street in our town, or the shopping centre, and stick to that area to find the presents within one hour.

We meet after to exchange (no waste on wrapping paper!) and have lunch or dinner together.

As you can imagine, not many things cost these amounts these days, so it’s a great opportunity to get each other fun and quirky stuff that we wouldn’t usually get for ourselves.

I’ve got a Pirate Umbrella (I fit right in in Brighton – I’ve actually seen someone wearing a pirate outfit and there was no obvious reason for it. love it!), a Bauble Pillow, a Harmonica (no idea how to play it!) a book holder, and other bits that make me smile.


So, think about whether this is something you can do with your family members (maybe change the rules a bit if there’s many of you, or lower the maximum price…)

  • Say no to societal, family and friends’ demands when you feel like saying no.

I am big on setting boundaries as you might have read in other posts or in my Self Care Book.

Saying no to people is hard enough outside of the Christmas holidays, but it seems to get harder during this time of the year.

We are bombarded with requests to attend parties and other social activities, all which cost money.

Now I am not saying don’t go to any of them. What I’m saying is: listen to your gut.

Your gut will tell you whether you’ll feel good about going or whether you’ll later regret going.

If you do go, consider your budget and see what you can afford without feeling embarrased or put on the spot if questioned.

6You are the only one in charge of your finances, and therefore you decide what to do with them!

Same goes for your time.

Saying no when you feel like saying no will help you stay happy with yourself and your relationships with those that accept your “no” will be better.

Saying no keeps resentment and regret at bay.

  • Do what feels right for you – Celebrate  your way (or don’t celebrate at all)

Christmas is not necessarily a happy time for everyone.

We might have lost loved ones around this time, and it therefore makes it hard to celebrate.

If this is you, it might be an idea to process the loss in therapy or with someone you can talk openly with.

I find that when I work with grief in my sessions, clients usually benefit from finding a way to keep the memory of their loved one at the forefront rather than the pain of the loss.

They also learn to acknowledge when that pain is there, and befriend it. This helps them work through it and move forward without feeling guilty of doing so without their lost loved one.

Another think you could do is save on decorations!

Who are you competing with? Are you decorating because you enjoy it and enjoy seeing the faces of relatives and friends when they come to your house? Or are you decorating because it’s the done thing?


Think about it and decide whether you’re going all out, or keeping it low-key this Christmas. The choice is all yours!

I don’t decorate out of personal choice, but it doesn’t mean I don’t celebrate Christmas in my own way.

Watch out for my Christmas post on the 24th of December to get some more insight in what I believe Christmas is all about.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Do leave comments about what your savings ideas are at this time of year!


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Why do we need black friday?

Why do we need black friday.png

Hi, and welcome to this week’s blog post, where I want to explore the “madness” that is Black Friday, and give you some food for thought.

I’ll leave you with some tips and take-home message at the end.

(Other opinions also available! Don’t kill the messenger…)

2I am not a big shopper, I buy what I need when I need it, and am sensible about how I spend my money – my downfall is when my favourite band is on tour, but also then I curb my enthusiasm and give myself a limit.

I prefer shopping on a weekday when it’s quieter and avoid the shops on weekends when it’s busier.

I can’t deal with it all!

…And I don’t need to deal with any of it, so I don’t…

The title for this post is a bit of a play on words.

My title question should have the emphasis on the word “do” – why DO we need this day in our lives?

Let me rephrase: Do we really need Black Friday?

Let’s look at some positives and negatives of Black Friday



  • It’s a social activity that everyone can comment on and join in with (read on for the counterpart of this social activity)

  • We can get good deals on some things

  • If you are a business – it might boost your sales!


  • Social activity gone-wrong: it can bring the worst out in people – aggression is part of it as people fight over the same TV set or pair of shoes!

  • 4

    Discounts are not really discounts – they just change the tag to make it look like you’re getting a great deal, but in reality you are paying the usual price or more!

  • Pressure to buy stuff that you might not really need – shopping guilt might set in, or you might have needed the money for something else more pressing.

  • Stress, anxiety and other “symptoms” might arise from trying to get there first and get the items we are after – they are most likely on a limited time or quantity.

5It is within each of us to decide what is best for us. If Black Friday works for you, then go for it and enjoy it!

I will stay within the quiet, calm and safety of my home and assess when I need things and whether they are absoulutely necessary right now, or can I wait to get them when I’ve saved up for them.

I prefer to save my hard-earned cash to go on holidays and meals out with my husband.

Making memories and eating good food is my priority over shopping for the latest gadget or joining on on popular shopping days like Black Friday.

Black Friday can work for some people, but not for others (like me!)

6The take-home message I would like to leave you with in this post can be summed up in these bullet points:

  • Do what feels right for you.

  • Look after yourself by having your priorities clear and acting accordingly.

  • Curb your enthusiasm in regard to “shiny objects”, but if you really want said shiny object, then go get it! You only answer to yourself.

  • Have a budget.

  • Set boundaries with others but also with yourself, this will keep you from resenting yourself for an unnecessary purchase or doing something that you don’t want – learn to say no!

To end this post, I’d like to leave you with some articles to read about Black Friday. I found these interesting and light reading!

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Why do we need black friday.png1








What to expect from Supervision – Develop Self-Awareness

new supervision blog post banner

As therapists, it is vital that we have a good support system in place for our professional and confidential work.

Personal therapy is one way in which we can get this support. Supervision is another, and it will be the focus of these posts.

In the next few months, I will talk a bit about 18 ways in which we should expect supervision to work for us.

I will discuss 18 things we should expect from our supervisory relationship in order to be accountable and working to a professional standard, for the sake of our practice, our profession, and most importantly, for the sake of our clients

Missed my previous posts?

Catch up here:

Containment and Holding

Reflective Practice

Autonomous Practice

Theoretical Grounding

Click here to visit my main supervision page.

Are you starting out in private practice?

Are you an experienced therapist looking for a new supervisory relationship?

To book supervision with me, do get in touch and I’ll be happy to set up an initial meeting.



In this post, I want to talk about how you can develop self-awareness in supervision.

As you might or might not have noticed, this was meant to be last week’s post, but instead of apologising I am going to say that I am going to use it to the advantage of this post’s topic: self-awareness.

Because i’m so aware of my present physical health issues, I know that one or two weeks of the month my energy levels are low and therefore I need to “lower expectations” of myself and what I can achieve (I am getting this sorted, but it takes time to get everything done, in the meantime this is the plan!). 

This self-awareness allows me to be honest with myself and lower expectations – some things are just going to have to wait. I prioritise my work with my clients and my students and rest in between sessions so I have energy to see them. I sometimes need to cancel a session or two if it gets really bad. 

This just means I’m human, I’m aware of my limitations when exhaustion hits, and I keep myself and my clients and students safe by letting them know what’s going on. 

My supervisor is aware of these issues and checks in every week (we meet for 30min every week) and we discuss what it was like to work like this, what it feels like to be struggling and still needing to work, the positive impact of helping my counselling clients, supervisees and teaching my students, has on my health (I do feel much better after each session! I love what I do!)

Self awareness is key. If I didn’t have this, I would probably continue scheduling all my social media posts (I spend at least 3-4 hours a week doing this!) and writing all the blog posts I have scheduled myself to write and publish every week, and so on. I haven’t done that this week as it would mean a headache and making myself more exhausted. 

I am writing this today because I’m feeling a tiny bit better, and am making time for a meeting.

Anyway, enough of me, my ailments and working practices!

(I do hope it was even a slight bit helpful, an insight into the real life of a therapist and supervisor. We are human too and we shouldn’t shy away from being open and honest – to a degree of course – about these things, note you still don’t know what my ailments are and it’s not necessary for you to know, in order to empathise or understand where I’m coming from!)

Here are a few things that will improve in your practice and your relationship with your clients and your supervisor when you allow self-awareness to develop in every step of your work:

  • when we are open and honest with ourselves and speak openly and honestly with our supervisor, we are allowing ourselves to
    • understand ourselves better
    • decide how we want to run our practice
    • what is acceptable for us and what isn’t
    • what makes us happy
    • what upsets us
    • what boundaries we need to tighten or put into place
    • what are our strengths and weaknesses
    • what areas we need to develop or improve so our interventions are more varied and helpful
    • what we need to study a bit more through reading or CPD
    • what happens when we are faced with difference or similarities between us and clients
    • choosing a niche
      • what clients we can see and which ones we choose not to (we are human, we might not like to work with a particular group and enjoy working with another)

5Follow this link for a video describing this process.

Feel free to share it with your colleagues, supervisees, supervisors and others.

The more we talk about what supervision should be about, what it should cover, and how it should support therapists in their private practice, the better equipped we all will be, and we will provide the a better service to our clients

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What to expect from Supervision – Developing self-awareness

I am a bit delayed with today’s supervision blog post.

This week I want to write about the importance of self-awareness.

I will publish the blog post tomorrow.

I’m taking some self-care time off today – I really need it!

In the meantime here is a video introducing the topic.


developing self-awareness in supervision

New General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – Update to my blog and website privacy terms

Dear readers,

This week I want to talk about new data protection legislation that will come into force this month.

There is a lot of buzz going around about GDPR and the changes that businesses have to make to their privacy, cookie and contracting policies.

I am working hard behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly and that you are not affected by any changes to legislation.

From May 25th, I will need to let you know how I use

your information and details, which I have started writing in my

draft Privacy and Cookies Policy.

In regards to subscribing to this blog, there will be no changes to how I use your email details when you signed up.

In brief, your details are kept in the WordPress subscriber log and won’t be passed on to any other parties.

I will continue to send blog posts in the same way, so you don’t need to change anything.

I do need to give you the option, through this post, to keep your subscription as it is, or remove yourself from the list if you wish to do so – I will miss you if you decide the latter.

I will possibly be sending another post to remind you of this before the 25th of May. I am still working on what I need to have in place. I am nearly there but want to cover all my bases! 

Here is the Information Commissioner’s link to the GDPR guidance, and the link to my draft Privacy and Cookies Policy.

As a member of BACP, I also leave you this link – Article by Peter Jenkins and how new GDPR legislation will affect those of us in private practice.

***I am a member of the ICO, as I hold data on

clients for my counselling practice, as well as subscribers to this blog***

Please send me any questions you might have, and I will do my best to answer them.

Be patient with me though, I am also learning as I go!

World Autism Month

This month is World Autism Month, and to honour the amazing people that live with Autism Spectrum conditions, I am dedicating this post to them.

I first started working with people with disabilities — different abilities — back in 2004 when I worked as a volunteer, training people with physical disabilities so they could get into the workforce, in Guatemala.

This was very rewarding as I could use both my teaching (IT programmes) and counselling skills (support group), and get to speak to people and hear their experiences first hand.

Supporting people has been something I’ve always wanted to do, and this opportunity was great to start my journey in supporting people with disabilities.

Read more about my journey on my post in support of Common Hope,

and do give if you feel moved to, it’s a great cause!

Move forward to 2008, I started my journey into the world of Autism. I got hired to work as a supported living support worker for people that lived at home with their families.

This job gave me a chance to work with some amazing individuals, some of whom I still keep in touch now – a couple of them came to my Wedding, which was lovely!

I am now crossing over to working with people on the Spectrum not only as a support worker but also as a counsellor.

I’ve learned so much from every person on the Spectrum I’ve met and supported.

  • Taking time to self-care.

    • Something as simple as having a bath to help relax and ease pain and stress.
  • Finding creative and new ways to communicate.

    • Many of the people I’ve supported are non-verbal.
    • Learning Makaton and other communication skills has been part of the journey.
    • Reading non-verbal cues and paying attention to the small nuances and eye-gazes has become routine in my work. I love it.
  • Counselling people on the Spectrum – Aspergers mostly so far, is so rewarding.

    • It’s a chance to bring me – a neurotypical – a deeper understanding of how the “Aspie” mind works, and therefore how to best support someone work through their issues in therapy.

Meeting one’s needs and setting clear boundaries is something I am big on, and it is a great duty of care, responsibility and honour to be able to support people with this.

Part of working with ASD and other disabilities is helping the clients/service users to live in this world as it is – easier said than done!…

….but I also believe a great part of working with this group of people, and getting them out in the community (Social Inclusion) is getting us “neurotypicals” and the general public to understand and accept that there are people among us that deserve the same rights and their needs being met as everyone else.

Understanding and acceptance of difference is a great first step to take, to realise how wonderful each person with disabilities and ASDs is. Everyone is an individual, and this applies here as well.

We forget that we are all individuals. “They are all individuals”.

There is a lot to learn from people on the Spectrum and with other varied disabilities…

The struggles each one faces, and yet they are smiling and enjoying life as best they can.

Autism has its ups and downs, it’s not all smiles and fun.

There are meltdowns and medical emergencies (to say the least!).

There are frustrated, confused and sometimes depressed parents and carers.

The world of Autism is really incredible.

I wouldn’t change any of the people I’ve met, for anything in the world.

They are great as they are. They have a purpose as they are.

let’s embrace the differences each person on the Spectrum brings to society…

let’s embrace the greatness that is within those differently-functioning brains and bodies….

let’s learn from the way they are, the way they themselves embrace life and make the most of it…

Let’s accept and understand rather than stigmatise and isolate.

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Mental Health Media “The sinner” Series – by Holly Tootell


There are a few programmes on TV and Film that discuss mental health related topics in their plots. The Sinner is one of them.

As Holly Tootell describes in this post, it is definitely gripping to watch!

But what is most gripping is the reality of abuse and trauma and how it can manifest in our lives even years after it happened.

The good news, as Holly reminds us, is that there is a way to heal from abuse and trauma in childhood and other stages in life, it just has to be the right way for each individual!

Read more here.


Working with the person, not the diagnosis – by Nathan Gould


In this post, Nathan Gould discusses how uncomfortable, unfair and unhelpful labelling someone with a diagnosis can be.

It can’t be like when we have a physical ailment – a broken arm, the flu, something else. It’s not as straightforward as that.

Nathan discusses this in depth. It is helpful for both professionals but also for people suffering with mental health and feeling disheartened by getting diagnosed and treated as a diagnosis rather than as a person.

There are many of us out there that want to help the person not the diagnosis.

I highly recommend reading his post, and other posts he has written, by clicking here.

Setting Reasonable Resolutions for 2018

calendar freebieFree 2018 Printable Calendar!

We have all been there…we make a list of what we plan to do in the New Year – stop smoking and doing more exercise are favourites.

How many of us break these resolutions on the 2nd of January?

So why not set some reasonable resolutions for 2018?

Here are some ideas that you might actually want to keep, and achieve without much hassle or thinking about:

  • keep life as simple as possible

    • remove those things that cause clutter in your home or mind.
    • think about each situation and weigh wether you want or need to stress about it, and decide for how long to stress about it.
  • Don’t make something a problem unless and/or until it actually is a problem!

    • this is one thing I try to make sure I do in my life to keep myself from getting overwhelmed when nothing is actually happening.
  • Make short-term plans

    • 3-monthly plans seem to work best for many people, and this means that you won’t get overwhelmed with gigantic goals
    • break those gigantic goals into parts and give yourself flexible deadlines to meet them
    • prioritise and don’t try to do everything at once, you will get overwhelmed and most likely not do any of them!
  • Take care of your mental health

    • read up on what worries you or ask a professional
    • go to counselling short term even if nothing major is happening – getting to know yourself better is a great thing and will benefit you and your relationships
    • read my blogs – and others’ blogs – on working through various issues in therapy
  • Other things that might impact positively on your life might be things that I’ve spoken about in my self-care blog posts

    • travel more

    • spend time with people that support and make you happy – spend less or no time with people that you might feel are taking your energy away or are actually toxic

    • read more

    • try new things – foods, activities, tv shows, etc

    • save

    • tweak your diet and exercise routines – or come up with one that fits your schedule and that you will actually achieve!

That’s it from me for 2017, I shall see you around the corner!

2018 here we come!

Have you downloaded my free calendar 2018 yet?

It’s been a learning curve for me since starting my blog this august, I am hoping to improve on what I’ve already done and offer some more freebies, books, and more great content the next year.

If you have any suggestions or comments, do leave them via email or via the contact form.

Have you subscribed to my blog? Make sure you don’t miss a thing this 2018! 

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Introducing: Mayra – Sworn Translator


Dear readers and subscribers,

As you have probably noticed, I publish a blog post in English on Mondays, and then a translation to Spanish on Tuesdays.

Even though translation is something I want to delve into as well, I am finding it easier to delegate the translating task, so I can focus on writing more material for you during the week.

Therefore, I am very pleased to introduce my friend and colleague, Mayra, who is going to be working on the blog with me by being the official translator for Insights…from the desk of Karin Brauner!

So without further ado, I will now leave the stage open for Mayra to tell us a bit about herself:

22773476_10154754695032237_814551237_nHi! My name is Mayra, and I am a sworn translator, based in Guatemala City.

I have worked as a translator since I graduated, but at the same time, I started doing other jobs as Business Administrator.

I established a translation business in 2006, where I used to help lawyers who worked with international cases, and needed legal translations; but it wasn’t until 2015 that my career finally took off. That was when I started having bigger clients, and started working with other colleagues to be able to finish all the work coming from them.

This sudden change made me realize how many potential clients there were out there, so I decided to start with a marketing strategy to get more of them.


In 2017 I launched my new brand, called: “We Translate” or “Nosotros Traducimos” in its Spanish version.

I have worked for many industries. Some to mention are: architecture, soil studies, tourism, armed conflict in Guatemala, veterinary products, international demands, and all kinds of legal documents.

I also participated in the Translation and Localization Conference that took place in March, 2017 in Warsaw, Poland.


I am currently a member of the Translators and Interpreters Association here in Guatemala.

I know there is a lot more to come, so I expect to be able to continue helping others to communicate throughout the world for many more years.

I am pleased to have been asked to work alongside Karin on her blogsite as her official blog translator. I hope you enjoy the translation work, do contact me with your translation needs!



Follow Mayra on Facebook


Read Mayra’s first translation for Insights here. Lee la primera traduccion de Mayra aqui.

English version can also be found here, written by yours truly.

If you haven’t subscribed to my blog yet, you can do so here:

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Continuous professional development and training Recommendations

I recently attended the European Association for Transactional Analysis foundation course: TA101 Certificate with Helen Davies from Open Space Therapy.

She was a remarkable tutor and would recommmend her courses from this initial experience training with her.

The course took us through two days of both theoretical and experiential T.A. processes. We were only 5, which I think worked well for me as I prefer smaller groups, but I’m sure it would have been interesting and maybe challenging in a different way with a larger group!

I have to say, I have had the book by Berne “The Games People Play” sitting on my reading list for the past year or so, and this course made me want to pick it up! (Will write a book review first and then crack on with that one!)

The way T.A. works is fascinating and also easy to practice in daily life. We had two lovely ladies in our group from other professions, the rest of us were counsellors, so their experience was very valuable. To see them grasp the concepts and start applying them or even just thinking about themselves in T.A. terms was great!

I believe this course will open new interaction and intervention doors for me in the counselling room, new ways of understanding my own relationships and the relationships that my clients bring to the group.

The Drama Triangle and its solution – the Winners Triangle were important learning themes for me as they explain how we can position ourselves as either victim, rescuer or persecutor (Drama triangle), but also allows us an exit via the Winners triangle: the victim can be vulnerable and develop problem solving skills; the rescuer can identify themselves as caring and developing their listening skills; and finally the persecutor can develop their assertiveness skills rather than their persecutor ones.

We learned so much more -from ourselves particularly – from each other as well – and theoretically!

There are many more topics that I’ve not discussed here (ego states, strokes, transactions, scripts, games, rackets and stamps). It would take too long and to be honest I don’t believe I am an expert at T.A….Not just yet anyway!

I encourage you, professional or lay-person, to look into Transactional Analysis and look into your relationships and patterns in this way. Whether you do anything other than think about it theoretically or actually put it into practice, it is interesting to say the least!

Leave a comment below if this was helpful and whether you went to read up on T.A. at all!

Upcoming training I’m attending and reviewing in this opinion space: Ecotherapy at Stanmer Park (Brighton) Saturday 26th August, and BACP Private Practice Conference in September.

Current events in the counselling and psychotherapy profession

Dear Readers,

I am pleased to see a very positive response to my blog posts on practical things to do for looking after yourself and living a more complete, calm and manageable life!

These will be continuing as usual on Mondays (English version) and Tuesdays (Spanish version).

In addition to these, I will also be posting mid-week on a topic that I’ve found relevant, interesting and current. As a member of BACP, BPS and other counselling related bodies, I get to read what is going on in the current counselling and psychotherapy climate, how this affect both professionals and clients alike. Some are beneficial to both, some are detrimental to one or the other. So I would like to shed some light on what is going on that might not be fully talked about in the general news but is a hot topic amongst counselling and psychotherapy professionals.

I might also write about courses I have recently attended and how valuable they have been for me as an individual, as a practitioner and how this might affect the way I practice in a positive way for my clients and supervisees.

If you have an opinion in these areas that you might want to discuss, do send me an email and we can work on a collaboration on my mid-week posts!

I would love for you to leave a comment below each blog post, to ensure I am writing what interests you, what is helpful to you and what you would like to read more or less of!



¿Por qué queremos ser perfectos, si podemos ser suficientemente buenos?

El mundo en que vivimos se ha convertido en un lugar en donde “o eres perfecto, o serás criticado.” Esto es algo muy difícil que pedir de cualquier persona, o de cualquier cosa. Como personas, fallaremos…como personas, caeremos…no siempre tendremos todas las respuestas, aun siendo expertos en algún área de conocimiento…y aun así, esperamos que todos actúan como si nunca fallaran, como si nunca caerán…como si siempre tuviéramos todas las respuestas…

Photoshop, Facebook, y otros medios sociales y tecnológicas, pueden ayudar a algunos de nosotros a parecer “perfectos.” Pero en realidad ninguno lo somos. En efecto, puede que aun sean bellos/as, inteligentes y personas maravillosas, pero me imagino que incluso ellos/as mismos/as dirán que están muy lejos de ser perfectos!

Luchar por ser perfectos nos puede provocar todo tipo de problemas: estrés, ansiedad, depresión, enojo, obsesión con actuar siempre bien…tendremos miedo de ser criticados y juzgados, y de ser vistos con desdén en lugar de admiración… (Benson, 2003).

No me malinterpreten – dar más del 100% en tu trabajo o en tu vida personal no tienen absolutamente nada de malo. De hecho, es algo muy positivo demostrar cariño a la gente que amamos, y tener éxitos en el trabajo y que te reconozcan por ellos.

Donde se pone complicado, es cuando dar más del 100% te está deprimiendo, estresando o enfermando (psicológica o físicamente) …por qué, entonces, quisieras seguir viviendo así?

¿Sería mejor buscar ser “suficiente Buenos”?

Winnicott escribió acerca de la madre suficientemente buena. Él dice que la madre suficiente buena le dará el cuidado necesario a su hijo para satisfacer sus necesidades, pero gradualmente necesitara alejarse un poco del niño, causando desilusión – algo necesario que tiene que suceder, y que sucede naturalmente – lo cual lleva al niño a darse cuenta que la madre no es una extensión de sí mismo, que es un ente independiente, y que hay otras cosas que toman su atención – la vida real entrara en juego, por ejemplo la madre irá a darse una ducha, irá al baño, contestará el teléfono, irá a trabajar, etc…

Inicialmente, esto puede frustrar al niño e incluso confundirlo, pero los cuidados y presencia predecible de la madre lo llevaran a aprender a ser un ente independiente, y a reconocer a la madre como tal también. El niño puede volverse autónomo a partir de esto.

En cambio, si la madre es demasiado buena o demasiado mala, ambas situaciones pueden obstruir la formación de la identidad del niño, e interferir con el desarrollo del mismo como ente autónomo e independiente de la madre. La madre demasiado buena lleva al niño a la fantasía de que el mundo es una extensión de sí mismo, mientras que la madre demasiado mala provee tanta desilusión y frustración que el niño no podrá confiar en el mundo externo (Bingham and Sidorkin; pg.115).

La pregunta sigue en pie: ¿por qué ser perfectos cuando podemos ser lo suficientemente buenos?

¿Por qué queremos luchar con las presiones de ser perfectos, de ser demasiado buenos, cuando lo mejor que podemos hacer es aceptar que no siempre haremos lo correcto, que nos equivocaremos, que no siempre tendremos todas las respuestas, que no es necesario sufrir para ser aceptados, y que quienes nos acepten lo harán por quienes somos, no por quienes la sociedad espera que seamos?

No sería mejor elegir vivir felices, tranquilos, con una vida lo suficientemente buena, que o nos cause enfermedades físicas o psicológicas –claro, siempre habrá problemas, no podemos evitarlos en esta vida, pero podemos ayudarnos y hacerlos más fáciles de manejar, ya sea a través de terapia o simplemente aceptarnos como somos, sin importar lo que piense nadie más o lo que nos quiera imponer la sociedad.

¿Creo que eso es suficientemente Bueno, no crees? Yo creo que sí…

Deja tus comentarios abajo…



Bingham, C.W., and Sidorkin, A.M. (2004), No education without relation. Peter Lang Publishing

Benson, E. (November 2003) The Many faces of perfectionism. Available at: http://www.apa.org/monitor/nov03/manyfaces.aspx. Monitor on Psychology. American Psychological Association.


Why be perfect when you can be good-enough?

The world we live in has become a place of “be perfect or be judged”. That is a tough ask for anyone and anything. People will fail…people will stumble…people will not have ll the answers, even if they are experts in a certain topic… yet we expect everyone to perform as if they will never fail, stumble…as if they have all the answers…

Photoshop, Facebook, and other social media apps and computer technologies, helps some people seem “perfect”–we only show our best side on these platforms, don’t we?But they/we  really aren’t perfect. Don’t get me wrong, They might still be beautiful, intelligent and wonderful people, but even they would say that they are far from perfect.

Striving for perfection will cause all sorts of problems for us. We will become stressed, anxious, depressed, angry, obsessed with performing well at all times…we will fear being judged and looked at with less than admiration… (Benson, 2003)

Don’t get me wrong – go the extra mile at work or in your home life. Nothing wrong with that. In fact it is great to be able to be kind to the ones we love, and achieve at work, and be recognised for it.

But if going that extra mile gets you down, stresses you out, makes you ill (psychologically and physically), then why would you want to keep going down this path…

Why not be good-enough instead?

Winnicott theorised about the good-enough mother. He said that the good-enough-mother will nurture her child in such a way that the child’s needs are met fully, but then gradually, she will need to disappoint the child –something that happens naturally and without planning– by leading the child to realise that his mother is not an extension of him/herself, and that mother has other things that take her attention – life will get in the way, mum needs a shower, the toilet, to answer the phone, to go to work, etc.

The child might be initially frustrated and confused by this, but the mother’s nurturing and predictable presence will lead the child to learn how to become an independent being, and to recognise that the mother is also an independent being. The child then can become autonomous.

On the other hand, “a too-good mother or a not-good-enough one, both obstruct self-formation and interfere with the development of an autonomous self. The former does so by contributing to the illusion that the world is an extension of ‘me’ while the later provides so much disillusionment that the child never learns to trust the outside world.” (Bingham and Sidorkin; pg.115)

Now, the question prevails: why be perfect, when you can be good enough?

Why struggle with the pressures of being perfect, of being too-good, rather than accepting that we won’t always get it right, that we will not always know all the answers, that there is no need to suffer to be accepted, and that whoever accepts you will do so for who you are, and not what society expects you to be?

Why not choose a happy, calm, good-enough life, that won’t make us physically or psychologically ill – of course there will be bumps along the road, we can’t avoid that in life, but we can make it easier to manage, through therapy or just through acceptance of who we are no matter what , no matter what anyone else thinks…

That is pretty good-enough, isn’t it? I think so…

Leave me a comment below if you have anything to add, any questions or feedback…



Bingham, C.W., and Sidorkin, A.M. (2004), No education without relation. Peter Lang Publishing

Benson, E. (November 2003) The Many faces of perfectionism. Available at: http://www.apa.org/monitor/nov03/manyfaces.aspx. Monitor on Psychology. American Psychological Association.

Going Through

“Going through” the counselling process


As counsellors, we are required to go through personal counselling whilst we train, and I would say it’s recommended to carry on after training is completed – there is always something to learn, some are to grow, blind spots to take care of. Therefore, we are no strangers to how painful “going through” the counselling process can be. Yes, in the end, looking back, it is worth every tear and every difficult moment we spend trying to figure out what is going on, why it’s going on, or what went on and why it went on, not to forget the all important here-and-now what and when with our own counsellor.


Counselling is like an archaeological dig in some respects, and like taking a plaster off in others. It awakens deep feelings we probably didn’t even know we had, unprocessed parts of our stories that affect us in the now, for better or worse. In a word, when in counselling a person might feel RAW. Everything is lifted and up in the air, leaving us to wonder, when are things gonna feel settled and “normal” again…Why did I even start this process, it’s too painful…


It is important as counsellors to remind our clients that we know what they’re going through, that we understand how painful uncovering repressed and traumatic things from their past and present, can be, but also to reassure them that this won’t last forever, that they are not on their own whilst dealing with their stuff, and that they will come to a point where it will all make sense, and they will be better off for having stuck with the process.


Going through our own counselling makes us better practitioners, because we have the experience of sitting on the client’s chair, we have uncovered repressed and traumatic things in our own lives and have learned more or less to bear them, to deal with them, to work on them, and to make sense of it all in the end.


There’s always more to “go through”, as the unconscious is vast, and the ego will always try and keep the repressed where it is, but as much work as we do on ourselves, the better it will be for our own wellbeing but also it will be so beneficial to our clients, as we will be better equipped to help see them through their present struggles.


Clients who come to us for counselling are looking to “make sense” of the issues that brought them to counselling to start with. We must remember that in order to get to that place where things “make sense” again, we must hold a space of safety, trust and confidentiality for our clients, and hold them – through our particular modalities, empathically, professionally, ethically and more importantly, humanely -through the painful process of “going through” to find what they came seeking.


(also published on counselling directory website)

Do what you’re passionate about

So how did I end up being passionate about Counselling?

Well, I was destined to be a medical doctor according to my father, bless him! So I gave that a try for two years, but I wasn’t loving it or being successful in it at all. Don’t get me wrong, I did learn lots and am thankful for those two years, they weren’t wasted at all!

When I was making my decision to change career choice, I stumbled upon a Culture and Personality course, which led me to think that this might be the way. So I started my counselling career not very enthused about it, but not closing my mind to the possibility either.

My tutors were so passionate about psychology and counselling, that it was infectious and got me hooked on the topic, particularly psychodynamic counselling. So I carried on studying and learning and becoming more and more interested in philosophy, psychopathology, human development, psychoanalysis, and so on. #

This got amplified and proven worthwhile when I had my first counselling client in Guatemala, back in 2003. So I can say that from then onward, Counselling has been my passion and have dedicated my time to training and practising, helping my clients find their way back and find their truth and place in life.

It is so rewarding and a blessing to be allowed into people’s worlds in such a way! It really is!

So this is my passion: Counselling. This is what I do. I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Find your passion and do it! Whatever it takes, whatever form it takes…Do what you’re passionate about!


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