I was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala, where I lived for the first 25 years of my life. As you can probably tell by my name, it sounds very German! I am the descendant of a German great-grandfather who moved to Guatemala in the early 1900’s. So I have influence of both Latin American and German styles of thinking, feeling and being (you will see what I mean when you meet me and spend some time with me!).
The German/European influence is probably what brought me back to Europe in 2006. I have lived in the South of England, in many towns, doing many jobs, since then.
I am now settled in Brighton and Hove, which I love – I have access to the countryside, the city, the sea, and a melting pot of cultures and activities. This is where I have started my journey into Counselling Private Practice, as well as delving deeper into my love of languages and teaching – Spanish, English, Psychology, Counselling/Psychotherapy.
I really enjoy everything that I do, and I never do anything or continue doing something that I don’t enjoy and might cause me unhappiness or frustration. Of course I will see it through to the end and complete what I’ve started.
I don’t think I will ever get unhappy or frustrated with Counselling or Teaching, there is always something new to learn from books, training, but more importantly from my clients themselves.
It is such an honour to be allowed into people’s worlds and be there for the realisations – sometimes good, sometimes not so good – about themselves, their upbringing, their experiences, and see lasting change happen – gradually – so they can continue a happier, healthier life, with a more robust approach to challenges and whatever else life might bring.
I hope this allowed you to get to know me a bit better…do contact me if you want to know more or are looking for a Counsellor, Supervisor, Spanish/English Teacher!
We will continue our work online, and we hope that you’ll reach out if you need us.
We have decided to halt our regular blog series on hoarding as things progress.
Here is Stacey’s message to everyone:
“During this current situation we would like to offer you our words of support. Please remember to stay safe & although these are difficult times, we can use it to appreciate our loved ones, appreciate life & focus on what we would like to achieve. Let’s spend quality time with our kids, get more involved with their learning. Do things that we never had the time to do before like decluttering the house, meditating, working on unfinished projects. Together we can get through this “
Stay safe, stay in touch via mobile devices, keep eating as well as possible, exercise at home, practice mindfulness and meditation or anything that will help you get through this difficult time.
“I know a lot about this topic, I could offer some services around that”
“Ah that’s a great idea, but how can I get that idea to help others and bring me income in the process?”
“I want to do A, B, C ….. Z, but just thinking of all the work it requires, and all the ideas I have, I’m already overwhelmed”
I have had these thoughts, and some of them have required a mindset change on my part.
Patience and perseverance have also played their part.
I still have many ideas that haven’t come to fruition. I’m working on them.
If you’re like me, you have lots of things to do on the side of your self-employment / entrepreneurial life. Sometimes these things help, other times they make us stop, take stock, regroup and figure out how we’re going to move forward.
Every new idea comes with a risk.
It’s scary to put ourselves out there and either succeed or hear crickets (note I didn’t say fail).
Succeeding is just as scary as hearing crickets or seeing hay bales go across your screen…
According to the authors, we must combine our idea with entrepreneurial spirit.
This basically means that we are willing to take a risk by developing our idea and creating great products and services with it.
Development of a new product or service means we might have to start learning new skills, how to use new tech, do some research on the things already on offer, as well as plan, plan, plan!
This takes time and effort.
If you’ve got life stuff going on – health issues, physical or mental, people to look after, another part time job to help pay the bills – it might mean that it will take longer to develop this idea.
I know I’m struggling with regrouping right now and realising that my time is limited and I need to look after myself.
My priority as ever are my clients – counselling, supervision, tutoring, coaching and content. My energies are invested in them on the days I offer these sessions.
The rest of my time is for admin and rest. Depending on how I’m feeling, rest might take precedent over admin. I might do the bare minimum some weeks.
When we have limited time, but a willingness to support more people than we can in our one-to-one sessions, it feels like everything is urgent.
Prioritise and Be Realistic
The authors propose to have realistic propositions, which includes having an idea and then thinking “finance”.
Now I’ve grown my one-to-one service in a very frugal way. I’ve tried the Facebook Ads and Wordads, but I did those at a time where I didn’t have an audience and it flopped. I might give them a go in the near future, when I have courses and other products on offer and have the capital to spend on them.
Social media is a great way to market yourself for free, and I’ve taken advantage of that possibility. It’s meant that I can put content out there and support the general public and colleagues with great content.
So, the authors suggest we consider whether we need a lot or a little capital, or maybe we don’t need much to start with.
Consider what you need. For example, counsellors might want to pay to be a member of BACP or UKCP, NCS, or any of the others out there. Also being a part of directories will help them get clients. Networking events might cost some money as well.
Start with what you can afford without getting into money worries, and grow your capital for these activities as you grow your business.
If you’re going to the bank to ask for a loan, you’ve got to have a good business plan.
It is easier to get a loan if you’re employed (I know this from personal experience – I got a loan when I was on a 30hr permanent contract, without much fuss…but got denied a loan a couple of years later as I was part employed, part self-employed). Check with your bank what the requirements are if you’re self-employed!
Financial backers will look at your idea and figure out if it’s profitable.
If you don’t require much money to get started, then go for it! If you’ve thought it’s a valuable idea and will benefit others, then why not try it out!
Do something different to stand out – see what’s already out there
Finding out what’s already out there and what will make your products or services different is key.
Nobody knows what you know, how you know it or present it to them. It will be valuable to the people that need to hear your message.
You will already have an edge because of that.
How else can you make yourself stand out?
There is lots of advice out there from business coaches and it can get confusing and daunting as some will say do A B C and others will say definitely don’t do A B C, it doesn’t work!
My best advice on this is, read what they have to say, and do what feels congruent for you.
What works for them might work for you too, or something else might come up that really helps you build your offering reach.
An important thing to develop is the Know, Like, Trust Factor. You can do this in many ways, but the key thing is: (metaphorically) shout that you exist!
For example, if you create an amazing website, but nobody knows about it, you’ll never sell or get clients. You have to guide people to your site to get the business you want.
That is a subject for another post, but promoting yourself is key!
The authors suggest that, once you’ve established yourself and your product or service, it’s time to maintain sales and figure out how you’re going to grow your business in the short and long term.
Don’t allow your business to get stale. Keep innovating, finding new ways to do things.
I’m in the process of starting podcasts, vlogs. It will take time but I’ll get there. I’m pacing myself but I have an idea of where I want to get to.
I am also starting to do workshops online and offering other things like courses (also will take time but I will get there!)
All of this has meant a huge mindset change and re-adjustment.
I’m being kind to myself whilst I readjust and figure out how to do this and grow my business offerings further.
The authors also talk about hiring people.
Now, I got into private practice to work by myself, be my own boss. But I’ve become so busy that I couldn’t do something that I enjoyed any longer, but needed to keep doing in order to keep “top of mind” on social media.
I’ve hired a VA that schedules my social media posts. I have the final say whether I want to change an image or some of the text, but in general she’s doing most of the work. I only spend like 10min (rather than 3hrs) a week on these posts.
It’s freed so much time!
I’m sure she could be doing so much more for me. It’s a mindset change to have someone do stuff for you, so I’m working on that at the moment.
For now I’m happy to keep my social media posts going!
A final note on all I’ve said above.
Self-Care should be key when building and developing your business.
If we don’t look after ourselves, we won’t be able to do any of the work we are dreaming of.
If you want to find out more, I’ve got a very practical book called 20 Self-Care Habits, which comes together with a free Facebook Group, coaching sessions (paid), and in the future some new products and services.
Reference: The Business Book: Sam Atkinson et al. (2014). Big Ideas Simply Explained. Dorling Kindersley Limited, pages 18-19
Hi, and welcome to this blog post where I’ll be discussing a few topics that might come up when working online.
If you’ve missed any of my other posts on online counselling, you can read them here.
When a counselling client is working with me face to face, it is usually because they live in the same town as myself, or in a nearby town.
This might lead to us bumping into one another on the street, at a shop, sometimes even at a pub or party.
There have been many conversations about how to deal with this when it happens.
One of the best moments to deal with this is at the start of therapy, or in the therapist’s written contract.
BACP has guidance on this for practitioners, as well as information for the general public. Their ethical framework is also helpful to make decisions about how to deal with this in private practice.
Different practitioners and clients alike might be more or less comfortable with the possibility of meeting outside the sessions in this manner. It is just something that might become a reality at any point.
We can agree to acknowledge each other with a nod and carry on.
Some of us might be comfortable with saying hello to our clients and even having a short conversation about general stuff – the weather for example.
Generally, we would be with others, so the nature of our counselling relationship is bound by confidentiality – on the therapist’s side. The client can disclose this if they so wish.
I personally wouldn’t see this as a major issue, and more importantly, it could give important information for following sessions.
How was that for you, seeing me outside of the therapy room?
What did it bring up for you?
What could either of us have done differently?
What shall we do next time we see each other in public?
Let’s now tackle the same topic but from an online perspective.
More and more counsellors are offering online counselling, and this is becoming a popular way for people to get access to counselling, whether it is because they live in rural areas, are not able to travel to a therapist’s office, or for convenience in other ways.
Social media is a great way to work and market our practices online. It’s one of the main ways I do networking and give out information about my services, about counselling topics and other topics I’m passionate about (just like this blog!)
Rather than see Social Media as a hindrance, I see it as a great opportunity to offer information and support to more people than the ones I can see in my private practice.
Resources on mental health, self-care, and realted topics are important as they might be a source of solace and support for those considering counselling but not quite ready to take that step just yet.
Having online profiles on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Youtube, and others means that anyone can find us and follow us.
Just like we did with meeting in town, we must decide what is OK, and ethical, for us as therapists when it comes to our clients finding us online.
There’s also the possibility that Facebook might “suggest friends” to us that just happen to be our clients.
The most strict thing to do in this case would be to block the client, but I’d like to offer some other options.
I’ll give the example of my own facebook use. My personal profile is private, I check settings often and limit posts every few months.
The only things public on my profile are my cover photo, my profile pic, and public posts which are mainly business related. I’ve got the “followers” mode on because colleagues or people interested in my content might want to catch up on that platform.
Some of those might be clients.
All the content that I share that is public, including my cover photo, relate to my business. Nothing that is shared for friends and family is public.
This keeps the boundaries clear, and keeps me safe from feeling like I’m inadvertently self-disclosing to clients or potential clients.
If a previous or current client wants to follow me on my other social media platforms, I won’t worry as they are business profiles.
If I had a personal profile on instagram, for example, I’d have the option of making that profile private and people would need to request access to it.
There are many ways to keep our private lives confidential online. They don’t have to be too strict or too lenient.
The key is that we want our counselling relationships with clients to be safe and contained.
Keeping up to date with encryption, GDPR legislation, security of each social media platform, and having conversations with clients about this topic will keep everyone safe. Also, reading up on guidance from our membership bodies can also be helpful.
Have you got any further suggestions, or questions regarding finding your client or therapist in public or online?
Drop me a line in the comments and I’ll be happy to add it to this post.
Hello everyone, and welcome to Wednesday’s new ongoing series, where I’ll be showcasing the blog posts that the graduates of my workshop via onlinevents experiential workshops have written.
In this week’s post, Tonia introduces her latest blog post series, where she’ll talk to us about why counselling is important as a preventative resource, rather than only to be accessed in times of crisis or difficulty.
Our mental health is important all the time, and not only when we’re not feeling well.
We might think that we are fine, but still be struggling with depression, anxiety, relationship issues or something else.
It’s OK to not be OK and ask for help from a therapist like Tonia or myself.
Tonia introduces 3 further blog posts with reasons why we can attend counselling when things seem fine.
I’ll be sharing these in following Wednesdays.
I’ll be updating these Wednesday posts as I receive links to colleague’s blog posts. Keep an eye out for these!
You can also subscribe in the form below if you want to get them straight in your inbox as they are published.