I am working towards becoming an accredited counsellor with the BACP
Alumni spotlight | Chris Hodgson
Hi, my name’s Chris. I’m a counsellor working in the North of England.
- Courses: PG Dip Counselling and Psychotherapy (2019) and MA Psychotherapy (2020)
Tell us a bit about yourself and what you've been doing since you graduated
The main thing I have been doing since graduation is building my counselling experience. I currently work for an organisation that sees clients with a variety of presenting issues. It is giving me a good grounding in counselling work. I have also been studying for a training qualification, as one day I hope to be able to get involved in counselling training in some capacity.
What have been the highlights and challenges of your career so far?
Being able to conduct primary research as part of my MA, and learning about the different aspects of research, was a fantastic opportunity, and an experience that I know will help me throughout my professional life. Another of the highlights was going on to present my MA research at the Annual Research Conference of the BACP, one of the counselling profession’s main governing bodies. It was a really exciting experience, and it was very special to be able to give voice to the answers that my participants gave. I am currently looking to get my research published in a counselling journal.
How has your experience studying at Leeds Beckett influenced you and your career?
In many very important ways. I was very glad to be able to study an integrative counselling diploma, which gave me an awareness of the range of approaches that counsellors follow, and helped me confirm which ones I prefer, and which knowledge to develop in future training I might undergo. It also gave me a conceptual framework which has helped me to work in a consistent way, while adapting to the needs of individual clients. The skills elements of the Diploma also gave me the confidence to trust my own intuition in the work. Meanwhile, studying the MA, which involved interviewing other counsellors as part of my research, helped to sharpen my questioning skills, and gave me an added appreciation for the nuances of participants’ answers. I have found that this wisdom has transferred to my client work.
What advice would you give someone thinking about studying this course?
Do it! On a serious note though, I think the most important piece of advice to anyone considering doing a counselling course or diploma would be to try to cultivate self-awareness: how do you relate to other people? What do you see as your strengths and weaknesses? Likes and dislikes? What situations are you comfortable/ uncomfortable in? Etc. This is the best preparation for the course. You need to be prepared to be open about yourself in classes, and it can bring up some sensitive issues, so be prepared for that. But the better you know yourself, the better prepared you will be. And I can honestly say my experience was overwhelmingly positive, and I look back on it as one of my life’s rich experiences.
Aside from self-awareness, you need to be prepared to be organised and pro-active. Whilst the university will help direct you, there are several elements that you will need to organise – such as arranging a professional supervisor, finding a placement, and arranging personal therapy. Finally, I would say to be prepared to do written work such as essays. Keeping a feelings diary might be a good way to get into the habit.
What's next for you?
I am hoping to become an accredited counsellor with the BACP in the not-too-distant future. Accreditation is the next step for counsellors, and it is quite a lengthy process in that it involves writing accounts of the way I practice. However, like my Diploma, it is helping me to think carefully about how I work, and why I work the way I do.