My name is Annie and I’ve been volunteering for One-Eighty since August 2014. I’m studying counselling at Birkbeck, University of London and I currently work as a journalist. I hope to qualify as a psychotherapist and to specialise in working with young people.
On the first day of my counselling course, many of us said the same thing: “I’m successful in my career but it’s not right for me any more.” The path I chose in my 20s was no longer fulfilling. I knew I wanted to train as a counsellor some day. What was I waiting for? Why not today?
Without a background in the helping professions, volunteering is a way to gain ‘on the ground’ experience of working with young people. It has also allowed me to work and train with an amazing core team drawn from psychology, social work, education and youth work. I’ve progressed from assisting workers with individual interventions to delivering some sessions of my own – all made possible by the amazing support and training One-Eighty has provided.
It’s true that volunteering is a great way to build up your CV. But it’s about so much more than that. Good counsellors are committed to personal and self-development, which takes far more than just studying. Doing this kind of work isn’t just about trying to effect change in others. It’s also about allowing yourself to be changed.
I’m in my first year of training so I have a long way to go – and I hope to keep assisting One-Eighty throughout that journey and beyond.