I have practiced as a psychotherapist for about seven years now.
What led me to chose this professional path was the encounter of a Gestalt Psychotherapist that I met in my mid-twenties when I needed support in my life. In the process of seeking a "helper", I had in mind that I would meet someone special for me and the only thing I knew was that I didn't want a mainstream educated professional or a too clinical type of therapist. It worked, I met her. This person became a sort of guide in my life and we kept a connection years after I finished therapy. Jo passed away in 2013 and I suddenly and weirdly felt lost for a while so I decided to go on a long walk in the South of France to see if answers were going to manifest themselves to me. This trek is also called a pilgrimage although I did it in a non-religious way. (It's the St James's Way / Santiago de Compostella). If we consider that our life is a big cycle made of many smaller cycles, then this long walk could represent one of these inner cycle. The patterns of behaviour, thoughts and feelings that we have had in our lives so far, might occur within the pilgrimage, but in a smaller yet more intense scale. This trip confirmed that I needed a change (new cycle coming !), and so I timidly started the counselling studies by applying for the introduction to counselling course at City of Bristol College.
My own personal therapeutic journey is unique and not everyone is meant to have such a deep and meaningful relationship with their counsellor or psychotherapist for the healing or exploration to work.
But I have to mention this as it is very obvious that she helped me develop resilience and that in my case, my therapy led me to become a psychotherapist myself.
Prior to this I had worked in helping roles for many years.
I supported individuals (children and adults) with Learning Difficulties, Autism and Asperger's syndrome, for about 15 years. I practiced this profession in three European countries such as, Switzerland, France and England.
I also used to work with foreign children in France to facilitate their integration and adaptation to the French School System. It was a special program to help them feel welcome in the French School. There was a great variety of backgrounds (Europeans, Gipsies from Kossovo, Africans from Benin for example) and some of the children had never been to school in their countries before. The learning was based on play and oral language. This experience reinforced my interest in non-verbal communication. The children and I, along with the other teachers had to learnt how to be together for a certain amount of time, without the verbal language. Obviously, we gradually taught French words but the cognitive and literal aspect of the language was secondary. This is what I bring in my work as a psychotherapist. The dimension of the Non-Verbal.
"The Foyer Michael": This is a course on Art and Educational skills based on Rudolph Steiner philosophy (otherwise called Waldorf Education) that I did in my late twenties. Living in the community and learning about biodynamic gardening, art & craft work like copper, stone carving, painting, clay modelling, theatre and singing. The learning in this course was connecting the cognitive, emotional and physical aspects of the human, valuing the uniqueness of each person.