For many years I worked within supported housing projects, offering support, advice, information and advocacy for people who were experiencing homelessness, housing or tenancy difficulties, perhaps because of money problems, difficulties with drugs and/or alcohol, mental health issues including anxiety or depression, domestic violence, harassment, disability, relationship issues, learning difficulties, long term ill-health and so on.
Through my work it became clear to me that sometimes our individual lives take unexpected twists and turns that can be frightening and leave us feeling exposed, isolated, confused and vulnerable.
I felt privileged to hear many difficult and varied stories about relationships ending, ill-health, bereavement, a loss of identity, addiction, redundancy and the many other layered and complex reasons that resulted in homelessness and housing difficulties.
It is a simple fact that the everyday things in life that are often taken for granted can sometimes slip through our fingers.
I soon realised that working with people and being alongside them during their difficulties and their desire for change filled me with awe, interest and curiosity. I began to see that if each person is offered a safe place, filled with acceptance, openness, regard and understanding – without judgement, control or oppression – change may begin.
Unexpectedly, an opportunity to study and practice counselling simply extended this realisation. I had discovered something that filled me with passion and joy, reflection and challenge. I had embarked on a personal and professional lifelong journey.