Retraining as a counsellor to gain flexibility

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Katherine AstillRetraining can be a useful route to a better work/life balance – and for Katherine Astill, the course offered by Tavistock Relationships was the perfect solution.

Faced with an inflexible career and a growing family, many women consider retraining as the way to bring some balance back into their lives. But some are put off by the perceived investment of time and money that pursuing a new path will require. The question they often ask themselves is: is retraining worth it?

For Katherine Astill, who retrained as a counsellor with Tavistock Relationships, the answer is a resounding yes. A trained lawyer, Katherine worked as a policy advisor for an international development NGO before having children, but was struggling to find a sufficiently interesting role that fitted around the demands of her growing family.

The introductory course that makes a career change accessible

However, everything changed when she read about Tavistock Relationships’ Introduction to Couple Counselling and Psychotherapy course on Women Like Us. The course is a professional pathway which works as a foundation to a master’s degree. Katherine went to an open day and decided to give it a go. As she explains:

“I’ve always been interested in counselling as a career, and Tavistock Relationships’ introductory course was a fantastic way to dip my toes into the water and find out whether it was something I would want to pursue. The course takes place one evening a week for six months, so it wasn’t a huge commitment in terms of time or money – and was easy to flex around my children.”

And crucially, from Katherine’s perspective, the introductory course gave her the chance to properly experience what she was getting herself into:

“The course was so experiential – lots of group exercises and practical teaching as well as time to reflect and read around the subject. It gave me a real sense of what it would be like and how different it was from my previous job. By the end of the course, I felt that counselling was the career for me, and that I was ready to commit to it, both practically and emotionally.”

A serious qualification with flexibility built in

Katherine then signed up for the next stage of her training, a three year equivalent to a master’s degree, which usually takes place over two evenings a week.  Again, the course had flexibility built in, with each student developing their clinical work at their own pace, in discussion with their supervisor.

And this flexibility continues even after the course has finished. As Katherine explains: “I’m now a qualified couples’ counsellor and have chosen to work a couple of days a week, one evening and one weekend morning. I’m able to slot the work around school pickups and other activities, but still enjoy a job that’s both interesting and challenging. It really is the best of both worlds.”

A fascinating career that can be flexed to suit you

There’s no doubt that this combination of flexibility and stimulation is what makes this particular career so appealing. As Katherine concludes: “Training and working as a counsellor isn’t just a job – it’s a life-transforming experience. I learn something new every single day, and thoroughly enjoying my new career. My advice to anyone considering this kind of career change would be to sign up for Tavistock Relationships’ introductory course; it’s the ideal way to find out whether this new path is right for you.”

Tavistock Relationships are holding an open evening for prospective students on Friday 20 October 2017 and their next Introduction to Couple Counselling and Psychotherapy course will start on January. To find out more and register your interest, please follow the appropriate link.

This article has been sponsored by Tavistock Relationships, and written by the Timewise editorial team.

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