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learning to ride my bicycle

Barbara ~ London

I started counselling with Suzi June 2021. When I started the counselling journey, I was in a very depressive state.  I felt unloved, unwanted, disliked by myself and others.  I felt I had no sense of direction in my life, I was unhappy with where I was, but did not know where I wanted to be, I had problems establishing and maintaining relationships.  Although it was summer, I felt I was in winter and had been for 20yrs.

I had experienced counselling before, and this had helped for a while but often I did not feel a deep connection with the counsellor.  This time I wanted to ensure the connection was there prior to starting my counselling.  I consulted Online therapy for qualified counsellors who I felt worked with models that best suited me.  I identified 6 counsellors and booked 30mins consultation with each. They were all good, but I immediately connected with Suzi.  She just ‘got’ me from that first 30mins.  She was able to summarise and mirror back the essence of what I was trying to say and the issues I wanted to work on in counselling.

The following sentence was taken from my reflective note of that first session. “She just felt warm, caring, I felt a good energy from her. I think I am going to go with her”

And I did go with Suzi, thank goodness, those sentiments from our first trial session continued right up to our last session at the beginning of December.

My counselling journey over those 6 months were at times challenging and uncomfortable, as well as being enlightened and empowering.  Throughout the journey I always felt cared for, I always felt her good energy, I always felt safe.

At the start of the journey, there were times that I was unsure of Suzi and questioned ‘was she the right counsellor for me.’  This was due to Suzi working completely differently from my experience of working with other counsellors.  Usually, I would tell my story and they would listen and perhaps provide some insight along with a lot of ‘umms and aahs’.  Suzi was not a silent observer in the counselling relationship, she walked right alongside me.  The sessions were a combination of counselling and coaching, and some of my resistant came from the coaching element.  Although destructive, I was in some sense used to the comfortable bubble of my depression.  Suzi challenged this and sometimes I didn’t want to come to sessions, I didn’t want to be challenged. But I turned up and Suzi turned up and no matter what I felt at the start of the session, but at the end I always felt energised, I felt alive.

We looked at the issues I had come to counselling for.  We were able to link back some of those to my childhood trauma’s that I had ingested, believed and continued to live under.  We agreed I needed to look at my childhood, and I thought this meant going over ‘chapters and verses’ as I had with other counsellors.  But thankfully, with Suzi, this was not the case, which again challenged my perception. Suzi really wasn’t behaving in the way I expected her as a counsellor to! But as we looked at the areas of my childhood, I came to realise part of my pattern had been relieving my childhood and I had been living in the past.  Suzi helped me to have compassion for my inner child, for the coping strategies she had to develop to protect herself.  But to know and realise I was not the child; I was an adult and could make my choices as an adult.  This helped me forgive all those involved in my childhood and even writing a letter (that was never sent) to someone who was once a dear friend, but our relationship had ended very bitterly.  To reconnect to the essence of love that was in that relationship and forgive both of us for being human with all its frailties was empowering and freeing. 

We worked on a current difficult relationship; I was able to different ways of being in this relationship. I started to realise you can love someone, at a distance. I came to start knowing what was my stuff, that I needed to work on, and what was the other persons and to leave their development to them and focus on mine. I learned strategies for dealing with strong emotions, including anger. Suzi works in a spiritual way which is aligned to my idea of spirituality.  Through this work, I learned forgiveness both of myself and others.  To know just as I was trying to find my way in the world so are they.  It didn’t have to be a battle between myself and those I love; it wasn’t them or me.  It was just us on a different path but towards the same journey of self-discovery and ultimately love.

We worked with boundaries, which up till then, was very unhealthy in my relationships.  I was able to put in practice what I learnt in counselling. Being able to do this, to change a pattern by knowing my boundaries, being clear about them to the other person and holding on to them when that person felt it was too challenging or tried to push against them. This completely changed my way of relating.  When I discussed, with Suzi, what happened when I kept my boundaries in the relationship.  Suzi whooped and just cheered my success.  She held a mirror to me to show how this was such a change to my usual patterns. She helped me see how big a deal it was. And it was and continue to be.

We looked at my unhappiness with where I live, I came to realise I had a habit of running away, leaving, always looking for something else.  Suzi introduced me to Now Here.  Here is where I am, she helped me look at my disconnection from me and how to start the journey of re-connecting with self.  This has made such a difference to me.  Over the summer I started to explore, with a friend, where I lived.  He introduced me to the beauty of the countryside of nature that was right there on my doorstep, and I hadn’t noticed.  Now I go on daily walks, I love trees, I see the beauty in the changing of the seasons.  I am learning to be grounded not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually.

Through her coaching and counselling I have incorporated skills such as visualisation – I use this when I am having difficulties with individuals, by visualising the situation and practicing a different, more positive response which provides me with a more rounded view of the relationship.  This stops me from reacting, from continuing old patterns.  

For me the biggest change was when I was telling Suzi how much I disliked myself.  She said, “say we ‘flip the script’ and you tell me somethings you like about yourself”.  That totally stopped me in my tracks, my brain took a time to compute that, no-one has said that to me in the that way before.  But once I started thinking of this, I realise I had so many likable traits. I have had so many feedback from people who had said positive things about me but being locked into the past I couldn’t hear it.  Instantly that transformed my relationship with me and how I viewed myself.  To go from disliking to liking myself to loving and accepting myself has truly being life changing.  Even as I type these words a smile just comes to my face.  I pledged to myself that I would always care for me, will always love me.  People may have their opinion, that is their right.  But I will never hurt me in that way again.  And to date I haven’t. 

Another area we looked at was my constant ‘doing’ which was more for the sake of it rather than for achieving anything. What Suzi referred to as “doing but going No Where”.  She challenged me just to ‘be’ to sit without doing for maybe one day to see how it felt.  Well one day turned into five days. Its hard to explain the relief of giving myself permission to just ‘be’ to listen to my inner self as to what I wanted to do, or not do.  this rather than the voices of should, must have etc.  I felt and continue to feel at peace when I do this.

Our last sessions were spent looking at me taping into my ‘feminine’ side.  I am very much a practical person (masculine side).  We discussed the things that I enjoyed, and I realised that my creative side has been very dormant, my vibrancy, love of colour, love of dancing etc has been pushed down.  I had become ‘beige’. However, through talking looking at why and as usual with Suzi doing, I have re-connected with that side, this includes re-doing my living space in the vibrant colours that suits who I am, no more beige!  

I felt I was at the stage where I could ‘pause’ the counselling.  I had learnt so much not just about myself but also about the people in my life.  I learnt compassion to self and others, that the past does not have to define the future, but there is no need to re-write it, just to understand, thank it and let it go.  I learnt to love and like myself. I am on the journey to re-connecting with who I am, whilst being who I am. I learnt about healthy boundaries and how to put them in place and maintain them. I learnt I can choose who to be vulnerable with and when.  I learnt to bring ‘colour’ and rest back in my life.  However, I knew I now needed the time to continue to put these in practice.  To live the experience and see how it goes.

Suzi asked what I wanted to name the last session.  I said a ‘pit stop’.  I felt it would be the place to stop/pause.  To take the training wheels of my bicycle and learn to ride on two wheels.  I know there will be some wobbles along the way, I might even fall off now and again. But I will continue and I will not need the training wheels anymore.

That’s thanks to Suzi.  Suzi has been supportive, empathetic and non-judgemental.  She is so intuitive, she gets straight to the heart of what I say and mirror this back to me, that all I could often say was  ‘yes, yes that’s exactly how I feel’. I felt validated, ‘seen’ in our counselling relationship. Her warmth, her intuitively knowing what I needed in the sessions and providing this whether it was cheering me on, gentle challenging or just a compassionate silence.  Suzi has shown great generosity of spirt and heart in the sessions, she is always very present.  She has positive energy that transmit, as often I have turned up at sessions tired and by the end, I have felt energised and invigorated, I believe this comes from Suzi.  Most importantly Suzi provided safety in those sessions.  I was able to be open about things I had never discussed, to truly show my vulnerability warts and all and I always felt safe and supported.

So as I toddle off on my bike, wobbling a bit, I would like to say thank you Suzi.  This flower that started the counselling journey, her petals tightly curled, is now unfurling and she is on her way to being a blooming rose.

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    Sophia ~ Vienna

    I have been working with Suzanne for the past 5 years. Her counselling sessions continue to be an incredible support in my life. Suzi has an ability to immediately understand my thoughts, feelings and emotions and to provide a valuable guidance which always helps me to feel lighter, clearer and make better & conscious decisions. It is very tangible while working with her that she has a wide spectrum of experience and can support me in whatever issue I need support with. She is a great listener, an experienced and talented therapist. I have recommended her to several friends and family members and everyone is amazed by the support they feel by working with her. Suzi is loving, compassionate, clear, funny and very present. I am very fortunate to have found a therapist with such integrity, committed to truly supporting people. So whether I just need support with a smaller topic, or whether I am facing a stronger issue, Suzi has never failed to be of a huge help. My life has truly changed for the better since working with her!