Although I am now an accredited Counsellor, Supervisor and Trainer with a BSc Hons in Psychology and a PhD in Occupational Psychology from the University of London, from 1957 to 1980 I pursued a career in nursing at Royal London Hospital.
I enrolled on the MEd in Counselling in Education at the Graduate School of Education because, as part of my occupational work and training, I found myself faced more and more with people who had life difficulties and who needed to talk. I attended counselling training courses, but needed more knowledge and skills for my practice. I chose Bristol because the courses were modular with flexibility in topic and timing, which enabled me to travel from Guernsey for the required two or three days a month. But, perhaps most importantly, I chose Bristol because of the University’s good reputation.
At the Graduate School of Education, both lecturing staff and students accepted each other’s differences. In the past, working as a Christian Counsellor, I experienced doubts that I or the organisation were bone fide. Throughout the University, however, I found acceptance and interest and good will. I loved having the opportunity to attend lectures in other departments as well as the friendly welcome from staff such as Jane Speedy and from UK and International students alike.
My supervisor Tim Bond and Kim Etherington had a large influence on me. The depth of their knowledge and their way of sharing it with us students enhanced our relationship, rather than belittling us; they treated us as adults who had a lifetime of experience to share.
I think the whole learning experience at Bristol stands out as one which requires hard work, but which is pleasurable and enjoyable thanks to the ambiance created by the lecturers. I found it a stimulating and rejuvenating experience, which was personally fulfilling. Studying at Bristol gave me greater confidence in the counselling service I was offering to my clients. I am very proud to have achieved the MEd just before I was seventy. I’m planning to retire in two years at the age of seventy five.
To young and old alike who are thinking of following the Master’s in Counselling in Education, I would say: give it your best and, above all, enjoy all the learning opportunities the University of Bristol provides – it is just so invigorating.