Irene P.

Psychotherapist and Counsellor
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Irene P.

My employment

Psychotherapist and Counsellor
Private Practice
United Kingdom
Small business (0-49 employees)

More about Irene

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A day in the life of a Psychotherapist and Counsellor in the United Kingdom

All the clients that have finished therapy and have told me how much it has helped them - I remember everyone and their stories.

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

I currently work for myself which is great! I also work as self-employed with other organisations who are sending me suitable clients, and in a text-based support app.

What do you do?

I conduct weekly sessions with clients who are interested in improving their mental health. We discuss their narratives and needs, and eventually people usually feel better and understand themselves more, through the therapy!

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

I was always interested in psychology and what makes people tick. When I was in my final year in York, I held a paid online mentoring job, which was tremendously rewarding. After graduating, I did something rather different, and worked in the civil service as a social researcher/analyst. I quickly found out that the pressures of a fast paced office job plus the lack of direct contact with the actual public was not something that was suited well to me. I then racked my brain for what I enjoyed doing which could also offer a liveable wage, and remembered my old job in York. What if I could expend on these skills? And so I embarked on the counselling career! It might also be worth adding that in the year after graduating university and before working for the civil service, I worked in the performing arts as a singer and supporting artist in films. All these varied experiences have added to my ability to be a counsellor, as I feel that I have explored a few avenues that helped me relate to a wide array of individuals.

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?

When I was younger, I felt quite impatient to start earning a living, so I thought counselling isn’t for me, as the training takes an average of 3 to 5 years. When I actually got into it, I realised that time passed faster than I thought, and all that time was needed, as I have learnt so much.
I also thought it’s more difficult to be a self-employed psychotherapist due to paying a lot on room rent. However, due to the rise of online and outdoor/walking therapy, this has been much less of a worry. There is also a range of suitable rooms with affordable rent.

Describe your most memorable day at work

When the first private client came to me- it was the moment I realised I’m going to get paid as a psychotherapist for the first time! This has been a worry, as psychotherapists initially do unpaid training work while studying. It was a big relief to know that I could make a living doing what I do, and more paying clients followed!
In addition, all the clients that have finished therapy and have told me how much it has helped them- I remember everyone and their stories.

Are there any challenges associated with your job?

When clients feel in danger. We make a plan for who they can call and what techniques they can use until we can meet again for our next session, which usually is good enough for keeping people safe.
Also, when a client does not want to engage with me/my advice. I let them know the therapeutic relationship is important, try to work out how we can work together if possible, and also offer them the alternative of working with a different, more suitable therapist.

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

I had a mentoring job which immensely helped me with empathy and chatting skills. In addition, I was doing quite a bit of singing and song writing, which helped me with performing and presentation skills!

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

Don’t worry if it takes you some time to figure out what you really like doing. The current market is much less about a job for life than you might have been advised. My advice would be to aim for a good work-life balance.

Next steps...

If you like the look of Irene’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Irene a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Irene to be your mentor.

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