Audrey's Story - Cancer Support Scotland Counsellor

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Audrey's Story - Cancer Support Scotland Counsellor

Audrey case study.jpgMy name is Audrey and I have been a Counsellor with Cancer Support Scotland for roughly two years.

I qualified as a Person Centred Counsellor, gaining a post-graduate diploma in 2015, after many different training and higher education courses. I am disabled and unable to work due to my chronic pain condition and other health issues. I nearly died with a ruptured bowel on 28th Dec​ember 2009 which led to me completely re-assessing my life. Part of my personality is that I am determined (stubborn some say), to not let what I have gone through and live with totally take everything away from me, not to lie down and be beaten. I have the capacity to give a little of my time, my energy and in a way myself, to the world, universe and other people. I have been a client before and I know the fears associated with “going to see a shrink/head doctor/therapist”. I understand that getting over the threshold is possibly one of the hardest things to do in your life. To be the person behind the door who is there for someone during one of their darkest experiences, that one person who is only concerned with them and to hear their deepest thoughts and fears is a privilege for me. I am honoured that people feel able to share themselves with me and I love that I can support them, giving them a little of me in the process.

Volunteering with Cancer Support Scotland has a very personal meaning for me and has a special place in my life. ​​Volunteering means that I matter. It means I can contribute to society; I am in touch with different people who are not my close family and friends. Volunteering as a counsellor also means that I have fulfilled my ambition. I meet a variety of different personalities who are dealing with their issues as best they can, who are brave enough to realise that they need support and I get to be that person. To support without judgement - without being invested as a spouse would be, to be the ears that hear the heart of the issue, to care without molly-coddling, to facilitate the changes that someone wants and needs - I get see people move towards the destination they have in mind. Volunteering means I get to grow along with people and I believe we both get to fulfil our potential. 

My aims were, and still are, to be there for people during their difficult time. With each client experience I give a little of myself and in return I receive the opportunity to grow both as a counsellor and as a human being. I would like the opportunity to explore more in-house and on the job training opportunities that are available to me.

As a volunteer I get to be a part of a person’s life, witnessing their experience, being alongside them as they untangle and make sense of feelings, thoughts and emotions that go with being affected by a cancer diagnosis. 

"It is a beautiful experience to be a part of"
Person centred therapy is my favourite kind of therapy. I also have a lot of belief in complementary therapies. I believe that a combination of talking therapy, complementary therapy and traditional or orthodox medicine can be very beneficial to people.

When I am working with someone and I see them ‘working’ the issue right in front of me I feel like I am making a real difference. As a counsellor I don’t often get to see people ‘work’ or process the issue because it is mostly done away from the counselling room in the time between sessions. When people come in to the library for an appointment there is a noticeable change in how they look, how they speak, how they work in the room. It is hard to explain, I just notice the adjustment and the person also notices, often saying “something’s changed, I can’t put my finger on it, I just know something has moved”. It is a beautiful experience to be a part of.

Volunteering for Cancer Support Scotland and being in Macmillan @ Glasgow Library spaces has worked because I believe we are in people’s communities and are readily accessible to those in need.

The most unexpected thing has been the fantastic response from people in the community. For me it has put to rest the idea that people are just interested in themselves at times. Cancer Support’s Scotland’s volunteers are working together across Glasgow to support people affected by cancer ensuring they get the support they need, including counselling and complementary therapies.
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