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Volunteer counsellor role

Thursday 9 January 2020

Meet Amy who has kindly shared her experience of what it’s like to volunteer as a counsellor at St Barnabas House.

Amy - volunteer counsellor

When I was looking for a placement during my counselling diploma to complete my 100 hours volunteer counselling, I was really motivated to pursue the option of St Barnabas House.

A year and a half on, I am seeing two clients a week at St Barnabas. I mostly work with bereaved family members but have also worked with relatives of current hospice patients.

It’s difficult to remember what I expected when I started at the hospice, but I do remember feeling nervous and had some trepidation about what it might be like.

What I’ve experienced has been amazingly positive. The warmth, dedication and enthusiasm of the staff is really inspiring; we get to discuss our work with them and also have a chance to support other counsellors and offload, before starting our volunteering that day.

Having the opportunity to voluntarily work as a counsellor has given me the chance to fully understand the role, whilst being held in the supportive space of an organisation like St Barnabas. I have always found the staff to be friendly and reassuring – Angie, the Family Services Volunteer Coordinator, always takes the time to ask after me and goes out of her way to make sure I’m happy with my working arrangements.

I gain the most reward when my clients are able to show themselves compassion. It seems easy in our society to offer this elsewhere, and many bereaved clients have spent a long time caring for their loved ones and had to reach into the depths of their compassion and humanity in doing that. It can take a lot of work sometimes to focus that compassion towards themselves and when that happens, it is a beautiful and very healing experience.

I also see a counsellor myself, which is very valuable in working through anything that has touched me on a personal level. Outside of St Barnabas, I enjoy the company of friends and family, and I love walking, cycling, reading and yoga, which all give me ways of restoring myself.

In November 2019 I passed my final exam and qualified, which I am extremely happy and relieved about! I would say that if you are interested in this area of work, St Barnabas is a great place to gain experience. Go for it!

Interested in volunteering as a counsellor? Click here for more information about how you can play an important role in supporting patients and their families at St Barnabas House.