There are three main influences on my life and the way I work. The first is my training as a counsellor. I was very fortunate to be able to take an academic year out and study full time to achieve my Diploma in Counselling from Strathclyde University in 1992.
The experiential course, the people I met and then the people I have worked with as a therapist had an enormous impact in terms of how I strive to be in the world and in relation to others.
I was also able to do a part time post graduate Diploma in Human Resource Management (specialism in training) in 1998 -2000 which brought together my practical experience of management and training with the theory that underpins it.
My undergraduate experience of university had been very challenging but as a mature student I finally learned how to learn in an academic way. Having had over a decade of work by then I was able to apply my new knowledge to real life scenarios and think critically. In my thesis on the role of perception in a change process I drew on my therapeutic training and experience as well. It was one of those ‘it all fits together’ moments, fleeting but powerful.
The third influence was becoming a parent to a disabled child. I would have struggled being a parent anyway I am sure but the ‘added dimension’* of parenting a child with additional support needs has had a profound impact on my life.
Being Joe’s mum has challenged me in ways I could not have imagined and I have often felt ‘wanting’. But I have moved towards a ‘good enough’ approach to this and other aspects of life as a middle aged woman in the West and recognise the rewarding and positive influence this has had on my life and my relationships.