At Quetzal, we offer student placement for counsellors to complete their qualification. We take great pride in supporting them in their development by providing them with specialised training about the trauma of childhood sexual abuse and tailored supervision to best support women survivors in their journey towards recovery.
The following article is a testimony from Anne, a Quetzal volunteer counsellor who completed her student placement at Quetzal, now fully qualified, and running her own practice.
If you want to volunteer for Quetzal as a counsellor, please visit this page for more information about the volunteering opportunity.
The atmosphere and general feeling at Quetzal have always been a perfect balance of professionalism, friendliness, and safety from everyone I have met. I have always felt welcomed and as an equal, despite my student placement status for the first two years. It is an inclusive organisation, that has a wide and diverse variety of staff and volunteers, never forgetting the understanding of the importance of each and every person’s role.
From the outset, I threw myself into the supportive training that was provided and was made to feel comfortable enough to ask novice level questions and be gently educated as a result. These were at the weekends, often 7 hours each day, demonstrating the level of commitment that the whole team of staff and volunteers has. The Clinical Lead gave me her time whenever I needed it, whether it be to clarify paperwork, processes, policies, or as a sounding board with my client work.
I quickly understood how well clients were supported from the assessment stage, through to well-being checks and holding calls that are made while clients were waiting for their counselling. I was impressed with the understanding approach around the number of sessions offered for clients, as opposed to a set number of sessions that I was becoming aware of was the offering at other organisations. Very quickly I understood how this benefitted clients, as I saw the real “work” start to take place two or three months into therapy at the earliest.
I was given the trust and autonomy to work with clients that were chosen based on my proficiency level, with the safety of “bouncing” ideas with my supervisor around of patterns and theories; I was never told what to do but explored and discussed possibilities that were led by me. I very quickly grasped the high importance of supervision, which was something spoken about at college, but when experienced, really came into its own and the benefits for a counsellor clear.
From my first ever session with a client, through to qualifying, I have enjoyed growing my knowledge and confidence in my new chosen career, and look forward to coming into the office to surround myself with like-minded “gurus” who I can absorb their experiences and knowledge…. it made me feel excited for the potential I could learn, know, and who I could become.
I simply cannot thank Quetzal enough for their wholehearted support and investment in me as a student counsellor. They responded promptly and professionally to any help I needed, working with my college tutor, coaching me with client work to find my own answers and increasing 121 supervision to meet the criteria of the course. I am often e-mailed any other relevant training or CPD that I may want to take advantage of such as presentations, distance-learning or on-site overviews at the office to further my development, and support for my clients.
My time at Quetzal has given me a professional and safe place to grow my skills and confidence at my own pace, and to be exposed to a variety of complex trauma clients, with a variety of presenting issues. I look forward to maintaining my growth as a counsellor, to continue to support Quetzal’s clients, whilst safe in the knowledge that I will be supported in my journey as a professional.
Now a Qualified & Certified BACP Counsellor running The Walk & Talk Therapist practice, volunteering at Quetzal and supporting her family and local community.