On 22 June I attended the annual awards ceremony at York Place to celebrate the completion of 20 years volunteering for what is now known as Relationships Scotland. As the ceremony began, I recalled that day in 1999 when I began my 3 year training in what was then the ACICC (Advanced Certificate in Couple Counselling). The course consisted mostly of attending taught weekends staying overnight in Dunblane. Training was very challenging but enjoyable and our cohort bonded over intense study during the day and a few glasses of wine in the evening!
My volunteer work, based at Relationships Scotland – Couple Counselling Lanarkshire, has been so rewarding over the years. The team I work with are all committed and experienced individuals who work tirelessly to support the people in the local area who attend our service. The clients I see may sometimes present with similar issues but their relationship is unique to them and in turn to me. I can honestly say I enjoy my volunteer counselling work more than any paid career path I have chosen which has included nursing and 18 years as a police officer.
The biggest change I have experienced over the years is the use of the internet affecting relationships, whether positively, e.g. as a platform for people to meet or negatively, e.g. as a means to conduct an affair outside the relationship. This change interested me so much I decided to study it extensively as a research subject for the dissertation part of my degree in 2016 at Glasgow University.
If you are reading this and are invited to attend the above ceremony, I would encourage you to attend. It is a means to feel recognised and appreciated for what we do – the cava and cake are also a bonus!