If we think of life as a journey, mine feels as though I have explored different places to reach this destination. I started off with a law degree and worked as a Solicitor for 7 years, advising individuals and companies. Looking back, although no longer practising as a lawyer, the training and experience I gained is part of me. I had to analyze situations and difficulties and look for structure and solutions. Communication skills were fundamental. Difficult concepts had to be explained in an understandable way to clients who then made informed decisions about their lives or work.
Coming to Italy gave me a different perspective on work/life balance and I started teaching English part-time to children then principally adults. Experience came first then the Cambridge CELTA.
I taught for 24 years, eventually collaborating with a colleague to set up The English Tree, an English educational and social learning community, promoting personal growth, potentiality and development of relationships. I had already started studying to be a counsellor and recognized the importance of focusing on students as individuals with their own personal worth, motivations and ambitions. I learnt a lot from my students. They showed me how important a creative and sensorial approach is to activate the whole person and integrate reality and then change. We are all so much more than the sum of our parts.
Counselling has taken me in a different direction and all the training, life and professional experiences and also my own therapy have brought me here. Empathy for others, sensitivity and creativity have always been there in everything I have done and make me who I am. Painting and collage is personally important to me – finding the visual language, texture and colour to express my emotions when words aren't enough. I love the freedom art gives and the way it connects us in our “humanness.” The poem “The Guest House” is a favourite:
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
Meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.