Big thank you from

Gillian Grant

Gillian Grant GILLIAN Grant is a Senior Accredited Counsellor with the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy. In November 2010 she received the news, that all those who depend on a income to pay the bills dreads, that she was going to be made redundant. Like so many in this boat this was something she had no control over. She worked for a large multi-national company that had decided that internally employed counsellors were too costly and as a manager Gillian's role was no longer required.

What this would mean for Gillian was significant change from the routine of clinics, staff management issues and regular travel to the UK, where her staff had been based, to finding a new role that would provide the same interest, stimulation and of course income. Gillian had toyed with the idea of becoming self employed but had struggled with giving up the security of an employed post. As part of this process she had enrolled on one of the Enterprise Agencies business courses which provided her with a lot of valuable information and helped her to put the first tentative foot on the ladder of being her own boss.

It was only when the push of redundancy came along that I really took the plunge. I had a little money in the bank which reassured me that the risk was not too great but still I went through some sleepless nights worrying about being able to pay the mortgage.

My days are now spent booking clients from a range of sources, ensuring that I not only maintain good client records but ensure that I keep clear financial accounts. I have to think about invoicing and tax returns which were aspects of the job that someone else always dealt with. I believe that before the availability of the Internet setting up a business must have involved a lot more hard grind. So much is available at the touch of a key and I have now been able to develop my own web site which I believe is a important component in today's competitive market. Another component for me setting up in business has been to link with other businesses in the area where I have chosen to work. These links are essential to my success, one such being with Blackstone Physiotherapy in Moria. I approached the Practice Principle and founder, Kay McLorn and was able to agree terms to work out of her purpose built premises which provides me with accommodation, a welcome environment for clients and contact with other professionals.

Being a counsellor is something that I have spent nearly 20 years developing and from experience it is apparent that no matter what the underlying reason for a client coming to see me is they are generally struggling with feelings of distress, deep sadness or uncertainty caused by past or present events such as bereavement, trauma or illness. I support people suffering from these stressful issues providing an environment which allows for expression of thoughts and emotions but also the opportunity to work towards solutions, leading to improved wellbeing and self confidence / belief.

Many people see counselling as an admission of weakness or an indulgence when in reality facing difficulties and dealing with them is often the harder option and essential to overall health. Often making the call and arranging the first appointment is the hardest step. So each day I spend time with clients explaining what they can expect from counselling and their sessions, working with their issues and sometimes finding solutions or helping them to learn to live with life as it is. It is a job I would not want to give up so being able to continue doing my job by setting up my own business as been a real success for me.

Ulster Star