Launching the UK’s first National Counselling Awards – 2020

Hi everyone, it’s Maria here. On Monday 4th May 2020 we launched the UK’s first National Counselling Awards. Over in our CTUK Facebook group we have been talking about these awards for over a year now and have always received both positive and negative feedback. We have decided to trial the awards this year as more people wanted us to than not.

The purpose of the awards is to celebrate the work we do in the counselling profession. It is not about client work, as that’s confidential, but it is about our businesses and achievements, as well as awards for training providers, charities and other organisations demonstrating good practice. The aim of the awards is to lift up and support each other whilst raising the profile of the counselling profession. (See images below for further details)

A little bit about my story

I just wanted to share something about the awards process and my own personal experience which I hope gives some more insight into the idea behind these awards and what I hope they can achieve.

In 2006 I received an award from ChildLine for my ‘dedication to the lives of children and young people.’

I was nominated for this in 2005 (the year I qualified), and it was to recognise the counselling work I had done whilst I was a trainee counsellor on placement.

I didn’t expect to be nominated and only found out about it when I was told I’d been shortlisted.

I went down to London and met Ester Ranson and a few other famous people who had been the judges, as well as other people like myself who were there for awards, and spent the day at ChildLine seeing what they do, etc. and it was a really nice experience.

I can honestly say that the whole experience was really positive.

There were no yucky or negative feelings from anyone. All of the team I worked alongside at the hostel from the admin staff, to other therapists to the managers were really happy for me, proud even. It was a celebration for us all. There were no feelings of me being held above anyone else or people suggesting I was creating a split or thought I was better than others…. and I certainly didn’t feel that way, I’ve never thought I am better than anyone else. In fact I’m often reminded, certainly weekly, of how very little I actually do know! The team around me were able to lift me up and really support me and celebrate with me. It didn’t matter that they personally hadn’t won the award, it was an award for us all.

Moving forward from this it had a big impact in several ways.

TRAINING – my ex tutor was delighted with this and celebrated with and for me. I also think it was a reflection of attending such a good training course. It also helped future students as trainees knew of somewhere they could go on placement and would be looked after.

PLACEMENT PROVIDER – it was really good publicity for them.

MY EMPLOYER – I gained new employment in August 2005 when I first qualified to set up and run a young peoples counselling service, and my new employer gave me time off to go to the awards, etc. and even funded me going. My new team also celebrated with me. My employer also asked if they could use this in their work to help promote our services.

ME – I felt proud of myself and it helped increase my confidence as a new counsellor. Did I NEED an award? Not at all. Was is nice to be recognised for all I had done for the service? Yes.

So based on this I have a few hopes for our awards

It is my hope that our own counselling awards will have a similar effect.

I would hope that they don’t cause any splitting to happen and that it doesn’t appear as though we are saying that any one counsellor is better than any other, as we’re not.

I would hope that they help bring people to together, that they help the individual receiving the award but that they also help any organisation who receives one too.

I hope that they help to raise the profile of the counselling profession and make the public more aware of what we do.

I hope that they have a knock effect on our own campaign work – because we will be able to show examples of good practice, examples of how placement providers and those who work with volunteers should be treating and looking after them (covering expenses, providing supervision and CPD, etc)…. and in the future when people make excuses to continue with exploitative practices and they tell us that they don’t have other options we can show them clear examples of ‘actually yes you do have options and yes actually you can be different because all of these guys who have won these awards are….’

Someone receiving a reward should not make someone else feel inadequate at all. We should all be able to lift each other up, support each other, and celebrate with each other in the same way I experienced this when I won my award – for which, yes 14 years later, I am still proud of!

That is what I hope ❤️

You can find out more and enter the awards over at our website

Thanks for reading.

Maria ?