My name is Ashley and I’m currently a psychology undergraduate in the Leeds area.   As part of my university course, I have to arrange and attend a placement that has some form of psychological aspect to it. Having arranged a placement last year, my nerves were somewhat settled. This was until the deadline drew closer and I was finding a lack of responses from my much desired aims of finding a counselling placement.

Fortunately, my patience paid off when I received a response which eventually led to an interview. The prospect of meeting a real life counsellor was a very strange and novel situation, yet upon meeting, everything was fine. I think that the way stereotypes are built up, we imagine white lab coat scientists etc. These preconceptions are often false, at least that’s what I found. These professionals are approachable. Obviously, a level of professionalism is needed, formalities and such.

I think these preconceptions need to be broken. I’m not saying Counsellors should not be seen as important and professional, as they are. They provide a specialised service to people who need it. Yet meeting someone of such profession should not induce nervousness or anxiety like it did for me. Turn this energy into excitement and anticipation! They are not some evil being who better themselves in some form of elitism due to their position in life. They are modest and caring individuals, much like (most of) us undergraduates!

Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself. Don’t be afraid to question, It’s ok if you don’t fully understand everything straight away. We’re all from the same planet, our own thoughts and feelings. Counsellors are not exempt. Don’t be nervous; don’t limit yourself by shying away through nerves and obstacles. Enjoy the experience and take what you can from it.