What is Flip The Script Friday?

Flip The Script Friday is a weekly event where we invite organisations/adults onto our website/social media to answer the questions that young people have for them.

Why is it a thing?

This is an opportunity for young people’s voices to be heard and to have their questions answered. But equally, it’s a chance to destigmatise the discussion of mental health, highlight the great work that organisations are doing and to make reaching out for support from them less intimidating.

This week…

We collaborated with Tanya, a counscellor at Breathe in Roath in Cardiff. They, like us, are part of Platfform, a mental health charity in Wales. Breathe offer counselling to individuals, couples, families and young people. Tanya is here to answer all of your questions!

Who’s Tanya?

“Hi, I’m Tanya and I am a counsellor. I work in a person-centered way, which means that what we talk about is led by the client. I am very passionate about counselling, because I’ve seen the difference it can make to people’s lives. I strongly believe that asking for help shows great courage and strength and I feel privileged to hear my client’s stories and be part of their path to change.”

Q&A Time!

We had so many questions sent in by young people to our Instagram @platfform4yp and here are some of the highlights!

Q: What do you think of the idea Flip the script?

I think it’s a fantastic concept. I process stuff better when I have the chance to say it out loud and bounce ideas and feelings off someone else. To me, anything that makes us all talk to each other and learn from one another is surely helpful. I am excited to have this opportunity to learn more about your world.

Q: What made you want to become a counsellor?

When I was younger and found myself struggling, I was fortunate enough to have counselling. It really helped me, and as I love hearing people’s stories, I felt that I wanted to see if it was for me or not. I enrolled on a 10 week course called “An introduction to counselling” and I haven’t looked back since. I feel really fortunate to have found my dream profession.

Q: What kind of counseling do you offer?

At Breathe we have lots of different counsellors. Personally I offer humanistic-existential therapy. This means that you are in the driving seat. You choose what we talk about and the pace we go at. It also means that we explore your world as it is for you. We could look at such things as your relationships, your values and your beliefs as well as talking through specific events.

Q: What do you think needs to change for people to receive better mental health support?

I feel that the fact that we are all individuals is often ignored by the mental health medical profession. Something I really like is the idea of “dropping the disorder”. I think that labelling people is rarely helpful. I also feel inspired the way young people are driving stigmas away by being brave and opening up about their struggles. The louder we are, the bigger the chances of being heard.

Q: What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning and do the job you do?

I think it’s probably the fact that I feel that I make a difference. Some clients have spent the week since their last session thinking and processing, and they need somewhere to share all the emotions that this has brought forth. Another thing that motivates me, is all that I learn from my clients. We all have stuff to offer each other, no matter where we are in our lives.

Q: What is one piece of advice you were given that you will never forget?

A friend of mine told me a few years ago: “stop saying sorry”. This was really good advice, as it made me reflect on my self-worth. I have since realised that so many of us are unhappy with ourselves. After a lot of journaling and exploration with my own counsellor, I started liking myself more and stopped saying sorry for who I am.

Q: What was your favourite subject at school? Why?

I am Danish, so English is not my first language. But it quickly became my favourite one. Before English lessons started in school when I was 10, my favourite subject was Danish. I have always loved reading and writing. But as I got older, English lessons took over. It’s such an expressive language with many different ways of saying the same thing.

Q: What do you think is one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to counsellors?

There are so many! But one that springs to mind, and that I often see, is that counsellors can “fix” clients. That if you come to counselling and tell your story, you will automatically feel better. In reality, counselling is hard work. We are on the journey together, but ultimately, the client has to “do the work”. It takes courage and strength to look at ourselves truly and honestly.

Q: How do you look after yourself and your mental health/wellbeing when working?

There are quite a few things which I find helpful. I have a clinical supervisor who can give me advice and who I can speak to about anything which might be going on for me in sessions with clients. Also, when I have been to work, I have a cut off point on the drive home, (a roundabout halfway home) which is when I stop thinking about work and start thinking about home.

Q: How do you look after yourself and your mental health/wellbeing when at home?

I make sure that I eat well, sleep enough and I love going to the beach. The water de-stresses me. I also find it really important to be present in what I am doing. Whether that is being with my family, walking the dogs or gardening.

Q: What is one thing you would tell your younger self now?

Things change, we change. What feels really hard right now, will not always feel like that. You will find your people, your tribe. You are good enough!!!

Q: Is being a counsellor a hard job to do?