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LawCare’s Coordinator for Ireland, Mary Jackson, has just become a qualified Integrative Counsellor, a qualification verified by the Counselling & Psychotherapy Central Awarding Body. Ms Jackson studied part-time for four years, which included 100 hours of voluntary counselling, several case studies and a commitment to personal therapy during the final two years.
Ms Jackson will shortly take her final exam, which will enable her to be registered with the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy. She will continue volunteering for Young Devon, where she sees young people between the ages of 16-18.
“What I find striking is how anxiety is on the increase,” she comments, “and how young people are worried about all kinds of things. These include where the world is going, how they are going to cope financially and if they will ever find a significant other.
“I am also encouraged by their desire not to be held prisoner by their anxiety, and their determination to live with it and use it to their advantage. This mirrors my experience on the LawCare helpline, where we find that our callers are presenting with complex mental health difficulties such as stress, anxiety and depression.”
Ms Jackson has also just completed an intensive course with CRUSE, the UK charity that specialises in bereavement support. She explored various models of grief, looked at her own and others’ views of mortality, and learned how to listen to the stories of those bereaved by death in whatever form – sudden, expected, desired or unexpected. She intends to become a Bereavement Volunteer for CRUSE, and to write articles and a new factsheet on bereavement and how to cope with grief for LawCare.
“We find that often callers will mention the death of a friend or family member almost as an afterthought, without really understanding the additional impact the bereavement may be having on them,” she observes.
What both qualifications have in common is the importance of listening and empathetic support, both of which are vital to the work of LawCare.