Being a Volunteer Counsellor

Bernadine has been a volunteer with No Limits for 6 years. After being made redundant as a Head Teacher’s PA, she decided it was time to put her counselling qualifications into practice and joined No Limits on a part-time basis, initially working on the drop-in to broaden her experience.

During a typical day, Bernadine will hold six counselling sessions, each for fifty minutes. She also holds pre-counselling assessments – a chance to meet with a young person and decide together if counselling is the way forward for them.

“I enjoy working with young people,” she says. “There is a distinction between young people and adults but they are people with the same problems as everyone else. They have more self-awareness and the courage to say “I’m not coping well and need help.” They just need someone to listen to them.  No Limits treats young people as a whole, helping them with practical issues as well as on their emotional journey.”

With a compulsory fortnightly supervision, Bernadine finds she has plenty of support, ensuring that she gets listened to as well as listening to others. “We feel safe and can therefore make others feel safe.”

She says of volunteering: “It allows me to be flexible and fits around my life so I can still spend time with my grandchildren. I would recommend anyone passionate about what they do to volunteer and embrace No Limits and what it offers.”

Since being at No Limits, Bernadine has been on a journey of her own. She implemented a six week Anger Management programme, which is being adopted by the NHS. “If it wasn’t for the connection with No Limits, this wouldn’t have been possible. No Limits has stretched me and opened up new possibilities.”