This week we are celebrating 10 years since moving the practice from our Wigston premises into the Leicester building we now inhabit. Where has the time gone? In one sense it doesn’t seem very long ago since we stood in an empty room assessing how we could make it into a comfortable therapy space, and, in another sense it’s a lifetime ago.
We (colleague Mish and myself) had a vision for the building: that room by room we would take over the building until one day we had access to the whole building as a counselling, psychotherapy, supervision and training centre with a reputation for our inclusive practice.
In those early days we battled with noise from other offices; unrelated work often jarred with us but we persevered. A couple of years in and we got the opportunity to expand into a second room. It felt too soon so we let the moment pass, unsure if we’d get another opportunity. It spurred us on to be better prepared the next time. Sure enough a few months later the same opportunity came by and we snapped it up. We were up and running. Subsequently, each time another room became available we took it, even if we didn’t quite feel ready for it.
There were many stressful moments especially during the middle section where we wondered if we’d taken on more than we could handle. With a lot of hard work and determination we eventually took over all six rooms and could claim the building as ours. It immediately felt like a safer space knowing that it was completely ours, private and containing. No unexpected loud noises (at least on the inside!).
The pandemic brought more challenges as therapists moved their work online at home. The building sat quiet and empty for months; we wondered if we’d survive. We used the opportunity of it being empty to get some much-needed maintenance done. We took risks and the team pulled together to keep us afloat.
For many months, once COVID restrictions allowed, I was a lone worker, oscillating between my shoe-box office at home to a six-room building in the city: it was a stark contrast! Whilst we are not yet quite back to the busy building we once had, we have several of the team now working from the building part-time and it’s a joy to be back working there with some friendly faces.
One of my high-school teachers told me I wouldn’t amount to much. I had internalised this and many other experiences that led me to think and feel that I couldn’t have any dreams let alone realise them. Aside from this being a most unhelpful and damaging comment from my teacher, she was wrong!
So, as we celebrate our 10 years here, I am struck by the many challenges we have faced in that time. We have come through those challenges stronger. We have some battle scars, yes, but our resilience has remained intact. We have remained steadfast to our ethical principles even in the face of rejection and adversity.
We have received many blessings in these 10 years and I am truly grateful for them and for the oft unsung cheerleader at home without whose steady support to follow my dream I could not have achieved this.
As a team, unsung cheerleader included, we are looking forward to a face-to-face celebration later in the year, COVID permitting.