18th March 2021

Spotlight on former counsellor Rachel

Each and every one of the Broadway Lodge counsellors make a difference to the lives of the clients they support and interact with (like all of our employees!). We’re blessed to have a compassionate and talented team of counsellors working here today but we’d like to shine a spotlight on some former counsellors who have made an impact, explained in a blog we published last month here.

One former Broadway Lodge counsellor is Rachel Humphries and below you can read her captivating synopsis about her professional experience of working at Broadway Lodge.

Thank you Rachel.

 

Written by Rachel Humphries:

I was coming to the end of my HND in Counselling in 2005 and served at Broadway Lodge as part of my placement. I was “let loose” on the residents of Secondary Care (now known as Extended Treatment), and immediately felt a huge affinity for this brave and damaged group of people.

A position as a full-time counsellor became available and I applied for the role.

I was interviewed on my 49th birthday. Sitting nervously on a leather sofa in reception, waiting to be called for my interview, a very nice young man, who evidently mistook me for a new admission, sat down beside me and kindly told me not to be anxious, that “they take very good care of you here”.

I was offered the job on the same day and for 11 years I worked in Primary Care (now known as Therapeutic Treatment). Every day felt like a thrill. Driving up the long driveway, you would never know what the day would hold in store. Often, by the time I reached the staffroom I would have been accosted and or hugged several times by residents.  The team meeting in the mornings, as the medical team handed over the events of the previous night, would sound like a far-fetched soap opera or comedy. No two days were ever the same.

(The long driveway)

The first year that I worked there was like a baptism of fire. I had scant knowledge of addiction, had no understanding of the 12 Step Programme, I had never facilitated a group, delivered a lecture or run a workshop. Every day I had to face my fears and overcome them. And overcome them I did, for I quickly realised how deeply I cared about the outcomes for the residents. At first I felt overwhelmed by the stories of abuse and abandonment I heard all around me. I came to respect and admire this tough bunch of survivors and a select few I came to love. Collectively they humbled me with their courage and determination to recover and live the rest of their lives as the best version of themselves. Not everyone makes it, of course. Addiction is a dangerously powerful foe. I came to know, all too well, when addiction had taken the person over again and nothing that I said would make any difference now. Didn’t stop me from trying though with every ounce of my being.

I loved the sense of humour, both in the residents and the staff team. Many was the time that a group would descend into hysterical chaos, me giggling along with the group, helpless tears rolling down our faces. Whistling in the dark? Maybe, but whatever helps you through the day.

I ran a poetry workshop for years and would be blown away; not just by the talent or the moving words but by someone, barely able to write, standing up in front of all his peers and reading his work out to them – and their respectful silence as they bore witness to his words – and the look of joy on his face when he stood washed by their warm applause.

I would love the annual Reunion when I would see people I had worked with (and what hard work they did) turning up again looking fresh faced, joyful in their new lives and with a new found sense of peace.

I loved my 11 years at Broadway Lodge, the work I did there and everything I learned had stood me in good stead now as I work in private practice.