7th May 2021

Spotlight on former counsellor Steve

Over the years we’ve been so lucky to have such professional and talented members of staff to help change the lives of clients. So we’re sharing a number of posts written by former counsellors to provide an insight into their work and what they felt like working at Broadway Lodge. Here is an expressionate, personal piece written by Steve Keen, a former counsellor who joined Broadway Lodge in 2010.

 

Written by Steve Keen, a former counsellor at Broadway Lodge

“I started work at Broadway Lodge in 2010, after being part of a few addiction services based in the community, residential and private sector. I found it quite an awe-inspiring place just the building and grounds had a real feel of history to it. I remember going on my interview and seeing the building for the first time and walking through the front doors and thinking wow! This place has some interesting energy! The only way I could describe it was the building had a solid, proud open and welcoming presence with an underlying stillness even though there was clients and staff hastening energetically to their appointed groups and other activities. It was in that moment I thought ‘I really want to work here!’ Which then created more anxiety in me, I had always found that when I really wanted something, I would always fall short as the universe always seemed to laugh at my plans, sometimes quite hysterically! which I found rather rude.

The interview was strange, I get very hyperactive when drinking coffee so made sure not to have none that morning in order to present a calm and professional appearance. However due to my anxiety of now really wanting to get the job I said yes when offered the dreaded coffee by Peter Smith and Stephen Bendle, when I really meant no! Coffee mixed with anxiety I found has a potent affect in me which presents itself by going widely off topic when I am asked questions and rambling for minutes on end about something completely irrelevant. However, I was delighted to be told I got the job after waiting outside Peter Smith’s office for a while with my head in my hands, deep feelings of shame and thoughts that the crazy police are finally going to come and get me.

I loved working at Broadway because it was a rewarding and challenging experience which afforded me a lot of room to grow as a therapist. Being a naturally curious person, I enjoyed facilitating workshops and groups helping to discover client’s own individual understanding of how recovery concepts apply to them.

After some time working at Broadway, I found I started to get disillusioned with my approach to addiction as I had been working for services since 2001 in a voluntary and paid capacity and felt I might be a little burnt out. I discussed this with my supervisor, an amazing, man called Peter Rawlings, who fed back to me that I either give up or go deeper and then introduced me to neuroscience and positive psychology. I was blown away from what I read and found myself hungry for more information, things started to make a lot more sense about addiction, behaviours, learning, recovery concepts and fundamentally being human.

This new information infused me with passion and then pushed me towards the challenge of applying learning to practice. My amazing colleagues at the time gave me loads of support and ideas which I am most humbly grateful for. The privileged work with the clients was where the journey of discovery really actualised, the information I had gathered was pulled apart by them and put back together in each person’s appropriate frame of reference.

I still feel the warmth in my body when I think back on those special and privileged moments which there were many at Broadway Lodge. One of my first being a step 2 lecture which was part of cutting my teeth and getting into the work. I was anxious and thought this is all going to go wrong as I had not saluted a magpie that morning. Not that I am superstitious, but I always seem to be when I get anxious! I presented the lecture and asked if there were any questions or thoughts, which at that point someone shouted from the back ‘Get a proper job!’ and the whole room burst into laughter including myself! Which totally broke the spell of my anxiety and connected me with the clients in the room. They taught me in that moment not to talk at them but talk with them. Which shaped my style into an interactive one becoming a curious guide rather than a specialist who has all the answers.

The laughter, the tears, the anger the fears, the hope of tomorrow the holding of sorrow. These are the themes that always came up at Broadway which made a lot of sense to me of why the physical environment felt so solid, proud open with a welcoming presence and an underlying stillness. How else would you house such spiritual struggle mixed with the richness and tragedy of the human condition.

On a side note, I really loved the food as well! Thanks Matt! 😊”