10.10.2021: UK Music’s Communications Manager Jennifer Geddes outlines how she applies what she’s learnt from her counselling training to working in the music industry.
Before the pandemic I had started volunteering to work with people with learning disabilities and autism.
I’d really enjoyed getting to know the fantastic people who attended the group. I would listen to them talk about their lives and started to realise how much they were struggling. I wondered, “How I could help?”
I’d had to give up volunteering because of the lockdowns. By January 2021, I had got bored of watching TV and making banana bread and I started to look around for something else to do. I ended up signing up for a course in counselling – inspired by my volunteering.
It was an entry-level course focused on learning basic skills and best practice. This means I’m not a qualified counsellor, but I’ve been thinking about how I could apply what I have learnt to working in the music industry.
In an industry where around three-quarters are self-employed and many people work alone, go on tour for long periods or face other challenges, it’s really important that we’re all looking out for one another.
So, here’s a list of five things that I think everyone, not just those in the music industry, could learn from counselling:
- Boundaries are brilliant. As a counsellor you are expected to say upfront what your boundaries are. This creates a safer environment because others then know what is expected of you and of them.
- Ethics are excellent. In counselling training, ethics aren’t just something tacked on the side but foundational to all teaching. You learn how to integrate ethics into your everyday decision-making. This keeps you safer and those you work with.
- Empathy is hard. I went into this course thinking that I was an emphatic person. Turns out it’s not that simple. Being tired or hungry can make you less emphatic. Something frustrating that happened earlier in the day can impact you. Knowing when you need to take a step back and rest (and making sure that happens) is so important, not just for yourself, but those around you.
- Know your limits. In counselling you’re encouraged to recognise when you’ve reached the limits of your ability and to go speak to your supervisor for guidance. Carrying on without asking for help when you realise you are struggling with a situation could put you and the person you are working with at risk.
- Understand your motivations. Self-reflection is a key part of counselling training. You’re expected to know what motivates you, what upsets you, what makes you angry. This is important when you’re working with other people so you can be aware of when you’re being triggered and take steps to address it. This way it doesn’t impact on the work you are trying to do.
You can out more about World Mental Health Day 2021 here.
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