As we approach the New Year we remain in the familiar Covid fog, still with a sense of uncertainty about how we will be working, interacting and living in the near future. In many ways we have done so much to adapt to a new way of life – a new “normal” – and this has been evident at the Centre as we have become increasingly able to meet client’s needs face to face, as well as to populate the Centre with training students, all while being mindful of the need to remain safe, vigilant and responsive to individual need. I would like to thank each of the team for adapting to, and working within, the Covid policy we have created.
We are also heading into exciting times at the Centre in terms of the structure and organisation of Elsie. We have outgrown our original structure and with more input required to help run all of the things we do, we have taken the decision to become a Community Interest Company in order to better fulfil our aims as a low-cost, long-term therapeutic provision for those living within Leicester and Leicestershire. This feels like a decision made some time ago but without the help of Myira, Debbie and Jo in particular, would still have remained an idea “for the future.” We are now in a position to move ahead with this in the new year and hope to be able to attract funding to offer security to the service in the coming years.
There is no doubt however that Elsie continues to build in strength and significance – November alone saw over 350 appointments offered either online or face to face at the Centre. I am really proud of how well we are growing and establishing the Centre as a reliable, resilient and effective addition to the therapeutic options within the city. In addition to seeing more and more clients, we are growing in the number of therapists connected to the Centre too. Currently we have fully 15 qualified therapists working with us, 7 student counsellors completing their clinical hours requirements, 11 students about to begin their clinical hours training, 6 more students having completed their first term of the Diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling and a further 10 students about to start their 3 year course. The Centre really is a hub for psychodynamic practice and learning, which is exactly what I had hoped it would become when we opened 5 years ago in February. We also take great pride in having created a Centre where no-one is expected to volunteer their time for free – once fully qualified all of our counsellors are paid for their work. I am also delighted to note that of those students who have trained with us (the new cohort is our 6th intake!) or have trained elsewhere but have done their placement training hours with us, 100% have taken the COP test to enter the professional register with BACP and passed first time. This indicates to us that not only is the work of a high standard, but the professional training we provide is of a high standard too.
So we begin the new year with cautious optimism that the pandemic will gradually be brought under control, leaving us in a better position to offer our help and expertise for the multitude of issues which have been provoked and stirred throughout. We know that anxiety is high and that loss and depression are prevalent; that lockdowns and restrictions have left so many people isolated, vulnerable, exposed; and that people have been pushed to the limits of endurance through work, caring for others, and in relationships. At Elsie we will continue to offer a place for those who are ready and willing to engage in psychodynamic therapy as a way of navigating through the difficulties and complexities of life. And we will continue to train those who wish to become the listener.
Jay – December 2021