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Graduate starts counselling career after seeing benefits of therapy

Monday 16 July 2018

A WOMAN who decided to become a counsellor after going through therapy herself is starting her career as she graduates with a first class degree.

Michelle Castle, aged 32, chose to retrain in the profession after benefiting from talking to counsellors several years ago.

She is graduating with a BSC (hons) in Counselling and Psychotherapy at the University of Salford during a ceremony on Wednesday July 18, but already has two jobs.

She is now a key worker on the Pathways Project, funded by the Salford Foundation and is based at a women's centre in Eccles, providing a range of support to women who are at risk of experiencing mental health and other problems, as well as counselling on a domestic abuse research project in the Stockport area.

Giving something back 

Michelle, from Poynton near Stockport, said: “I’ve had a bit of counselling myself in the past and I wanted to give something back. It’s a really rewarding career and it’s nice to be able to make a change to someone’s life.

“I’ve always wanted to have a job where I was helping people but I could never quite get to where I wanted to go. When I had my own therapy it was a bit of an eye opener and that whole experience was what made me decide that this is what I needed to do. Having that safe space, and that one-to-one time with people who are just there to listen – it makes such a difference to how you feel.”

Michelle had to juggle her studies between looking after her children Calypso, aged nine, and Bondi, aged four – often doing her coursework in the evenings when she had put them to bed and her husband went out to work on a night shift.

Hard work paying off

She said: “It’s a very hard choice. I’ve got two children and so I had to make it work. It was a very hard decision but I was determined to make a success of it and all the hard work has paid off now.”

Dr Mark Widdowson, Senior Lecturer in Counselling and Psychotherapy at the University of Salford, said: “Michelle was an incredibly dedicated student who was absolutely passionate about the subject.

“I’m incredibly proud of the way she applied herself throughout the course, and for her to get a first class degree as well as two jobs before she’s even graduated is a fantastic achievement.”