In conversation with Mairi Perks
Looking for change, and challenge in my life as my children got older, I started volunteering for a national bereavment support charity in 1996. In 1997 I began studying for, and fully qualified with a European Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling in 2001. People often ask why I was drawn to train as a counsellor, and I tell them that the impetus really started in my early teens when, having experienced a significant bereavement, life became challenging; my struggles to deal with very difficult circumstances resulted in feelings of loss, hopelessness and low self-esteem. Although there were no voluntary counselling agencies that I was aware of at the time, some people tried to help by listening and advising; however, I came to realise, it was not when I was listened to but when I felt truly heard that the healing began. This, I believe, is at the heart of counselling and my hope is through this web-site and the related podcast, I can open this same possibilty of change and healing to others. I hope, like me, people can learn not only to trust other people, but also to trust the process.
The difference between listening and being truly heard.
We all have our stories and we all have different ways of telling and processing them. By allowing others to tell their stories, we can give them validation and encouragement whilst we, in turn, listen, reflect, share our received wisdom and seek to broaden our knowledge and understanding. Everyone is able to listen, with our ears, but not everyone listens wth their whole being, fully focused on the other person - not waiting to 'jump in', not distracted by their own life issues - striving to hear both the spoken, and unspoken, story of the other.
Why the Dragonfly?
The dragonfly symbolises wisdom, transformation, strength and adaptability. it also has 365 degree vision, seeing more just that which is in front of it. To me, the Dragonfly is a constant reminder that we all need optimism, hope, light and joy in our lives and also that, with commitment, clarity and hard work, anything can be achieved. It may just take time, and a lot of understanding from a dedicated listener.
What's the reasoning behind the Podcasts?
No one "knows" everything and the idea behind the podcasts is to hold conversations and openly explore ideas whilst demystifying the counselling process and making it more accessible. There are no scripts, no preconceptions, no 'expert' opinions, just intentional conversations.
What are your future plans?
A little like the dragonfly I'm adaptable and like to take on challenges, but the core of my being is all about helping others so this is something I will always do. Why?...because I have been fortunate in my life to have been given that support and encouragement by others, for which I am so grateful, and because I love to see other people make forward movement and find clarity. I love the fact that the Dragonfly, like an effective counsellor, can see more than what is apparent, looking beyond the implicit to that which becomes explicit by our ability to observe, and respond to, what is around us.