About Me

  • “We think we listen, but very rarely do we listen with real understanding, true empathy. Yet listening of this very special kind, is one of the most potent forces for change that I know.” - Carl Rogers (1980, p.116)

  • How I discovered person-centred counselling

    I trained in person-centred counselling in my early 30s, after a period of seeking the right ‘fit’ for me in my working life. I had gained a law degree from the University of Edinburgh, then worked for several years as an HR Manager. Although I was effective in my work, I wasn’t happy. I realised that I needed to change my path and decided to take time out to travel and reflect. It was during this trip, while living and working at Bondi Beach, that I discovered Carl Rogers’ book, ‘On Becoming a Person’ (1961), and became curious about the potential of person-centred therapy. I recognised that my own philosophy of life, my attitude and approach within relationships based on the learning that I had gained from my life experiences to date, seemed consistent with the values and necessary conditions for therapeutic change described by Rogers. By the time that I returned home from my journey, I had found my way forward.

  • My training

    I completed my postgraduate Diploma in Counselling at the University of Strathclyde in 2004, became an accredited member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy in 2006, and completed training in person-centred supervision (PCT Britain) in 2008 and person-centred couples counselling (Counselling Works Ltd) in 2009. In 2010 I gained an MSc in Counselling (University of Strathclyde), my first step into the world of counselling and psychotherapy research.

  • My counselling experience

    Since I began my counselling practice in early 2003, I have gained diverse experience working with clients in a range of different settings: within an NHS-funded service, a voluntary organisation, a research clinic, and Employee Assistance Programs. I have worked with individuals and couples in private practice since 2006.

  • My experience as a counselling supervisor and trainer

    I have been working as a supervisor with experienced and trainee counsellors since 2008. This aspect of my professional work raised my interest in becoming involved in counsellor training and I have been an Associate Trainer within the Counselling Unit team at the University of Strathclyde since 2013, working on the postgraduate Certificate in Counselling Skills (2013-15) and, from 2014, the full-time postgraduate Diploma in Counselling.

  • My research activities

    I have developed an active interest in research and became coordinator of the Strathclyde Counselling & Psychotherapy Research Clinic in 2013. My research interests include the outcome and process of person-centred therapy, clients’ experiences of therapy and developing case study research methods. I have presented at national and international conferences and have published a number of papers based on my work. I was Guest Editor of a Case Study Special Issue of the international peer-reviewed journal Person-Centered & Experiential Psychotherapies in 2014.

  • My person-centred community

    I have been an active member of the person-centred community for several years both locally as a member of PCT Scotland and internationally as a member of the World Association for Person-Centered and Experiential Psychotherapy and Counseling (WAPCEPC). I was a member of the WAPCEPC Board from 2008-2014 and the Chair of the Board from 2010-2013.

  • Life, loss, change, renewal and love

    As I grow older, and experience more of the joys and sorrows that life brings, I recognise anew the value of the person-centred approach. In the last few years I have experienced much loss and change, including the pain of divorce, the sudden death of my mother and the aging process of my father. The self-awareness and understanding that I have, as a result of the ongoing personal development required of me as a person-centred counsellor, has enabled me to find my way through these experiences, to understand and accept how these changes affect me, to allow others to support me when I have needed that, and to support my loved ones as they navigate their own experiences of our changing lives. Australia continues to be somewhere that I return to when I can; when I need time and space for reflection and renewal. I feel a strong connection with the place and have many beloved friends and family who live there.

  • References

    Rogers, C.R. (1961). On Becoming a Person: A Therapist’s View of Psychotherapy. London: Constable.
    Rogers, C.R. (1980). A Way of Being. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.

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Susan Stephen

Fees

My standard hourly fee for a counselling or supervision session is £50. I am open to negotiation as it is important to me that we agree a fee that is affordable to you and therefore possible for you to sustain during the time that we work together. Please contact me to discuss.