Well, there’s nothing new under the sun. But last night I stayed up late thinking about counselling. I have been ‘stuck’ in very challenging accommodation for a few years, and I think it’s time for me to make every effort to move on. It’s been so long since I’ve been able to simply relax at home, and that’s what home should be — a place to feel safe and relaxed. I need to get focused on my path to moving into new accommodation and pursue my ambitions for work that would allow for this.
The reason why I mention counselling is because I was encouraging a friend last night to pursue a career in counselling or psychotherapy. She is feeling her current job is unrewarding and I encouraged her to ask herself the big questions: What’s my purpose in life? What are my talents and true ambitions? How can I contribute to society in a positive way? What are my strengths and weaknesses?
I insisted that my friend would make an excellent counsellor. She is a great listener, very easy to talk to, sensitive and kind, and I think these are qualities that make someone well-suited to embark upon a career as a counsellor or psychotherapist.
Funnily enough, encouraging my friend made me hunger to perhaps pursue a career in counselling myself. I have so much experience of the mental health system, and have attended about eight different types of counselling and psychotherapy over the years, and I do feel that I have some of the skills necessary to be a counsellor, though I would of course need further training.
As I was pondering these things and doing some research into counselling courses in the early hours of the morning, I remembered my plans for Tealight Ministries, which is the name I have for the charity I spent a lot of time planning to set up last year. I was working with someone from a local mental health service to put together a comprehensive strategy for setting up the charity, and it’s something I see as my long-term plan — my life ambition.
My vision is for a charity with four ‘arms’ — a publishing arm, a worship music arm, a counselling arm, and a church arm. The focus of all four of these ministries would be on improving social cohesion among religious communities by progressing interfaith dialogue and interfaith understanding in general. The interfaith approach can apply to all four arms, including counselling. My vision is for a kind of counselling service in which clients are free to discuss life’s big questions, including those related to philosophy, theology, and spirituality.
Of course, the role of a counsellor is not to impose ideas on clients, but by bringing philosophy and theology into the counselling setting, the hope is that people would be able to gain a more solid sense of their own identity because they can figure out their life’s purpose in the grand scheme of things. This is not something which (in my experience) is often discussed in counselling. Traditional forms of counselling do sometimes include the spiritual, so I’m not reinventing the wheel, only looking to perhaps go deeper than would be the case with some other approaches to counselling which are more focused on the interpersonal than the theological and philosophical.
Of course, if someone is not open to the existence of God, that’s fine, and that would not cause a problem for their counselling relationship. Interpersonal issues may be much more pressing for them than spiritual issues. There have been times in my life when I have really needed to talk about the interpersonal rather than the spiritual or theological. But it’s all linked, and a psychotherapeutic approach that does explore the ‘big picture’ of human existence could be very beneficial to a lot of people who are struggling.
At about 3am last night I got out my Tealight Ministries planning document and re-read the section I had written about Tealight Counselling, which is the proposed name for the counselling arm of the charity. As I read through the document, it reignited my passion for the four-armed vision in general, and I re-read a piece I wrote about my own understanding of how healing can take place within a counselling setting. I plan to share this piece here on Perfect Chaos tomorrow (so subscribe if you’re interested in reading it!).
To be clear, I see Tealight Ministries as a charity that will be based in my local community here in London. My role will be as an overseer (perhaps the chair or CEO of the charity), and I will use my experience from the music industry, the publishing industry, my spiritual journey, and my mental health journey, in order to establish the four arms of the charity. And I plan to do this work for the rest of my life.
There is a caveat, which is that when I prayed about it at the start of the year, God said to me that I should focus on promoting my books this year, and focus on the charity next year. So that is what I’m going to do. But there’s no harm in giving these things some thought now. My book promotion has been going really well (much to my surprise) — I’m not making much money from sales but have had many thousands of downloads when I’ve made my books free for a time in their eBook editions. I’m considering making my book God’s Grand Game free as an eBook again, because in that book I share the philosophical perspective which will underpin the Tealight Ministries vision, and which guides my life. I would love for as many people to read that book as possible.
I hope you have enjoyed this insight into my current thought process. I’m excited to share some of these plans with you. If you have any thoughts related to the content of this article, and would like to comment in a polite and friendly manner, you are more than welcome to do so below. Thank you for reading and do subscribe if you’d like to read tomorrow’s article which will outline a therapeutic approach to counselling I have developed based on my own experience.
You can read the follow-up to this post here.