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I first became interested in counselling as a career in the late 90s after having my own personal therapy, which helped me to address the violence and bullying I experienced in school. My interest in specialising in male abuse grew after attending further counselling which helped me address my own physical abuse, sexual exploitation as a child and sexual assault as an adult.
As a male, I believed that talking to a counsellor about these issues was something I shouldn’t be doing and meant that I was weak and ‘not a real man. I felt pressured to “just get on with it” and behave in certain ways which included not showing my emotions, using humour and trying to appear unaffected. The longer I maintained these behaviours, the harder it was for me to live a functional life.
Talking about these issues in counselling was difficult at first, but they were stopping me from living my life in the way I wanted to. I realised that seeing a counsellor and talking through these issues was not a sign of weakness; I’d done something that I found difficult to do. This was a sign of strength! Talking about being raped and groomed wasn’t easy but my counsellor made it comfortable enough for me to talk about my experience. I addressed these issues in counselling, which eventually helped me to live my life in a happier, healthier and more functional way.
You can read more about my story of abuse by clicking here and reading an article which featured in the May 2018 edition of Happiful Magazine.