The story of U Matter did not begin when it was launched in 2021. Perhaps the story began with the founder and principal social worker Colleen.
We sometimes say that alone we are able to create, but together we can make things happen.
The journey of creating U Matter has been one of an incredible process of learning and growth, both personally and as a practitioner. It has been a process of self-discovery; an unravelling and re-synthetisation; a revealing and rewarding venture.
I know what it is like to sit on the 'other' couch, and to feel vulnerable and raw, while at the same time doing the meaningful work we need to, to feel well and practice what we preach. As a result, I intimately understand the immerse power of therapy. Through my training and my own personal experiences, I am conscious of what elements in the counselling process helps to make a person feel safe, supported and able to engage wholly in therapy.
I have learnt that without a doubt, it is not what you know, but who you are, that makes someone a helpful and effective therapist. Counselling is about connection and relationship. People can heal from immense traumas and deep pain through a positive and trusting relationship in which they feel someone genuinely cares for their wellbeing, and when they feel truly seen, heard, and understood.
Research tells us that the most significant predictor of a positive outcome for therapy is the relationship someone has with their therapist. This factor has been shown to be even more important than what interventions, strategies or techniques are used in counselling. It is so important for us that the people we work with see us, their therapist, as another human, rather than 'experts' or people who have it all together. Therapist too have insecurities and flaws, and experience fear and sadness and struggle with our own vulnerabilities. It is this collective experience as humans that helps us to connect with each other in meaningful ways and to help each other learn, grow and thrive.
What sets U Matter apart from other practices is the way in which we deeply care for and work with each of our clients. It is important that I practice mindfully and in alignment with our values. I strongly believe in working from a person-centred approach, enabling us to empower the people we work with.
As a therapist, I have a duty of care to understand that many individuals, even if they can seek support, do not have access to the same resources, time, education, job-opportunities and earning potential as others, and this influences how we share information, set goals or share expectations around what we hope to 'achieve' together in counselling process with our clients.
I aim to place focus on quality rather than quantity of care, so that the individuals we work with are provided adequate time, care, and space with their therapist. By giving the therapy session the respect and space it requires, this allows for the session to feel paced and unhurried, without either the therapist or client experiencing the need to rush out to accommodate the next person waiting for their appointment. Practicing in this way is also vital for the self-care of the therapist, who can take the time to process information and refresh or ground themselves before going into their next session.
From the beginning, I had the intention of designing a unique environment that felt non-clinical, warm and soothing. Our cosy therapy room has been intuitively and thoughtfully created to enhance a sense of comfort for our clients. I know from neuroscience and lived experience, that an enriched and calming environment can decrease feelings of anxiety increase feelings of safety, and enhance cortical blood flow in the brain, which means that clients are more likely to engage effectively in the counselling. The therapy room is also a holding space for the therapist, to feel supported and care for by our environment as we work with people.
I look forward to welcoming you to the sanctuary I have created at U Matter.