Hi my name is Jack English,
I'm the owner and private counsellor of "Just Jack Counselling Services".
So what is this counselling article about?
It's somewhat of a reflection exercise I guess, and about setting the foundation of my future posts and articles and who and what Just Jack Counselling Services is and what it stands for. I guess you could say it's about me in a way and although counselling is about you (the potential client) I thought I would share a bit about me, afterall you, if are going to be telling me about you, it seems only right I am transparent, right?
Now before we pull up a sandbag, this article is just an extremely brief insight as to who I am and what I stand for and also to explain why I am sharing with you an insight to my own life in upcoming articles. In the counselling community there is an ongoing debate as to weather or not we the counsellors should "self disclose" anything about our private and personal lives, After all it's not about us the counsellors, counselling is about you the client.
Equally there can be security issues if a client knows too much about their counsellor, however I am of the school that Transparency is key if I am to build a healthy professional relationship with my clients, so I share and I share simply because I care.
I don't share what I feel is just irrelevant shit, I only share my own experience with a client in a session if I feel it will benefit the client. In my many years of counselling it is my experience that when people truly see that you are not just quoting a textbook but you actually have been through some shit then it encourages the client to open up more, knowing that they are not alone and are in safe hands.
At this point I wish to just add that although I have a BA Honours degree in counselling I do not consider myself an academic, I just say and write things as I see them, so please don't judge this article or any of my posts/articles on my ability to write and spell things correctly.
I simply write how I think and how I talk, in fact it used to piss me off having to cite theorists whilst undergoing my university degree, as I feel that for most of my life's challenges, I worked shit out for myself, before I'd even heard of the likes of Carl Rogers, Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud, Albert Ellis, Abraham Maslow, Albert Bandura, Aaron Beck, B.F. Skinner and others so why the fuck did I have to give them the credit? however I had to play nice and abide by the rules, and that's ok.
I ask every single client why they have chosen me over all the other counsellors there is out there and all of them have said; because I'm just a normal guy whose been through shit and come out the other side, or words to that effect. This tells me that my approach to counselling and helping others is working, I'm not false and I don't pretend to be something or someone I'm not, I'm Just Jack, and thats ok with me, and clearly ok with the clients I have the honour to work with.
So all that said; I intend to write and post about myself in more detail from time to time in order to help others, and if you don't like my approach that's ok, I'm just not the right counsellor for you and it's REALLY important to find the right counsellor if you have any hope to build a good healthy professional counsellor client relationship.
I started Just Jack Counselling Services in November 2021,
never really expecting it to really do anything, let me explain by rewinding a few years....
I was working down south for a private company that supported young people who had found themselves in the care system, through no fault of their own I have to say, and these young people would come and live on a canal boat for 28 days, until another care home placement was found for them.
It was an awesome job however for various reasons that I don't need to go into at this stage, I left the job just before covid hit us. Understanding the need to work and get bills paid I went and worked for a mate who owns a logistic company, so through covid lock down I worked as a driver, transporting parcels up to Scotland, a nice easy job that covered bills but was never going to be a permanent fixture for me, because of the uncertainty of covid I stayed in that job for much longer than I really wanted to and my future plan really wasn't well thought out, all I knew is that I needed to move on and I chose to do that at probably the worst time in any given year, November.
Nonetheless decision made and action taken, I joined a driving agency so I had some form of work guarantee but my main objective was to get back into the counselling community and back doing what I am passionate about doing, helping others.
Getting back into a sector after leaving can be quite challenging and having a good understanding how this system works I thought I would prepare myself for forthcoming interviews.
Stepping back into counselling suddenly after being a driver would prove to be challenging, this much was a given, so I built a website and set myself up as "Just Jack Counselling Services" called that for the very simple reason that it is indeed just me, Jack, providing counselling services, it also acts as a play on words "Just" as in something that isn't hard "it's Just this, or its just that" now before you go shooting me down, I am a front line War Veteran and yet I can honestly say the hardest thing I have ever had to go through was counselling, I know it's not easy but if I am to encourage others to reach out then I play it down, it's also a way of reaching men and you'll see me use phrases like "what you afraid of ? it's just jack" my hope is that it goes some kind of way to help reducing the stigma attached to counselling, especially where men are concerned, and no I don't only counsell men, but it's men that are still the highest in terms of suicide statics in the country, and the North East of England still has the highest suicide rate. It's also quite simply about keeping things simple, I am not a charity, I am not a company, I am just some guy whose been through shit and now has a BA Honours degree in counselling, giving me the opportunity to draw from not only my professional experience and qualifications but also my personal ones, all for the common goal of helping others, I'm not someone or something to fear I'm JUST JACK , so why not reach out to me and let me help you?
However although all of the above is true, I really didn't expect to actually get any clients, not just from a website, if there is one thing the British Army taught me is that bullshit baffles brains, therefore my website was really only just for it to be "there", so I could say to potential employers in an interview that I deliver private counselling and am looking to expand on my skill-set and endure the financial security that working for a company affords. However truth be told I never really wanted to work for any company or charity, been there done that, and I didn't like it for several reasons, of which I won't go into right now, suffice is to say that the "red tape" would just piss me off and the only way I myself could guarantee that the clients I work with got the absolute best professional service was to simply do it myself, but it was still a need (not a want), I needed to work and get bills paid.
Just Jack starting getting clients from the get go, I really couldn't believe it, remember this was at the back end of November, a time that I would certainly of thought people wouldn't spend money on counselling when Xmas was just a payday away. It was this very reason that I took a step back and thought I might actually have something here, after all business is about providing a need or a want that people will value enough to pay for, and I clearly was proving that I provided that very thing and I'm proud to say I continue to do so.
Like all of you entrepreneurs and self employed people know, going it alone is scary as hell, obviously this largely depends on your financial situation and its fair to say I didn't have a pot to piss in, but what I have is PASSION, passion for something I believe in and know that I'm fucking good at, and that's not me bigging myself up, I actually don't need to do that, I just read the amazing feedback and reviews I get. The way I see it is this: I not only save relationships and keep families together, I literally save lives and that is the one and only reason I do it, as life is precious and sometimes even the tougest hardest mother fuckers amongst us needs help and support, and that's no weakness, it's a strength, but I remind you again of why my clients come to me, it's because I am the real deal, no fluff or guff just transparency and honesty.
Back to the point; I still had bills to pay and when I first set up Just Jack I wanted to be affordable to everyone as everyone has a right to be listened to and recieve the right help and support. However as a businessman, I learnt the hard lesson of underselling and knowing your worth. Having a professional and personal understanding and experience of the mental health system it's fair to say that I am more than aware that it often isn't fit for purpose. When someone is in need of help they often need it immediately but under funding and under resources does not allow for that to happen within the public sector, even the charities are too far stretched and services are not being able to be delivered.
Now this is a fight I took on when I worked for charities however its a fight one man alone will never win, I can not fix the world and that's ok but I can do my bit and my bit has value, I have bills to pay and therefore must charge for the service I provide, you wouldn't expect a plumber to come to your house for free would you? Equally what the general public don't seem to realise is all the background work that goes into any one hour session, I would say for each 1 hour session there is 3 hours work, depending on the issues and admin involved.
So that was me all set up as a private counsellor, learning lessons along the way, seeing as I need to be everything and everyone within a business; a social media expert, an accountant, a counsellor, a web designer etc etc etc, I suppose you could say, I have to be a Jack of all trades (bad joke I know - but true). Clients were making appointments and that was awesome, however I was still too afraid to go full time private counsellor, so I also worked for a driving agency, and whilst doing that I was offered a full time position as a driver for one of the companies I was assigned to by the agency , they offered hours that suited me and allowed for me to still work on Just Jack Counselling Services and doing a "normal job" alongside delivering private counselling is something a lot of us private counsellors do, to ensure bills are paid and at the time it seemed like a good plan and to be fair, it served its purpose, but there was always going to be a time when I needed to let go of one or the other, or risk burnout.
My plan was to see if there was a need and want for the services I provided as well as to ensure that this was what I wanted to do with my life, a test of me as well as a test of the market I suppose, I needed to see for myself if I was going to stick at it as we all have fads, something we become obsessed with but then it phazes out and this couldn't be just another fad. My intention was to cut the safety cord when I was in a good enough financial position, otherwise known as "out of debt". Not that my financial situation is anyone's business other than my own, my debt was (and is) just your normal stuff, car finance, credit cards etc and although i have worked hard at getting rid of it, it's certainly not gone yet and I could of stayed in my normal l job for another year or two before making the leap if I was going to be super cautious ( or sensible) however the universe had other ideas, and put me in a position where It was either now or never, and from experience, there's never a "right time".
The Past two years have taught me a few things, as an individual, as a counsellor and also as a businessman and I look forward to what else I have to learn, everyday is a school day, no matter how qualified and experienced you are and I fucking love learning new stuff and growing. So that's it, that's an insight of who I am and where Just Jack Counselling Services has came from, moving forwards you will see it grow as I share its journey and my own personal journey with you through my articles, I will also share my past if I feel it will help clients reach out and to show transparency, to show that I am not perfect, I've been through shit and I have my own daily struggles too and that's OK, because I have learnt from experience, degree courses and of course research how best to cope, manage, live with and be happy with whatever life has thrown at me and for me to be in a privileged position to help others do the same is an absolute honour and I am truly humbled...
I am Just Jack