Tee Sliwinska has always had a passion for counselling. She has studied the Level 2 and Level 3 counselling courses at South Devon College before going on to study the FdSc Psychology and Counselling Skills course at University Centre South Devon (UCSD).
Tee said, “It was my lifelong dream! Since I was pretty much a kid, I knew I wanted to go into anything psychology related. I want to help people using therapy and learn about how our feelings and emotions really work. Now life has given me the opportunity to actually do it and I’m so happy I did!”
Tee chose to study at UCSD because she wanted more than just a counselling qualification. The Fda Psychology and Counselling Skills gives Tee a Level 5 qualification as well as the opportunity for a top up year to make it into a full degree. The foundation degree also gives her a better understanding of people’s behaviour which includes clinical psychology that is the “cherry on top”.
Here is how Tee is finding the course so far: “It’s really good. Not always easy, but each time I go home happy and buzzing because I just discovered something amazing and I actually want to go home and research, do some reading and can’t wait to learn more. It’s just I get to study something I’m passionate about and it feels great.”
For Tee, counselling is about the potential to change people’s lives. There was a period in her life where she needed counselling herself and feels that it probably saved her life. This is why she wants to take the opportunity to support other individuals with their emotional needs, psycho-educate* people, and empower them to put them back in charge of their own lives.
“Most of us are influenced by emotions, unconscious urges we are not even aware of, and we don’t understand. We smoke, scroll the internet for hours, we overeat, procrastinate, have phobias, anxieties, we compare ourselves to others, we struggle with feelings of acceptance, fear what the future is going to bring, and the list goes on… counselling can help you make sense out of it and put it right. See your life from a safe distance, from within yourself, which sounds like a funny concept but if you give it a go it can be a very powerful and life changing thing. I want to do this for a living!”
Since starting at UCSD, Tee has faced some challenges. She works whilst she studies and finds at times it can be difficult but can definitely be done with some changes and adjustments. She has found that: “Starting off in higher education is hugely satisfying and totally worth it. Higher education is a big step for anyone. I deal with challenges as they come, speaking to the tutor and other classmates helps a lot, we can share our experiences and just deal with it step by step. Also, taking everything slowly, and knowing that extra support is available if you need it.”
Tee knows that staff are there to help and support her. She has noticed that there is a sense of support available at every step-in university life. The staff encourage all students to reach out if they faced difficulties and the support team is always there and happy to assist. When Tee did need help realised it wasn’t awkward to ask for help because the team are “very laid back and super friendly”.
Studying counselling allows students to develop as a person. When Tee looked back to before she started studying counselling, she realised that she wasn’t aware of a lot of things which were going on in her own mind. At UCSD you don’t just learn to become a professional to get a job, you adapt your mindset and gain skills to help yourself deal with personal emotions as well as others.
“You can’t underestimate the power of counselling, it can help you deal with your anxiety, help sorting out your unhelpful thinking patterns, discover or accept your true self or literally save your life if you are going through the darkest times and can’t see the way out. Counselling is something everyone should have easy access to if we live in a perfect world. The world around is crazy and we all struggle sometimes. I see going to therapy as a form of emotional hygiene, an act of self-care. And I think it’s a privilege to be able to help people this way.”
From Tee’s time at UCSD and South Devon College she has learned that “if you want something badly enough, if you want to make your dreams come true you should go for it and if you put your work and mind into it the universe (as well as your tutor and the help team) will do their best to help you get there!”
Choosing to study at South Devon College and University Centre South Devon gives you the opportunity to study counselling from GCSE level (Level 2) all to way to a foundation degree (Level 5).
If you would like to find out more about the Psychology and Counselling Skills foundation degree at UCSD, please click here.
*Psychoeducation is when therapists teach their clients and their families about the mental illness they have so that they can better understand why they are feeling the way they are.