Who am I?

I attempt to live very simply, treading lightly on the Earth. I’m a mother and grandmother, a gardener, a traveller, a teacher, a storyteller. I was brought up Christian, love the call to prayer of Islam, honour the gifts of the ancient indigenous people of both my land and those who have kept the knowledge of spirit alive across our shared world. I’ve learned from many people on different spiritual paths. My spirituality is central to who I am and infuses all my actions but has no recognisable name!

Since qualifying as a counsellor in the mid-eighties I’ve been in private practice and worked with many hundreds of people of all ages. Before that I worked in education. I’ve been the counsellor in a community drug agency and run groups in a residential rehab. I’ve been part of a training team for a mental health authority, have run retreats and formed an Elder’s Council with others, as well as being part of a team taking inner city teenagers on camps to live respectfully with each other and the natural world. I’ve also worked in education with youngsters who were not in school for a variety of reasons. All this alongside my counselling practice of working with individuals and couples who have been struggling to find their way through difficulties, as well as supervising the work of many other practitioners. I have been part of Ramsey Storytellers, a community group. (see http://storytellers.timdouglas.co.uk/)

I was part of a collective of workers in different therapeutic disciplines in Norfolk, until it folded in the early nineties and a co-founder of the Independent Practitioners Network in 1995, a national body. I’m still an active participant in the Network and continue to root for its approach for validation and accountability of participants’ work. In this, groups of peers, through detailed and personal knowledge, agree to stand by each other’s work (www.i-p-n.org).

I moved to the Wotton-under-Edge area of Gloucestershire in 2012 from the East of England.

Counselling

My work is very eclectic. The imagery I have is that I’ve gathered an enormous toolkit over the 25 plus years while I’ve been in private practice and since my initial training; from subsequent courses, from my life and work experience and from the mysterious un-nameable and unknowable realms that I do not profess to understand! Having lived and worked through many seasons and cycles of life, I bring an elder’s perspective to all that I do.

I’ve worked with many people with histories of violence and abuse who continue the patterns that they’ve experienced but now hurt themselves. I’ve worked with people who want to explore and extend their recognition of what it means to be their unique being in this world and beyond. I’ve seen through the defenses people have built in order to survive, to the soft and vulnerable being within, and worked to help that being thrive and trust. I’ve been alongside people in the darkest of times and held the trust for them that the light exists when their trust and hope has gone. I’ve worked with people who are held in destructive patterns of relating and helped them move to relating respectfully and positively as well as couples who know their relationship could be richer and more fulfilling.

I create the space and acceptance for whatever feelings and emotions need to be expressed, and stories that need to be told. Most importantly, I have respect and regard for the uniqueness of each path and position that the person is travelling and holding. Within that I can be compassionate and challenging, reflective and directive, supportive and gritty! When fitting, I laugh a lot with my clients - at the absurdity we all create at times (me included!).

I believe in the immense capacity of human beings to find creative ways through difficult terrains and to live their lives more fully.

Ceremony & Rites of Passage

To a large extent, in our culture we’ve forgotten the importance of marking significant points in life (apart from say marriage and death).

Becoming a parent, an elder, a teenager, plus many, many more changes, involves not just moving into the new but also leaving the old behind. Similarly, in making significant changes when in counselling, there is a move towards the new and a leaving behind of the old ways of being and behaving. Increasingly in my work, marking these points with simple ceremony brings an additional dimension to the experience. I’ve come to recognise that doing so, anchors the changes and creates a clear, identifiable point in the process of changing.

I don’t include this as a matter of course but it’s available to anyone who would like to include it.

Retreats

Having moved to Gloucestershire in 2012, Retreats are an area of my work that I am now able to expand and develop.

It’s nearly 30 years since I first began including meditation in certain areas of my work. I’ve occasionally offered workshops, quests and retreats over the years.

Now, semi-retired, I envisage being able to work alongside either individuals or groups to design the retreat that is best suited to their requirements.

It may link in with the former heading of Ceremony and Rites of Passage. For example, in my own life, a wilderness retreat that I did was enormously significant in the claiming of my elderhood. For others a regular ‘Time Out’ from their usual life offers the opportunity to re-connect with themselves.

We could incorporate retreat time in on-going counselling with me or it could stand alone as a separate experience. I'm also available for individual intensive therapeutic retreats of several days duration. This combines focused therapeutic work with time for reflection and contemplation. I’m open to explore what would best suit and now have the time to be very creative in what we might design. Very exciting!

Increasingly I like to include the natural world, in my way of working. There are times when a safe sanctuary is needed and other times when placing the personal in a greater perspective is beneficial.

Testimonials

"Grace has been part of my life for 14 years since my mother died in difficult circumstances. She has been, and is, my guide and mentor that I am proud to have in my life. Grace provides a sanctuary for exploring the intricacies of my journey through my life. She is simply there in this space of safety, listening and hearing me and so helping me to listen to myself, my inner me, my thoughts, beliefs, aspirations, worries, fears and needs and so I am able to reflect and further understand myself. She provides calm, non-judgemental encouragement, sometimes clearly challenging me so that I can feel free to be me, to accept the journey I am living, to welcome the highs and lows and see my way to recognise and make the most of my opportunities. She welcomes all aspects of me, good and not-so-good, simple and complicated, without question. She helps me to forgive myself and feel free to move on. She allows me to be me so that I am able to stand fairly and squarely in the place I am in without pretence and so accept myself and expand into myself and make the most of my life. She helps me to make sense of it all by simply being herself - a rare quality much appreciated by those of us who work with her. We also laugh a lot!" -- Mary

"Grace's unique combination of kind and gentle but firm guidance whilst exploring issues from my past has allowed me to deal with these issues and begin to live my life again. Grace provided me with a safe place to explore these issues and her support and guidance has been instrumental in my healing process." -- S.P. -- (n.b. S.P. was sexually abused in childhood, had been sent to a special school because of her behaviour being out of control, left school with no qualifications, ended up addicted to heroin, eventually funded through prostitution. She barely spoke when I first met her. She is now clean of all drugs,(for some years), in her early 30’s, studying for a degree, getting first class marks all the time – even for verbal presentations - and hoping to go on to do a masters or Ph.d.)"

"I entered into personal therapy with Grace many years ago when I was experiencing a re-surfacing of difficult, (I thought) intransigent personal material that was impacting on my relationships with myself and others. Despite having had extensive therapy as an integral part of my own core training, I recognised that I needed some ongoing support that reflected my growth as well as my areas of ‘stuckness.’ As a professional in the field, it was crucial for me to work with another professional who did not judge or hold any preconceived ideas about my position as I felt vulnerable because I was in the field. I still intermittently return to Grace as my practitioner, as she ‘holds” the difficulties I am working with in a way that honours where I have been, where I am and where I am going. She is incredibly intuitive, works in a safe yet non-prescriptive way that respects my own rhythms of process, reaches beyond the here and now and provides me with insights that are always accurate and helpful. Grace also has a depth of what I might call spiritual experience and awareness, which allows me to explore those aspects with her that I am unable to discuss with others. I feel held, heard, respected and honoured in her safe and healing ‘hands’.” -- Suzanne, Counsellor.

"I met Grace through a parents group set up for help with understanding drug and alcohol addicts. My son was on heroin and I was at breaking point. With Grace's caring and understanding, I became a much more positive person, realising that there was help for my son and I was not alone anymore. Thankfully my son has now been clean for 6 years and I shall always be eternally grateful to Grace for all her hard work." -- Pauline

"Grace has been my placement supervisor during my second year as a student counsellor and during that time I have found her to be very supportive and challenging with the work I have been engaged in with clients. The whole process of referrals, client allocation and supervision has been fully managed and organised by Grace and has flowed fluently without hitches. Client allocation has been managed as to the issues the client brings for counselling, and each client has been varied to achieve balance for me as a student, in order to give me the best experience possible within the organisation. I believe that without her management and support, the placement would not have been as beneficial to me as it was. I found her experience and knowledge allowed me to grow as a person and counsellor in ways exceeding my expectations. The benefit of this was not just for me but also to the clients I worked with." -- Stephen Community Drug Agency

"In my work with Alcohol Misuse, I was fortunate enough to have Grace as my Supervisor. I was involved in Group Supervision on a monthly basis. I found Grace to be compassionate, empathic and congruent. I felt contained and listened to. I felt Grace provided a safe space to explore issues of concern and I always felt validated and heard in Supervision. It has been a loss to me, to no longer have Grace’s support and the benefit of her wisdom. I would happily recommend Grace as a Supervisor." -- Anne Counsellor / Project Worker

"Grace Lindsay is a very experienced therapeutic practitioner: counsellor and supervisor, group leader and group participant. Her work and her experience are wide ranging. She is a woman and a worker of great skill and integrity, creativity and insight. She is absolutely trustworthy. Her judgements, her insights and challenges are profound, imaginative and from the heart. I have known and worked with Grace for over 25 years; I have experienced her as therapist, colleague, supervisor and committed participant in the Independent Practitioners Network (IPN) and Six of One (a practitioner peer group). I have deep respect and admiration for her, her work and the way she lives her life, which embodies her vision and deep respect for life. Her wide travelling and curiosity also inform her work. The importance of her contributions to the shaping and the debate on the form, structure and dynamics of IPN, and to the constantly developing and evolving issues and practice of self and peer accountability, are inestimable." -- Carol Ferguson, (Six of One group member)

Storytelling

In the beginning was .... the story, and then came the storyteller. From where I began with Ramsey Storytellers to the Wotton Circle I started, we've aimed to bring the magic, inspiration, mystery, humour, excitement and sometimes the utterly weird to all who wish to sit back and be enthralled. Contact me for details of Wotton Circle or if you'd like to discuss storytelling for an event.

Contact

My fees are always flexible and dependent on your income. If you would like to find out more about me, my work, my Code of Ethics, then do contact me:

Tel: 07882 295 699

Tel: 01453 299 776

Email: gracelindsay21@gmail.com

"Tread softly, breathe peacefully, laugh hysterically." Nelson Mandela