Journey to empowerment

My name is Cassandra. I am a Counsellor & Psychotherapist and in October 2016, founded Women Assist Counselling. I have had many struggles in my own life. My journey up until now has been challenging, insightful and most of all empowering!

I am 40+ and once I started to recover from my own childhood traumas and domestic violence related traumas in my early adulthood, plus post-natal depression, I became very interested in helping others.

After my first child was born, I was diagnosed with PND. I engaged in counselling sessions, plus received other treatment. However, the biggest part of my recovery, was when I volunteered at PANDA, a service which provided me with a lot of support. They were my lifeline and I wanted to give them support in return and work on the telephone helpline which became a turning point for me. It was during that time where I became highly motivated to help other women who were suffering.

My first counsellor was a female. I gelled with her immediately. For the first time in my life I felt heard, validated and cared about, this was such a confronting but truly healing process. The counsellor also encouraged me to grow, recognize that the reason I felt the way I did at that point in my life was due to my complicated trauma. So, I was equipped with some new effective coping skills. In addition, the counsellor empowered me with knowledge and other strategies to combat anxiety and depression to start living to my potential. I was extremely grateful for the counselling support I received from this woman, as well as, truly inspired by her. The counsellor encouraged me to become a counsellor. Having her believe in me was what made me realise that I must help others and set myself a goal to obtain a Bachelor of Counselling degree. I loved and hated studying this counselling degree. The learning was wonderful and insightful. The essays, and workload pushed me outside of comfort zone which I hated but it also made me more determined to push myself and not quit! The learning also empowered me, plus equip me with the professional qualifications I needed to counsel others ethically.

Once I completed my studies, I started to support other women as an outreach worker for a Mission Australia. This was a somewhat challenging yet valuable experience. I learnt a great deal about the many struggles women and teenage girls encounter. I became resourceful and discovered there are many support services that can assist those in need. Hence my motivation to help other women and teenage girls, and to provide hope, positive coping strategies, knowledge and empowerment, so they can live to their potential.