About Me

Ruth Coward Counselling

Hello, I'm Ruth!  

Thank you for popping by.  I hope you are finding something of interest.  If you're curious about anything or would like to talk more about how I might be able to help you please don't hesitate to get in contact.

I guess it would be useful for you to hear a little more about me so, here goes:

What makes me tick? Well, this may sound like a bit of a cliché but I've always had a drive to connect with people who are troubled, marginalised or oppressed in some way.  From sitting down on the playground floor aged 7 next to a classmate who was upset after a bullying incident, to vehemently advocating for the needs of my own family members in crisis, I've felt an innate drive to help people to find a safe, loving and more peaceful place. 

This is what eventually led me to train in Psychotherapy in 2002.

I'm imperfect in all of this and I'm always learning, changing and adapting but that's what I love about connecting with people wherever they are.

What's my background? I'm a wife and mum of two daughters and I live in the East Midlands.  Aside from always helping my dad in the family furnishings business, my first career move was into teaching.  I was a peripatetic speech and drama teacher for around 20 years - helping people gain confidence in expression, public speaking and performance.  I still do a little coaching in that area for professionals who are looking to hone their public speaking skills.  Since those early days of peripatetic teaching, I've had a number of roles mainly in the Higher Education sector but have also worked within charities both as a volunteer and as an employee.  

Why the focus on the caring sector and older adults now? For many years, due to my experiences of caring for my own father, I have been a Dementia Awareness Ambassador and have worked in the community raising awareness, public speaking about my experiences, and raising funds. Through looking after my father and now my mother, I began to realise just how marginalised our elders can feel not only because of their own physical and mental incapacities but also because of the prevailing negative attitudes towards age and ageing.  Further, I became horrified about the lack of awareness of trauma in our ageing population not only caused by the ageing process itself but by practices of homogenisation which totally discount the individual, diversity, and any earlier life experiences let alone their feelings. Counselling for Older Adults at home or in residential care has been pretty much overlooked and that needs to change.

And something about carers themselves?  I am currently an unpaid family carer for someone with autism and mental health difficulties and my husband is a Dementia carer by profession having worked in care homes and now out in the community.  Caring is a demanding and challenging role but is also incredibly rewarding.  The rewards, however, can often get swallowed up not only by the challenges of the caring role itself but also by the stress of others' attitudes towards carers and those being cared for.  Financially, it takes its toll, too, and compassion fatigue is a real danger.  It's important that carers are listened to and supported individually and in supportive peer groups and it's also vital that professional carers are given access to ongoing training and consultancy to maintain their personal and professional well-being. 

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