‘One of my first clients was the bravest woman I’ve ever met’

Macclesfield Express - - MACCLESFIELD PEOPLE -

Name: Mered­ith Bar­low-Walsh. Which or­ga­ni­za­tion are you in­volved with? Just Drop-In. What do you do there? Vol­un­teer coun­sel­lor and psy­chother­a­pist. How did you be­come a vol­un­teer? Whilst study­ing for my coun­selling di­ploma, I was look­ing for a sec­ond place­ment and was keen to in­crease my ex­pe­ri­ence of sup­port­ing young peo­ple.

I had heard about Just Drop-In through col­lege so con­tacted them about vol­un­teer­ing.

Af­ter speak­ing with the coun­selling co­or­di­na­tor, I was im­pressed with her en­thu­si­asm and drive and knew im­me­di­ately that I wanted to join the team. What is your favourite place in Macclesfield? I love The Snow Goose on Sun­der­land Street, it’s the only place I have found in Macc where I can en­joy a Jas­mine tea, or a snow­ball, in front of a log fire, and what’s not to love about a place that has Nelly’s Book Nook. Ide­ally how would you spend ev­ery day? I’d spend it with my hus­band and chil­dren, prob­a­bly en­joy­ing a walk to The Wind­mill at Adling­ton, fol­lowed by a hearty roast din­ner. What was the best hol­i­day you have been on? Last year was the first time my chil­dren had been abroad; we spent two weeks in Italy with friends in a beau­ti­ful villa, I’ll al­ways re­mem­ber watch­ing the Tus­can sun­set from our bal­cony and feel­ing ut­terly con­tent. If money was no ob­ject what would you do? I’d set up a Well­be­ing Cen­tre so that adults and young peo­ple could quickly and eas­ily ac­cess a range of ther­a­pies to sup­port their men­tal health. What one piece of ad­vice would you give? I like Richard Bran­son’s quote: ‘If some­body of­fers you an amaz­ing op­por­tu­nity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!’ It worked well for me re­cently. What was your first job? A huge pa­per round… this was in the days when you car­ried your pa­pers, so my dad made me a ‘trol­ley’ out of an old suit­case and wheels, saved me a lot of leg­work! What is on your iPod? An eclec­tic mix, from Amy Wine­house to Phar­rell Wil­liams, Paolo Nu­tini to Alabama Shakes. What is your favourite TV show? Hmm, that’s a tough one, it’s be­tween Grey’s Anatomy – which filled the void left af­ter ER ended – and GIRLS, which is a bril­liantly writ­ten, fe­male-led sit­com, Lena Durham is a ge­nius! What are you read­ing at the mo­ment? The Ex­am­ined Life: How We Lose and Find Our­selves by Stephen Grosz, it’s based on ses­sions be­tween a psy­cho­an­a­lyst and his clients and of­fers a fas­ci­nat­ing in­sight into hu­man be­hav­iour. What is your big­gest in­spi­ra­tion? One of my very first clients, she’s the bravest woman I ever met, her courage and spirit was breath­tak­ing.

Shar­ing her ther­a­peu­tic jour­ney and wit­ness­ing her growth was a hugely re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for me. Who would you like to in­vite to din­ner? Clau­dia Win­kle­man to chat to, Gra­ham Nor­ton to gig­gle with, Rus­sell Brand to be en­thralled by, and Ryan Gosling, to look at…. sigh!

●● Mered­ith Bar­low-Walsh is a vol­un­teer coun­sel­lor and psy­chother­a­pist at Just Drop-In

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