Name: Danielle Bottone

Age: 31

Job title: Integrative Counsellor 

Time in current role: 1 year

Danielle is an Integrative Counsellor and the founder of JourneyOn Counselling & Therapeutic Services.

Why did you decide to start your business?

I decided to train as a counsellor after years of working with vulnerable adolescents and growing to believe that a therapeutic approach to their support encouraged longer lasting change.

I completed my studies in the evenings for almost four years while working full-time for a forensic child and adolescent mental health service. During this time I volunteered in counselling placements and entered into therapy myself. Eventually I qualified with a diploma in integrative therapeutic counselling.

It was always my plan to set up my own private practice as soon as I was qualified and registered, so I decided to start JourneyOn because I saw there was a gap in the traditional therapeutic field. My previous work experience showed me that many people are unable to access mental health support and this isn’t always because of finances.  

There are lots of services that don’t meet the needs of marginalised communities or young people. I wanted to introduce a modern approach to therapy which not only offered private sessions but also educated people about what therapy is, what it looks like and how they can access a service that meets their needs. 

I completed my studies in the evenings for almost four years while working full-time for a forensic child and adolescent mental health service

What are the key functions of your role?

I currently run the practice alone so as well as being the founder I take on all of the responsibilities that come with running a therapeutic private practice.

I have a caseload of private clients who I see weekly and fortnightly, I create original psycho-educative social media content and I’m currently working on eBooks which will be released throughout the year. I’ll also be creating and facilitating training and workshop events. Lastly, I do all the admin and paperwork needed for the practice to run. This includes client notes, any outward referrals and financial admin. 

Talk us through your typical working day

First I go to my employed job as a restorative justice practitioner in a youth offending service. This role involves me supporting victims of youth crime and encouraging restorative practice in the wider community to repair relationships. Typically during the day I attend multi-agency meetings, meet with victims and facilitate restorative justice conferences with young people and their families. 

Once I’m finished there I head over to my private practice office and prepare for my clients. If I have time I work on content for my social media platforms and continue working on projects I have penciled in my diary throughout the year. 

Before my clients arrive I take at least 15 minutes to ground myself and make sure I’m in a relaxed state and ready to start their sessions. It’s important that I’m present for them and not hurried or concerned with my own thoughts during their sessions. Mindfulness is very helpful for this. Once I’ve seen my clients for the day I write their notes, update my records and head back home.

I wanted to introduce a modern approach to therapy which not only offered private sessions but also educated people about what therapy is

Your favourite part of the job?

I love seeing clients grow before me and I feel privileged that I’m able to assist in this process. It’s one of the best feelings. I also enjoy the not so typical parts of therapeutic practice that I encourage like creating resources and content which help break down the barriers and stigma surrounding mental health.

…and the part you could do without?

The admin side of running a business is something I’ll never enjoy! I love the practical aspect but admin is heavy and is never ‘done’. The more your business grows the more admin you have so it’s bitter sweet.

How would your clients describe you in three words?

From the feedback I’ve received I’d say supportive, authentic and empathetic.

I love seeing clients grow before me and I feel privileged that I’m able to assist in this process

Plans for the future? 

As previously mentioned I have self-help eBooks that I’m working on which I hope will help people address areas of concern so that they can develop themselves alone or alongside therapy. I also want to continue facilitating workshops and training events, and I’d love to write a book in the future.

Do you have any advice for other aspiring freelancers?

Keep fighting the seeds of doubt that have been planted in your mind. You’re never an imposter and you have a place in the field you’re in. You’re needed so continue pushing. I also think investing in yourself by working on ‘you’ is fundamental. Understanding yourself more as a person helps, not only with personal matters but absolutely in business too. LLY

Posted by:Carly Lewis-Oduntan

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