* Hi, I’m Cathy. I’m a champion on the U-turn phase 3 work-readiness programme. My passion is communication and I’m part of the U-turn communication team. Every week I will be writing a blog post sharing my personal experience on this programme, to give you a window into the experience of being a champion on the U-turn programme.

At the U-turn work readiness programme, as a champion, you are assigned a caseworker, but if the need arises you might also receive counselling from the U-turn counsellor.

Every week I attend a counselling session during my training day. This past year the counselling focus has been on boundaries and fear of heights.

One of the factors of me becoming homeless was not setting boundaries in my life. I struggled to say no. As I mentioned in my first blog, I lent a lot of money to a friend for their business. If I’d set boundaries and said no, I would have had money to see me through my company’s dry spell and the pandemic. I used to find it hard to say no to other people. I would put others before my own needs or priorities. Because I did not set boundaries, my time was taken for granted.  

During my counselling sessions, we focus on the causes of not setting boundaries.  I learned that saying no is good enough. I do not have to explain it. I had to learn that it was not my job to make other people happy. 

I also learned that procrastination is also another form of not setting boundaries. If I make a commitment to myself, I need to respect myself enough to see it through.

We also focused on the past traumas I have experienced.  During my childhood, I experienced abuse and also bullying, which resulted in me always wanting to keep the peace, even if it meant suppressing my feelings or what I wanted to do. We worked on an action plan. For me, it was to learn to say “no”.

After my boundary counselling session was finished, we focused on my fear of heights. When I was eight years old, some children I was playing with pretended they were going to throw me off the second-floor balcony of an apartment. 

Even though it was 35 years ago, it still traumatized me. Through different counselling techniques, I was able to slowly overcome that fear. Here’s a photo of me on the balcony of a Church House, one of our phase 3 Accommodation spaces, I’ll tell you more about this next week. See you then!