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My First Year as a Human Givens Therapist

Sally Nillson reflects on her first year in private practice.

I cannot believe I’m coming to the end of my first year as an HG practitioner, the time has flown. 

I knew this was what I wanted to do so had one hundred percent focus and motivation driving my studies towards the Human Givens Diploma. In 2015 I had been studying with another provider and in the first year passed my certificate to become a Hypnotherapist, which has since really helped with the guided imagery I use now. The next two years were shaping up badly so I made the decision to come out of that course and I’m so glad I did.  The Human Givens Diploma gave me the flexibility and great methodology I wanted and loved.

There have been a few challenges along the way; a pesky breast cancer surgery and radiotherapy, supporting children through exams and caring for elderly parents. When I finally passed with a merit I was delighted.  I had already done fourteen sessions as a trainee and then when I passed my Diploma I could really get going with a new website, Instagram and Facebook accounts.

My previous role in public speaking and having studied drama meant that I had a good deal of confidence and with many years as a sales and marketing manager promoting myself was something that came quite naturally.

To build awareness and attract clients I used a number of different methods. I designed and A5 leaflet and found a local printer who were good value then had hundreds printed as well as simple business cards from Vistaprint. Even now I love to see the letters after my name. I need to pinch myself at the proof of how far I’ve come. 

I posted leaflets though people’s doors, put them in hairdressers, beauty salons, health food shops, in newsagents’ windows and in local cafes. I set up a market stall with banners reading ‘Let’s talk Mental Health’ with my website address, phone number and email address on it. Both the door to door and markets (fetes and car boot too) have all reaped rewards and lots of clients. My aim is to break taboos on mental health in my community and promote the Human Givens method.

Networking has been really useful. I try to do as much free and low cost promotions as I can and at local networking groups I’ve had the opportunity to do talks which have gone down really well and now I’m invited to speak at other local events.

I post regularly on my Facebook Groups and other groups too as this is a great method of building awareness and has brought in business. Instagram is a must and as the name says is ‘instant’ with quick results.  I have a mental health page on which I try to post at least once a day. It’s not always essential to post new material: I often use older posts and swap them around.

"This is absolutely the right time to be doing this"

Approaching my local Council has been productive and they have been very helpful. They tend to do learning lunches, as does the Chambers of Commerce – a great way to build awareness. I found out who are the largest companies in my area and am in the process of writing to them to offer support to all employees. This is absolutely the right time to be doing this.  There are different reports that can be researched on the desperate need for help in the workplace. I hope to go in and do workshops and speak to employees one to one as well.

I have had eight clients from Red Poppy who are a charitable organization who work with the Ambulance Service. They love Human Givens and I’ve had some great experience dealing with areas including workplace stress, trauma and general counselling. I would say now from this experience that people working at the coalface of teaching, the NHS, fire, police and military need a huge amount of support as budgets are cut. I learned that in the Ambulance Service employees are not seen regularly to check on their mental wellbeing which is concerning. Working with Red Poppy is a great inroad to the NHS. I’ve written to all my local Practices and have seen patients from GP surgeries so that’s growing too.

During this year I have been honing my skills on the addiction front as this is a particular interest for me. I used to have unhealthy relationships with smoking and drinking. Human Givens sorted me out and I’ve been a non-smoker and teetotal for fifteen months. Seeing people for addiction therapy certainly keeps me free from bad habits and the reward for seeing others quit them is amazing.

"I love my new career, love how the human givens approach helps people, and look forward to practicing long into the future"

Looking back and doing the numbers there have been some interesting results. I’ve had 44 clients and see the majority for four sessions. I’ve done 164 sessions in total. I rarely compromise on my rate charging £60 per hour except for Red Poppy which pays £50 per hour (the client does not pay me). My course and Diploma with books, travel and hotels has been about £7,500 and after my first year, minus therapy room rent, I’ve earned £7,600 – Yay! So I’ve paid for the course. That feels good.

I’m just about to do my first year accounts which means our family can think about moving house. This was a big goal for me and I’ve reached it. I love my new career, love how the human givens approach helps people, and look forward to practicing long into the future.


Sally Nilsson, Fresh Start Counselling, Charlwood, Surrey. 

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