Psychological Counselling for Queers in Zurich – an Introduction
In this first English episode of queer.growing.support podcast, I introduce myself and the psychological counselling I offer. I also explain how exactly the term “psychological counselling” is used in Switzerland and how it’s different from psychotherapy.
This ist a very special edition of my queer.growing.support podcast, because it is the first one in English. The pocast is still primarily going to be in German, but since I recently made my website accessible to English-speaking visitors, I wanted to also record a podcast episode in English. I think the podcast is a great way to get to know me a bit better. This could also help you decide whether or not you want to book a counselling session with me. And also, since I’m not a native speaker of English, you can assess yourself if you feel comfortable with my English. So in this episode, I want to introduce myself and the counselling I offer.
Before I dive into it I start with a short check-in about what’s going on in my life. So fall has officially started and I’m a bit reluctant to let go of summer. I get a lot of pleasure from just cozying up in my home, though, and the colder temperatures are a great excuse for that. I’m currently in a training for couple’s counseling, or relationship counselling. And I’m thinking a lot about my work and what kind of priorities I want to set.
Psychological / Psychosocial Counselling
Let’s get started with today’s topic. So I’m a psychological counsellor. I think the term needs some explanation, since it is used differently in many countries, and also in Switzerland it might be used in different ways. Psychological counselling, psychologische Beratung in German, is not a protected professional title. Usually “psychological” and “psychosocial” are used interchangeably. However, there are efforts by the professional association SGfB (Swiss Association for Counselling) to protect the title. Tthere is also an Advanced Federal Diploma at the national level in “counseling in the psychosocial field”. I don’t currently have that diploma but I’m working on it, and I’m also a member of the SGfB.
Differences between Counselling and Psychotherapy
The most important distinction is probably between psychological counselling and posychotherapy. Though there is some overlap and some people also offer both, there is a big distinction in how you become a counsellor and a psychotherapist. To become a psychotherapist, you have to have a Master’s degree in psychology plus a specialized training of usually around five years. For counselling, no degree in psychology is required and the training usually takes three years.
Psychotherapy is (or can be) covered by basic insurance. Counselling usually is not covered, and if it is covered then by supplementary insurance. The reason for this is that psychotherapy is supposed to help with specific psychological diagnoses, while in counselling we don’t work with diagnoses and cannot claim to work with or even heal clinical issue. Apart from this, a lot of the methods and topics of counselling and psychotherapy are very similar.
My Journey to Becoming a Counsellor
So, how did I get here? As you have guessed, I don’t have a degree in psychology, but I have studied humanities, from literature to history and philosophy. I have been to therapy for many years, which got me more and more interested in psychology. In my working life, I realized that I like to work with people and not just computers. So around the time I turned 30 and after some not so great working experiences, I decided to embark on a new professional journey. I started my training in psychological counselling, and I’m really glad I did because I enjoy counselling very much.
Counselling for Queers
Then there’s also the queer part. I decided to market myself specifically to queer people since I’m queer and I always felt and still feel like there was a lack of services for us. More often than not, I didn’t feel comfortable to bring up my identity in counselling. Or if I did, I usually had to do a lot of educating or fighting against some weird assumptions of the therapist/counsellor that were based. While a lot of therapists or counsellors claim to be queer-friendly, there is just still a lot of ignorance.
So I found it important to make clear to prospective clients that I do bring personal experience as well as knowledge into sessions. Of course, anyone who wants can book a session with me. I’m not going to do a test of your queerness or refuse to offer you my service if you don’t happen to be queer.
Another thing that’s probably important is that I also work in other fields, at the moment I still work a part-time job in the social field and do creative projects here and there. That’s also the reason why I usually only offer counselling on Thursdays and Fridays, though that might change. Another fun fact about me is that I lived in China for two years (yes, I speak Chinese too). This taught me a lot about what it means to start a life in a different country. I was born and raised here in Zurich, Switzerland, and I also have family in Germany and Italy.
That’s it, I hope this helped you to get to know me a bit better. You can find me at queer.growing.support on my website or on Instagram, I will put all the links in the show notes. You can also book appointments online on my website. Feel free to contact me via email or Instagram if you have any questions. All the best, and maybe see you in session!
Feel free to subscribe to this podcast – most of the episodes are going to be in German though.
My Instagram is @queer.growing.support
Music: Morning Routine by Ghostrifter Official, https://soundcloud.com/ghostrifter-official. Creative Commons — Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported — CC BY-SA 3.0. Free Download / Stream: https://bit.ly/_morning-routine, Music promoted by Audio Library https://youtu.be/lsbbGAKhxLI