I am Elsie Hartnett, and I am a practicum student in the Enhanced Learning Division at Aspire Too, which is the last step in getting my Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology from Yorkville University.
Before switching paths into this new counselling role, I worked as a teacher in northern and rural Saskatchewan. My favourite part of teaching was the relationships I built with my students and their families getting to know them better and helping them reach their goals. Through counselling, I am looking forward to being able to work with people one-on-one and on a deeper level and with more knowledge than I had as a teacher.
Even though most of my background is working with children, since I am a practicum student, I am only able to work with clients aged 10 and older. However, the influences of childhood are lifelong, and it is never too late to look back on how we were shaped in those earlier years. I think it is important to remind ourselves that all of us are on a lifelong journey to know ourselves better and that we all make mistakes and need compassion. I will try my best to help my clients learn and grow as I learn and grow as a counsellor too.
Outside of work and schooling, I am also a wife and a mother of three young children and an aunt to many more kids and young adults. I am very active in my community and enjoy volunteering for various community organizations. I also love being outside, camping, music, festivals, and listening to podcasts.
I am excited about this next step in my journey to enter the counselling profession and to be able to put what I have been learning about mental health and wellness into action with clients. I want to help others with the strategies I have been learning about that have helped me understand my thinking patterns and emotions better which will hopefully help others as well. I am passionate about the importance of always working on yourself and I think anyone with the courage to take this first step in seeking counselling deserves to be admired for that.
I truly think that everyone from every background and situation can benefit from having someone to talk to who will show them respect and patience and genuinely care about what they have to say, and I hope I can be that person for you!
I am excited about this next step in my journey to enter the counselling profession and to being able to put what I have been learning about mental health and wellness with clients. I want to help others with the strategies I have been learning. These strategies helped me understand my own thinking patterns and emotions better and I hope they will help others as well.
Something that has been a “Ah Ha” for me in my ongoing journey towards mental wellness has been learning to be more compassionate with myself. We have likely all heard of the golden rule “Treat others how you would want to be treated” but I needed to learn to treat myself with the same patience and kindness that I treated other people.
For example, if I forget an appointment with a friend, I have a tendency to get very upset with myself and feel like a failure. Yet if my friend was late or forgot, I am never upset with them because I understand that they are busy, and mistakes happen. Over time, I have been learning to use strategies to help me not be so hard on myself and it has really improved my ability to stay calm and relaxed when things are not going my way. I have also discovered that I am not the only person who does this, which is comforting as well.
Many of us are guilty of being way too hard on ourselves – much harder than we are on those around us. It is sometimes easier to show compassion and understanding to others than to give it to ourselves, which is not fair. Self-care includes self-compassion; being kind to ourselves helps us be kind to the people around us. This does not mean we do not hold ourselves accountable and shirk our responsibilities, but sometimes giving ourselves a break is self care. Next time you find yourself engaging in negative self-talk and being meaner to yourself than you would be to a friend, stop – take a breath – and try saying to yourself what you would hope a friend would say to you. Dr. Kristin Neff lists a bunch of free self-compassion meditations and exercises at https://self-compassion.org/category/exercises/.
It is important to remind ourselves that all of us are on a learning journey we all make mistakes and require compassion. I learn to do better everyday. If you find you are hard on yourself and could use help with self compassion, call and book an appointment with a counsellor or a student counsellor, like myself.
I am offering reduced rate counselling sessions at Aspire Too for individuals aged 10+ from October 2023 – May 2024. Please phone the office at (306) 382-2391 for more information or to book an appointment with me.
Elsie Hartnett, B.Ed, MACP Practicum Student