Mary Ablett is a counsellor in Hull and online

What attracted you to become a therapist?

I began my career managing people in a field quite different from counselling. During this time, I discovered a passion for supporting my colleagues, finding great fulfilment in helping them navigate their challenges. This initial experience planted the seed for my interest in a more dedicated supportive role.

My path took a significant turn after facing four deeply challenging bereavements. Seeking support, I received incredible counselling at my local hospice. The compassionate care I experienced there was transformative and ignited a desire within me to provide that same level of support to others. It was in this pivotal moment that I decided to pursue a career in counselling, committed to offering the same empathetic and life-changing support that I once received.

Where did you train? 

To start my journey, I enrolled in a night school taster course at my local college. Motivated by this initial experience, I progressed to completing Level 2 and Level 3 counselling courses. During this time, I learned about the Ellesmere Centre in Hull and attended an open evening. That evening was a revelation; I realised this was the style of counselling I wanted to learn.

This led me to three years of intensive training weekends at the Ellesmere Centre. Balancing this private training with a full-time career required significant energy, time, and financial investment, but it was the best decision I ever made. The comprehensive training I received there equipped me with the skills, knowledge and practice necessary to embark on my counselling career.

Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?

I am now a transactional analysis psychotherapeutic counsellor and incorporate other approaches such as integrative psychotherapy, humanistic psychotherapy, person-centred counselling, and mindfulness. This style of therapy helps clients make new decisions about their current behaviour and the direction of their lives. I help people explore the root causes of their problems and support them with tools to empower change in all aspects of their lives. 

I chose this as I am able to offer more than providing a safe, confidential place for client to open up, I can offer tools and practices for clients to use moving forward.

How does transactional analysis help?

Transactional analysis helps clients by building a strong therapeutic relationship, fostering self-awareness, and providing tools for effective communication and personal growth. By exploring ego states, transactions, and life scripts, clients can break free from dysfunctional patterns and achieve greater autonomy and fulfilment. 

The initial emphasis on creating a safe and supportive environment ensures that clients feel secure and understood, setting the stage for meaningful and transformative therapeutic work.

What sort of people do you usually see?

I work with adults and teenagers from the age of 13 upwards, and also groups.

Have you noticed any recent mental health trends or wider changes in attitude?

Yes, there have been significant changes in attitudes towards mental health and wellbeing over the past few decades. While mental health was indeed a taboo subject in the 70s and 80s when I was growing up, recent trends indicate a shift towards greater awareness, acceptance, and proactive management of mental health. This is helped by media, celebrity advocacy and educational initiatives and work place programs but I still feel there is a long way to go.

What do you like about being a therapist?

What I love about being a therapist is the profound privilege of earning my clients' trust and being invited into their inner worlds. It's incredibly moving to witness individuals open up about their deepest struggles, knowing that they feel safe enough to share their vulnerabilities with me.

The reward of this work is immense. There is nothing quite like seeing the tangible changes in my clients' lives—hearing their stories of growth, resilience, and transformation. Every breakthrough, no matter how small, is a testament to their courage and the therapeutic journey we embark on together. Being able to contribute to their progress and support them in navigating life's challenges is deeply fulfilling and inspires me every day.

What is less pleasant?

Obviously seeing someone struggle is never pleasant and it can trigger things within but that is why I have supervision to be able to process anything I have absorbed.

What books have been important to you in terms of your professional and personal development? Do you ever recommend books to clients?

Talking it Better by Matthew Elton

Counselling for Toads by Robert de Board

It Didn’t Start With You by Mark Wolynn

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

What you do for your own mental health? 

I like to do yoga and meditation, walking also helps me process the strains of daily life. Ensuring I get the balance right and do not burn out. I don’t always get it right but I can feel the difference if I take too much on and get overwhelmed.

You are a therapist in Hull. What can you share with us about seeing clients in this area?

I am a therapist in Hull but also see clients online which I have found very successful; it is amazing the therapeutic relationship you can build up via a screen. If clients are local to me I also offer walking therapy.

What’s your consultation room like?

I have created a warm comfortable room so clients feel welcomed.

What do you wish people knew about therapy?

Not to be scared, there is nothing scary about counselling, there may be tears but there is also room for smiles and laughter. In fact, smiles and laughter are important.

What did you learn about yourself in therapy?

I have learnt that I am good enough, to stop and celebrate and that I don’t have to try so hard. Also to turn the volume down on my critical voice and be more nurturing to myself. 

I’ve learnt it’s OK not to be OK and be authentic with my feelings, and to take timeout for yourself is not selfish it is necessary.

Contact Mary here

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