The Heartwood Blog


Regular heartwood blog posts can be seen here, or by visiting our tumblr blog on 

Mindful therapists lead the way

It has been such a treat for us here at Heartwood to welcome Shahin Popple, who has successfully led our first Mindful Therapist Diploma. Shahin has brought with her a wealth of experience and training in this field and just having her on board has brought a sense of tranquility to the college.

The first successful students have fed back to us that they have really valued the training and feel that it has not only enhanced their own wellbeing but has added a new dimension into their practice.

We are now taking bookings for our next course.

Posted 155 weeks ago

Gemma’s Story
Gemma Turpin has been kind enough to share her training journey with us, if you would like to share your story with us please email us at

Q. What courses have you studied at Heartwood?

A. Levels 2, 3, 4 & 5 an NLP Seminar and around 15 CPD workshops.

Q. What has been the hardest part of your training?

A. Initially, becoming more aware, and recognising that my life was not OK. Watching my former life disintegrate and all relationships in my life as I knew them change and as a result, and not really knowing if I would be able to rebuild myself socially and within my family.

Q. What has been the best part of your training?

A. Too many to mention!! The warmth and support I got from my tutor throughout the whole of my training. And the beautifully creative ways that we were taught some heavy, yet necessary topics. Coming out of the other side of the hard times, feeling more alive and connected to myself, my sense of worth, acknowledging and harnessing my new found strength and power and using it for the good of myself, the people I love and my clients.

I loved a bit of criteria assessment statement too, as it meant I was gaining recognised theory based knowledge to do the job of my dreams confidently and competently. Group Process, the opportunity to dive into the dynamics of the tutor group and learn about myself and everyone else in the room.

Q. How do you think you have changed as a person whilst doing your training?

A. Big question! Huge answer. In short. I have come home.

Q. Tell us about the placement or placements you had during your training?

A. For my level 4, I did my placement at Counselling for Carers. I absolutely loved this work and gained amazing experience doing my hours and also from the group supervision, where initially, I was the newest counsellor and so was fortunate to have a room full of experienced professionals to guide and support me through my placement experience. As a result of this work, I decided that on qualification, my private practice work would be focused on adults. I was given the role of Area Team Coordinator for the agency toward the end of my training, which was a paid role and gave me some valuable insights into the agency and how it was run.

I also volunteered as a counsellor for The Children’s Society in Torquay. I feel that it was this work that really complimented the Heartwood model that I was learning on my course, I used CBT, Person Centred and Gestalt/creative interventions with my clients and the Heartwood way of working was of benefit to them, so much so that a CAMHS Psychotherapist emailed my line manager to commend the work I was doing with one of their young people. It is from my work at The Children’s Society that I found my burning passion to work with young people within an agency once I had qualified.

Q. Tell us about your current employment since training?

A. Just before qualifying, I designed, created and ran a counselling service for Plymouths largest youth charity organisation- The Youth Enquiry Service. Within this counselling service, I also created a volunteer counselling package, from application, to induction and training into the service. I liaised with various counselling colleges and universities from Plymouth to Leeds and as a result inducted several volunteer student counsellors, who are now all using the service to gain their placement hours. I put my heart and soul into making this work and with the help of my tutor and the placement coordinator at Heartwood, I made the service one that I am extremely proud of. My role became more managerial as the service progressed and so I decided to leave as my passion and experience is in counselling and psychotherapy, not management.

I now work full time, as a School Counsellor for Devon County Council in a SEN/EBD school within my local area. I am also building my private practice in Newton Abbot, where I see both adults and young people for counselling and psychotherapy and rent my room to supervisors, counsellors, psychotherapists and my original placement agency, Counselling for Carers.

I have been asked to design, create and deliver CPD workshops for surrounding counselling colleges and a group therapy programme for the school that I am currently employed at. I have completed this project and will deliver this with the schools THRIVE practitioner during the summer term and we are in the early stages of looking to broaden this programme and deliver into other schools far and wide.

Q. Are you enjoying it?

A. I am extremely passionate about the work I do with my children and young people for Devon County Council and am enjoying the role so much so that I hope to never leave!

My private practice has been fairly quiet as a result of all the other opportunities that I have been given and so while I have had a relatively steady flow of private clients, I feel completely at home in my private work and aim to develop and expand this over the coming months.

Q. Has your training at Heartwood helped you to get this position, if so how?

A. Heartwood/the support and encouragement from my tutor, alongside the brilliant variety of CPD workshops and beautifully designed course delivery that seemed to just work for me, not only gave me the skills to be a counsellor/psychotherapist, but also the opportunity and courage to look into myself as a person, find my passion and purpose and become the counsellor/psychotherapist that I always wanted to be.

I feel that the adaptable model taught on the Heartwood Course/s and my passion for the work, shine through and give me an edge in job applications and interviews that I’m not sure I’d have developed if I’d have trained somewhere else.

Q. What advice would you give to somebody thinking about embarking on the training?

A. Go into it with a real willingness/desire to look inward and be truly honest with yourself, it get’s tough, but stick with it and keep talking to the tutors in your journals, use your personal therapist and your supervisor/s, friends and family and it will be so worth it, for you and your clients.

Learn to love yourself- Self-care is so misunderstood and under rated outside of the counselling world!! Also have a plan. And just make it happen. In the thick of turmoil and distress. Is incredible opportunity for personal growth and that is the most magickal part.

Q. What are your plans for the future with regards to your counselling practice?

A. I aim to finish my psychotherapy training at Heartwood, continue to build my private practice and train to become a supervisor and trainer of counselling courses and/or design and/or deliver CPD courses and additional therapy programmes/courses.

I am open to anything that comes my way. I have been given more opportunities on my journey as a counsellor/psychotherapist than I could have ever believed I would have been given when it all started 4 years ago- Thanks to the support I have received from Heartwood and the local counselling community I am truly beginning to believe and trust that anything can happen!

Posted 155 weeks ago
tumblr photo
Posted 155 weeks ago