Ken Loftus

ken loftus

Meet Ken Loftus, Clinical Director of the Sunlight Centre, Counsellor, Clinical Supervisor and Facilitator

This month launches our new “Member Spotlight” section of the ACA Monthly Bulletin, our monthly newsletter for all ACA Members. The Member Spotlight is designed to showcase the work of our members to you! We hope their stories inspire or spark interest. Let’s share our experiences within our counselling community.

What motivated you to pursue a career in counselling?

I began as a junior helper in my hometown’s Summer Project in Greystones, Co. Wicklow, Ireland from when I was thirteen years old. I discovered then I really enjoyed helping people. During my psychology and psychoanalysis degree studies in Ireland, I began my career working in Social Care in a residential care home for under eighteens with high behavioural issues. It was during this time I completed my studies in counselling.

For over 22 years I have worked with adults and adolescents as a psychologist and counsellor covering a wide range of issues via an integrative style though face to face work and create and facilitate empowering mental health workshops.

Since moving to Brisbane in 2017 I have focused on founding the Sunlight Centre, that is a 1-step support counselling charity around suicide and self-harm for adults and under eighteens while focusing my private practice on developing Anxiety workshops and Anxiety face to face support for teens and adults in South Brisbane.

What is the most rewarding aspect of being a counsellor for you?

There is that humbling moment when a client is ready to meet you collaboratively and you both work together in shifting their base core beliefs and work through new ways of thinking and behaviours to bring about a more positive outlook on their life.

I have been facilitating workshops and supervising counsellors on their journey in their career for many years now. I am approaching a balance in my career where I want to pass on all I can from working in mental health for over 22 years.

Are there any projects or initiatives in which you are currently involved?

The Sunlight Centre is about to venture into research around non-suicidal self-injury that is currently very under researched and even the DSM-V has information that goes against what I have seen firsthand in clients and their NSSI.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in counselling?

See your own counsellor ASAP. Find the right one for you. Go through your own life story and process your own worries, concerns, and maladaptive coping mechanisms so that you are less likely to be triggered by any client.

Final words of advice

My most common lesson as a clinical supervisor… do not self-disclose! Make the sessions always about your client. As soon as you self-disclose, you have just made the session about you. If you share something personal, when does it stop? What if your client wants to know more about you? Do you keep sharing or shut them down? In my opinion, both of those options damage the therapeutic alliance you should be building with your client.

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