Therapy and support networks for trailblazers 

In therapy, the trailblazers are often those who break the dysfunctional cycles. Perhaps these are of generational trauma, or by refusing to allow unacceptable treatment, or by simply being the person in the counselling room who has decided they want to make a change for the better. To live a different life to the one which may be expected of them. 


Feeling isolated 

This can be exciting to discover, but sometimes outside of the counselling room, and out in the real world, having these realisations and taking decisive action on them can be lonely. It can feel like you are navigating unknown territory without a map. There may be no one around who can comprehend what you are doing. People may even resent what you are doing and be antagonistic towards you, or it. Particularly if you are the first in your circle to do so.   

The challenge of being the first 

I had the pleasure recently of watching former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard give a talk at a panel event for International Women’s Day 2024. In it she spoke about her career as it is now, and how she and Jacinda Ardern (the former New Zealand Prime Minister) joke that Jacinda became the 2.0 version of her when she came into power.  

Of course, there is more to it and Jacinda Ardern is a groundbreaking leader in her own right, but what she was referencing was that Jacinda had a little bit more space because of what had gone before on their continent. To be new, improved, able to govern with empathy, and play to her innate strengths. Julia on the other hand, had to enter what she referred to as a ‘boys club’ when she became Prime Minister in 2010. Initially playing to its rules, in which she had to fight to be heard and was openly and publicly abused by sexist colleagues and press.  

Julia Gillard was a trailblazer. Her 2012 ‘misogyny speech’ calling out the oppositional leader was voted the most memorable of all time. Her work as the only woman to have held her position paved the way for more opportunities for women, and she welcomed the developments, supporting those who came after her, such as Jacinda Ardern to progress even further. 

Finding your own support network 

Developing a network of supportive people can make a positive difference if you too identify as a trailblazer, and/or would like to break the dysfunctional cycles in your life.  

In creating this, it helps to consider the people in your life who believe in your abilities and/or inspire you. Perhaps a welcoming person with a career you admire, or a friend who energises you whenever you talk. Take note of how you feel when you come away from these interactions. When you’re blazing a brand-new trail, it’s important to nourish the relationships which empower and work to limit the ones which don’t.  

Researching professional help 

A weekly therapeutic hour can also help immensely to regulate and build self-esteem while on this kind of internal journey. Providing a non-judgemental space to explore and be curious about the areas you want to work on. Counselling Directory can provide support in finding a therapist to suit your needs. 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Written by Ellie Rowland-Callanan, MNCPS (Acc) | MBACP | MCIM | Psychotherapist
London E3 & EC4N

Ellie Rowland-Callanan (she/they) is a LGBTQIA+ affirmative Psychotherapeutic Counsellor and queer person, working in a creative and intersectional way, in private practice at ReflectivE3. They have been an advocate in Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) best practice in corporate settings for over a decade, and also work as an EDI consultant.

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