Steve Le Long

For the majority of my day I will meet with my clients on a one-to-one basis. I work with individuals who have developed an unhealthy relationship with hazardous polysubstance misuse. Our work will focus on their goals and the changes they wish to make. This is the key purpose of my work and the part I love the most. I also attend multi-disciplinary meetings that involve my clients and young people in general. These meetings can focus on the progression of individual clients or the development of the overall support offered to young people on the island. I also present my role and the support I offer to organisations on the Island who support young people, so that they know who I am, what I do and how to contact me.

What do you think are the three most important skills to succeed in your career area?
1) Empathy, taking the time to understand client’s individual journeys
2) Patience
3) Genuine belief that people can achieve what they want to achieve

Was this something you planned to do or did you change direction at any point in the past? If so, what was that and was it easy to do?
Definitely not planned, I wanted to be an accountant at school. I started out in finance and found that the part I enjoyed most was the customer service work so focused on that. I then realised that I really wanted to begin working with people in a supportive role. I moved to Advance to Work and found I had a passion
for helping young people get on the path they want to be on, whatever that might be, and it developed from there. I was lucky enough to work at Jersey Talking Therapies before this role and developed a lot during my time there. I wouldn’t say it was easy, but I didn’t mind the extra work and the study when I found I had a passion for the work.

What do you love most about working in your career area?
The opportunity to connect with people on a deep human level
and help them connect with what is important to them. I love the emotion of the work I do and, of course, I love it when I see people make positive changes that increases their confidence, self-belief and enjoyment of life.

Are there any negative aspects of working in your career area that people considering it should be aware of?
It can be hard at times, there are days when I want to cry and sometimes I worry about clients outside of the 9 to 5, it’s inevitable and it’s human. It’s vitally important to me that I look after myself outside of work, keep well and have fun.

What training / qualifications did you undertake for your current role or are you currently undertaking?
There are probably a number of pathways into this work. My degree is in psychology, I then studied two post graduate certificates, one in philosophy and one in mental health studies focusing on wellbeing. I have also been studying counselling for the past five years and am hopeful that I will pass my diploma in at the end of this year. I have also completed a substance misuse degree module whilst in this role.

Is there any other information that would be of interest to someone thinking of this career?
I would advise anyone that they should just get as much experience as they can in supporting people. I believe that the skills develop in the work, you truly learn on the job. Be open minded to different types of therapy and theory because there
is not one type that works for all. Person-Centred Counselling, CBT, ACT, Motivational Interviewing and Solution Focused Therapy are a few I use frequently.

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