AIPC Graduate Lorne Ferster shares his story…

“Approximately 25 years ago, my life took a turn which led me down a road of marriage breakdown, loss of family, and much heartache. It also took down a new road of growth and learning about me, and what life was really all about. My journey led me to an agency which offers help to individuals and other family members affected by alcohol and other drugs. I was very hopeful that I might find some answers for myself.

It was during my participation in a group program as a client that I was approached by one of the staff. I was offered the opportunity of becoming a Volunteer Group Facilitator. Having enjoyed the experience of being in a group and recognising the benefits for myself and others, I did not even hesitate in answering in the affirmative. This happened to be the launch of an exciting and fulfilling career for me. I had not ever imagined or contemplated being involved in such an industry.

I learned so much through my practical experience as a Volunteer, both as a Group Facilitator and a Counsellor. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was keeping my eyes open for possible employment opportunities. At the same time, I began to realise that employers were looking for qualifications and tended to choose people with qualifications over experience without qualification. It was then that I noticed an Advertisement in the paper which caught my eye – you guessed it!! A Diploma in Professional Counselling. It was affordable and was a way of qualifying my experience. I have never regretted it.

I have been employed at the same agency for seventeen years and still loving the work that I do. My preference still is group counselling and I feel very blessed to be a part of so many people’s lives which have been improved by the services we are able to provide. In addition, what is most rewarding is not only what I learn about and from others but what I also learn about me!!”