Celebrating 20 years at the Foundation
Pam Firth has been a lively, loved and devoted member of The Counselling Foundation’s training team in St Albans for over 20 years. Pam’s main role is as Programme Tutor, in charge of all students and tutors for the first year of professional counsellor training at the Foundation. She also teaches some classes, bringing her years of experience and encouraging interactive teaching and participation.
Training Manager Mimie Hollist describes Pam as highly regarded by every member of the training team. Mimie said. “She is always bringing new ideas, energy and thinking of the team. Pam is the balance of being someone who is steady and consistent but always bringing us new theories and ways of working.”
Pam, in her 70’s, not only contributes a wealth of experience in leading the next generation of counsellors into Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire but influences policies to contribute widely in the worlds of palliative care, bereavement and mental wellbeing. She first trained as a social worker and then went on to study at the Tavistock Centre. Her early career was spent working in CAMHS and in two therapeutic communities including the world famous Mulberry School which is based on the psychodynamic theories of Barbara Docker Drysdale and Donald Winnicott
She continues to be in demand as a speaker at Palliative Care Conferences and has been invited to speak at the European Associate of Palliative Care World Congress in Berlin in May 2019 after being Director of the Association for eight years until 2012. She has lectured all over the world, most recently in September 2017 after being invited by the Czech Republic government to take part in the week long National Social Work Conference.
She is currently completing a three-year research project on End of Life Care with Southampton University, looking at carers’ needs at the point of hospital discharge.
Pam is also Clinical Supervisor for nurses at the Cancer Directorate in an Essex Hospital and interim Head of Family Support at St Johns Hospice, Bedford where she is building a new psychosocial and spiritual care team and setting up clinical supervision for nurses.
A further recognition of her expertise is that she had written several book chapters and articles on bereavement and family adaptation to loss and is an editor of a popular textbook entitled “Loss, Changes and Bereavement in Palliative Care”.
Other achievements include being a part-time lecturer in social work at Middlesex University and holding an honorary research post at Lancaster University.
In the same year Pam started work at the Foundation, she worked at Rennie Grove, then a Macmillan Cancer Support hospital, heading a team of nurses and social workers. She then moved to Isobel Hospice in Welwyn Garden City where she worked as a senior manager.
Despite being very busy, she believes it is always best to respond to people’s need first and is sometimes available to listen and think beyond her working hours to support her students and colleagues.
It is hard to believe she has spare time, but she insists it, too, is important in a balanced life. She is an avid choral singer with St Albans Choral Society – “a hugely important part of my life”, a keen member of the Marshalswick Horticultural Society and attends a yoga class three times a week. However, Pam’s family comes first and she is immensely proud of her daughters and three grandchildren.
We’re thrilled Pam is a finalist in two categories at the Herts Advertiser Community Awards 2018 for Lifetime Achievement and Service to the Community at the awards to be announced in St Albans next month (September).
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