Meet Michelle Thomas
In honour of Michelle Thomas’ from The Counselling Collective graduating from her Master of Counselling recently, here is a little something to celebrate her. #womensupportingwomen
Michelle’s hospitality rivals that of a Colombian mother who has just welcomed you into her home, sat you on the most comfortable lounge your glutes have ever touched, and cooked you the warmest most flavourful chicken to have ever been food. Honestly, it is a gift. And I should know, Michelle brought me a meal when my daughter was born. Not only did she make me feel even more at home (in my own home!) but she also offered to bring around another meal and check in with me and see how I’m doing.
Michelle’s relationship with Brugel Creative has mostly been through a collaborative process to launch The Counselling Collective. Though, many of us here at Brugel – Sheree, Belinda and Erin in particular – have known and loved Michelle for years. Michelle and Erin have even travelled together internationally not once but twice. Can you ever really know a person unless you’ve spent 15 days straight study touring together, when no one has slept in weeks, and everyone around you is sick? Michelle took it all in her stride. Of course, she did.
After 10 years of study – a Bachelor of Ministry and a Master of Counselling (and a huge congratulations, Michelle, on completing your award and graduating last Monday) – and plenty of hard work and practical experience, Michelle was ready to take the next step in her counselling career. She also saw a gap in how community needs were being met. All of these factors culminated in the creation of The Counselling Collective.
There are many counsellors and psychologists who work with adults be it individually, via relationship/couple counselling, for trauma-related reasons, or in group settings. But there are not so many who choose to intentionally specialise and work with children and adolescents. And whilst I also see individuals, adults, and those who have experienced trauma, I have a desire to work and journey alongside the younger generations as they wrestle with a variety of complex issues that are often challenging to navigate through.
Michelle has taken her gift of hospitality and chosen to go deeper with it and apply it in a way that is a natural fit with her skills and training. “An extension of this work with children and adolescents is I also have the privilege to work either directly or indirectly with their families.” Michelle feels it is a true joy and privilege that she gets to journey alongside people, particularly children and adolescents, “in order to see them bring about the necessary shifts and changes that may move them towards healing. And doing this in a genuine non-judgemental, respectful, safe and professional space is where the majority of the work begins.”
Like many women before her, and in any given week, Michelle is across multiple different roles, responsibilities and interests. I’m not sure there’s such a thing as a typical day or a typical week for Michelle, but she tries to make sure she intentionally carves out time for sharing a meal with people. Between running her own business, helping to run her husband’s business, traveling for work, the logistics of having 3 children (2 are young adults and 1 has just started year 7), disciplining and mentoring women at her church, and managing chronic pain from an old sporting injury, Michelle is committed to spending her time both in service of others and looking after herself. In fact, Michelle is a pretty good example of healthy boundaries and, well, being healthy.
I love getting alongside people hearing their stories, having discussions engaging on a variety of topics. We are all created individually for a purpose and to be in a relationship with others. I am passionate and very intentional about investing in my relationships. I currently disciple two young female adults and this sees me meeting up with them once a fortnight to sit and talk pretty much about what’s been happening in their lives. In turn, I also feel the need to be discipled by an older mature person and have this set up in my life once a fortnight. The idea is a bit ‘Timothy’ like: if I am to disciple, I am to be discipled, and it is a great way of maintaining a level of accountability in an intimate way outside of the larger church gathering.
When Michelle isn’t breaking bread with family and friends, or intentionally building and investing in professional relationships with those she counsels and mentors, you can find her travelling, being besotted with her French bulldog, reading (she’ll often share about her current reads on Facebook, but she’s not a fantasy or sci-fi fan – we differ there), or smashing out a Kylie, Pink or Adele song in the car like she’s the only person on the road.
We’ve loved celebrating Michelle for our month-long celebration of women and, more importantly, because she deserves it: graduating, building a new business, and being an all-around excellent human.
P.S. Her favourite colour is red.