Learner spotlight: 'Counselling course changed my life'
Jassim Laftaly is an inspiration. At the age 57 he has found enlightenment that many only dream of. Furthermore he attributes his recent learning and study of counselling to his inner peace and ability to connect with others.
In his student days - from his early teens in fact - Jassim became an active member of the Iraq students movement. Of Kurdish descent, he was raised in Baghdad where he lived until the mid 1980's before fleeing to the United Kingdom to escape Baghdad's increasing political tension.
Consumed by writings of the likes of Nietzshce, Pavlov and Freud, Jassim's main reason for pursuing Counselling as a life step came with inspiration of early Marxist humanism theory and the work of Nawal El Saadawi (Egyption feminist writer and activist). "I believe in humans - I believe in people, yet I'm not such a religious man", he explains. "I had some difficult times earlier in my life and my learning on the course helped me come to terms with this. My relationship with my son has benefited. It changed my life and made me realise that I can use this to help people."
"It changed my life and made me realise that I can use this to help people."
Before studying the Counselling and Psychology course at Westminster Adult Education Service, which he finished in 2011, Jassim studied electrical engineering and worked part-time as an electrician and interpreter, using his 4 fluent languages to help pay his way.
"I was warmly welcomed to WAES and so encouraged on my first day - the tutor (Mandy) empowered us and helped us find the motivation within ourselves. Having experienced some dark times herself I was able to connect with her, as were others in the class. I was so eager to learn and my English has improved too, just from being in the classroom and talking to people. I am so grateful."
"...my course a few years ago with WAES prepared me for University."
Nowadays Jassim uses his expertise as a counseller volunteer at a specialist London drug and alcohol clinic while he seeks permanent work. He helps people come to terms with their own experiences - some of them with serious problems and addictions. He has also made the leap to University where he continues his study in counselling."
"Time will tell. I find the study is hard work but my course a few years ago with WAES prepared me for University."
Two years on from studying with WAES he returns occasionally and gives his time to mentor students and tell his story to help others.
"I'm still learning things - its a continuous process".
Westminster Adult Education Service health, social care and counselling courses begin for the new term in September. Enrol now by calling 020 7297 7297.