Each month, the 'Day in the Life' series offers PACFA members the opportunity to share their personal and professional experience as dedicated Practising & Registered Clinical Counsellors and Registered Clinical Psychotherapists who embody the art and science of holding space for others.
This month, we follow the day with Jess Hancock.
Jess studied the Diploma and Bachelor of Counselling at ACAP and then completed her Masters of Psychotherapy and Counselling at Western Sydney University. Jess is a Certified Practising Counsellor® with PACFA, and her background thus far, through volunteering and employment, has involved working with Lifeline, The Ankali Project, a women's refuge, and in a drug and alcohol service on the Eora Nation.
I work and reside on Kamilaroi Land in the New England region of New South Wales, providing outreach services to rural areas such as Narrabri, Walcha, Uralla, and Tamworth. I am fortunate to collaborate with individuals from diverse backgrounds, gaining valuable experiences in my practice that I could have never imagined.
My week is divided among various programs within my organisation, ensuring that no two days are alike. I function as a school counsellor, clinician for young people (aged 12-25 years), couples and family counsellor, recovery group facilitator, psychotherapist for complex trauma and grief work, veteran support specialist, NDIS counsellor, and gambling addiction counsellor.
I would describe my approach as relational and eclectic. I draw from all the theories and modalities I have learned thus far, applying what best suits the client sitting in front of me. I place great value on establishing a connection and nurturing the therapeutic relationship, using a trauma-informed and person-centred approach. I create a safe space for individuals who are experiencing pain or simply need support while they work through their challenges. I am passionate about aiding those who serve in the emergency service sector. I find deep satisfaction in working in this manner and attribute my ability to continue this work to the ongoing support of my own therapist.
A Day in the Life of Certified Practising Counsellor®, Jess Hancock
3:00am – 5:00am: Morning Person
What can I say? My 5-month-old is a morning person.
6:00am: Time for Bluey!
My alarm goes off, and by alarm, I mean my two-year-old jumping on the bed asking to watch Bluey.
6:00am – 7:15am: Beautiful Chaos
This time of the day is a beautiful kind of chaos where I make sure I don’t leave the house with yoghurt on my top and that my husband is ready for a long day being the primary caregiver for our beautiful children.
7:15 – 7:35am: Road Tripping
Bliss - absolute bliss - as I drive to the office. Where I live, I don’t have traffic, no cues for coffee, no train delays, just Australia’s most incredible landscapes of rolling hills in the heart of the mountain ranges. Every morning feels like I’m on an epic road trip adventure with locals giving a wave as you pass by no matter if they know you or not.
I do a round of the office and take time to connect to my colleagues, my office is filled with amazing humans who do extraordinary things. We have mediators, counsellors, psychologists, social workers, youth workers and financial counsellors. Out here in the country we thrive on mateship, I have never felt more welcomed than out here in a community that has a culture of being a mate and looking out for one another.
8:30am: Checking in for the Day
I check my emails and calendar to see who I have booked in for the day.
I do a mindfulness exercise, usually a quick grounding meditation, check in or body scan, this allows me to land into a calm and centred place.
9:00am – Noon: Client Time
On a normal workday, I see three clients in the morning and three in the afternoon. My work with clients is inspired by their strength and resilience. Often more than not, people sit in the chair or in some cases in the bean bag and don’t see what I see. I feel honoured to reflect back what I see in them and empower them to see it within themselves. Counselling can be a painful and a slow process, so I support clients to go gently with care and self-compassion. I love using metaphor, stories, psychoeducation and validation because it takes pressure off people and lets them know they are seen, heard and understood.
11:50pm: Hot Lap!
A hot lap is when you go for a quick walk around the block, either with a colleague or by myself, it’s a time to debrief, connect, ground myself and reset. Over the years, hot laps have been my go-to strategy as a way to shift my energy. Whenever a colleague or I have a difficult session, moving our body and sharing our thoughts gets us calm and focused for ourselves and the next client. Coffee is always a negotiable self-care perk of the hot lap.
12:15pm Lunch with My Work Colleagues
I always leave the lunchroom with my cup full, the banter and humour is invigorating. We talk about tragic reality tv, the Matildas, our kids and the weekend ahead.
1:30pm: Jungian Analysis
Once a week I have a session with my own therapist, a Jungian analyst who has held space for me for the past several years. I wish I could put into a brief sentence about what this work has done and has meant for me but all I can express is that this work, I place above all of my education. Learning to be in relationship, to have someone hold space, emotions and healthy boundaries for me has been the only investment in myself that I would do a thousand times over. I believe you can only go as deep with clients to depths you have been within yourself.
2:20pm – 4:30pm: Client Time
Because I do work eclectically, I don’t plan my sessions, I live in the moment and work with whatever is in the room. I go with what the client is needing on that particular day and follow their lead.
4:30pm: Notes & Goodbyes
I complete my case notes and data entry, say goodbye to my team mates and make time to watch random funny therapy videos that colleagues send me throughout the day.
5:00pm: Spot the Kangaroo
I embark on my epic country road trip home; I play spot the kangaroos and enjoy the sun going down casting shadows on the hills as I head home to greet my little family.
5:30 – 6:00pm: Tree Babies, Dogs & Little Ones
My after-work ritual is a lap of my Bonsai Garden to check on my tree babies with my dogs Lucy and Ally. Bonsai is a huge part of my self-care and my own healing journey. Home time is also play time with my little ones, we water our vegie garden, jump on the trampoline, and walk through the paddocks to pat the horses before its time to go inside.
6:00pm – 7:00pm: Family Routines
Bath time for the little ones while my husband lovingly prepares dinner, our favourite family go to is homemade pizza. We read books, have quiet time, snuggles and bed. 8pm-9pm: Chill Out This is chill out time with my husband. My go to shows are either a good documentary or comedy depending on the day and mood - sometimes it’s a bit of both.
Go to sleep feeling grateful for the fortunate life that I have, the life of a mother, wife, friend and counsellor.
Connect with Jess
Open the door on your day
The ‘Day in the Life’ series is created and edited by PACFA Registered Clinical Psychotherapist® and founder of The Psychosynthesis Centre, Jodie Gale.
Each month, the ‘A Day in the Life’ series will offer participating PACFA members the opportunity to share their unique personal and professional experience as dedicated Practising & Registered Clinical Counsellors and Registered Clinical Psychotherapists who embody the art and science of holding space for others. Click here to read more and to find out how you can open the door on your day.