Upon leaving school in the 1980s, Gordon’s first opening was as a reluctant Clerk in the Civil Service. In the evenings, he hung up his suit to volunteer as a Youth Worker in the stark penumbra of Muirhouse, a notoriously (Irvine Welsh’s – Trainspotting) squalid and depressing district of Edinburgh. This baptism of fire enabled his placement as a full-time volunteer (CSV) and boarder at a therapeutic community for children with emotional and behavioural difficulties (EBD). Gordon often describes his experience at this rather magical oasis in Dumfries & Galloway as his “having arrived at ‘Hogwarts’!”.
Moving to London in 1988, Gordon worked at an ILEA special needs boarding school where he discovered his proclivity for the counselling aspects of the work. He began his foundational training at the Roehampton Institute in Surrey.
Following the abolition of the ILEA in 1990, Gordon went on to work more expansively in the community with children, adolescents and their families. As a Youth Justice Social Worker, he focused on tailoring alternative to custody opportunities for the young offenders under his charge.
In the context of a very divisive and oppressive Thatcher premiership, in a climate that enacted Section 28, and with the onset of the AIDS pandemic, Gordon shifted the focus of his work to support people with mental health difficulties. Over the next decade, he was a Residential Social Worker, Tenancy Sustainment Officer, Resettlement Officer, and Housing Support Manager.
Gordon founded several projects during this period, including a Community Home with Education, a Regional Resource Centre, and a residential supported community for Gay men who were HIV+.
In 1999, aged 33, Gordon attended ‘night school’ and undertook an undergraduate BSc (Hons) Psychology degree at Birkbeck College, University of London. It was proceeded by a Postgraduate Diploma with the British Association of Psychotherapists (BAP), a thorough and intensive clinical coaching of psychodynamic aspects of human development and encompassing participation in a year’s ‘Infant Observation’.
In quick succession, this was followed by a PGCE at the University of East London, where Gordon qualified as a Teacher/Lecturer in post-compulsory education. Working at a range of Inner London Colleges and Universities, he taught Psychology, Counselling, Health and Social Care, and Early Years Childcare, and was a group and personal tutor.
Students’ welfare and their personal development was Gordon’s predominant interest and concern. He pursued further postgraduate clinical and pedagogic research at the Institute for Group Analyses (IGA), the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, exploring ‘affective’ learning domains, and at the University of Cambridge, where he researched ‘conflicting diversities’ in education.
Following a motorcycle accident in 2011, this ‘fall’ provided a period of rehabilitation and reflection for Gordon. He embarked upon the four-year clinical training’ Psychodynamic Practice’ at the University of Oxford, which incorporated a 2-year placement at MIND in Islington. Following his graduation and registration with the British Association of Counsellors and Psychotherapists (BACP), Gordon was honoured to join the prestigious ‘Farringdon Practice’ where he worked until the Covid pandemic in March 2020 sadly forced its temporary closure.
Having since continued his practice ‘remotely’, by video conferencing, In April 2021, Gordon founded ‘Clerkenwell Counselling & Psychotherapy’, which is slowly opening up for patients to meet in-person, as the lockdown permits.