London's Cultural Guide

Back to school? David Waters, journalist/counsellor

Over the next three weeks, we meet professionals who have established themselves in one field - only to enjoy success in another

David Waters at the School Of Life. Photo: PR
David Waters at the School Of Life. Photo: PR

Who are you and what do you do?
I work with couples and individuals for short term and open-ended contracts in private practice. I’m also on the faculty of Alain de Botton’s the School of Life, on Marchmont Street in Bloomsbury, where I teach classes including How to be Calm, How to Have Better Conversations and How to be more Confident.

What’s your background?
I’m a journalist: I write on men’s lifestyle and fashion as well as psychological issues. I was the style editor of Men’s Health for ten years and I’ve written for all the major newspapers and men’s magazines in the UK and several abroad. I’ve always been interested in fashion and lifestyle.

Why the career switch?
I went through a painful relationship split in the early noughties which led me to go into therapy. It was a positive experience that made me curious about the process. I started the training more out of interest than a conscious decision to change my career. However, after a couple of years of doing courses, I realised I was in the process of gaining professional qualifications which I was happy to pursue as I was running out of steam as a fashion journalist in my early forties.

David Waters:
David Waters: ‘Change is difficult and needs planning and preparation.’ Photo: PR

What have you learnt in the process and what advice would you give?
Always roadtest change before jumping ship. You may have an interest in something but turning that into a career is a very different thing. Take courses, ask questions, don’t do things in a spur of the moment way. Don’t give up the day job. Change is difficult and needs planning and preparation. Those who make spur of the moment decisions are the most likely to crash and burn. This is based on solid research from INSEAD, the French business school, about people who make meaningful career change.


Finally, what classes do you offer at the School Of Life?
I offer nearly all of the curriculum – so, apart from those I’ve listed above, I also teach How to Make Love Last, How Necessary Is a Relationship, How to be Assertive, How to Think about Death, How to Balance Work and Life, How to be Resilient, How to Make a Difference, How to Find Work you Love, How to Communicate Better in Love, How to End a Relationship. I think that’s it. There may be more.

Find out more about David’s work on his website and his classes at the School Of Life here.

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