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SYDNEY — Following many years of currently being listened to on levels around and considerably, it is Howie MacDonald’s convert to hear as the well-recognised Cape Breton fiddler embarks on a next profession as a counsellor. 

An education and learning process that spanned a lot more than 8 yrs and many establishments lately came to a profitable summary when he accomplished his master’s diploma in counselling psychology. 

He will now open up his have office acknowledged as Celtic Counselling this month. 

“We would discuss a whole lot on the tour bus The Rankins were being a spouse and children,” MacDonald mentioned of some of the origins of his new occupation route. 

“Talking was a massive aspect of it. And then it was often in the back again of my head, ‘you simply cannot journey close to and engage in new music forever.’ I imagined at some level, if I was heading to do one thing, it would possibly be this I was heading to be a therapist.” 

The culture and beliefs of his loved ones, passed down by way of the ages, also led him to a career in counselling. 

“Cape Bretoners, you want to help folks. When individuals are down and out, Maritimers, I suppose, are the individuals that want to help out and put their finest foot ahead. I guess it is an extension of all that, an extension of how you were introduced up.” 

MacDonald obtained his ‘feet wet’ in counselling back again in 2012 with a two-calendar year community college software in Halifax and experienced been performing domestically.

He would later return to Cape Breton University to examine psychology and after 4 years completed his master’s degree in counselling psychology through online research. 

When his research finished in December, he started organizing to open up his personal business office.  

Longtime mate Betty Matheson of the Cape Breton Fiddlers Affiliation has known MacDonald for most of his 57 decades. She has no doubt he will be profitable in his 2nd job. 

“Howie is a extremely sort person and he is pretty deep. He jokes a lot, as we know, but he is very deep and extremely generous,” she said. 

“He just listens to people. He minds when points are not likely perfectly for people today, that type of detail. It’ll be, ‘what’s heading on with so and so? Consider we must make a go to?’ It’s just caring. He is actually perfect for that job and he’s worked really tricky at it.” 

Whilst some may well fear the new vocation could possibly get in the way of fiddling for the proficient musician, Matheson has no doubt her hardworking buddy will proceed to do each. 

A journey to his area on Monday to aid get his office environment ready proved to her that he can never ever be way too far absent from his new music.  

“I claimed to him if we are undertaking this, ‘I just cannot do all forms of work if there is songs likely on.’ I know that experienced to eliminate him since we did not have any songs on and I could hear him whistling a tune and tapping and jigging his ft. In his thoughts, he was however doing the music.” 

MacDonald has been fiddling given that he was eight many years outdated and does not program to quit anytime shortly, in spite of embarking on a new vocation path. In fact, he thinks his second vocation just may possibly make his initially even much more pleasant. 

“It is good to glance forward to taking part in tunes because I delight in it, relatively than making use of it to shell out the costs,” he stated.  

“That’s not often regular when you are a musician in Cape Breton. You have to be much more than a musician you have to be skilled in other parts. If you want to stay in this article, you have to be a little little bit various, I suppose. You have to have options.” 


Howie MacDonald 

  •  Age: 57 
  •  From: Westmount 
  •  First profession: Fiddler 
  •  Second profession: Celtic Counselling counselling psychology 
  •  Musical accolades: Has unveiled 12 albums and a DVD. Also obtained level of popularity as a comic. 
  •  Contact: [email protected]

As for his approach to counselling, it’ll be based on the client getting an skilled on how they sense and developing a legitimate rapport and belief with them. 

His occupation will be to collaborate, facilitate and ask thoughts, and then do the job in the direction of brief and prolonged-phrase targets, when accessing hundreds of unique treatment alternatives. 

Possessing a real desire in hoping to support people increase is also critical, he reported. 

“Listening is fairly vital. They phone it lively listening,” he reported. 

“A whole lot of it is built in — your physique language and how you gesture and how you pay attention and it is extremely important that they feel at ease and they feel they are in a private surroundings.” 


“Howie is a quite variety particular person and he is incredibly deep. He jokes a ton, as we know, but he is very deep and pretty generous.”  — Betty Matheson


Letting a consumer know they can share without staying judged is essential, much too. 

“I imagine most of us never like currently being judged, so when you communicate to anyone openly and freely devoid of being judged, it is quick to see what is heading on.” 

For now, MacDonald’s new place of work will be positioned at his dwelling in Westmount. He now has a number of consumers lined up and is welcoming extra. 

Access him by way of email at [email protected]