|"Endings are an important and inevitable part of counselling and life in general. Endings are certainly a major feature in my life at the moment – I seem to be dealing with a lot of them" |
|"I’m working with a very troubled young woman at the moment at the college where I’m on placement. She has a very uneven idea of who she is and where she fits into society" |
|"I recently attended the BACP student conference in York where the keynote speaker in the afternoon gave a really engaging talk based around the concept of using three words to describe your practice. This made me think about the three words I would choose to describe my practice and how it has evolved and developed throughout my training" |
|"Something that has really struck me since I started my training is the distance I’ve come from my own first session with a counsellor to where I am today, working with clients on placement as part of my diploma studies" |
|"I was always a bit of a lost boy when growing up, not fitting the mould, never really sure what to do with myself, not really thinking about the future and what it might bring"|
We’ve always been told throughout the counselling course that the journey each of us will follow during training will change us
In training – Just as annoying as ever
We’ve always been told throughout the counselling course that the journey each of us will follow during training will change us. Our lecturer has told us that, between finishing one course and returning to study at the next level, students have left partners, started new relationships and even got divorced because of the many major changes they have experienced during counselling training.
I find it really interesting to think about the distance I’ve travelled and how the training may have affected my relationships with those closest to me. I feel that I’ve changed a great deal, but does my perception match up with how the people who know me best see me? Do they think I’ve changed and if so, how?
I asked my Mum if she had noticed any changes in me since I started my training. She said that the main change for her is in how I relate to her and my Dad. She said that I’m definitely less ‘Kevin and Perry’ – by which I think she means I don’t react as irrationally as I used to, that I am more settled and less emotionally erratic. If anyone has the experience to comment on my past mood swings, it is my parents.
She also said that I’m a lot more open and honest about what I’m doing and how I feel about things. I think this is because I have much higher self-esteem now and I feel a real sense of pride in myself and in my work. I also feel I am finally paying back my parents for all the money and worry they invested in sending me to university, which I never felt I was doing in any of my past jobs.
I asked a work colleague and close friend if she thought I’d changed since starting the counselling training. I work in a further education college with young people aged 14–16. I coordinate a vocational learning scheme that gives students a practical qualification as well as their GCSEs, and I help young people who are in danger of becoming NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) to manage their transition into apprenticeships, college courses, sixth form or work. My colleague said I’d become much more patient with my students and also more confident with them and able to share more of myself when the occasion calls for it. As a result, she thought, the students trust me more and find it easier to talk to me. She also commented that, although our relationship hasn’t changed an awful lot, she feels I am more comfortable in my own skin and that I really listen to her when she needs to talk to me: I’m not just doing ‘man’s listening’ and I never try to placate her or tell her what I think she should do.
I also asked one of the other students in my counselling class, who is also a good friend. She said that I seem a lot more open about myself and who I am and that I’m more relaxed about the issues that affect me and my control over them. She also said, and I would agree, that our relationship, and my relationships with other members of the student group, has improved because I’m less guarded and more forthcoming about putting myself out there and making relationships and interacting with others.
I think these changes all come from the improved sense of self that I’ve taken from the training and from knowing myself so much better. I now believe I have a lot to give to a prospective friendship – just as much as the other person – which makes me more confident with other people.
The final test was to ask my partner. He said he didn’t think our relationship has changed much, but he has seen big changes in how I interact with other people and that I’m much more tolerant (his words, not mine). He said the major difference he has noticed is that I now have a sense of purpose and direction, that I have a focus in my life that makes me happy and I enjoy. He also tells me that I’m still just as annoying as ever (that may have been a joke, but I’m not sure).
My image of how I have changed seems to match up quite well with other people’s perceptions. Thankfully, most of the changes they have noticed in me have been ones that I have noted about myself, and have been positive. I think the biggest change for me is a much better understanding of myself that means that I am much more aware of who I am, what I can offer and what I may be lacking. I think the changes have meant that I manage my relationships very differently: I am better able to see both sides of the coin, and understand better how it feels to be sat in either chair.