Day One…

I enrolled on my Level 4 Diploma in Therapeutic Counselling this morning. It’s a nice feeling starting a course, especially when it’s the start of getting another step closer to becoming a counsellor and being able to help young people through difficult times.

There was no clear idea of what the day would hold, as it was the first day of the course. For all we knew, we would enrol, have a coffee and go home. It was really nice to start as we mean to go on, and get our hands dirty, so to speak, and do a full day’s study. We spent the morning recapping the basics of person centred therapy, which is descriptive, and how it differs to other modalities, such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which is prescriptive. We have a really lovely group, as, bar one, we studied Level 3 together. Our ‘new’ member has fitted right in, and it’s really good getting to know the others in the group better. Two years of study and counselling is going to be exciting and hard, as we will be dealing with some very difficult issues. Some of them will be personal to us.

We have all grown so much as people through Level 3, and the growth through Level 4 will be incredible. It won’t be easy as we will be dealing with very delicate issues which some of us have held onto for years. Issues that run to our very cores and can define who we are and how we act and interact. Already, I have made a very big confession to some of the group about an issue I have held onto for years.

We learn the craft of counselling by working in trios, one counsellor, one client, one observer. This will be throughout the first year, as in the second year, we start counselling real clients in an agency setting. We have to have 100 hours of counselling under our belts before we complete the course.

I purposely chose to observe in our first trio, I was avoiding being a counsellor, as I amĀ unsure of my counselling skills. I understand theory quite well, but haven’t always taken the best approach to practical counselling skills, as I tend to try and ‘fix’ people rather than listen, reflect and summarise. I made a conscious effort in our second trio to do better as a counsellor and use the skills that we are learning, and was really happy with how I did. When it came to my turn be client, I made another conscious decision to talk about an issue which has affected me for years, namely guilt and how it affects me.

I’m not going to go into details here, as I don’t feel it’s appropriate and it’s personal, but I am really happy that I have. It is a huge step forwards for me personally, and my tutor is really happy as our course is a perfect place to explore these kind of issues. We all need to learn about ourselves and what makes us tick so that we are better equipped to help others deal with their issues.

A really good start to a new chapter.