Trainee diary: Counselling Skills
All in all an “Egg”cellent week’s work!
During the first class this week we began with another “warming up” session. We were asked to throw a ball to someone and whoever received it was asked to talk about something significant that had happened in their week. I loathe ball games. This stems from a time at school where my P.E. teacher had thrown three netball balls at me and I managed to catch them. Her reaction to that was one of almost glee. (This being my own interpretation at a young age.) She had said, “It’s amazing what you can do when you’re frightened!” I felt very embarrassed and shamed by her comment, even though I had caught all of the netballs! So you see, I was worried about catching the ball in the group for fear of dropping it and making a fool of myself. This was a completely irrational thought process, especially as I did catch the ball without any problems!
Even so, was my thought process irrational? Or was it simply a natural reaction related to a memory from a long time ago? Why was I afraid of making a fool of myself in front of the group? We can’t all be good at everything - I am skilled in other ways. Was my teacher really being sarcastic or was she genuinely pleased and making a statement that I had misinterpreted? Do we all think this way about certain life experiences we have travelled through, no matter how trivial they may seem? I know I can be irrational occasionally; I can also misinterpret what people are saying. Does this cause me to be inadequate or deficient in some way? No, but how can I put this clearly? I think I need to go through a system of thought procedures in order to compartmentalise my reactions and place them neatly into little boxes within my mind. Perhaps we all do. Perhaps this is the norm!
We began the second of our classes this week with a team building exercise, or should I say “egg”cercise?!
We were split into three groups and asked to sit and discuss plans for building some sort of contraption which would transport an egg. This would then be dropped from two floors high. The aim of this was to ensure that the egg survived.
I was placed in group B along with, along with four other students.
We worked well together in this task. I felt that we all naturally took turns at being the team leader. We were all patient with each other, allowing each other time to talk and listen to ideas. I challenged the task and wondered if we could possibly walk down the stairs with our egg and drop it from a centimetre height. My idea was quickly squashed! I then asked if perhaps we should blow the egg from the shell and this did raise some discussion for a couple of minutes, but again it was squashed. That was my naughty side shining through! (I’m wondering if I’m a little rebellious? Actually, I know I am from time to time!) We quickly came to the conclusion that a parachute with a basket would be the solution to the task at hand - one member drew up a diagram of our ideas and we sat waiting for the equipment to build it. At this point our tutor walked in and asked one of our members to leave taking our design along with her.
A few minutes later another member from a different group walked in. At first I was pleasantly surprised. However, when we were told we would not be making our design but that instead we had to build her team’s design I felt disappointed. She showed us a picture of her design, which caused a series of reactions from me as well as other members of the group. I didn’t want to build the design as I felt it was no way near as good as ours. I was annoyed, thinking that we had made more of an effort, planned more carefully. And now that our design was in the hands of another team I felt somewhat protective of it. I was also confused by her design as, pictorially, it made no sense to me. I then sought confirmation about the fact we had to build this design. Another member of our group also challenged this. It was clear we wanted to build our original design. When it was confirmed, I accepted it but still felt a little despondent. Once I understood what had to be done I got busy. I wanted to succeed. However, I did still want our original design to succeed too, perhaps more so!
Initially our group dynamics changed. Suddenly we had a new team leader whom we all had to listen to and basically do as she instructed. To begin with we were a little prickly about following her instructions. We weren’t challenging our leader as a person, it was more about being out of control of the situation. Although a couple of us did challenge her, we eventually worked efficiently together and re-attached ourselves to the task in hand and it became productive once more.
At this point I would like to say that no eggs were harmed during their time with us. However, I must share the sad news that ours did not make it. This is “egg”stremely sad I know, but they all “eggs”erted real courage!
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