Trainee diary: Counselling Skills
Well, well, well, I am all singing, all dancing once more - a great weekend with good friends and a wee tipple may have helped … I’m only human!
Anyway, anyway, anyway, back to the task in hand!!
We started with a check in this week. I thought really hard about what I’d share with the group and decided to be honest about my feelings. I shared the fact that I have been feeling a little down over the past couple of weeks. It’s probably a mixture of things but the greatest thing is that I was finding writing the learning journal as well as a blog a little difficult emotionally. I think that by doing both I’ve been, sort of, doubly analysing things that have happened or changed around or within me. I think it can be difficult learning and accepting new things about oneself. I don’t know why. I was really questioning my thoughts and actions and beginning to wonder if I was normal. I have to say that this week I feel a lot better about it all, perhaps I was having a wee blip! Oh and I think I’m normal after all!!
We did some triad work this week. I was the first helper. I was aware that something unusual would happen as our tutors had asked the helpees to have a chat with them before we commenced.
I gave my introduction and then asked my helpee what it was she’d like to talk about. It turned out that she had been asked to say she was a man who was struggling with the fact he likes to dress in women’s clothing. I was proud of myself as I managed to keep a straight face and not let even a glimmer of surprise appear. I wasn’t surprised in a shocked way, it wasn’t the subject, it was the fact that my helpee was clearly a girl who had to pretend to be in another role (which she did admirably so!!) I didn’t feel any judgement or prejudices towards the idea; I was much more concerned about the amount of issues being raised. I began to wonder what I would do if this were a real situation and came to the conclusion that although it would be useful for the person to talk to me I certainly didn’t have the skills to help them in the way they needed. I asked a lot of open questions, paraphrased and also summarised and felt the session went really well. I was also doubly proud of the fact that even though my tutor came and sat and listened in, I didn’t clam up. (Hurrah!!) I truly think my confidence is beginning to shine through in triad sessions now. For the first time, I actually said I would like to refer this person on to someone more able to help meet their needs. It felt like the right thing to do in this instance and I was pleased with the way I’d phrased it. My helpee confirmed that I had done it in such a way that didn’t make her feel as though she was abnormal but that I’d made her feel important and cared for. I had some good feedback; all in all I think this was my best triad work so far.
I was the helpee next and was asked to pretend to be someone helping out a friend with childcare. I was asked to pretend that the child was a nightmare and to say that I had started smacking the child. I wasn’t horrified by this or shocked, which surprised me. However, I certainly wasn’t happy with the idea of it, far from it. I just thought I’d better get on with it really. When I started talking I was really animated about the fact that the child was a struggle to deal with and went on about the kind of antics he was getting up to. I tried to leave the smacking part out of the equation for as long as I could. When I did finally blurt it out I could see from my helper’s reaction how shocking and awful she found the idea. She really struggled to contain her emotions which made me feel embarrassed. It was almost as if it were me she was repulsed by and not the smacking. It was as if I was that person. She couldn’t even bring herself to say the word smack which surprised me. Although we had a good rapport, I felt the empathy drain away as soon as I talked about the smacking. I think I had more of an emotional response to my helper’s reaction than when we were initially asked to carry out the role. I felt very small and “bad”. Even my voice became smaller and I could feel myself shrinking back into my chair.
In the final session I was the observer. The final role was that of a woman having an affair with another woman. Again, I wasn’t fazed by this scenario. It was a really emotionally charged session but ended with a giggle which I think was needed.
I’ve been wondering why I didn’t have a “shock” reaction to any of these scenarios. Perhaps we have learnt, as a society, to accept some things which once were not the norm. Perhaps it’s because it was role-play and it wasn’t a “real” scenario. Maybe after certain life experiences I have been through I have learnt to accept some things the way they are. Being non-judgemental is difficult. It takes a great deal of effort and a great deal of self awareness to be that way. I think also self confidence plays a part in this too. Perhaps through my learning I am focusing more on how others truly feel and becoming more empathic in the process.
The views expressed in this blog/our blogs are the personal views of the writer(s) and should not be taken to represent the views of CPCAB.Tags related to this blog:
More entries from this blog
Squeals and Strudel
We carried out a fun experiment toward the end of our lesson this week. We were divided into two groups and we were put into separate rooms. My group was then asked to invent a new language. We were also asked to include signs/actions as well. At first we all sort of stood around making [...]Read more...
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 [...]Read more...
Looking through the ‘Johari Window’.
Who has heard of the “Johari Window”?? I hadn’t until last week. Our tutor began by showing us a picture of said window and explaining what the theory behind it is all about. So what is it? It’s a simple and useful tool for establishing and improving self-awareness. It’s a great way to give and [...]Read more...