Trainee diary: Counselling Skills
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 funny noises and asking each other what we all thought. It was all terribly polite! Honestly, we were all 100% serious. No one, at any point, not even for a nano second, giggled, laughed, chortled, spluttered or even snorted! I took the initiative and started making notes on our new language and signage, it was imperative to the experiment that we were successful and could be understood!
We stood and practiced the phrases and signs we had invented. What ensued was something along the lines of “Teletubby” communications. Our language consisted of all the vowels from the alphabet, as well as incorporating various different phonetics. There were a couple of constanents thrown in just for good measure. (Ms. Vorderman would have been proud.) A famous German apple dish called “Strudel” was also thrown into the mix. I may have slipped that one in but can’t be entirely sure or held responsible!
At this point one member of our group was asked to leave and was replaced by a member from the other group. We were then asked to communicate with each other using only our invented languages. My group proceeded to greet the newcomer in a most “discreet” manner by squealing our hellos excitedly and asking how they were. Much bewilderment and confusion spread rapidly across her face which made us try even harder to communicate with her. She tried to communicate with us but was completely silent, using only signs. I didn’t realise she had been asked to remain mute in her task. I took the silence as more bewilderment and tried harder to make myself understood. I proceeded to squeal and oodle-strudel in a naive and frantic yet imaginative way!
Again, another member of our group was removed and replaced by another member from the other group. My group tried their very best to communicate in our Teletubby way, hoping, probably against hope, to gain some sort of rapport between ourselves and our new members. This didn’t really happen, the two new members began communicating with each other in their own language which then just confused me completely. This had a knock on effect – and caused my group to become more eager and uncontrolled.
At this point the merriment really took hold and there was no going back! Giggling, laughter, chortling, spluttering and snorting could be heard between the corridors of our college and all communications broke down. We all tried so very hard to make ourselves understood but were nearly crying with laughter and just couldn’t contain our mirth! My abdomen ached from so much laughter, it hasn’t had a workout like that in years!
I can’t really remember too much at this point, only that a couple more of our group were removed and replaced and the merriment, confusion, spluttering and squealing continued!
I could go on to write about group dynamics and feedback but this week I shan’t. I think a week of being light-hearted and not being too analytical is necessary for me.
I do, however, wonder if the other group members thought we were all completely bonkers! If they did, how would I feel about that? Well, actually, ok, after all our tutors did say it was a fun experiment and I took it literally!!
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