Trainee diary: Counselling Skills
Emotions and Being Understood
I felt very ill and very emotional during class this week. Ill because, unbeknown to me, I had Bronchitis. (That’s dedication!) Emotional because it’s an odd time of year for me, coupled with being ill. I don’t do “ill” well. I always want my Mummy! (I’m 37, does this matter?) I become bored and frustrated with it all! I always cry far too much when I’m ill and feel terribly sorry for myself. I must be such a joy to be around, my poor hubby!
Well … I braved the mountains of snow and ice which had covered my world in their beautiful, glorious, magical, yet hazardous uncertainty. I trekked the distance to college, each step was a triumph against the elements. All was calm. My ears caught the gentle hum of engines struggling in the distance. They caught the sound of children giggling and shrieking in delight as they happily frolicked in the snow. Time seemed to stand still … Ooops, I got a little carried away there: we only had a centimetre of snow and I live approximately, ohhhh, 5 minutes on foot away from the college!
Class this week was all about emotions and ways to explore them in order to recognise and express them more clearly.
Our tutor asked one member of our group if she was happy to explore her feeling of frustration. He then asked her to choose someone to represent her feeling of frustration and she chose me! I was stood in front of our group, at which point I became a giggling mess. At first I was really embarrassed! My partner was then asked to mould me into the shape she visualises as frustration. I was asked to listen and do as instructed. Eventually I got into the right position. It felt alien to me. It felt very relaxed and not how I’d interpret frustration to be. It’s interesting how we not only feel our emotions in different ways but also how we visualise them.
This was followed with our tutor asking my partner to tell me what her feeling was – I was asked to repeat it back to her. She was then asked to say how it made her feel, which again I repeated back. I was then asked to ask her a question, which she answered and I then repeated the answer back to her. So on and so forth. This made my partner realise that perhaps frustration wasn’t the emotion she had truly felt.
We were then asked to pair up with someone and to carry out the same exercise between us. I chose a partner and we decided that I’d be the first one to “mould” my emotion.
I decided to be truthful and told my partner that I was feeling sad. I didn’t explain why as I didn’t think the session would provoke me too much. I asked my partner to curl up into a little ball, which to me, represented my sadness. My tutor came along and asked what my emotion was. He then asked my partner to ask me why sadness is in my life. I answered with, “To make me feel low.” There were long pauses between questions being answered and this gave me more time to reflect on and question my answer. It also gave me more time to become more emotional about my sadness. I was beginning to really struggle to contain my emotions. My tutor returned and this time my partner was asked to ask me what the point was in feeling low. My reply was that feeling this way would help me examine my emotions. Again there was a long pause and my chin began to wobble! Again my tutor returned and asked my partner to ask me another question. I can’t even remember the question. I do remember really struggling to get my answer out, it popped into my head immediately but I just couldn’t get it out. It was almost as if I were physically in pain. Eventually out it popped and I promptly burst into tears. (I think at this point I should really have been in bed nursing a hot honey and lemon drink!!)
I was swamped with sadness and grief. I lost my Dad just over 2 years ago and I’m still trying to put it all into perspective. I feel terribly guilty that he died alone. My rational side tells me there’s nothing I can do about this. My irrational side tells me I “should” have been there.
My tutor coerced me into a quiet room and we had a chat about it all. I have to say I can’t remember everything that was said. I had my inner voice telling me that I had behaved in an embarrassing way, that I had let my guard down, that I was being silly, that I shouldn’t have gone to college. I was so cross with myself for becoming so emotional and worried that I was being over sensitive. I do remember thinking how kind my tutor was being and felt a true sense of empathy.
After a break we were asked to talk about how we were now feeling. (I think! The rest of session is a bit of a blur!) I had mixed emotions. I was happy that I’d plucked up the courage to go straight back into class but still sad. I was proud of the fact I’d been honest about something that’s incredibly intimate and hadn’t chosen an “easy” way through the exercise. I was relieved that only a couple of people noticed. I was glad that I’d faced my emotion rather then run away from it. It was also comforting to know I was understood.
So, this exercise proved to do exactly what it was intended to do. We all define emotions in different ways. Emotions can be our guiding light. Emotions can hinder us. We all feel emotions, some more acutely than others. Emotions aid our judgement – we can feel when something is right or wrong. We feel our emotions not only in our hearts but in our every muscle and nerve. Emotions define us as humans.
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
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...
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 [...]Read more...
How many trainee counsellors does it take to change a light bulb?
We were asked this week to jot down either a recent dream or a dream that we could recall easily. I wrote mine down quickly as it was a dream I’d had frequently as a child. It’s not a particularly pleasant dream and after I’d written it I wondered if I was a bit loopy! [...]Read more...