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The nerves are starting to tingle

Submitted by counsellor Maureen Moore


How many clients have wondered what it's like to begin the training journey that counsellors have made? How many counsellors, especially those who completed their training many years ago, have half-forgotten what it was like to start that training journey and make the first few tentative steps along the way?

I want to draw your attention to the following, first entry in a training diary (blog) written by "Elvie Renier", a counselling skills trainee whose course had recently begun:

"I have to admit that, whilst I’m sitting here, pondering over what to include in my first blog, the nerves are starting to tingle! “And how does that make you feel?” I hear you cry!! Sorry, couldn’t resist that one! Ahem….I promise not to use that joke too frequently! I’m hoping my nerves won’t hinder my writing, that I can enjoy sharing my experiences from my Counselling Skills training and that you enjoy it too!

I’d like to begin by sharing a little about myself.

I’d previously worked as a Complementary Therapist, but unfortunately, due to ill health, I reluctantly threw in the towel and said enough is enough. Last April, I decided that studying would be the way forward for me and jumped at the chance of joining the CPCAB’s Introduction to Counselling Skills course. Within my previous work, I’d used some generic counselling skills and found that I could truly empathise with people as well as help to put them at ease and allow them to offload their problems. Although my skills were limited, I knew that it was a path I’d enjoy following: not only to aid others but also to encourage my own personal growth.

I was excited about continuing my studies. I wasn’t nervous or apprehensive as I had been when I began the introductory course. It was good to see familiar faces as well as people I hadn’t yet met.

We began with a few ‘getting to know you’ games, which were real ice breakers. I had no inhibitions and enjoyed the experience. It was a great way to acquaint myself with my fellow students and also to gain a little insight into their personalities. I left feeling elated and thinking, ‘Roll on Thursday evenings!’

Week two began with a group discussion concerning a group contract. Several suggestions were made, including respecting others, tolerance, physical and emotional boundaries, being supportive, being accepting, etc, etc. The most meaningful suggestion, to me, was that of confidentiality. I know, after completing the previous course, that I have an issue with trust. I remember that because of this, and on at least two occasions, I couldn’t (and perhaps wouldn’t) open up in triad sessions. Knowing that I can trust that what is personal to me is kept within the group is imperative. This is an area I hope to analyse further and potentially unravel.

We were then asked to form a group of three to go into our first triad session. We decided that I would be the ‘helper’ to begin the session, which I had no reservations about. We were asked to talk about our hopes, fears or expectations with regard to the course. I began by giving my introduction, which went well. I didn’t have my intro in my hand like I had for every session on the previous course. I found this quite liberating, more natural. After I’d asked a few questions I found that in my mind I was ticking off a check list of all the skills I’d previously learnt. I could hear myself thinking about our body language being mirrored, that I was asking open questions, that I was reiterating back the information being shared. I gave the helpee time to share her feelings and managed to get her to really think about what she had said and explore things in a way she hadn’t thought about. It was all going well until my tutor walked in and sat down. As had happened previously, I immediately lost all focus and came to an abrupt stop! I did pick up really quickly, but I was annoyed with myself that it had happened again. I really must learn to overcome this. It’s not that I’m scared - because we have observers during each session and that doesn’t bother me at all. I think, well I know, that it’s a fear of not pleasing my tutors, or being wrong in their eyes, or failing in their eyes. Yet at the same time I know that I’m capable and sensitive enough to know I can do this well. (The word perfectionist springs to mind!) This I need to work on and not let it become a greater issue. (Am I the only one that does this?)

All in all it feels good to be back in the driving seat, as it were, back on my learning curve, enhancing my grey matter and hopefully on the road to aiding others once more."

You'll be able to read future entries in this same training diary blog by visiting:

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