Editorial - A New Era for WAC
In This Issue Editorial: A New Era for WAC A Word from Our Chair Your New WAC Committee 2018 Group News Tavistock Plymouth Totnes Exeter New Cornwall Group Features WAC over the Years Acorns and Oaks Origins of WAC Memories of WAC Workshop Weekends WAC — My Identity Working 'Outside' with Clients Gender Identity Diversity How NOT to Get a Counselling Placement WAC Enrichment Day WAC Main Event WAC AGM Committee Meetings External Adverts
“Study the past if you would define the future” says the Chinese philosopher Confucius. In 1982, a group of enthusiastic counselling students and tutors decided to create an association that would embody human values that made them feel connected. They knew support was essential to thrive as a counsellor, and WAC was born.
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In 2016, WAC sent an appeal to all its members to be present at the AGM, as some of the Committee members were stepping down. There was a serious risk of losing WAC, and the CPD and support provided by the association. Sure enough, a group of counsellors stepped in to save the association.
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At present, WAC is thriving, supporting counsellors through camaraderie and networking, providing affordable monthly CPD and annual self-care and CPD events, producing two newsletters a year, and two issues of “WAC Now”, our magazine. In recent months, the association has grown exponentially from less than 150 members to over 200 current members. At the past AGM, a new energy was felt by everyone, with new ideas jumping at every corner. WAC Now is aligning with this new energy by examining our past. There is no healthy future without a questioning of where we come from and where we would like to go to.
Editorial Team: Alda Gomez email@example.com Kay Vickers firstname.lastname@example.org
Do you want to write for WAC?
This issue of WAC Now explores our past, our origins, our past weekend retreats, our identity. Our members are counsellors, psychotherapists and counsellingenthusiasts who are involved in the health professions. Some of our members, and indeed past and current committee members, hold an enormous expertise in counselling matters, as is apparent from their articles in WAC Now.
If you wish to write an article about an aspect of counselling, review a book that you read or a workshop that you attended, or just share your experiences as a counsellor, please contact us. If writing is not your thing,, we can arrange an interview and we will do the writing.
This issue is a celebration of our work, our words and our future together.
Deadline for articles is 15th August.
Alda Gomez—Joint Editor 2
A Word from Our Chair Chair & Web Coordinator – Nicola Griffin Nicola Griffin has been WAC Chair since 2017. Our Chair, together with a team of committed counsellors in the committee has brought our association to a new level. She was previously Local Group Coordinator for four years, a role that has now been delegated to Lou Allen. This year, she has also taken on the vacant role of Web Coordinator. Her enthusiasm and openness to feedback and new ideas make WAC thrive and evolve into a modernised association.
WELCOME EVERYONE TO A NEW YEAR AT WAC! As I write to introduce the first edition of WAC Now 2018, I notice it feels like half a WAC year has passed since the AGM in November and the committee work is going full steam ahead. Firstly, let me say a big THANK YOU to everyone who participated and attended last years’ AGM, and a big WELL DONE to the WHOLE Committee for the pretty much smooth running of the event. I was really encouraged and excited about the future of WAC with a massive turnout of 40 members! This was our biggest attendance since I have been on the committee. I particularly liked the inclusive format this time around and would be keen to hear the thoughts of the membership. I feel much happier in the committee’s organising of the events this year, knowing that they will be chosen based on the suggestions of WAC members. As a result of our AGM, we now have the fullest committee since my time at WAC with a massive 14 members. Alda & Kay, our new Joint Editors, have some fantastic ideas to revamp the WAC Now magazine and we are considering how we promote and advertise WAC as an organisation. We are planning to send the magazines by email so if you would like a hard copy, don’t forget to order your copy. I shall be. Dates have been set for the remaining committee meetings and the three CPD events WAC puts on each year.
As we speak Heather and Sarah are organising the main event and our newly named ‘Enrichment Day’ based on the information gathered from members at the AGM. I am very pleased that our membership has increased dramatically over the last year with over 190 members. Onwards and upward WAC! With warmest wishes, Nicola
YOUR NEW WAC COMMITTEE 2018 Every year, a new committee is established. Some of its members have been in their roles for a number of years, and you may already know them. Others are new to their roles and you might wish to meet them. Here is your new committee. Vice Chair/Events Coordinator – Sarah Urwin
My name is Sarah Urwin and I am a BACP Accredited Counsellor/Psychotherapist. I am also a supervisor and I run training courses on some of the interventions I specialise in: Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, Animal Assisted Interventions and Walk and Talk. I have a management/training/health and social care background and have experience of working for large organisations such as The Priory. For the past 13 years I have worked in private practice as well as schools, colleges, the private sector a n d t h e v o l u n t a r y s e c t o r . I have been an active member of WAC for the past few years and also attended their meetings some years ago before I moved to live and work in the North of England. I have always enjoyed the comradeship of this local organisation and believe that the WAC committee work hard to offer good quality, low cost training and CPD for all practitioners in the South West through their main and other events. There are also opportunities to socialise in a more informal setting at the newly named ‘Enrichment Day’ and local meetings. Treasurer – Karen Allin Hi I’m Karen, I was born and bred in Plymouth and now live in Plympton with my husband of 30 years. We have three sons aged 25, 22 and 16. I work for Plymouth Excellence Cluster, where I am manager of the counselling team. I also offer counselling within three Plymouth primary schools and supervise four school based learning mentors. Prior to gaining my Advanced Diploma in Integrative Counselling at the Iron Mill Institute, I worked as a manager in a bookmakers for 24 years, where it might be said I honed my confidence with figures. I joined WAC about 6 years ago and became treasurer in 2015. I’ve been impressed by what WAC can offer in terms of quality CPD and I’ve met some lovely people in my role on the committee as well as having the opportunity to meet like-minded people at the annual sharing day, AGM, and CPD events. I look forward to another year as Treasurer, where I hope to get to know the new committee a little better as well as other WAC members. Secretary – Ellen Hill My name is Ellen Hill and I am the Secretary for WAC. I have been working as a counsellor and supervisor for the past sixteen years with individuals and couples, mainly in mental health as well as in private practice. I trained in Gestalt Psychotherapy as I enjoyed this approach in my own personal therapy which focuses mainly on our feelings and sensations….working with our guts! I moved from Derbyshire to Devon five years ago, following my dream to live near the sea. I have not been disappointed as I love the outdoors and natural world. Working as a counsellor and psychotherapist can be lonely at times and so finding WAC has been a big support to me personally and professionally. It allows me to talk about the challenges of the work with supportive others, as well as offering good quality affordable CPD on a regular basis to increase my knowledge and share experiences with others.
Joint Editor – Alda Gomez Originally from Spain, I discovered WAC by chance soon after I moved to the UK from Ireland in 2014. It was great to find like-minded colleagues at the Exeter WAC meetings. I decided to join the Committee because I thought my eye for detail could be useful as an editor. I am also one of the WAC Exeter group organisers. I hold a Masters’ Degree in Integrative Counselling and Psychotherapy, obtained in Dublin. In Ireland, I worked at the Centre for the Care of Survivors of Torture for 10 years, first as an interpreter and then as a therapist. I can use English, Spanish and French with my clients. I currently work in private practice in Teignmouth and Exeter, where I work with clients who have suffered trauma or are on the spectrum. If appropriate, I apply my knowledge of tai chi and Eastern meditation to my practice. Joint Editor – Kay Vickers I am a BACP registered counsellor supporting individuals at my private practice. I am lucky enough to work from two locations in Exeter, my therapy room at home and The Practice Rooms in the city. I am a new member of WAC after only joining last year. Then, when attending my first AGM, became Joint Editor with Alda. I have found the enthusiasm of the committee and members of WAC inspirational, and I look forward to being part of the exciting future of the association. My profile picture was taken during the snowy days of early March this year.
Joint Membership Secretary & Local Group Coordinator – Lou Allen I qualified as an Integrative Counsellor in 2008. I have a private practice in Exeter and Teignmouth, working with adults, couples, children and young people and families. I’m also a qualified Clinical Supervisor and as well as working with experienced and trainee counsellors, I also supervise people who work in the helping professions. Since moving to Devon, I continued to teach for a time, then worked as a parent support worker in primary and secondary schools, whilst building up my private practice. In 2014, I chose to concentrate my time and energies on my counselling and supervision and I am fortunate to have built a very successful private practice. I started attending WAC meetings in Exeter in 2015 and became the Joint Membership Secretary and General Member a year later. Joint Membership Secretary – Jenny Start Hello I'm Jenny and I was glad to join the committee last year, though in all honesty it was only the fear of losing WAC that led me to step forward! I'm based in Exeter and Crediton. I was originally a Relate Couple and Family Counsellor. My experience has been in working with individuals, couples and families across a broad spectrum of issues. In addition to my Relate training in couple, family counselling and supervision I also completed Person Centred, Systemic and basic CBT training. This means that my approach is integrative but always person centred at the heart of it. I enjoy people and interacting in groups and so WAC has given me a lot of opportunities to do this via monthly meetings and CPD days. I joined the committee to try and give a little back, but I also sensed it would be fun to be a part of this team.
Joint Events Coordinator – Heather Lawrenson Hello there! My name is Heather and I have been a counsellor in various agencies for nearly 18 years and now have a private practice in Penzance. I feel lucky to be in the room I work from – it’s an attic with a skylight view towards St Michaels Mount. In between clients, I get to watch the many moods and colours that play over the sea surrounding the Mount….! I work with individuals and am also a Relate Qualified Couples Therapist. I find the couples work particularly stimulating and at times wonderfully challenging. One day a week I work with young people at Brook Advisory. I relish the variety of clients I get to see as I work with such a cross section of ages and issues. I joined WAC in (I think!) 2011 and am now the Events Co-ordinator (a shared role!) on the committee, which sounds grand but really isn’t! What I love about it is the laughter and sense of belonging that WAC events and committee meetings give to me. There are very few organisations in the counselling world down here in the South West that are as genuinely welcoming and leave you feeling part of something worthwhile. WAC manages to combine quality training and meet-ups with a solid down to earthness, which I find refreshing and energising – long may it continue!!
General Member – Mark Hartshorn I am Mark, the last web coordinator for WAC. I felt sad in 2016 when I heard the news that WAC might close so I decided to volunteer my services. I am now a General Member promoting the Facebook page. If you haven't already liked the page, please do and feel free to share it with your friends and colleagues. I have enjoyed getting to know my fellow committee members and am looking forward to working with them to promote the good work of WAC within the counselling community of the westcountry. I have been a counsellor and supervisor in private practice since 2008 and have taught counselling courses from levels 2-6 for around ten years. I am the course coordinator at Devon and Cornwall Counselling Hub, which was set up in 2015 and offers an integrative approach to counselling training using our own model which is proving to be incredibly popular with trainee counsellors.
General Member – Diane Faulkner I have just joined the WAC committee as a general member as I felt having benefited from WAC and having enjoyed the events offered over the past few years, it was time for me to offer my services. I have attended one committee meeting and can now fully appreciate all the hard work and dedication that goes into keeping WAC alive so that we can all benefit. My background is diverse—13 years in the military followed by 9 years in the Devon & Cornwall Police. It was whilst in the police force that I was fortunate enough to be selected to be one of the originating officers to create the first Domestic Violence Unit which became the model for the force. This is where my passion lies, both working with survivors of domestic abuse, as well as with perpetrators for social services. My experience is both as a Person-Centred Counsellor and Supervisor and I have undertaken further training in CBT, Sand Tray and the Essentials of Working with Sexual Minority Groups. I taught Levels 3 and 4 counselling courses before becoming Co-director of Ivy Counselling in 2011. Life can be stressful and I appreciate the importance of looking after myself so I spend a lot of my spare time walking on Dartmoor or on the coastal paths with my partner and our dog.
General Member – Vanessa Hammond Hello WAC, I am Vanessa and have joined the WAC committee as a General Member a year ago. I have attended many meetings and have seen how the team work hard to make WAC happen: the website, the journal, the monthly meetings etc. I am struck by the effort that goes on behind the scenes to make these things happen, especially the CPD events. We have one exciting event coming up - all will be revealed and all will be invited. My photo was taken recently on the moors with some of our WAC friends. For me our counselling work can be isolating at times; lots of time with clients, but not so much time for colleagues, so this group gives me that sense of support and contact with others in similar roles. Attending a CPD event once even meant I heard about a job opportunity, so it has also been good for networking for me. I look forward to meeting you perhaps somewhere soon.
General Member – Debbie Feld Hi, I’m Debbie and I’m not quite sure how I got here! I attended the Plymouth WAC group for the first time in 2017 having qualified earlier in the year and, after attending the Main Event day, I realised there was a whole world of counsellors out there that I didn’t know about. I only went to the AGM to see if anyone would be interested in a Totnes group and now it appears that not only am I a General Member of the Committee but also running the Totnes local group. I work as an integrative practitioner trying to get my private practice up and running in Totnes and at the moment continue to volunteer one day a week at Rowcroft Hospice as a Bereavement Counsellor where I did part of my placement. I also trained at Plymouth University counselling students there, which was a very different environment to the hospice and I’m glad I was able to experience the difference in client base. I have special interest in sibling issues, chronic health conditions and also loss unrelated to death (which I know is rather ‘big’). To pay the mortgage I continue to work as a medical secretary. I can’t quite believe that I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I’ve worked in both NHS and private sectors (at one point managing A&E complaints…) and now manage the private practice of a local respiratory physician which I’m able to do at home and gives me good flexibility. I took some time out in 2010 to attend university as a mature student studying Speech & Language Therapy and came away after two years with a Diploma and a much greater insight into communication issues. I very much look forward to 2018 and being part of WAC.
General Member and Shadow Events Coordinator – Tina Hill-Art I use an integrative approach, working with individuals, couples and alternative relationship combinations (I.e. Polyamory). I have a particular knowledge and experience of working with survivors of childhood sexual abuse and with people who have LGBT+ identities. I enjoy working with creative interventions, such as Sandtray and Art Therapy interventions. I co-run and practice from Studio One Therapy Hub in Exeter, and deliver CPD training to other well-being professionals on a variety of subjects.
Plymouth Group News
Plymouth WAC have had a lovely relaxed start to the year. We are enjoying our new premises and Quaker House have been really accommodating, friendly and helpful.
Tavistock Group News
We started the year with some creativity and making vision boards. It was lovely to sit amongst new and old friends and consider what we might hope to achieve or experience in the upcoming year.
‘Not, perhaps, the most auspicious of starts to New Year for the Tavistock Group, as we were forced to cancel our January meeting, with many of us having been unwell, due to a wide variety of winter ills, or just plain lacking in energy, for one reason or another, after the festive season. Personally, and this may also apply to others amongst you, I fell into both categories and am still trying to get up to speed with things, as we head through February!
In February we have spent a really interesting evening talking with Mark Lindsey Earley about Retroactive Jealousy. This was really exciting as it wasn’t anything we had heard of before, but in no time at all we were all able to link it to practice. ‘THE TERM RETROACTIVE JEALOUSY, or what is also referred to as “retrospective jealousy” and “retrograde jealousy,” refers to painful thoughts and curiosity regarding a partner’s past relationships and/ or sexual history.
Much to look forward to, however, starting with a talk from Mark Lindsey-Early on ‘Retroactive Jealousy in Relationships’, which has already been well received by both Exeter and Plymouth groups.
Wherever you fall on the spectrum, retroactive jealousy usually involves intrusive and unwanted thoughts and mental images, and highly-charged emotional responses concerning a partner’s past.’
Future facilitated sessions, this year, include ‘Inner Child Work’, from group member and current WAC Chair, Nicola Griffin, based on her practice with S.A.L.T. (Sexual Abuse Listening Therapy) and Jill Dando, later this year, will inform us about ‘Sexually Diverse Relationships’, a talk which was, by all accounts, both interesting and very informative, when delivered to the Plymouth group, last year. Do join us if you missed it then!
(Excerpt taken from Zachary Stockhill website https://www.retroactivejealousy.com/what-is-rj)
This was a really informal session and we all had the opportunity to ask questions and check our understanding and as usual have come away with a recommended reading list.
Other meetings are largely focused upon group discussion, creativity and sharing within the group. Last year, we had fun making ‘bad mood boards’, so we thought we’d do another, more positive ‘mood board’ session, perhaps based on our thoughts around ‘wellbeing’.
Mark will be facilitating an evening with Tavistock later in February.
We also aim to venture further afield this year! In June, we’re planning a Saturday ‘away-day’ to Sarah Urwin’s farm, to learn about ‘Equine and Eco therapy’ and Mark Hartshorn, who delivered an exceptionally well attended and interesting session for us, last year, on ‘Gestalt Therapy’, has kindly agreed to facilitate a Saturday workshop, at Clearbrook Village Hall, on ‘Dreams / Dreamwork’.
We look forward to an evening in March facilitated by Lorraine on the subject of Psychosynthesis; April will see the group discussing Working with Trauma; Kim Cooper will facilitate and evening on Ethics in May. Other topics include ICT & Counselling, Transgender issues, DID, Self – harm.
Do check the website regularly, as dates and details begin to emerge.
Mankind have kindly agreed to do a talk later in the year.
Kathryn Harpur (Tavistock contact)
Keep an eye on the website for further updates. Our meetings take place on the second Thursday of each month @ 7:30 pm.
Totnes Group News
fortunately our March speaker, Malcolm Learmonth, also an art psychotherapist and her colleague, could replace her, and we had a fantastic experiential evening, with many thought-provoking exercises and explanations.
The Totnes group had its first meeting on the last Tuesday of January. Despite the persistent rain, the darkness of the night and the ‘flu’ laying people low, we had ten people attend.
In March, Karen Huckvale, will be with us presenting how to apply art materials to our practices in a session entitled Holding patterns: approaches to working with art materials for therapists and counsellors. This evening is a continuation of the previous session, but it could also be taken as a standalone one.
The venue proved to work very well and there was a good buzz of conversation amongst the group. We have a mix of male and female therapists, both newly qualified and qualified for a while with varied areas of interest and expertise. Interestingly/surprisingly, not all were from Totnes but came from as far as Kingsbridge and outlying villages. Where are all the Totnes counsellors?!
In April, Caroline Frizell, a very experienced trainer in dance movement therapy, and also an ecopsychotherapist, will be presenting Psychotherapy with the earth in mind.
Isolation was a subject that we touched upon and how a group like ours can support those in private practice.
In May, we will host Linda Cameron, and will hear about her experiences supporting people with trauma as a British Red Cross volunteer.
We have one therapist not yet qualified and we discussed how WAC and our group can help facilitate trainees feeling a part of the profession during their training rather than only afterwards.
As the summer approaches, we look forward to a presentation by Jill Dunsford in June and Sara Bennett in July. Jill will present Heartmath: Building emotional resilience & improving health and Sara, CEO of Ballons charity, supporting children, young people and parents with pre-bereavement and bereavement, will talk about their work.
Nicola Johnson was elected Treasurer and though we have a leader of the group in Debbie Feld, she encouraged a collaborative approach! Nothing like a bit of delegation…
One of our members has offered his space in Dawlish Warren for us to have a barbeque, and we are planning to go ahead and take his kind offer at some point in the summer.
We have several speakers lined up for the next few months with a few recommendations in the pipeline. Hopefully, the energy and enthusiasm seen at the first meeting will continue and the Totnes group will thrive.
More interesting speakers await us after the summer, including Matt Grimsey who will speak about his personal experience of autism.
Exeter Group News
We are planning to run a half-a-day workshop in 2019, so if you have any ideas, please contact one of the Exeter group organisers.
We started 2018 with a lot of enthusiasm for the changes ahead: a new venue – Southernhay Church – and a new regular slot on the second Monday evening of the month, 6.30-8.30pm. In January, we were delighted to have a large turn-out of 30 attendees for our speaker evening, presented by Stephen Tame and entitled Making Mistakes in the Therapy Room. We had a good mixture of members and non-members, who enjoyed the informative and experiential content, with pair and triad work and an interesting exchange of ideas.
Lou Allen: email@example.com Alda Gomez: firstname.lastname@example.org
*** New Cornwall Group *** Three counsellors in the St Austell, Liskeard area are considering setting up a Cornwall group, potentially in the St Austell, Bodmin, Truro area. If any member is interested in this then, please let them know by emailing either Julie Ball email@example.com, Julie Liddle firstname.lastname@example.org, or Maria Mich email@example.com.
In February, our speaker Karen Huckvale had to cancel her Introduction to Art Psychotherapy, but
WAC over the Years In this article, four active WAC members tell us about their experiences. The origins of WAC are depicted by two different voices: John Steere’s and David Acres’, both founder members of WAC; Linda Breeze talks about her experiences during the weekend workshops that used to be organised annually by WAC for its members; and Jan Russell gives us a deeply moving account of her sense of identity as a counsellor and a WAC member.
Acorns and Oaks It was the summer of 1982. That date will take many members of WAC back to their childhood; some will remember it as the year of the Falklands war. For a few of us, it will mean the beginning of a lifechanging experience. It is familiar to all of us WAC members as the date emblazoned below the picture of the oak tree which represents our organization.
So why 1982? The second year of a course leading to a Certificate in Counselling Studies was just coming to an end at Plymouth
Polytechnic (currently The University of Plymouth.) After an academic year of intensive learning together, there was a collective feeling amongst the students on that course that something of great significance had taken place. What it signified for each of us was, of course, unique, but we all shared a feeling that something more needed to grow out of what we had experienced together.
‘...there was a collective feeling amongst the students that something of great significance had taken place.’
A few of us will remember John Jenkinson and Susan KyrkeSmith, who amongst others were tutors on the course, along with Dave Acres, who remains an active, valued and respected WAC member. The course they designed, developed, participated in and led so inspirationally was deeply rooted in person-centred principles. What each student had the opportunity to experience has come to be known as 'relational depth' of interaction with tutors and fellowstudents alike.
As the summer term of 1982 was drawing to a close, a question ran through all of our minds: 'What now?' I can only authentically speak for myself when I say that there was a sense of potential, of r ich en ergy, mixed with anticipated bereavement. Could this wonderful new ability to relate with so much trust, and risk such openness to self and others, come to an abrupt end as we all went our separate ways?
Someone had the practical idea of an open meeting, held at the Poly, where scores of hopeful people came together to hold what became the inaugural meeting of the Westcountry Association for Counselling. The name of the organisation was debated and decided upon, and its scope implied by its name, both geographically and in its therapeutic aims. The acorn planted all those decades ago has germinated, and the sapling has grown and thrived. Storms have rattled the mature oak's branches, and some have even fallen, but the sun has shone, rain has fallen, and the tree continues in good heart. Even fallen branches provide the environment for further organic development.
How do we measure the value of such a wonderful body of people? Cer tain ly n ot by nu mber crunching! What we do know is what we experience of one another. We know of friendships and warm professional co-operation between us that have lasted for decades. We know of the welcome extended to new members, whatever their theoretical background and level of experience. We know of the opportunities we have to continue to learn and grow together. There are key words which run through our being as individuals and as an organisation: trust, hope, care … Carl Rogers had a phrase to describe the basis of our relating: 'unconditional positive regard', or we could use shorthand and sum it up in another single-syllable word – love. John Steere
Origins of WAC In 1978, I became the fourth member of a team of student counsellors at Plymouth P o ly t e c h n ic , j o in i n g Pe t e r Aizlewood, John Jenkinson and Susan Kyrke-Smith in Student
Services, moving from my role as a school counsellor in a north Devon community college.
end of a course where important relationships with self and others are made.
The team already knew the value I found myself feeling that such an of professional support, with a experience required what I termed monthly support group available 'an after-sales service', knowing for me to join, led by clinical the risk of 'the loneliness of the psychologist Keith Nichols. I'd had long-distance counsellor' (borrowed a similar monthly group, led by a from the title of an Alan Silletto psychodrama therapist, in my role novel) and the importance of group as a school counsellor in north and individual support. The course Devon. In the previous year, 1977, par tic ipan ts BAC had been w e r e formed and a supervised by ‘We wanted group of us had e x p er i en c e d participants to be p r ac t i ti on e r formed a new counselling well supported in c ou n s el l or s , association for relationships c o u n s e l l o r s the challenges that that often employed in continue, and are faced in education in Devon many of them called DACE, w e r e undertaking this which held en th u siastic path to their most supporters of meetings at venues like Exeter College th is n ew and an annual therapeutic selves.’ initiative. July residential at Dartington. As a team, we knew A room was booked, to which lots t h e v a lu e of pr of es s i on a l of people arrived after we widely associations, of support and circulated a flyer (that publicity is supervision to keep the momentum a bit hazy in my memory) and in our own development. WAC was named and formed. When we were led by John Jenkinson into a collaboration with The Faculty of Social Sciences to run the first Certificate in Counselling Studies in 1980-1, after a year in planning, all four of us were committed, as John Steere describes in Acorns and Oaks (see before), to a quality of training in theory and practice focused on integrating professional and personal development for would-be counsellors. We wanted participants to be well supported in the challenges that are faced in undertaking this path to their most therapeutic selves. As John Steere describes, as this second course drew to an end, there was a 'what now?' question for tutors like me, as well as the course participants; a familiar feeling for many who come to the
There had also been a meeting in Tavistock, addressed by Dr George Giarchi, to launch the association. George had been one of the significant contributors to the theoretical content of the courses, an inspirational speaker, who, in those early years, together with academics Norman Jenkins and Sue Roberts as course leaders, gave the courses steerage and quality of attention. My recall of that meeting, again well attended, was of my rising anxiety that there would be enough time at the end of his contribution for the practicalities of forming a committee to occur. As it was, a first committee was rapidly cobbled together, with me as its first chair. We'd begun. David Acres
Memories of WAC Weekend Workshops I have been a member of the Exeter WAC group for longer than I can remember, but my first experience of the larger west country wide organisation began with a weekend workshop at Mawgan Porth, when my life was in total upheaval and WAC helped me financially to be able to attend when I most needed it. It was a turning point for me and from then on, each year, the early March weekend workshop was a sign of Spring – the end of Winter.
“The friendships formed during these weekends remain very special, as well as the simplest task of ‘taking care of ourselves’” The lovely little Tredragon Hotel changed hands and became too expensive, so the next year we tried the tiny Youth Hostel at Perranporth – literally perched on the end of the cliff. It was a very stormy weekend and I remember lying in a tiny upper bunk with wind and rain rattling against a small window at my feet. The whole building was shaking - it felt like being at sea in a small boat!! We had a wonderful creative art theme, painting, collages using flotsam and jetsam gathered from the stormy beach and culminating on Sunday in a huge communal mural. ‘Too small’ was the feedback about the venue – we had certainly had to live, eat, work and sleep in very
close quarters so we moved next to the refurbished 5-star Lizard Point Youth Hostel. This was an equally dramatic setting at the end of Britain, right underneath the Lizard lighthouse.
the windswept Cornish coast. It was a beautiful old house in the Buckfast Abbey complex, on the edge of Dartmoor by the river Dart. There were masses of space, even single rooms for those who wanted.
We had several lovely years here, Our work themes here were though it was felt to be too far for different, more spiritual, reflecting those driving down after a full the atmosphere, dreaming one day’s work on Friday, however year, mindfulness another. What a warm and comfy the welcome. We treat too, to be able to wander enjoyed the lovely space for around the Abbey and its grounds sharing physical therapies, yoga after the visitors had left! We were and meditation, singing and even lucky enough to hear a dancing – concert one year. nurturing and ‘With plenty of nourishing. Not so spiritual or willing sous-chefs, musical though was Our move to woken in the we had such fun being youth hostels had early hours by the posed the task of in the kitchen and fire alarm – no sign self-catering – up of fire but we the food was stepped Stella collected outside on w ith h er a very chilly night delicious!’ w o n d e r f u l in our coats over cu lin ary and our pyjamas and catering skills. nighties. As it With plenty of willing sous-chefs, became clear that it was triggered we had such fun in the kitchen and by a water leak in one of the the food was delicious! bedroom ceilings, we rang the mobile number for assistance from Next, we chose a more central Brother James. He duly arrived venue and a complete change from from the Abbey, also in pyjamas
and overcoat and seemingly a little merry, which caused some amusement! He persuaded us we could risk returning to bed with the alarm switched off, and he brought us a present the next morning as apology for our disturbed night – a bottle of Buckfast tonic wine!!
The friendships formed during these weekends remain very special, as well as the simplest task of ‘taking care of ourselves’ in some beautiful and unusual settings, made the weekend workshop much more than whatever the theme offered.
be a member, I have been reflecting on what being a member of WAC has meant to me. Who will I be? I have been a wife. I am a mother, a grandmother, a sister and a counsellor, all parts of who I am and yet not the whole ‘me’.
‘This is about accepting CHANGE, and we counsellors are supposed to grasp the inevitability and need for change.’
WAC - My Identity I have now been a member of WAC since 1994. As I’m looking at post retirement – sometime in the not too distant future – and ceasing to
Of all these, the one that perhaps is mostly me is that of counsellor, which has taken me outside of all my other relationships and was more clearly me, free of others’ expectations, a deliberate choice, following my own wants at a time of my life when I felt free to make such a choice.
still be a mother, a grandmother, a sister, all parts of me I can enjoy and yet…….yet………….something huge will be missing. I won’t be meeting with clients and supervisees; my ’expertise’ will no longer be needed. Just reflecting about it, I already feel loss. I identify myself as a counsellor and that will be gone. I have lots of other interests and will not be idle, and I still sense there will be a huge loss. Along with loss of me as counsellor, is loss of my long association with WAC, something that I treasure. It has given me so much, and I will miss it: all those wonderful CPD days and so much laughter and great sharing, the rewarding years I spent on the committee. This is about accepting CHANGE, and we counsellors are supposed to grasp the inevitability and need for change. I hope I will be able to, when the time comes to move into a new phase of my life, post counsellor, post WAC. Jan Russell
So how will I identify myself when I am no longer a counsellor? I will
With a background in language teaching, John Steere focused on child protection, mental health in primary care, and substance misuse. 35 years later, his few s u p e r vi s e es help maintain the professional identity he’s not yet ready to let go of.
Person-centred counsellor and supervisor based on the Barbican, Plymouth. In practice since 1972-3, he enjoys learning more about what it is to be human and cope with change, choice and confusion. He loves writing and uses writing in his therapeutic practice.
She started her counselling career with Relate, first as a relationship counsellor, then a psychosexual therapist, trainer and supervisor. Now she has her own private practise in Exeter and also work for the NHS as a fertility counsellor.
Person-Centred counsellor with nearly 20 years experience, working across an age range of 12-98 years and covering many aspects of counselling issues, from daily concerns, to long term grief over losses.
Goodbye Letter from a WAC Member Dear Lou and Jenny, I have been a WAC member for many years now and was chair and committee member for several years too.
As from July this year, I retired fully and finally from counselling and supervision and am therefore writing to inform you that I will also be discontinuing my WAC membership, and have cancelled my standing order for my annual subscription for next year. I have found being a member of WAC a wonderful support over the years. It's offered me learning, companionship, laughter, networking, support when needed and accessibility, which down here in the Westcountry is so valuable. My love and thanks to all my fellow WAC members for helping to make my relationship with WAC such a positive one. With very best wishes,
New Data Protection Regulations Please note that the Data Protection Act is going to change in May 2018 to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Therapy Today published an article on this topic in this monthsâ€™ issue. For more information about the changes taking place, please take a look at the iCo website. www.ico.org.uk
Working ‘Outside’ with Clients This fantastic article opens our eyes to other ways of doing therapy, as Sarah Urwin explores her use of the outdoors and domestic animals in her therapeutic approach. She also shares the theories underpinning this approach.
Sarah Urwin, BSc, MBACP (Accred) Counsellor/ Psychotherapist, UKRCP, Adv. Dip. Couns., Dip. Supervision, RMA, EAGALA Cert. www.sarahurwin.co.uk I have a background in Health and Social Care, previously working as a Registered Manager (Addictions), and Head of Care for the Priory Group (ASD). I trained as a humanistic, integrative counsellor and set up in private practice in 2006, working from my smallholding in MidDevon. I sometimes work with clients outside, offering Walk and Talk sessions, as well as Equine and Animal Assisted Therapy. I am also a supervisor and trainer.
I tend to use the term ‘Walk and Talk’ when He theorises that through these profound I am counselling outside with clients, as connections of biophilia, the ‘feel’ people that keeps it simple, but there is plenty of have for nature has biological origins. theory behind this type of intervention. Jerome Frank (1993)2 suggested that there Working outside with clients is often is a ‘theory of common factors’, which he referred to as ‘Eco Therapy’ or ‘Green Care’ believes are common features that run and may include the utilisation of farms, t h r o u g h o u t different therapies, their animals and plants, the woods or psychotherapies and informal animal and forests, overall landscape or the garden – as human interactions. He suggested that a base for promoting human mental and these include the healing settings, and the physical health, as well as quality of life, for procedures for development and empathic a variety of client groups. responses. Harvard Professor E.O. Wilson’s (1990) ‘Biophilia Hypothesis’1 suggests that humans are attracted by other living things and have an innate need to attend to them.
The mental health charity MIND commissioned two major studies on Ecotherapy from the University of Essex (2004/2007), which were combined into one
References 1 Kellert SR., & Wilson EO. The Biophilia Hypothesis. Washington DC: Island Press; 1993 2Frank
JD., & Frank J. Persuasion and Healing: a Comparative Study of Psychotherapy. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press; 1991
report ‘Ecotherapy’; the green agenda for aspects of the client’s own experience. mental health3. MIND commissioned a further report in 20134 and all these reports • Walking as exercise or as a physical concluded that taking exercise outside in the activity may be rewarding in itself, fresh air, in a natural environment could eliciting feelings similar to those help reduce stress and anxiety levels. As a experienced when completing a manual consequence, physical exercise is now task. Client’s may also experience the recommended by the NHS as an intervention positive effects of dopamine, serotonin and for depression. other ‘feel good’ brain chemicals, whose release while exercising is well Writing in Therapy Today in 2014, Nick 5 documented. Totton suggests that working outdoors • And lastly, being outside seems to offer a direct ‘I notice how powerful may offer a relaxing escape, r o u t e i n t o a break, a contrast, some both natural and au th en t ic i ty . He quiet, a sense of freedom, believes it i s social connections are and if walks are well enormously simple for clients, whether planned, some privacy. but has subtle and Clients have talked of their profound effects. My with people, animals experience of ‘letting go’ to experiences of the outside environment. or the wildlife we working outside with clients over the past Crucially, the combination encounter as we 16 years lead me to of exercise and engagement similar conclusions. walk.’ with nature seem to add up to more than the benefits of Totton believes that some of the factors either alone and all these elements may help involved include: encountering the other-than clients explore painful issues and express -human and the more-than-human, shaking up the client/therapist roles, enlarging the deeply held emotions. context, and lessening stress and tension so Totton refers to the ‘other-than-human’ as to allow new learning. meaning the multitude of plants, animals, MIND’s report on ecotherapy suggests four key themes run through this approach. I have witnessed and experienced these myself in my work, and have summarised them below: •
I notice how powerful both natural and social connections are for clients, whether with people, animals or the wildlife we encounter as we walk. Clients may also connect with old memories, stored knowledge and sometimes their own spirituality.
There is an opportunity for complete sensory stimulation when walking outside. Visual responses to shape or colour, aesthetic appreciation, and auditory or kinaesthetic stimulation, whether to birdsong or the feel of natural surfaces. Some clients describe feeling ‘excited’ by being outside, noticing light levels, air quality and movement, even when the weather is at its most challenging. A walk in stormy conditions can stimulate this excitement and trigger conversations where the weather conditions may become a metaphor for
birds, insects, invertebrates and other creatures with whom we share the planet, as being one of the significant differences of working outdoors with clients.
I offer clients the chance to work with domesticated or farm animals if they are drawn to this. I work mostly with horses or dogs, but have also worked with guinea pigs, chickens and Kune Kune pigs. Animals have the ability to form connections with humans and vice versa, often referred to as the human-animal bond, and this may include connections to domesticated, as well as wild animals. I worked with a client who loved robins, and another younger client who was fascinated by birds of prey. These preferences and connections often trigger meaningful conversations closely connected to the work. I offer both indirect contact with animals, where animals are ‘around’ in nearby paddocks but we do not specifically focus on them, or direct contact, where they are an integral part of the session. This is a choice that clients make for themselves. Totton also describes the ‘more-thanhuman…’ rivers and lakes, the sea, mountains, winds, sun, sky and stars. This
References MIND. Ecotherapy: The green agenda for mental health. Mind week report; May 2007. www.mind.org.uk/ mindweek. 3
MIND. Feel better outside, feel better inside: Ecotherapy for mental wellbeing, resilience & recovery. Healeys Print Group; 2013. 4
N. Wild Therapy. Therapy Today, Vol 5, Issue 25, June 2014.
References Kaplan S. The Restorative Benefits of Nature: Toward an Integrative Framework. Journal of Environmental Psychology (1995) 15. Academic Press Ltd; 1995. 6
fits with Stephen Kaplan’s6 concept of ‘soft fascination’ which he believes leads to the release of tension, and to relaxation. He suggests that mental fatigue and concentration can be improved by time spent in nature, or by looking at it, and that this seems to occur when our attention is involuntary, rather than directed under stress. In other words, our attention may be captured by an interesting and aesthetically pleasing environment in a way that doesn’t need a high degree of concentration or cognitive processing. Many therapists working outside with clients have suggested that just a few minutes sitting in the grass, feeling the wind on our skin, listening to the birds and exploring the environment around our feet can be transformative if we bring our whole selves to the experience.
relies on the ability of the therapist to maintain consistent therapeutic awareness and to pay attention in the present moment. It is essential to have a good understanding (and experience) of how to hold boundaries safely, yet ‘lightly’. A robust contracting process for this way of working also plays an important part. I have a dedicated section in my contract with clients which includes nonnegotiable ground rules for some of the issues listed above, particularly around animal welfare, weather conditions and overall safety.
Despite my belief in the need for a robust approach to this work, I am aware that some of the challenges also offer unexpected opportunities. I may have a sense in my work with a client that a more equal relationship Due to very poor, potentially unsafe weather might be beneficial for them. If they are fitter conditions, I recently spent only 20 minutes or more skilled at walking (or working with the animals), this may help them in a on Dartmoor with a number of client who, despite ‘Working outside the therapy p o t e n t i a l l y the climate, said empowering ways, afterwards that in room, whether with animals, i n c l u d i n g that short time she developing their or walking in wild places, had experienced a sense of self and profound level of certainly shakes up the improving their stillness and calm se lf-c on f id en c e. whilst on the moor. client/therapist roles and S i m i l a r l y , She described a consequently the engaging in a sense of awe, at the practical task same time as calm relationship.’ together, whether acceptance. w or kin g w ith So, what are the challenges for practitioners horses, dogs, or walking on Dartmoor, may when working this way with their clients? involve some distractions but it may also help Working outside the therapy room, whether to keep the therapy grounded. Furthermore, with animals, or walking in wild places, as therapists, many of us defend our selfcertainly shakes up the client/therapist roles image but this can be a barrier to and consequently the relationship, as we are unconditional positive regard and to now involved in a physical process with our acceptance. If you lose your balance on the clients and we have to deal with all that may moor and your client has the opportunity to throw up. hold their hand out to help you, might you Some of you reading this may by now be both not benefit from that moment? questioning the approach and it would be To conclude – walking ‘alongside’ a client, foolish of me to suggest that working in this outside in the open, rather than sitting face way is not without its risks. The obvious to face indoors can help provide a less intense areas for concern include boundaries, and more relaxed opportunity to explore distractions, physical difficulties, passer’s by/ feelings. Loneliness and disconnection are confidentiality, watering down therapy, common problems and working alongside a transport, timings, planning appropriate therapist, and animals, in a natural routes, safety/risk, as well as the possibility environment can help clients re-connect with that the relationship between our clients and themselves, and with others. ourselves will become more equal. I run workshops on the different ways we Sarah Urwin might deal with some of these issues but, generally speaking, I believe that success
Gender Identity Diversity What is gender identity? Is it a cultural construct? What does it mean to be transgender in this society? Tina HillArt will answer some of these questions in an article full of information and resources to document your practice. When I was asked to write this article, I wondered how to manage to keep it succinct enough. Gender identity diversity is such a broad matter!
match the birth sex (body parts) they were born with. There is a myriad of identities which fall under this term, i.e. transwoman, transman, nongender‘Gender identity is to binary, fluid to name It is timely, be seen as a spectrum, some of the more however, as commonly used transgender not a binary ‘either/ ones. p e o p l e It is important to (transwomen in or’, and we are all on note also though, particular) are that not everyone that spectrum, c u r r e n t l y who fits that receiving the wide description somewhere.’ most negative iden tifies as and unhelpful transgender, in the same way that media coverage, and a law allowing not every woman or man who is in a people to ‘self-identify’ (rather than same sex relationship identifies as endure a laborious bureaucratic and lesbian/gay (though sexual medically sanctioned process) is being orientation is a wholly different proposed. This is not the place for the subject, not to be confused with politics of the matter, and plenty is to gender identity diversity). be found on-line. I will, however, suggest that you take note that the Gender identity is to be seen as a negative press is primarily focused on ‘spectrum’, not a binary ‘either/or’, transwomen, not transmen or non- and we are all on that spectrum, binary identified people. Is there a somewhere. It’s mostly in the West wider patriarchal attitude being that we have developed a society with played out here? That aside, the a binary ‘either/or’ construct, and current climate and narrative is many other cultures and even the impacting the mental health of many animal world have various diverse transgender people who are already representations. There have always feeling vulnerable in a time of been people with a gender diversity austerity, where those marginalised throughout history, but because gender expression, norms and by society are often targeted. assumptions have changed over the Transgender is an umbrella term that centuries, it’s often difficult to people identify with if their internal identify those who might align with sense of their gender identity does not today’s meaning of the term. Leslie
integrative approach, working with individuals, couples and alternative relationship combinations (i.e. Polyamory). I have a particular knowledge and experience of working with survivors of childhood sexual abuse and with people who have LGBT+ identities. I enjoy working with creative interventions such as sand tray and art therapy interventions. I co-run and practice from Studio One Therapy Hub in Exeter, and deliver CPD training to other wellbeing professionals on a variety of subjects.
Resources: www.gids.nhs.uk (clinical resources and information re under 18’s for families and professionals) www.dpt.nhs.uk/our-services/genderidentity Exeter adults gender identity clinic – takes referrals for age 17+ www.rewriting-the-rules.com information and resources web site of Dr Meg John Barker, writer, therapist and activist-academic, specialising in sex, gender and relationships. www.itsallaboutyoucounselling.co.uk /about-us/ Devon based directory of LGBT+ affirmative therapists LGBT+ support organisation in Devon & Cornwall : www.intercomtrust.org.uk
Feinberg’s Transgender Warriors: Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman would be a good starting point for those interested in finding out more.
Training: www.pinktherapy.com run by Dominic Davis, London based, delivers gender, relationship and sexual orientation diversity training, workshops, conferences etc, Also holds a national directory of therapists working in these specialist areas. www.studio1exeter.com/events-cpd Devon based, run by Tina Hill-Art and David Humeniuk delivers workshops/talks to various types of organisations and an annual three-day training course for therapists on working with LGBT+ clients aimed at giving professional the cultural competence and confidence to ‘get it right’ for these client groups.
In more recent history, transgender people were pathologised as having a mental health condition, needing treatment to ‘cure’ or ‘reverse’, and were victimised, shunned and/or murdered. They were neither ‘socially acceptable’ nor accepted. Things have now moved on and being transgender is acknowledged as being a ‘part of the human condition’. Examples of recent developments are ‘gender identity disorder’ being replaced in the recent DSM with ‘gender dysphoria’ (a condition that describes the often-debilitating awareness of having a body that differs from the gender ID experienced); ‘cures’ and ‘reversal’ type treatments recently banned by all the major therapy and well-being bodies in many (not all) Western countries; the 2010 Equality Act giving transgender people equal legal rights; increased awareness through media, TV and social media and better access to affirmative medical services for both adults and young people. This has led to more and more trans and non-binary identified people living open and better lives. The controversy about children’s gender services is of course played out to gratify press needs rather than address factual matters. The services the young people are accessing is saving their lives and has potential to save them unnecessary future medical interventions. A brief read of this article (with the clinical lead for the national children’s gender identity clinic quoted) is worthwhile to get a clearer and balanced view of services for under 18’s: w w w . b b c . c o. u k / n e w s / u k -w a l e s 39783011 It is early days for these positive changes, however, and in a similar way that equal pay for women has not yet happened despite the law changing in 1970 (yes, that’s 48 years ago!) social progress is slow and painful. Living with such a diversity
and living in a binary society that still discriminates, victimises and ‘others’ trans-identified people of all ages can often be an experience that is either a really hard daily grind to sometimes impossible, which leads these members of our communities having high risks of serious mental health issues and being disproportionality represented in the ‘at high risk of suicide’ statistics. (For the latest reports see: www.stonewall.org.uk/news/newresearch-exposes-profounddiscrimination-trans-people-face)
‘...living in a binary society that still discriminates, victimises and ‘others’ transidentified people of all ages can often be an experience that is either a really hard daily grind to sometimes imposible...’ Whenever I sign off from any training, I like to quote Dr Meg John Barker’s ‘caution’ against ‘clinical illusion’. When we are working with or receiving training about the vulnerable groups in our midst, it would be easy to assume that all in that group have the same negative experiences and difficult lives. Of course, there are many trans identified people living whole and positive lives, we just see the ones who are impacted by societal shaming in our rooms. Tina Hill-Art
How NOT to Get a Counselling Placement In an article full of humour, written as a list of tips for counselling trainees, James explains how to get it all wrong in the search for a counselling placement. Training to become a counsellor is a difficult and expensive career move. One stumbling block to becoming qualified is successfully securing a counselling placement. This is often the most crucial part of a trainee counsellors journey as work with real clients offers enormously more learning than work in triads.
relevant experience? It’s a catch 22!’. Counselling co-ordinators love being told they are causing a catch-22, they have never heard it before. Instead of listening carefully, making some notes about what the organisation is looking for, and diligently gaining this experience, try to make the counselling coordinator feel bad for ‘If the counselling co- m a i n t a i n i n g at his ordinator was any standards service.
What I have seen though is that many trainee counsellors make their lives difficult. If you are the sort of good, they would be In a similar way, if person who actively tries to develop a hard life and likes you have personal able to read your things to complain about, all lived experience of the you need to do is follow my mind from a distance.’ issues that the advice here about how not to placement tries to secure a c ou n s e l l i n g help with, make sure to lead your telephone placement and you won’t be disappointed. call with this. Wave your experience around You have to fail to pass through three stages like a special passport and again come across to ensure you won’t get a counselling as a little angry when the person on the end placement. These are: the initial telephone of the phone tries to ask you about your call to the agency, the application form, and counselling course. finally the interview. The telephone call When you ring up an agency to ask whether they offer counselling placements, make sure you tell the person on the phone your exhaustive (and exhausting) theories about the clients they work with. The counselling co -ordinator will enjoy taking twenty minutes out of their busy day to hear that, of course with addicts it’s all about attachment issues, or that teenagers need more discipline. And, by the way, have I heard about sexting? Make sure you don’t listen too closely to what the placement requires with its trainees. Some organisations ask for a minimum of 100 hours, or for you to be in your second year of training. When the person on the end of the line does tell you this (and you of course won’t have 100 hours, because you’ve done zero research on the placement you are calling) come over all aggrieved and ask things like, ‘how am I meant to get the
The application form It goes without saying that the application form should be filled out in your very worst handwriting. You should make the person doing the selecting work hard, after all they have a paid job in the counselling world, and you don’t.
Make sure to forget to put down your counselling qualifications and experience. If the counselling co-ordinator was any good, they would be able to read your mind from a distance. Co-ordinators also like to see a dense block of text, free of paragraphs, indentations and other signs of punctuation about your counselling model. Try to cram in as much jargon as possible. Alternatively, if you find the theory hard, don’t mention anything about your learning, but talk a lot about your bubbly personality
and how you just feel it inside what the right thing is to say to your clients.
it, then sit there in silence again. If pressed further say that you would follow in house procedures – make sure you don’t have any opinions of your own about what to do. Finally, when the interviewers look as if they are about to crack, tell them you would ‘just do what feels right.’ You might like to use the word ‘intuition’. Never mention the BACP ethical framework, you shouldn’t read this in preparation, never even download it.
The interview In the unlikely event that you are offered an interview at your placement, you will need to plan carefully how to mess things up. This can be difficult when you don’t know what the questions are going to be. Helpfully then, here are some of the more common questions you will find at this stage, try to memorise ‘Another horrifying some of these responses approach, equally before you arrive late.
We work in a shortterm way with clients here, what skills would you use? What you must say is that, of troublesome for the First impressions are course, short term cultivated quickly in interviewers is to reply therapy is always the mind of the ineffective, you would that you are person interviewers, so be sure always try to offer to get off on the wrong centred and then sit your clients more foot. Interrupt them sessions, and that there in utter silence clients don’t start to frequently, tell rambling anecdotes listening to the ticking make any progress which wander off the until a couple of years of the clock.’ subject. If the down the line. Be sure interviewers ar e to educate your looking at each other with confused looks on interviewers, at length, about why their their face, then you are doing a great job. views on short term therapy are wrong. The Failure is within your grasp. interviewers should by now look ashen faced and dry mouthed and will have stopped Why do you want to come on placement with writing things down on their interview us? The best response is merely ‘Hours.’ If sheets. They may croak out a follow up you are asked to elaborate, and you probably question about what you would do if you will be, say ‘I need hours for my course. When actually had to work in a short term way, to do I start?’ which you must answer ‘I would be person Tell us about your way of working with centred’ then remain totally silent, ticking clients. Two responses are sure to mess your clock, etc. chances up here: the first is to come in heavy Do you have any questions for us? Do not, with the theory and jargon and keep under any circumstances, ask them anything. battering away at phrases like ‘wounded You must give the impression that you have child’, ‘transactional analysis’ and ‘relational done no research about the placement, that depth’ but be sure not to explain what you there is nothing you are curious about. If you mean by any of this stuff. Another horrifying really must ask a question it should be approach, equally troublesome for the something like, ‘I’m going away on holiday for interviewers is to reply that you are person 3 months next week, can you hold a place for centred and then sit there in utter silence me?’ listening to the ticking of the clock. If you follow the advice here, I can guarantee that you will be successful in not securing Questions about safeguarding issues or that all important placement. You will be ethical dilemmas. First up, in your work with able to go back to your training group and clients, you’ve never had an ethical dilemma, complain about the wicked charities, or a safeguarding issue, or any friction ever hospitals and colleges that cannot see your with other work colleagues, fellow trainees, obvious talents. Your next step will be to ask family members or traffic wardens. You are your college for a refund of your course fees. the sole beacon of reasonableness in a Good luck! troubled world. If the interviewers press you, mention that you’d take any issues to James Banyard supervision and let your supervisor deal with
James Banyard has worked for many years in organisations which offer counselling placements. In his Exeter based private practice he specialises in Anger Management and Supervision. www.existentialcounselling.co.uk
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Biannual journal of the Westcountry Association for Counselling about counselling matters.