My course is accredited by UKCP. UKCP rules say that students on MSc courses have to have 40 hours a year of personal therapy. That therapy must be delivered by a therapist who is ‘UKCP registered or equivalent’. My institution has added another layer of complication to that and requires that students’ therapists must also have masters degrees. If you live in an area not massively close to an institution, (as 2/3 of my cohort do) then it can be very hard to find someone locally who fits those requirements AND your requirements.
From the beginning I knew I would struggle. There were two people locally that my insitution would accept ‘on spec’ for me. I didn’t get on witht he first one (although I know someone else who thinks they are amazing, so it just goes to show!) but luckily for me, i got on ‘ok’ witht he second one, and figured I’d give it a go. That relationship broke down within six months. I managed to find another therapist who didn’t have an MSc, but who did have a postgrad qual, and I was able to see her for a while. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t feel very heard in the counselling session, and didn’t feel like I wanted to continue.
This has been going on for me for over a year now, and my institution were good enough to recognise that their ‘MA/MSc’ rule was causing me problems, so they let me bend it, and lo, there were 25 counsellors within a 10mile radius who fit UKCP criteria. So I returned to a therapist that I was seeing several years ago (and who I would have gone straight back to if I could).
I have gone from thinking ‘oh grief. therapy again’ to ‘hurrah! therapy!’. it feels SO much better – i feel ‘got’, I have someone whose style meshes with mine, who makes me feel heard. and I think ‘THIS is what therapy is about’, and also, it helps me to feel better about my OWN workings as a therapist.
So, to any students/trainees (or indeed, ANYONE) out there who are ‘grinning and bearing’ therapy, CHANGE THERAPIST! Getting your hours in is a waste of your time if you are seeing a therapist who’s the wrong fit for you. Getting a therapist who’s on your wavelength will feel so much better, and will make you feel so much better about being a therapist also.
As a related note- if you’re struggling with requirements, talk to your training institution. You might well find there’s leeway.