Will you be a guest blogger?



Writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


So, this blog has been going almost a year now. I can’t quite believe it. One post a week, and on all but one occasions, it went out on time!


Something that I wanted to do at the start of this blog was to have guest bloggers, but I couldn’t do it before I had somehow shown myself to be viable. The blog now has over 70 followers that I can count and I know that more people read in RSS feeds etc (mostly because I get comments elsewhere, like facebook from people who aren’t listed as followers).


What I would like to do, is to have one guest blog post a month and I am asking EVERYONE reading this to consider volunteering. Whoever you are, it can be as anonymous as you like – from your fullname/age/location to ‘guest blogger X’



Are you just about to start your first year? Mid-way through training? Something you love about training, or the person-centred approach? Something you hate, or just can’t get your head around? What made you decide to become a trainee? What sort of client group do you love the most? What format is your course? why did you choose it? What do you love (or hate) about the format? Embarking on your research project and want to share something about it with us?



What differences do you see in trainees today, and when you were training? Do you have any trainee therapists and thus words of wisdom to share from that angle? Is there anything you wish you’d known/wisdom you would like to pass on to today’s trainees? Why have YOU chosen the person-centred approach? Has your understanding changed through your work as a counsellor? Are you a just-qualified counsellor and wanting to share about that?



What are the most common things that trainees come to you with? What made you decide to become a supervisor? What are your words of wisdom for choosing a supervisor?



What do you love about being a trainer? What made you decide to be a trainer? Have you worked across different insitutions? What do you think is important when being a trainer? Do you train in something not normally seen in person-centred insitutions (whether it’s part of the ‘tribes’ or not) that you’d like to share about?


Providers/partakers of useful and interesting resources:

Do you run a resource? A forum? A database of useful information? Do you run a peer-support group, or are you part of a person-centred group that you’d like to share? What’s good about it? Are you part of a great group, whether ‘virtual’ or ‘face-to-face’ that you think people should know about?


If you fit ANY of these, and if you don’t, but you have something you’d like to say, please get in touch. My usual blog posts are about 500 words (which this should come in at) but there’s no limit. As I said – you can be as anonymous as you like – leave me a comment (all comments are screened, so your contact details won’t go public unless you mention in your comment that they can) and I’ll get back to you.


What would you like to add?



Making space

English: Calmness of lake

English: Calmness of lake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


My therapist said to me the other day something about how she was ‘in the room with me’ before my session with her (which intrigues me, as I get there first). She said it in a way that made me suspect that I should know what she was talking about. So I didn’t admit it, but put it away to think about.




And I realised that I do do it. I just didn’t realise until recently. A few weeks ago I was really tired before seeing clients. I was worried, because the LAST time I’d been that tired, I’d really struggled in the session. i HAD been present, and i HAD stayed with my client, but I had had to work much harder to do it. I was worried that I was going to have much the same experience again, but I was surprised to see this time, that actually I hadn’t noticed the tiredness during client times, although it had come back afterwards. My therapist’s words made me think on ‘why’, and the conclusion I came to was that the first time, I hadn’t been able to take much time before arriving where my placement is, and the seeing of my client, and what time I had was used in setting up the room and making the space needed (my room is a multi-purpose room). So i had little time to sit and ‘be’ with my client before they had got to the room. Thus I was still trying to calm when my client came in, and I was trying to ‘be’, and be present, and do so many things at once. It is no wonder I was tired! This time round however, I sat for a few minutes and acknowledged that I was tired, but took the space to be and be with my client, before my clients came for the evening. Altogether a different experience, and now, I make sure I do this every time. Just take time to remember where they were, how they seemed, what they were saying, whilst still holding in my head the fact that they may come in completely differently this time, but essentially, just calling up the feeling of what it was like to be in the room with each client, just before they came in.




I find I have to take space before and after. Afterwards I do something else (like play a number puzzle on my phone) for 5 minutes, to let my head continue processing anything it needs, and then I make the notes that I need to, but I can’t do it straight away. Perhaps this will change  as i get more practised, I don’t know. But for the moment, I have set up my placement hours to have extra space between then (1.15minute intervals, rather than 1hr intervals) so that I have the space I need.


I am intrigued that Zemanta, which finds relevant posts for me, based on the words I’ve used in my post, is suggesting lots of mindfulness links. Mindfulness isn’t something I’ve consciously practised, but it is something I’ve been reading more about (often with other names) recently






O Captain! My captain!


Robin Williams

Robin Williams (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Like the rest of the country, I woke today to the news of Robin Williams’ death; it was almost the first thing that my partner said to me this morning. It’s sad news at any time, but somehow his death has touched me far more than any of the other celebrity deaths I’ve heard about recently. Perhaps it was because he was 20 years older than me, and therefore working as an actor for as long as I remember films. I grew up with his films, and I have always been struck by the sensitivity that he played his characters. My favourite film has always been ‘What dreams may come’; the story of one man’s journey through death, and suicide touches me in ways I can’t explain. Other films of his also touched me – Good will Hunting; Dead Poet’s Society. Every film I have seen him do has been done sensitively. I remember watching Mrs Doubtfire with my then partner, who was trans, and she had nothing bad to say about the film; she felt it was done well, although that character’s struggles were not my partner’s struggles – the point was, she was not given cause to take offence.


So, to hear that he is dead, and of suicide, was a shock. I have heard people say ‘if it was too much for him, then what chance to any of us have?’ and also people talking about how ‘selfish’ he was. Mostly, I think that material possessions aren’t what make us happy, and this is a testament to that, and as for selfish? How selfish are *we* if we demand that a loved one stay alive at massive cost to themselves, just to make us feel better?


When I started this blog post, I didn’t know where I was going – I thought: ‘something about the frailty of our clients’ lives and how it is for us as therapists and specifically trainees, but actually, as I wrote the paragraph above, I think that for me this is about suicide and how my view and the person-centered view mesh.


I firmly believe that it is an individual’s right to choose. And i believe that the person-centered approach allows for that. I am not the expert of anyone, and I do not assert that (lack of) expertise over anyone. yes of COURSE i hope that all my clients thrive in therapy and finish counselling happier than when they started, but when it comes down to it, I respect that my clients know themselves. They know whether they are capable of making it through whatever they are aiming to make it through, and all I can do is be there along the way.


I’ve expressed this view on counselling forums before and been chastised for it, but I don’t change my mind. All I can do if I have a client in this position is to make sure that my notes are meticulous, so that if a client DOES complete suicide, I have what I need to protect myself in coroner’s court. I can keep good notes, I can talk closely with my supervisor, to make sure that we are both on the same page, but I cannot save my client. Only my client can save my client. I can do everything in my power to stay with my client on their journey, in the hope that the ‘conditions’ are indeed sufficient, and that includes referring them on if needed – trainee pride has no place here; the client’s life might be at stake. It can be hard to have a client who is suicidal. I’m not saying otherwise. But I still believe that it is the client’s right, should they wish, to take their own life. As a trainee however, there are many things that I find hard as a therapist- there is a saying in counselling circles that you are sent the clients you need, rather than the clients that you want and it’s not that a suicidal client is a special type of difficulty- I suspect that there are people out there who would be fine with a suicidal client, but who would find something else very much more difficult.


Do I think suicide is selfish? Possibly. Do I think that being selfish is wrong? Not necessarily. To me, being selfish means that you are putting your needs first. I suspect that a lot of people, if they were more selfish in their lives, would feel less like they needed to be ‘selfish’ in killing themselves.

Free time


Summer (Photo credit: raffacama)



So, this is what free time looks like? Aside from the end of term, I also set myself a task of making a cross-stitch for a friend’s wedding next week. I’ve finished and it’s beautiful. But now, for the first time in 11 months, I have nothing to do on a lunch break – no book or paper that needs reading, no assignment to make notes for, nothing to print. This blog is due, however, and that is just ongoing. But there is gloriously nothing else to do. That only happens when I go away for the week with friends. When I’m at home with nothing to do, I start thinking through all the books I am going to read. At the moment, I have a new Terry Pratchett that is begging for my attention, and I will be starting that this week.




I have my ‘summer homework’ book arriving in the post shortly – Rogers on groups – and I’m looking forward to that, but for now, this feels like my indulgent summer. I have a ‘to read’ pile that’s fairly precarious. I also have a LOT of shelves that I need to put up – for the books, to get them off the precarious ‘to read’ pile (and move them on to a ‘to read’ shelf).




I still have clients – I’m not on holiday from that, but actually, that just feels like ‘normal work’ (and when I started seeing clients 11 months ago I didn’t imagine that that would be what I was saying less than a year down the line).


This feels indulgent and decadent, but frankly, I am not the furthest behind in my hours that I could be (certainly, could o better and hope to do so next year!) and I have passed (I think) year two, so I think that a small celebration in the forms of relaxing is in order.


How are other students spending their summer?