being in the ‘professional world’ as a trainee

Symbol of Confusion

Symbol of Confusion (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Often I speak to trainees who wouldn’t consider going to a conference, or doing any other training as a trainee. This strikes me as a shame; although I can see many good reasons why someone *couldn’t* go (money, childcare, too many existing commitments, with clients and supervision etc), I’m not so sure on the reasons why people CHOOSE not to.


Some people of course, just don’t like to mingle (I’m an introvert – I feel that pain), but still more I think, feel that they would be ‘out of place’ or that it’s ‘not their place’ to do training as a trainee. So I thought I’d talk in general about my experience.


As a trainee, I’ve been to three conferences now, BAPCA 2013, ADPCA2014 and PinkTherapy2014. I also attend a regular ‘peer supervision’ group for therapists (and obviously trainees) working with clients (or identifying with) with particular interests. I’ve also done a level one focusing course, and am about to start levels 2-5. I also try and get to a regular person-centred skype group.


i have *never* been made to feel anything but welcomed, accepted, and treated as an equal when I’ve attended these events (although I am very aware that my knowledge of theory is far less than many other attendees). I’d like to say, for anyone who feels they aren’t yet qualified enough – YES YOU ARE!


Along with another counsellor, I’ve started a person-centred group locally to me. the other counsellor is fully-qualified and happy to work with me as a trainee.


As for the peer group,  I started going before I had clients even – as a first year. It has been an amazing experience and one I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. At everything I’ve attended as a trainee, there have been other trainees. It was from meeting other trainees at events that led me to create the person-centred trainee email list and person-centred trainee facebook group. The email list has over 100 members and the facebook group has over 400 members.


I would go to each event I’ve attended before in a heartbeat. People have been united in being welcoming to the profession, and it’s been really nice to get encouragement from people further along than me (and also to be able to commiserate on the tribulations of being a trainee with others). Plus you get to learn about things ‘from the horses’ mouths’, so to speak. I’ve met and had conversations with many of the ‘big people’ in the (UK at least) person-centred world. They probably don’t remember me – they were mundane conversations, but it was lovely to be able to put faces to names, and to get a real feel for them in ways that their voices don’t always come across in books. You also get to hear some lovely snippets about things you’d never hear in a book and get to connect with a world you wouldn’t otherwise have access to – the living, breathing (in my case person-centred) community.


The same thing for training. I may be slightly reckless in taking on the focusing training at the same time as everything else, however, it feels like an excellent opportunity and my heart is drawn to it. If I wait, what then? I can scarcely afford it – the way my savings work out, I think I will graduate with moths in my bank account, however, I suspect that there will always be SOMETHING i can’t afford, and I would really like to know more about how to do focusing successfully. So – caution to the wind, and all of that!

I can’t afford to do further training at present, but if i DID have the money, I wouldn’t hesitate to do it. I would also be MORE than happy to do additional training that was free, or conferences that are free. I’ve found that although most counselling-based conferences cost to attend, it’s possible to attend ‘client-related issues’ conferences for free – bereavement, sexuality, disability etc. If you work full time these often still necessitate a day off work, but the UKCP does some free conferences on a weekend, so it isn’t always a week day by any means.

Bottom line – if you see something that interests you – go for it. People will be supportive and welcoming. Check out my ‘spotlight‘ page for other things that I focus on specifically that might be of use.





2 thoughts on “being in the ‘professional world’ as a trainee

  1. I qualified 3 years ago. I prefer, when mixing with counsellors, for there to be trainees present. Trainee counsellors are less likely to be closed minded and arrogant about their approach. They are more likely to be open and curious about differing opinions. Of course this isn’t an absolute and there are experienced practitioners who demonstrate their humility and willingness to learn. These are qualities that I would like to retain.
    BTW this is how I found Irvin Yalom to be at age 80 in 2012 after 50+ years. I guess he must hang out with trainees…

Say something about this

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s