So it’s goodbye for the blog

In not making a decision, it seems a decision has been made. My year continues busy and not the easiest and whilst I do like the blog and the idea of keeping it and making it around other issues such as gender and sexuality, I’m not sure I want to be that person. I was happy with the identity of the trainee therapist blogger, and now I am happy with the identity of the therapist who runs the mentoring scheme, I don’t feel like I have enough space in my head to talk about gender and sexuality week in week, or not outside of my client work, anyway. 
My client work has, for the last two years, been about building a client base and creating a counselling charity that now has four counsellors (including me) and a waiting list of clients, and we are largely LGBTQ-based. We see whoever comes to us, but most of our clients are LGBTQ. All but one of my clients is LGBTQ and of those all but one, all but one of *those* is in some way trans (in that they are either binary or non-binary trans). Add to that my own transition to a formal non-binary position and I feel that I do a lot of my time around LGBTQ issues. 
There may be occasional updates- especially if I can get all of the mentor pages moved on to the pink therapy site and can change the URL here (some of the pages are already up there, but I have not yet been organised enough to ask for the rest to be done), but for now I just want to thank everyone who has read along with my trainee journey. 
I made it 🙂

Advertisements

A wait is over

For those of you following along on Twitter, you might have seen that my confirmation email came yesterday; I passed the exam board. I am now a qualified counsellor/psychotherapist with a PgDip in person-centered counselling and psychotherapy. 

And now I am waiting to see a client- my first client as a qualified counsellor. It is an odd feeling- like riding a bike without stabilisers. In reality, not much has changed; I haven’t been to my training institution since June (the end of term) and my cohort had their first week of their last year a couple of weeks ago. I have the same supervisor, the same clients, the same room. But here I am, fresh and new. I have done many counselling hours (well over twice that of a level four trained counsellor), but I am about to do my first hour (or possibly get my first DNA) as a trained counsellor. There is something different in that. 
In many ways it’s full of possibilities. In other ways, it is stagnant- this is my counselling service (there are now seven of us affiliated with it, including me) and that I guess isn’t something a trainee usually does. But I saw the gap and I made it work. We have three working counsellors and a waiting list. I’m not moving ‘on’ to anywhere- this charity is what I want to spend a good long while building. That’s why ‘stagnant’- change happens slowly. We are waiting for charity status to be awarded so that we can move forward to the next bit. And the next bit and the next bit. So still, a lot of waiting. 

I was very relieved when I got the email confirming. I entertained thoughts about it all going wrong at the last moment, of course. But it didn’t. Everything is fine. 
I’m taking a couple of weeks’ break here and next week will probably be the move to the new name (as yet to be thought of!) whilst I ponder my new direction.

counselling: what’s the point?

 

A client recently asked me at a counselling assessment: “what’s the point of counselling?’ and I think that whatever answer I gave wasn’t good enough, as I never saw them again.

 

As a question, it caught me off guard; a client has not asked me that before. As a client, I have answers, and I suspect that’s where I went wrong; I was trying to reply from my own point of view, without making my answer ABOUT me. The resulting amount of hesitation probably suggested to the client that there was no point, and that’s a shame. So I thought I’d put it out here – my own real answer on why, so that next time I’m asked, I do have some kind of answer.

Counselling (in my opinion), especially in the person-centered world, where we don’t aim to give any advice, or tell you what to do or think or direct you at all, is a space that is just for you. It gives you a non-judgemental person who is skilled (or at least *trained*) in the art of listening (rather than waiting for the pause so they can speak). Counselling gives a place for reflection, and a place to talk things out. Whilst as counsellors we don’t usually give advice we are able to reflect back nuances in things that clients tell us, and clients often don’t even realise they’ve said it (many is the time I’ve echoed part of what a client has said and the ‘I hadn’t thought of it like that’ always surprises me, as I had thought that I am reflecting their thoughts).

 

So it’s space; it’s a place to be heard; it’s a place of reflection.

 

It’s also a place to test things out. To look at future options and test them with the counsellor – to look at hypothetical situations: ‘what would my life look like if I tried X action?’ ‘How would it feel if I thought about Y?’

It’s a safe place – a place you can be the best of yourself, and the worst of yourself (unless of course, it involves harm to a minor, or terrorism or money-laundering), and not be judged. Even if it did involve those things, there is still no judgement (so we strive for), but there may be a breaking of boundaries.

 

It’s yours, and no-one else’s. Above all, it is for you to make what you wish of it.