Level 2 counselling course student guide

My level 2 counselling course experience

I would never have believed, looking back now , that I would have found myself enrolling on a level 2 counselling course.

One day, three years ago this month, I found a counsellor online and emailed her. Aware that my head was so full of chaos that it was making me unhappy, I decided I needed a stranger to talk to. I had no expectation of the outcome, except that I wanted to be happy and I felt sure talking to someone would help.

So it began…

I had no idea what counselling would give me, where I would be 3 years later, but I did believe that there was a chance that I would always be able to benefit from talking to someone. My husband would and did listen to my thoughts, but it felt biased. I felt he loved me unconditionally, it would be hard for him to be honest or challenge me.

My husband would and did listen to my thoughts, but it felt biased. I felt he loved me unconditionally, it would be hard for him to be honest or challenge me.

Initially,I was looking for strategies to get through my life. After my first counselling session ,I realised that strategies weren’t actually what I needed, I became aware that I required more, I was prepared to work through my childhood, my relationships and ultimately myself.

In October 2015 I went to India. I went because of the yoga; I went because I wanted to see myself out of my comfort zone; I went with a group of people I had never met…. It was challenging.

During my time in India I made friends, I listened, I talked. I was asked if I was a counsellor.. a few friends and clients had previously also suggested similar. I laughed at their suggestions – my fear of not being able to “step away”, my penchant for going into “rescue mode” and taking the world’s problems on, without sorting my own. I wasn’t meant to be a counsellor. I am a teacher.

One lady said something that changed my mind – she insisted “they teach you how to manage these issues. You should think about it” ….

I did think about it. My path was diversifying. I hadn’t expected my journey to take this route, but what did I have to lose? I had no expectations, so I wasn’t sure what I had to gain either.

I hadn’t expected my journey to take this route, but what did I have to lose? I had no expectations, so I wasn’t sure what I had to gain either.

On my return,I shared my interest with Google. Google directed me to a free taster session. Within a week of returning,I was signed up for the BACP Level 2 Counselling Course. I was going to improve my listening skills apparently. I had a long way to go before I became a counsellor.

But the BACP Counselling Course  was so much more than a qualification. Who knew? Not me!

This month I finished my Level 2 Counselling course and I have learnt so much more about myself than I could have ever imagined. My one2one counselling continued throughout , but what I took to her and to the group gave me what felt like a 360-degree development of myself.

Personal development always felt a bit buzz wordy really. I didn’t really get it. The group of (what seemed to me) shy, reserved women that joined me on my journey appeared afraid. Many had had no counselling, we were in different places. I spent the first 6 months feeling like an outlier. I felt so disparate. Something that seemed to have resonated throughout my life.

I learnt how to voice my thoughts, to own my feelings and to develop a skill that will remain with me for the rest of my life – HOW TO LISTEN!

Much of this was done through role play, a challenging task in itself, something that I came to love! Sometimes I wondered whether I should take up a new profession – acting.

I struggled long and hard exploring my position within the group. Who was I? I felt authentic and congruent, but I still worried about not being accepted by my peers.

There were a few that I connected with immediately, something I experience in life generally. But on reflection those who I didn’t connect with seemed closed, they seemed afraid to let go. They hadn’t experienced the counselling hours that I had. Some believed that they didn’t want to be counselled, they just wanted a qualification.

As time went on this changed. This wasn’t just about me, it was also about them. We all harbour doubts and keep things close, until we feel safe. I felt safe quite early on. I sensed that they didn’t. As the year came to an end there was a distinct change in the behaviours of us all. The growth was significant, something seemed to have slotted into place for us all. The result – the group became cohesive. The group meetings now felt safe for it’s members and I felt a part of something that I have never felt a part of before.

During the final session, on my level 2 counselling course, we were all given cards, to write something about each member of the group. These were put in an envelope. The teacher also wrote one. This is what she wrote for me:

Remember:

It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you are not ….

Thank you! You have contributed so much to this course. Your enthusiasm, energy and willingness to go to those deep places inside you. I am in no doubt that this will facilitate you as you grow in this work and training. You have not only challenged yourself but dared to challenge the group to grow – Which WE did. You have much to offer to this work and I look forward to learning how you progress……

The other cards had similar things written on them, there was a theme emerging. I had no idea this was how I was seen. My own concept of myself was very different than theirs. I am now exploring the internal and external locus of evaluation of myself – because let’s be clear here …

I AM A WORK IN PROGRESS! 

I have enrolled for Level 3 – I am ready and soooooo looking forward to September!

  • Linda Mather

    What a lovely blog. Reading your journey is exciting and mind opening. I am a tutor and I can tell you that when we see our learners grow as you have it is so rewarding and inspiring. Well done you and keep that door to insightfulness open, it is full of surprises.

    • Jane Askew

      Hi Linda – thank you .. Writing about it gives me great pleasure – though people reading it and commenting does feel a bit surreal – whilst offering even more insight !