094 – Data Protection and Counselling

094 – Can We Ever Be Truly Non-Biased? – GDPR – Feeling Judged by Your Personal Counsellor

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In episode 94 of the Counselling Tutor Podcast, Ken Kelly and Rory Lees-Oakes debate whether we can ever be truly non-biased. In ‘Practice Matters’, Rory covers the new General Data Protection Regulation for Europe. Finally, the presenters talk about what you could do if you’re feeling judged by your personal counsellor.

Can We Ever Be Truly Non-Biased? (starts at 3.37 mins)

Rory and Ken discuss whether it’s possible to work ethically with clients who are very different from ourselves. They conclude that it is – after all, Carl Rogers’ six conditions (which include the three ‘core’ conditions of empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard) are not only necessary but also sufficient.

The following tips emerge from the discussion:

  • Be aware of your own heritage, and explore what this means to you and how it influences your view of the world.
  • If you are counselling somebody from a very different background, take the time to do some research to enhance your knowledge.
  • Don’t fall into the trap of stereotyping people: no two are ever the same.
  • Look for the common ground: we all share our humanity, which is a huge connection.
  • Remember that working with misunderstanding leads to growth – so don’t be afraid to challenge appropriately, or to be challenged yourself.

Ken and Rory share a number of anecdotes based on their own experiences. Rory recommends a book, Counselling, Class and Politics: Undeclared Influences in Therapy by Anne Kearney (PCCS Books, 2018), and also a video of an encounter group run by Carl Rogers.

GDPR (starts at 17.56 mins)

In ‘Practice Matters’, Rory talks about the new GDPR, which came into force in Europe on 25 May 2018. The GDPR replaces previous data protection law, and covers the rules on how data must and must not be handled, stored and shared. While the regulation is particularly relevant to listeners in Europe, similar versions of data protection regulations exist in many other countries throughout the world.

Rory discusses how the GDPR impacts on practising counsellors, including students on placement. Data protection is also a vital area to be aware of when you are writing assignments in your counselling studies.

Rory has prepared a handout that contains many useful hints and links, which you can download here, or access via the Handouts Vault and Counselling Study Resource (CSR).

Feeling Judged by Your Personal Counsellor (starts at 27.20 mins)

Personal counselling is often a required – or at least recommended – part of counselling training. But what if you feel judged by your personal counsellor? This topic crops up now and gain on our Facebook group. Ken and Rory make three key suggestions if you are feeling this way:

  • Remember who is paying – you! – and tell them you feel judged. A good therapist will welcome the opportunity to discuss this. Doing so can take you on a journey of investigation into what’s going on, which has the potential to lead to deeper work and huge amounts of personal development.
  • Consider the possibility of transference: does the therapist remind you of someone in your past who judged you, and you are undeservedly ascribing the same motives to this new person?
  • Might it be part of your personal process that you imagine people to be somehow evaluating you when actually they are not? This is known as the ‘spotlight effect’.

We have a number of lectures and other resources in the CSR that relate to this topic, including on contracting, boundaries and power in the counselling relationship.

Free Handout Download

Understanding GDPR

Links and Resources