Counselling residential weekends – A trainer’s perspective

Counselling residential weekends - A trainer’s perspective

Counselling residential weekends – A trainer’s perspective

André Gide the French Author and Nobel laureate once reflected that; “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore”. I find this quote accurately reflects the journey of counselling students as they seek to gain personal understanding, and sometimes redemption in an environment that Gide’s observed as being a long way from the shore- residential training.

As I sit at my desk reflecting on this weekend’s residential, where I had the privilege of being a ‘passenger’ (albeit temporally) on my learners journey. After nearly a decade of being a trainer, I still am left awestruck at the courage and honesty of those who take part, and the redemptive qualities of a group process.

These weekends asks students to leave friends, and loved ones behind, embarking for a journey, on a sea of emotion, in a vessel constructed solely of Empathy, Congruence and Unconditional Positive Regard.

It’s a big ask, because like any voyage , the ocean of our emotions can unpredictable, we can be buffeted by the winds of change, becalmed with no sense of direction; storms can blow us of course and sometimes we get overwhelmed and feel we are capsizing – or worse sinking.

However for some, the storms fade and they find themselves sailing on calmer waters, the wind in their sails, heading for a new exciting destination – the rest of their lives.

Most of all it helps build emotional resilience, a much needed commodity in those who practice and train in the discipline of counselling.


What are you experiences of residential training? – How has it impacted on your process  , please share your thoughts and feelings on the subject.

  • Colette Kelly

    Just returned from an incredible weekend. It was every bit as challenging as I expected, but I am (still) bowled over by the power of the work that we have undertaken as a group. A residential weekend is an unbelievable experience that no words can come close to describe. I loved it and I will treasure the expierence and the learning for the rest of my journey. Thank you to all involved, students and trainers.