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115 – How to Grow as a Counsellor

115 – How to Grow as a Counsellor

Valuing Yourself as a Professional – Using Academic Breaks Productively

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In episode 115 of the Counselling Tutor Podcast, Ken Kelly and Rory Lees-Oakes look at the importance of valuing yourself as a professional. Then – in ‘Practice Matters’ – Rory explores how to grow as a counsellor. Last, the presenters discuss how you can use your academic breaks productively.

Valuing Yourself as a Professional (starts at 1.47 mins)

It is easy for students starting on placements to undervalue themselves and what they have to offer. Ken and Rory urge you to remember:

  • You have earned your seat!
  • You are the client’s counsellor when you are in front of them – that is how they will see you.
  • Placements should be grateful for having students involved: you are at the pinnacle of your learning, and therefore up to date with the latest thinking in the field of counselling and psychotherapy.
  • Once you are qualified, you have the right to be paid for your investment and expertise.
  • Own the difference you are making to clients’ lives, even if you don’t get to receive direct feedback on this.

In short, pull your shoulders back and stand proud: you are a professional!

How to Grow as a Counsellor (starts at 11.10 mins)

Nurturing and developing yourself as a therapist – whether you’re still studying or have already qualified – is important and rewarding but can also be painful.

Qualified counsellors have an ethical obligation to continue to grow.

Delving into the topic of how to grow as a counsellor, Rory explores loyalty to your base modality, and the urge to – and importance of – being open to building on this where research and developing theory allow you to move with the times, learning more to use in the service of your clients.

Rory’s handout on how to grow as a counsellor can be downloaded here; it is also available through the Handouts Vault and Counselling Study Resource (CSR).

Using Academic Breaks Productively (starts at 14.25 mins)

As a student of counselling and psychotherapy, you may well find yourself with a break in your study timetable – for example, over the summer or after a short course (e.g. level 2) has ended.

It’s important to try to use this time productively, so that you are not starting from a standstill when your new course begins.

Ken and Rory suggest various practical things you can do to keep learning:

  • Make a list of the aspects of theory, ethics, skills and personal development that you would like to learn more about over the academic break, and read up on these on the Counselling Tutor website.
  • Spend time reading and interacting in the Counselling Tutor Facebook group, where you can find over 23,000 students, qualified practitioners and tutors interested in the world of counselling and psychotherapy.
  • Listen to the Counselling Tutor podcasts.
  • Read professional journals, e.g. Therapy Today from the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
  • Visit the CSR if you are already a member – or consider joining if not. There, you will find over 60 hours of CPD-linked lectures.

Ken and Rory suggest that if you are going on a face-to-face CPD course, it makes sense to read up on the topic beforehand.

This helps you enter the training as prepared as possible, and not to get stuck on the basic concepts and vocabulary. Good preparation helps you make the most of your CPD and maximise your learning.

In an exciting announcement at the end of this podcast, Rory announces a brand-new summer school that he and Ken will be offering, aiming to inform you – as students of counselling and psychotherapy – on what you need to know before your new course starts in the autumn.

Links and Resources

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