101 – When Counselling Doesn’t Work
Study-Life Balance for Student Counsellors –Personal Development as Counselling Students
In episode 101 of the Counselling Tutor Podcast, Ken Kelly and Rory Lees-Oakes discuss the challenges of balancing your studies with all the other demands of life. In ‘Practice Matters’, Rory looks at what we can do when counselling doesn't work. Finally, the presenters discuss the challenges of your own personal development as a student counsellor.
Study–Life Balance (starts at 1.32 mins)
Many students these days work as well as study – this is not easy, especially for counselling students, who also have to fit in their placements, supervision and personal therapy. There may also be family demands to fit in. This is bound to take some juggling.
Ken and Rory offer tips on how to ‘balance the seesaw’:
- Get a good diary and plan your year ahead, taking account of any periods where you expect higher demands of your time and/or energy at work and home.
- Try not to neglect your self-care, even – or perhaps especially – when you’re busy.
- If you think you may need to miss a class (for example, if you work shifts and are needed at work), tell your tutor in advance and arrange how you can catch up with the material to be covered.
- Consider getting one or more ‘study buddies’ – perhaps using a WhatsApp group or suchlike – to support each other.
- Speak about any difficulties in juggling demands in your personal counselling.
- Share your struggles and ask for support on our Facebook group, whose members include over 21,000 students, counsellors and tutors in the world of counselling and psychotherapy.
- Draw on all the easy-to use resources you can – for example, our Counselling Study Resource (CSR).
- Use your time efficiently – for example, go prepared to use any time created by client DNAs at your placement to work on your current assignment.
Rory and Ken conclude with two great sayings:
- ‘How do you eat a (metaphorical) elephant? One bite at a time!’
- ‘Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass … It’s about learning to dance in the rain!’
When Counselling Doesn’t Work (starts at 12.03 mins)
It can happen that you are working with a client and they appear to you not to be benefitting from counselling.
Rory shares his clinical thinking on questions and options in this difficult situation when counselling doesn't work, illustrating how to respond in a professional and responsible way – so providing the best-possible service to your client.
Personal Development as a Counselling Student (starts at 17.17 mins)
Personal development is an important part of counselling training, and can have a huge impact on other parts of your life.
For example, it is not unusual for trainee counsellors to reassess their current work roles and relationships. It is naturally hard for our partners, friends and families to understand the experience we are having on our courses, which often include some times of intense self-discovery (e.g. residential weekends).
The changes that take place in us can make it difficult not to speak out about attitudes and behaviours we see in others that once we either didn’t notice or could find a way to ignore.
Now, however, we want to be congruent – e.g. feeling free to challenge prejudice. This can lead to friction and conflict – or even to a complete parting of the ways from people who have been a big part of our life.
Having a first-hand experience of the range of feelings and challenges that accompany personal development is a great way of helping us understand the changes that clients may go through during the counselling process.
It’s important to acknowledge the potential difficulties in making the changes we – and they – need to make, but equally to celebrate the gains too. It may be a difficult path, but it is ultimately one towards the good.
Again our Facebook group can be a great place to share your ‘growing pains’ with others who may be experiencing similar feelings.