Exploring Counselling as a study option

Before I go into how I felt during and after the introduction to counselling course I attended, I’ll first give a bit of back story to my creative and professional decisions and development.

A year ago I started doing an Art Degree Drawing Skills and as the course progressed I found myself enjoying it but realistically not going to make it over the high bar that is drawing perfection. Especially without sacrificing the joy, love and fun I have actually making art.

So one day with clarity and relief I announced – I’m going to do my drawing course as personal development only. That left a huge gap of ‘What next?’ as my plan was to do a degree, do a masters and be a successful Art Therapist. Instead of going into an old pattern of study something then study something else I decided to wait and think about all my options.

I have finished my final piece of work and have made a goal to paint in my own style over the Summer and see what happens.

istolethetv on Flickr Creative Commons

With that in play I thought there is no harm in seeing what is out there by doing short courses and exploring my options actively.

On my list of 100 things in 2016 I added – Explore Counselling as a study option! Counselling originally appealed to me as it’s about helping people in their lives, it’s a varied job that can be within an organisation or freelanced and diverse. It’s where Wayne Dyer started out at and people make their own unique practises such as Counselling and Creativity and Yogi Amadeep Singh.

I think others would agree with me when I say I left the course wondering if I really could/wanted to even be a counsellor! Here’s what I learnt and discovered:

  • There’s a big difference between sympathy and empathy, watch this Brene Brown video and you’ll see what I mean, don’t be hard on yourself though, we’ve all been there.
  • Counselling is not about ‘helping’ it’s about being along side the other person, listening and supporting subtly so that the other person can come up with the answers on their own. An example of this to think of a time you felt listened to and another time you didn’t, compare how you felt about the two situations. If anything it’ll make you entirely grateful to have someone listen to you at a deep level – it did me.
  • The term ‘peeling an onion’ was used to describe the process, I like the creativity of A little piece of me on this phrase.
  • In counselling every experience is different, so unlike when you advise a friend about something you would never use your own experience or opinion in a session – to me it’s an easy concept to read about but a lot harder in practice!
  • There is paraphrasing, restating and reflecting the thoughts and feelings of the other person to gain further clarification and listening.
  • Counselling explores people’s feelings, not the experience. It involves open questions to encourage conversation and openess.
  • Language functions like a lift, expressing more will gain further incite, focus, questions and answers.
  • One concern I had was that there was a lot of talking and no problem solved, no next action to take (at first I thought it may be all the personal development I listen to, to do lists and goal setting I do, but others shared the same curiosity). This however is normal as counselling in this way is very gradual, it’s more about listening and letting the other person come up with own answers that they may cover at another session. A type of counselling called CBT is homework and solution focused.If your thinking about having a counselling session either for yourself or someone you care about try it out. A counsellor is there to listen and be alongside you in your journey.

Or if your thinking about training to become a counsellor – go for it, counselling can be learnt at any age with any background! An introduction course like I did is the best place to start, following that are Level 2 certificate, Level 3 (1 year) and Level 4 (diploma 2 years), overall it’s 4/5 years part time and you can find more information on BACP.


Science and History Museum picks in photos

Here are some of my favourite things I captured on my camera at the Science and History Museums in London recently.

Louisa Aldrich-Blake “When you start a thing you must finish it”
True in Science, in life.
The rounder and smoother the rock the more likely to have traveled, replace the word ‘rock’ with ‘person’ and it relates to life!
This huge structure is, wait for it- a giant Sloth! Amazing!
A Squid sculpture and us, tired feet!
People stopped what they were doing to photograph the sunset- sweet! A stranger said to me ‘It’s beautiful’ and I agreed.
Ate amazing tasty burger and hotdog at The Diner Covent Garden
Walking through London all zones, China town is my favourite for always being so pretty. It’s also the Year of the Sheep.

On finally learning to drive

As a newly passed driver, I take a look back at a very early limitation I set upon myself, it came up lately from another person were the words ‘I can’t imagine you….’ This can be depleting and destructive to a sensitive persons spirit and it’s as if subconsciously I heard ‘I guess I’ll never drive then’.

I first experienced the term before I got into personal development back when I was teenager, I remember thinking about driving and seeing, hearing of other 17 year olds driving and think ‘I can’t imagine myself driving’.

Little did I know back then that this was indeed the uncertain voice of fear creeping in. I wish I could go back to that 17 year old and say what I say now- ‘Just because you can’t imagine it, doesn’t mean it can’t happen.’

Other reasons I didn’t drive were that I felt less of a need to as I walked everywhere and enjoyed it. I didn’t know how a car worked (of course I didn’t have to know everything then, that comes in time being taught), I was just totally unconfident in some areas of my life, I see that now.

Here are some hints for learning to drive:

  • Start from where you are – make enquiries, gather learning material, start small
  • Ask around – through talking about driving, I was told of great teacher!
  • Visualise it – it just so happens the very car I put on my 2015 vision board I now drive and own!
  • Meditate – after I started yoga driving became so much more stress free, having a calm mind makes the hard so much easier.
  • Affirm it – cycling to work I used to repeat to myself ‘I AM driving a car’ as I was peddling up a hill.
  • Be positive – half of what determines how you drive is your outlook and attitude so be positive, we learn from experience.
  • Practice, practice, practise – even when you don’t feel like doing it
  • Follow other steps – Finish your goal with any other programs you feel you need to sign up for and set mini goals. I did pass plus then set and met the intention of driving to yoga class, a further away art gallery, the beach and so on.

Some driving goals I set for myself and completed: