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It’s quite scary to realise that we are supposedly over a third of the way through the course. We have finished the theory and will now focus on the skills. We all had a bit of a moan about not having had triad practice every lesson so far and welcomed the news that we would have longer triads for the rest of the year as we end up having eight minutes each if we’re lucky, which we are not always.

We also all threw a bit of a wobbly about the essay. We’re all slightly confused about how much personal reflection, how much theory and how many quotes to put into it all. I had emailed the tutor and asked her about it and sent her a partial answer to see if I was along the right tracks. The discussion did make it clear that I need to add in more personal reflection, to almost all the questions. The one person who has finished it announced that he wasn’t bothered about getting the qualification as he wasn’t going to continue and so wasn’t going to do any more essays or homework as he wasn’t computer literate and found it all too stressful.

The triad was interesting as although I didn’t get a chance to listen I talked to B about Christmas and the difficulties of keeping it magical with teenagers. The tutor was listening and K observing. He didn’t get what I meant and then talked about resolving my problems next session. K said all the things that I thought, that he was trying to solve a problem rather than listen to the feelings and hear what I was saying. She also pointed out that he was telling me what we would do next session which was far too directed. It was great and I was wondering why I hadn’t been able to say any of this last time I had observed B. I know why though; I’ve been worried about how people would take more pertinent criticism. Whether it would all be my fault.

We also had a big discussion about how it was giving and receiving feedback after triads. No one, myself included, was willing to admit to having problems receiving feedback until D slowly put his hand up and said feedback might criticise his already existent negative beliefs about his counselling skills. I still didn’t feel able to put up my hand and say that yes I found criticism hard to take as it triggered my conditions of worth. We all sat there and said we wanted more critical feedback as we’ve all been a bit careful only saying nice things to each other. We all chorused that we were worried about hurting each others’ feeling and we all farcically agreed that none of us had had our feelings hurt yet so we could all be a little bit harder on each other. The only way to learn is to get more useful criticism but it was all very British except for K who said this was all what she’d been doing today.

We were invited to reflect out loud on  where we were with our counselling skills. We all sort of said that we needed to work on everything. I think my active listening, my non-verbal responses are all good actually. I said the problem lay with what comes out of my mouth. We all sort of agreed that this was the problem, that we were all second-guessing what we said and what we should have said while we were saying it. So yes, I think about what I could say, whether I ought to say it and as soon as I do say it I start thinking about what I should have said instead. What I did manage to say out loud was that we were all trying to hard to get it right rather than acknowledging that we were here to learn and we were going to get it wrong.

All in all though it was a good session as we were very much all in it together, sharing in our views and being of similar viewpoint.

We all went to the pub afterwards which again was nice and comradely and I sort of resented having to leave after a couple of drinks except that it was quite nice to say I’m going to a gig. So there were lots of bonding moments really which I think left us all feeling warm and fuzzy.