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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello friends,

I have an interview for a Foundation course (one year) and if I get a place hope to progress to either a Counselling or Psychotherapy course with the same organisation. (All researched and all bone fide qualifications approved by the appropriate bodies.)

I was wondering if anyone has done something similar and could advise me re the interview? There will be a group session in the morning and an individual interview in the afternoon. The process is described as "a useful self development opportunity in its own right."

On the application I had to write about personal issues I had dealt with and of course wrote about IF, childlessness and moving on.

I also had to include brief details of any counselling/therapy I have had - just the name of the counsellor, dates and approach.

Any advice would be most welcome but there is a particular issue that I am not sure how to handle if I have to discuss it.

The only counselling I have had was at the fertility clinic and it was not a useful experience. I became disillusioned when I felt the counsellor was not interested in me! I opened a session by telling her that I was feeling totally drained and fed up by the fact that I was supporting friends with other issues (bereavement, sexual abuse, divorce, work issues) and getting no support from them or from anyone else. I felt that instead of focusing on me she became interested in the story of one of the people leaning on me - a man who had suffered sexual abuse in his youth which was affecting his adult relationships and behaviour but about which he refused to seek counselling. She asked so many questions about this man that when we got to the end of the session I realised we had talked of little else! So I left feeling that even my counsellor was not interested in my issues! Maybe that could have been recovered but the counselling was limited to so many sessions and it was my last session. I did not raise the issue with the counsellor or the clinic as I simply did not have the emotional energy as I faced a major operation (myomectomy) the following week to prepare me for what my consultant said would be my last attempt at IVF. Once that ended in miscarrriage (my 7th) I was offered one more session with the counsellor - I can't even remember how that went, except for the fact that she offered me private sessions and said maybe my male friend would like to see her too!

I am not sure how to handle a discussion about this. It has obviously not put me off counselling as I am looking to train myself and will have to have weekly sessions for the duration of the course. However I am worried that I may give an impression that I was not open to counselling or did something else wrong! As the course is in the same small town as the fertility clinic I think the staff may even know my erstwhile counsellor, and of course they have her name on my application form. I also think that other people who had counselling from this woman may have taken or be on courses with the same organisation.

Anyway, please wish me luck, and thanks in advance for any advice!

Jq xxx
 

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Hi JQ

I'm afraid I do not know much about counselling or counselling courses so can offer no 'insider' advice.  :(  However, please have comfort from your 'unuseful experience' of counselling that I too share your experience and view. 

I have had two 'counselling' sessions and found both a waste of time. 

Counselling should be about listening.  However, during my two sessions, I had a sense of a kind of 'insincerity' in the listening that did not comfort me much. 

Perhaps, a person is only able to offer 'listening sincerity' or 'true interest' if they can 'connect' with what a person is talking about.  Which is why, perhaps, that forums like FF are so useful.  We truly connect with one another through shared experience.  ^hugme^

I think maybe counsellors should specialise in areas in which they have some experience and true understanding?  Something to bring up on and discuss on the interview/development course perhaps?  ???

With regards to your counsellor.  It sounds to me as though you did nothing 'wrong'.  It sounds to me as if your 'counsellor' had more 'personal' interest in your friend's experiences than yours.  Ergo my points as above.

Otherwise than the above, I think that you would be an excellent counsellor.  ^afro^  Congratulations on the choice of your new journey.   ^daisy^  I'm sure that the interview/course will open your awareness and lead you into other new directions.   8)  Good for you!

The very best of luck to you JQ!  ^afro^ And try not to worry too much.  ^hugme^ Try to sit back a bit from it, enjoy the experience  ^babyface^ and try and get the most from it you can perhaps?  Does that sound like good advice?  Who knows?!  ^idiot^ Well I try.   ::)  :)

Look forward to hearing all about it? 

Lots of best wishes,

G xxx
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Griselda,

"Does that sound like good advice?" You bet!  :)

I think it is a great idea to bring into the discussion how far it is a good idea for a counsellor to specialise in issues s/he has faced. I am thinking that maybe counsellors don't need to have the exact same experiences, but they should be able to relate to the feelings their clients express - mine should have been listening to and exploring my isolation and anger rather than persuing the details of my friend's story. I have recently spent a lot of time with a friend whose son recently committed suicide and although I have not been through anything like that I am listening to her pain and she appreciates that - says I am the only friend who just listens without making jugements or offering silly advice. I am sure it is having gone through IF and the silly advice we get that has taught me how to just be and listen.

I am sorry to hear that you had a poor experience of counselling too.  ^hugme^

Thank you so much for your words of encouragement - it means a lot to have the backing of my FF!

Jq xxx



 

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Hi JQ

Firstly, good luck with the interview (or should I say self development opportunity!)

I've no inside experience at all so will keep this quick - if you mention your previous counselling experience was not helpful which is a fair thing to do (in my opinion anyway) it could be worth finding out (if you don't already know) if your counsellor was properly qualified.  My ex-clinic boasted about its counselling service but didn't actually use qualified counsellors and a friend of mine was referred to a counsellor by a different clinic who suggested they just had "bad karma". This person also turned out to be unqualified.

If your counsellor reacted that way with you, it's possible that she has "form" and may not be rated by her peers anyway.

I tend to agree with G, if I went for counselling related to our IF issues, I think I would prefer to discuss it with somebody who understood and maybe had direct experience... that said my terminally ill brother is receiving counselling to help him cope and is benefiting - that person is a career counsellor who isn't terminally ill (she's a young healthy woman who appears to be a fit as) but does a damn fine job.

Anyway, good luck with it, I know I've benefited from your posts and I guess others have too so in my view, I think you'd make a very good counsellor.  Let's know how you get on.

flipper
 

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Dear jq,
It's not possible to do anything wrong in a counselling session - it is the responsibility of the counsellor to steer the session and it sounds like this counsellor was not very good. Maybe she was looking for new business (!?) I think in the interview when you mention this you should emphasise how much you learned from it (about what NOT to do as a counsellor). As in all avenues of life, even the worst experiences have something to teach us and that is what personal development is all about.
Don't be nervous - I think you are going to make a great counsellor. I'd vouch for you and all the ways you have helped me! And what a great thing to do with all that experience of yours - turning it into something positive like that. All power to you!
Bernie xxx
Good luck - come back and tell us how it goes!
 

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Hello

Just to wish you luck.  I completely agree with myownangel - you had a bad experience which wasn't your fault at all, you've moved on from it, and the big plus is that you are able to analyse very clearly why it went wrong and know what you would do better in the counsellor's position.

My counselling experience was very positive, but I wouldn't say I completely connected with my counsellor at all although she did her best to project a sense of really relating to me I'm not sure she could in the short time we had together (I'm just not someone who makes friends all that quickly I guess!!), just that she was very professionally helpful and able to make some really constructive suggestions and draw on her experiences not only working with IF patients (actually that was less useful as I have FF!) but also with people with post-natal depression and with people with parent-related issues.  And she also did a very good job of reminding me and my husband how successful we have been in other meaningful areas of our lives, so when she was asking seemingly non-related questions there did turn out to be some sense in them in the end!

As the others have said, I'm sure you'll be brilliant at it - good luck!

Jx
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Dear friends,

Thank you all so much for your advice and encouragement! That's what is so great about this board, that friends really think and take the trouble to give real support. Of course I will let you know how the interview goes.

It has really helped to look at ways to turn a negative experience into a positive thing to say. I guess I was just worrying about coming over as negative. (You know, professionals closing ranks and all that.) Now I have your permission to say what I have learnt from this (to concentrate on the person's feelings rather than to get too engaged in the narrative) I won't feel that I am somehow out of order to say sombody's practise could have been more helpful.

I believe my counsellor was qualified as she is a member of the British Association of Infertility Counsellors which I believe requires a BAC or BACP accredited qualification. I guess we all have our off days at work! Actually I got the impression she was bored with hearing about IF issues all the time and sexual abuse was much more interesting! (Seriously, her line of questioning here really could not lead anywhere much as it was supposed to be my last session, preparing me for the forthcoming major op and last ever attempt at IVF.) And I do think she was touting for business from myself and my friend, which felt a tad unethical - a more unbiased approach would have included signposting to other sources of support.

Tell you what - I have learnt a lot from the people on this board about listening!

Thanks again,

Jq xxx



 

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Late to this  ::)

Just wanted to say that I would use that counsellor as a perfect example of how NOT to be a counsellor, and that from your experiences with her it made you decide it was something you wanted to do using a more empathic approach!  ;)

Good luck sweetness; hope the nerves steady for you for this interview. Just remember to keep breathing...!

Love & tons of luck
Emcee
 

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Jq,

I just wanted to say that I think the ideas everyone else has put forward are exactly what I wanted to say - it is definitely about pulling out what you learned from the negative experience.

Good luck with the interview, I am sure you will be brilliant!

Let us know how you get on.

Love

VT
x
 

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Hi JQ

I know we have spoken before on things counsellorish and training and you know if I can be of any help at all please sing out ...  :)

I want to wish you loads of luck for your interview - hope I'm not too late! I know you will make a great counsellor because of your ability to relate and empathise.

Will your course be person-centred in model or psychodynamic ?
I am person centred and as such focus very much on core conditions, empathy, positive regard and congruence - the cornerstones of working therapeutically with someone I believe.

I am sure that your interviewer will be more interested in what you felt about your previous counselling experience, how that has influenced you as a potential counsellor and how you may go about seeking the services of any future counsellor,  than in the facts/details of your own personal story ... don't worry!

Mail me anytime...

TLZ xx
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hi Emcee, VT and TLZ,

As I said to the others, I am very grateful to receive such good advice and well wishes. Some of you may remember a member who has been quiet for a while who shared an image of a net of support woven by all the friends here when she faced challenges. I shall certainly take that image with me!

It was great to hear from TLZ again, really helpful to consider how that past experience will influence how I will go about seeking a future counsellor - I will need to work with one alongside the course.

At the moment I am not feeling worried or nervous Will let you all know how it goes.

Thanks again,

Jq xxx







 
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