Karen Lloyd: So we are going to have a look at criterion 7 and criterion 7 is all about your self-awareness. Now self-awareness is key to being an effective practitioner and for criterion 7 you're going to have 900 words again in order to tell us about an experience or an activity that has contributed to increasing your self-awareness. There's no time limit on when this activity or experience happened because obviously we are continually, if we are a reflective practitioner, we are continually learning about ourselves aren’t we? So it's not time specific here but what we want you to do is just to think about an experience, just one, or one activity that you can draw on where you feel that has increased your self-awareness.
Now there is almost nothing ruled out here so whereas we went through a list of the things you might use for criterion 6 this is so open ended because we are really quite happy for you to use anything at all but you know often people will use some sort of life experience. People may use personal therapy but it can really be anything and what we’re really interested in from this activity is what was it that you learnt about yourself? So again thinking about the word count. What we want you to do is just spend a few, a couple of sentences telling us about the actual activity or the experience and for 7.2 why have you chosen to write about it rather than why have you chosen the activity. Because actually somebody just said you know I didn't really choose a CBT activity it chose me, and in this particular section that quite often is the case. So you may not have chosen the experience it may have chosen you, particularly if it’s something like a bereavement or people write about life experiences such as divorce or having a child, you know whatever.
But we want to know, what’s your reason for choosing to write about the activity? Why are you presenting this to us what is it that you’ve learnt about yourself from it? Then for 7.3 we want you to tell us how you've used the thing that you've learnt about yourself in your counselling practice. As practitioners we do need to be able to identify and name our own emotions that come up in the counselling room don't we? If we're not able to recognise them and name them then you know there's a possibility that that's going to contaminate the work that we're doing and we may not be able to recognise transference and so on.
Now again thinking about the pitfalls and how can I offer you some additional guidance here? You have only got 900 words and the important thing is what did you learn about yourself and how have you used that self-awareness in your practice? Please do not spend 850 words telling about the experience because actually the experience is just a vehicle by which you can demonstrate to us that you've got self-awareness. That's the purpose of this particular criterion.
So sometimes when people are writing about a life experience they will get very drawn into writing about something that is sometimes quite moving and very personal and a very significant event in their life. But people get lost in the story of that and then what we are busily searching for is okay but what is the self-awareness that came out of that? So you really do need to be able to focus on that.
Now I'm going to ask you to think about an experience or an activity, and obviously because this is likely to be personal I'm not going to ask you to share it in the group today, but I do want you to see if you can think about something and write it down. So that when you go away from today you have got an experience or an activity to draw on and think about what it was that you learnt about yourself. How did that increase your self-awareness and what impact has that had on the work in the counselling room? If anybody's, you know, struggling or if anyone wants to ask any questions at the end we can have a look at that and see where or how I can support you further.
When I'm doing, when I'm talking about criterion 7, a thing that I want people to be really aware of is the difference between awareness and self-awareness. Ok. So normally if we do a piece of training or development the sort of thing that you probably will be writing about in criterion 6 we would come away with some awareness. We would have an awareness of a process or we’d have a better awareness of particular skills and things that we might be using in the counselling room with clients. For criterion 7 it's actually self-awareness that's the key. So there is really quite a difference between awareness of for example the bereavement process, the grief cycle, as opposed to what you learnt about yourself from having the experience of having been bereaved. Does that make sense?
So again just to avoid common pitfalls, sometimes people will write about an experience that they've had or some activity that they have undertaken and it may be hugely significant and they forget to tell us about what they learned about themselves. So it's being able to recognise what's going on in the counselling room as a result of this activity. So for example some people write about the experience of becoming a parent, or becoming a mother in particular, and they write quite a lot about attachment theory which they are aware off because they are seeing it being played out in front of them. But that is different to writing about how that experience of becoming a parent, what that has taught you about yourself, and in particular what we want to understand is that when you go into the counselling room, you're able to separate out what belongs to you from what belongs to the client. What impact does it have on the counselling process to be aware of your own emotions, your own thoughts, feelings, responses to whatever it is that the client is disclosing?
What I would avoid doing, and again coming back to referencing, in the same way as with criterion 6 we've said try not to use all your word count telling us about the activity, because the activity or experience that you choose is really only a vehicle for you to demonstrate your self-awareness. Sometimes what we've had in applications is that applicants have used almost all of their word count telling us about the experience and then when they come to 7.3 they only have a few words left to say how it impacts on their practice. And they may say something like 'this enables me to be more empathic with my clients in the counselling room'. Now that would not meet the criterion because you need to provide us with evidence that tells us clearly how what you've learnt about yourself is then impacting on your counselling practice.
In terms of breaking the application down into more manageable chunks, this 900 word section is something that you could do at any time really because this is not, there's no date or anything put on this and once you've had that increase in your self-awareness you will have it forever. So you can write this section at any time and be ready to insert it into your application when you're ready to send it off.