About me and my therapy practice
How I work as a Counselling Trainer?
I base training practice on a belief regarding what constitutes the most effective learning within the context at hand?
In this case the context is Counselling training. So the learning and teaching methodology needs to fit with the discipline to be acquired.
In Counselling training, students need to acquire empathy. Successful acquisition of empathy is a two way street. Empathy with others as well as oneself needs to be developed. The sophistication of one relies on the other. Both states are co-dependent, going hand in hand. When Counselling training recognises this, it dovetails skills and knowledge acquisition alongside understanding and personal self development opportunities.
At best, Counselling training puts the student at centre so it needs to be active, personally involving and personally meaningful. The development of self-learning is a process of maturing that goes on inside the trainee practitioner as it does outside, regarding the subject matter itself.
In summary, training Counselling practitioners is not a mechanistic act, simply predicated on the capturing of externally derived learned behaviours to a set standard. In such an instance, the learner has an assumed passivity awakened for a specific goal.
Ideally, Counselling training is an active, involving and consuming process which deepens individual understanding of self and others (being the basis of empathy) and in the process of doing so, naturally sets down a bedrock, or ability, to engage in considered critical reflection of self and circumstance which is a crucial quality to acquire.
Following this process helps a trainee to be more at ease when a therapeutic way of relating is necessary and what is described here is experiential and humanistic learning and teaching methodology in action.
Describing my Practice
Following principles of experiential and humanistic learning and teaching methodology shifts the counselling 'educator' into the role of 'facilitator'.
All terms have significance and describe where the learner is positioned in relation to their learning. In this case, when educator is facilitator, the student of counselling (within the group setting) sits at the centre of their learning experience.
Within the learning and teaching group context, this means that the acquisition of counselling knowledge, skills and understanding needs to be based on, structured around and scaffolded from, the position of learners' direct experience of the world around them and the sense they make, and have made, of this, towards their growth and development.
Essentially the learning task is to facilitate an ever increasing relationship between learner and subject matter and it is this relationship that provides increasing levels of meaning.
From the learner's position, their task is to actively engage in this relationship. Invest themselves in it so to speak. Investment leads to inclusion, trust and belonging and these core conditions allow learning to be both supportive and challenging when and where necessary.
The group setting helps in this regard, where learners' articulation of their lived experience, channelled through the medium of person centred learning activities of various kinds, can be met with support and challenge via self, peer and facilitator feedback.
Giving and receiving feedback of this kind, taking place within a constructive group relationship setting, helps the learner to critically self reflect, to take stock of their current learning needs and to plan for future development in line with identified needs.
My first session
Setting up the (group) stage upon which Counselling Training can thrive:
Within a safe and exploratory group setting, learners' can achieve an enhanced awareness through finding out who they are, why they are, and (metaphorically) where they need to go next in order to further their learning needs.
In other words, it is in every learner's interest to 'find their unique sense of place akin to 'home', and in doing so, they learn best from being in a position of greater openness and receptivity to self and others.
In this sense, the acquisition of skills, knowledge and understanding within the field of counselling training in circumstances as described here, is best achieved by the Facilitator paying close attention to group dynamics which serve as building blocks towards group cohesion and individual learning within a wider context.
The learning group represents this wider context, being the best representation of the wider outside world that can be achieved for learners' and its importance is rooted in its representation of a larger reality that lives and breathes outside the life of this learning group.
Effective counselling training does two things in my view. It allows for an exploratory and ' safe time out' from external reality which is necessary for learner receptivity towards deeper learning.
Through the auspices of group setting, group interaction and attention to group dynamics, the learning group also stays in the 'reality' of a world outside, meaning what takes place inside the learning group is validated as an alternative to, but no less 'real' than what exists outside.
Counsellor training needs to be cognisant of both beginnings and endings at one and the same time, including what is therapeutically best for the learning space in-between. In this way, transition into the group and back into the outside world can most fluidly and effectively take place.
- Flexible hours available
About me and my therapy practice
How I work as a (Humanistic) Supervisor:
I view the Supervisee relative to context. So in this regard I am systemic in conceptualisation, regarding the Supervision relationship as a window into other dimensions of practice that can be reflected upon, providing broader insights for the Supervisee and their client work.
In the 'here and now' there is the significance of context and relationship between the Supervisor and Supervisee.
In the 'then and there' there is the significance of context and relationship between the Counsellor/Supervisee and their Client(s).
In that I work with the significance of the Counsellor Client relationship as playing out, at times, in the Supervisor Supervisee relationship, I therefore incorporate a Psychodynamic viewpoint of understanding regarding what is brought to Supervision.
All practitioners need to be vigilant in considering to what extent prevailing issues actually 'belong' to the Client or represent more complex features of other entwined relationships. In this sense I work with Transference and Countertransference within Supervision.
I consider that the Supervisee will bring their own unique perspective and way of looking at the world and that this view will impact on their practice choices and actions as articulated within Supervision.
The question then remains as to what extent the perspective taken is likely to be the most helpful to Client needs (and effective counselling practice) at that time? This is the central question that occupies Supervision and which is worked on, collaboratively, between the Supervisee and Supervisor, with the absent Client being as 'present' throughout these explorations as can possibly be achieved.
In giving importance to the unique and subjective ways that we each process and frame life experiences, influencing both the choices we make and the decisions we take, my Supervisory practice is therefore fundamentally Humanistic.
The immediacy of capturing lived experience in the 'here and now' through collaborative exploration and reflection on practice themes within the 'there and then' highlights the importance of experiential learning and in particular, how intentional reflection on practice within the Supervisory space can bring forth new and creative insights, often outside the usual grasp of everyday understanding.
I view Supervisory practice (and the Supervisory relationship) as essentially a forum within which 'play' and 'playful curiosity' can be encouraged, these being valuable sources of insight via the process of what is experiential learning in action. In capturing both action and considered reflection, the Supervisory framework has the capacity to be a dynamic learning experience in its own right.
These features are also what I consider likely to bring out 'the best' in the Supervisee whilst never losing sight of considering what is 'best' for the Client at the same time.
My first session
Within the early Supervisory relationship, a range of questions or enquiries will necessarily prevail:
The context/setting within which therapeutic practice takes place along with its purpose, expectations, demands, targets and goals? The nature and identity of the cultural/contextual setting at hand and the role of the Practitioner (and Clients) within this context?
These enquiries encourage a broader, richer and systemic understanding.
I consider it important to know and understand how the Practitioner/Supervisee views their Counselling work? How they make an assessment of Client narratives, wants, needs and goals?
Basically, how they conceptualise their work and why they work in the way they work? A discussion of frameworks of understanding as formulated and applied, from the practice base of both the Practitioner and myself as Supervisor, is important to establish collaborative understanding towards mutual attunement and clarity of purpose.
As in therapy, a method, structure and rhythm for Supervisory practice to take place and work best for both parties will be constructed and established. These discussions provide a necessary boundary or framework within which fruitful, ethical and creative working together can thrive. Going forward, they also formalise the basis for our contract of working together.
Clients I work with
Adults, EAP, Groups, Older adults, Organisations, Trainee, Young people
How I deliver therapy
Long-term face-to-face work, Online counselling, Short-term face-to-face work, Time-limited