Last week I had my first session with my first real client. I’m no longer a counselling virgin, I’m now a proper counsellor.
I was a bit concerned about it, the usual flow of catastrophes going through in my head prior to the meeting but in the end none of them came close to transpiring and it all passed off reasonably well. It’s currently well laid out as I then had an hour to myself and then group supervision. It was so valuable going into that so quickly after the session. I now get about my tutor suggesting that was better than waiting a week or so and his posing me the question “Can you hold your client that long?” Not as well as I could for only an hour it necessarily leaches away so going straight into supervision was so beneficial as my feelings and thoughts and reflections were all so in the moment.
An interesting point for me was that the very next day I was on my course and we had time for some skills practice, just in pairs, without formal observation. What really interested me was that I seemed more alive and receptive to my client’s feelings in that practice session. I could sense in me her feelings of anger, frustration, despair, confusion, sadness etc. Maybe it was just a good day where I was attuned, maybe my partner just played the character for the practice scenario very well, maybe it is because I know them well after two years working in the same group… maybe. Maybe it was since working with a real client, with real issues, in a real setting that had radically retuned (or simply tuned) my empathic capability and that was why suddenly I was truly sensing and tracking my client’s feelings in that session. It will be interesting to see if I continue to feel that level of empathic reception in future sessions. One thing. I do now have a clear insight as to what that empathic feeling is like and I know I can work at that depth if the conditions are right and I choose to.
I had another real bonus last week too. Via a Facebook group I’m part of in my local area a lady put up some photos of a bunch of counselling books. I looked through and in particular there were 4 that really interested me. I thought they’d make a good addition to my library and were pricey even second hand on eBay, so much so I’d probably never think of buying them separately. So I made her an offer. Long story short she ended up selling me all the books for a really good price. Result! I’m already deep into reading one of the four I’d identified. I only ended up with a couple of duplicates that I’ve already got/read and just one that is really not for me at all.
I’m looking forward to the weekend since I’m off on holiday! Woohoo!! Mrs F and I will be off to sunny Spain (cue cheesy song from years ago) for a few days. I’ll try and post from there if I get chance or you’ll be caught up back end of next week.