I did my counselling training with the University of Wales Trinity St David (delivered by Ammanford College). I studied for a foundation degree in counselling. The course I took was for two years and was accredited by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). The course was to train me to become an integrative humanistic counsellor. I then took a year out and went back to uni to study for my BA (Hons) in Counselling and to my surprise I achieved a 1st! I thoroughly enjoyed being a counselling student. It is one of the best things I have ever done.
When I first started uni everything was so overwhelming! There was just so much to take in! New people, how to use Moodle, how to log on to the library system. I had gone from sitting at home to being in uni! We had check-ins every morning and checkout when we finished. I would share how worried I was about my dog because he was used to me being at home. It wasn’t long before I realised that it wasn’t my dog that was having trouble adjusting, it was me!
I really struggled with all the reading and talk of work. My home life was bringing its own challenges. I was having trouble keeping up with the housework, especially the washing! Getting the children’s uniforms washed on time was a challenge and one I wasn’t keeping up with! I started to feel a lot of guilt for doing the course. I felt as though I was putting myself before the family. I talked this through with people and I started to come up with solutions to help me manage at home. One idea was to simply buy five sets of uniforms!
Then came our first essay! I had been saying to myself and others that I would be happy with a pass. I quickly came to realise that I was not happy with a pass at all and that I wanted a merit! So, when I got a merit I was fine but when I didn’t I became very upset. Then I realised that I was measuring my self-worth by the mark that I had.
A big help to me was listening to audible books. Of course, I had to read books but when times came that I was cleaning and not able to sit down with a book I found listening to audible books great for listening to while getting other stuff done.
Fitness to Practice
To get our fitness to practice, we had to record ourselves counselling another student. We had to do this to show that we were able to be fit for placement. I really enjoyed our triads and making the fitness to practice DVD even though it was very nerve-racking. Being recorded was tough enough but knowing it was going to be marked was even tougher.
Personal Development Groups
I really looked forward to our weekly personal development (PD) group. It was a chance to get to know more about others but more importantly, it was an opportunity to get to know myself better. Having other people point things out about me was very challenging! But necessary.
Finding a placement was difficult. There were many places to choose from. Deciding which area I wanted to go into was challenging because I couldn’t make my mind up. I went for an interview at a local hospital that carried out bereavement counselling. The hospital accepted me for the placement, however, I decided that it wasn’t for me. I then tried working with young people. Again, I decided that wasn’t for me. When a placement came up in a doctor’s surgery I applied and I was accepted for it. I really enjoyed this placement because I gained a lot of experience working with different issues and different people. Also, my supervisor was next door, so I felt very supported. I really enjoyed being a trainee counsellor. Having a good supervisor is essential.
There was a requirement of the course that students have ten hours of personal therapy. I had lots of counselling in the past but due to events that had recently happened, I was very nervous about having counselling again. I ended up having 30 hours! Having personal therapy is such an essential part of the course in my opinion.
Trust the Process
Some of the tutors used the words ‘trust the process. I really wish I could have been able to do this from the beginning because as soon as I began to trust the process life got a lot easier, still challenging but easier than it was. Self-care was a must for this course and for the placement. The beach was a big part of my self-care and I connected with nature for the first time in my life.
Personal Therapy for Counselling Students
I really enjoy working with counselling students. I find it very rewarding and a privilege to be part of their journey to becoming a qualified counsellor. I offer a discounted rate of £35 for students.