This is the last piece of work I’m going to be writing for this course, and I just wanted to record my thoughts and feelings as it all comes to an end – a conclusion of sorts.

If I look back on my initial expectations of the course, they were to gain a basic understanding of counselling and the skills and qualities required to be a counsellor; I feel I have a complete definition now of what counselling is and what skills are required. I have learned so much about how counselling works, what it is and isn’t for, and how it helps people. I have learned the core conditions of counselling, which underpin the entire dynamic relationship between client and counsellor. I have learnt how to listen, and how to delve deeper into someone’s thoughts and feelings. I have learnt the importance of empathy, and how to see something from another person’s frame of reference. I have learnt how to use questions to expand a conversation rather than close them down, and how to use reflections and summaries to keep a conversation going. I have learnt the importance of Unconditional Positive Regard. I have learnt the importance of being non-judgemental in counselling, and I have learnt how maintaining boundaries is crucial. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The course has improved my interpersonal skills no end (this was another of my initial expectations), as I feel a lot more confident in dealing with all kinds of people on a day-to-day basis, and my debating and conversational skills have improved as well. I’m more likely to provide my point of view in an open conversation; thinking quickly and rationally working out exactly what I want to say that will encapsulate the core of my message before I open my mouth, rather than exposing my blunt, emotional thoughts and feelings. I definitely feel more confident and able in general, in all aspects of my life. I have joined a gym and go at least once a week and am a firmer, yet more patient father to my son. Our tutor did give us an optional exercise in which we were to ask someone close to us about what they thought of us – I contemplated asking my wife but was too weary at the time to endure the answer – it would be interesting to get her feedback on whether she thinks I have changed much over the last year. I’m not sure if I am that confident though.

I have also increased my own self-awareness through the various introspective exercises out tutor gave us to do. I have seen how my past has reverberated into my present, how it contains certain patterns that keep repeating, and I have identified how my past could have shaped my future. Thanks to the self-awareness I have developed on this course, I can safely say that my past no longer shapes my future, and a lot of the patterns that were causing me so much grief have been broken. The exercises have helped me identify ways in which my mind works, what is truly important to me, and how others perceive me. I found the weekend workshop where we made masks very interesting and enlightening. Making the mask was fascinating and revealing on its own, and then working on my Johari Window really blew my mind wide open.

I’m very much looking forward to starting the Level 3 course after the summer – my tutor gave me a candidate guide to look at today and I thought it looked very interesting. The depth of the work involved in the Level 3 course excites me. I did feel that the Level 2 course was quite generalised and sometimes I had to hold myself back from diving too deep into a particular area; to be fair though, the Level 2 course is the very beginning of the journey, so I don’t really expect it to have you writing essays on the life and times of Carl Rogers, or explaining the complexities of Sigmund Freud’s Oedipus complex.

Another goal during the course was to determine whether I could see myself as a counsellor in the future – something which fills me with happiness now as I can definitely see it happening. I know the journey to becoming a counsellor and having my own practise (click this link for more details) is going to be a long one but attending this course has strengthened my resolve no end, and completing it has made me really proud of myself.

Going back to my initial expectations, I wrote that I wanted to prove to myself that I could do more with my life. I have done that. I have completed the course and proved to myself that I can do more with my life.

It feels good to type that.

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