The summer has been quite a busy time at ICT as we felt the kitchen needed revamping, students needed access to the internet whilst at ICT on occasion, and our website would benefit from a spring clean (why not take a look).
Not only did we address these practical concerns we also took the time to review our programme of courses, which prompted us to wonder what students look for when they embark on a course in counselling and what takes them beyond that first course.
ICT put out a call for students of counselling asking if any would be interested in forming a focus group to discuss some questions about their journey in counselling training - 6 students kindly offered their time; Sarah, Sara, Cathy, Eve, Kirsty and Harminder. Five students were able to meet with me on a warm Friday afternoon in August and were very open and honest about their experiences.
Initial reflections following the group suggest that overall the reasons for starting a counselling course was an 'interest in people'. Some of the group had experience of counselling personally ,which enabled them to make a clearer choice between psychology, philosophy and counselling whilst others had to do some research to be able to make their decision.
Some students wanted to improve their listening skills because of the work they do antd yet others wanted to improve their family relationships. All the group felt they gained enormously even from their first course. It would seem that the 'bug' , the counselling training bug, bit them all as they hadn't wanted to end there. What happened then you may ask? Well a later blog will be devoted to this question in more depth as there is much to reveal.
However the rain on the window pane lets me know summer has ended and Autumn has arrived which for some reflects their more melancholic mood but for me personally it has an exciting quality. Autumn sees a change of season with few expectations, after all we don't expect Autumn to be filled with warm days and light evenings (so no disappointment).
It's also a time when we at ICT begin to welcome new students and greet again those who are returning either to a new course at a different level or their final year in training - with many expectations - of the course and of themselves. We know counselling training is a challenge and so we attempt to ensure that ICT has taken stock of what we do and how we do it and rested well to meet the challenge of supporting our students on this journey.