We will be using my consulting room in Buxton which can comfortably seat six people. We will begin with a short check in with each other. Checking in involves each of us taking a few minutes to say a little about ourselves and sharing any relevant material. Sometimes we have things happening in our work or personal lives that are significant, and we want to share as a cause of celebration with the group, or there may be difficult things going on that we want to name so that we can then focus on the task of the group for the day.
Having spent some time getting settled with each other, I will then take the agenda for the day. This means that I will ask each person what they want to work on in that session. Sometimes this might be to bring a client case for discussion, a piece of theory for further explanation, an ethical dilemma. For people engaged in exam preparation it might mean support in essay or dissertation writing, practising playing tapes, or exam coaching. Not everyone will have an agenda item and sometimes people may have more than one. We will prioritise and aim to cover all topics, recognising that sometimes with a particularly full agenda not all items will be answered.
Once the agenda is established we will then move to the topic for the session. Lin will present an article, piece of research or theoretical idea as an input to the group and for discussion for the first hour. Then we will move to working through the items on the agenda.
There will be time for a 20 minute break and I will provide hot drinks and biscuits.
The group will end as it began with a short check out as each person may wish to say something about their learning for the day.
Think this might be something you would like to include in your approach to your professional development? Contact me to book your place or for further information.
The second of my short videos where I am speaking about how I think about supervision. Counsellors and therapists who are not yet qualified are at an interesting stage in their development. They are building experience and working effectively with clients and developing a sense of themselves as a practitioner. In this Vlog I’m describing how I approach supervision, the importance of learning in supervision and the role I take.
In the midst of the celebrations and holidays, whether religious or otherwise, I hope that you have had the opportunity for good times spent with people you love and care about. Unfortunately for some people Christmas will have meant a host of family arguments, relationship problems, disappointments, painful memories, losses and grief.
Stress at Christmas
There is a tremendous amount of expectation put on us at this time of year. Expectations about spending time with people that we might actually not get on that well with for the rest of the year. Along with eating too much, possibly drinking too much and spending too much money. It undoubtedly can be one of the most stressful times of the year – Christmas stress. As a therapist I have spent several weeks in the run up to December 25th talking to many of my clients about Christmas. How they were feeling about it. What meaning did they attach to the event. Were they having the kind of Christmas they wanted? Or were they under pressure to meet other’s needs. How they might take care of themselves in the face of spending time with people where relationships might be difficult. Or deal with painful memories of events or of loved ones who are no longer here.
Improve your life
I’m also expecting an influx of calls following Christmas as many people reach the point of “this can’t carry on.” This is often the result of a miserable few days spending an intense amount of time perhaps with a partner or family member where things are not going well at all. Where with the stress of Christmas all the problems in the relationship become heightened.
I invite you to give yourself permission to do what you need to do to take care of yourself. This might begin by not adding extra pressure by thinking “but it’s Christmas, everything should be different.” Although Christmas is heralded as a time of year of goodwill, for some people in some situations that is not feasible or even desirable. If you need to do something different with your situation to improve your life then please don’t let the time of year stop you from taking action to change your situation.
It might also might mean contacting someone you’ve not been in touch with for a long time. Telling someone something important. Deciding not to spend next Christmas with family. Seeking out counselling for help with a relationship problem.
These last few days at the end of December can be lovely; with time for resting, celebrating in ways that are healthy and enjoyable, being with people you love and who love you. Making meaning and finding ways to mark the changing of the seasons and the time of year that aligns with your beliefs and values. If that hasn’t been your experience this year my encouragement to you is to reflect how you might have this for yourself next year.
I very much like this quote from EM Forster, it reminds me of some definitions of the concept of script in transactional analysis. In TA the concept of script is that we make an unconscious life plan and live our lives accordingly. It seems to me that both and Berne and Forster were encouraging us to free ourselves from any life plan and find autonomy.
In some ways I think this describes the task of therapy to work out what is known, what is unknown, explore our perceptions of what is remaining and then to see if our perception may change through that exploration.
Second quote – I’m setting myself the challenge of a quote for every week of the year. I’m often struck by the wisdom in some of the French philosophers and thinkers. From a transactional analysis perspective a way of thinking about autonomy?