Stage II => chaos!

Well, the second year of University has started, and thinking about it – a whole month has passed already!! Time definitely flies when there are things to be done! Good thing is that the complexity of this academic year seems manageable (so far). However, what has been on my mind lately is that my schedule is so chaotic and trying to piece things together takes so much time and energy out of me. Here is how my situation is currently – I have 2 counselling placements, each is relatively far from where I live; my lectures this year are only once a week, but we have those 4-5 additional intensive blocks of training where we need to attend uni every day for a week or so. This means traveling back and forth to Glasgow and rescheduling everything else that has been planned for the week – like clients’ appointments, supervision,personal therapy…life…and finding time to fit them all in.

I think i have been handling things well for the past month, but what seems to be the problems now is that i need to find another placement. This should be within an NHS organization, like a GP surgery or clinical department where I could exercise CBT (finding one will be a tough job and i’m dreading commencing the search). I already started using the approach with a client, who requested it in one of my established placements. Using Person-centred approach and then CBT..with CBT still being very fresh for me…well, to be honest things are starting to feel a bit messy. Imagine using person-centered approach for a day with clients and then the last client is my CBT client. I think the impact CBT has had on my practice already is that I’ve become more directive with my person-centred clients, my patience has changed!!!..I need to find the balance somewhere in between I suppose. I find it much easier being directive, following forms, giving out home-task etc., thinking logically instead of exploring my clients’ problems in depth…arrggg. I might explore that in another post. My tutors recommend that we don`t try to integrate things yet, until we feel comfortable with each approach on it’s own. I’m kind of wondering whether this makes sense to me..as the approaches are so different from each other. Anyways, this is my struggle at the moment.. still very fresh so I suppose I need some time to find myself and see what sits with me at this stage.

I’ve been reading a lot of research lately, I kind of like it.. (soon coming up is an intense quantitative research block which may change my positive attitude towards it though). I have also been offered to publish my lit. review in one of the Counselling Psychology journals. I’m pretty pleased with that and now have to work on preparing that review, putting it in a more presentable shape I suppose.I’m impressed how M. managed to keep this blog running last year, while so many things need to be done..like assignments, log books etc.(I didn’t mention those above but lets put it this way – the D.Psych course just doesn’t  leave a gap for you to breath).

Tc!

A.

Client hours,deadline after deadline..when do they end and when do they begin?

So, this summer has been (and still is) revolving around deadlines. Dead and line..oh, god..couldn’t they come up with a worse word to call it, something more motivating and encouraging perhaps?!?

Anyways, you can probably sense my annoyance with those deadlines all summer. When does summer begin? Apart from the horrible weather here in Scotland, and all those deadlines to meet I have the feeling the academic year will never end!!! Apart from trying to fit into those dates for when assignments, reflective essay, systematic review, draft, then corrections, then a log book, mid and end-placement reviews.. I’m also trying to gather enough client hours to be able to pass into 2-nd year. I just can’t help but laugh with irony and pain on the thought of meeting all the deadlines,get good-ish marks and then being told to skip a year making up for client hours!hahahah..:”(

The problem with client hours in placements is something which I feel I would have avoided if I was prepared, or simply told by a placement tutor or a student buddy or something. This is why I feel it’s important to share it here, perhaps someone will avoid this unpleasant situation. The thing with my placements was that… well, I found them early (on time lets say) to be able to start seeing clients and not panic too much that i’m the only one left without a placement. So, I found 2 placements – one in a small private counselling centre (that was offering me to start asap) and another in a big, well-known counselling organization (that wanted me to have a PVG update before I started). Even though I have been a PVG scheme member and have recently been through a Disclosure Scotland for working with vulnerable groups (which is a must here) the big centre sill wanted an update (fair enough). However, I was not told that this update will come through in 3 months time!!

So, since my start with the small private centre (which was able to give me only 1 client and later on a 2nd one) I have been waiting for that update to be able to actually start counting real hours. Well, I got the update in June and started with 1 client so that I could get used to their system. So currently, towards the end of my summer I still have only 1 client and very little placement hours. I have obviously spoken to my managers and they are trying to arrange more clients for me in the coming weeks from both placements..all I can do is cross fingers at this point and hope it’s not too late:/

University is particularly strict with client hours and do not allow students to pass into 2nd year of the course unless they’ve done a minimum of 50 placement hours. I’m trying to find where i’ve gone wrong, what have i missed out to get into this mess. I don`t like to blame others, so I suppose the mistake was all mine to think that things will be fine. However, I’m also thinking that placement tutors are responsible for advising us regarding placements and I have received only minimal support from mine..was he supposed to inform me early about such possibilities??In fact he was telling me – “Oh, don`t worry about finding a placement early, I only started mine in March”

Another thing which sort of hurt me a bit from this situation is that.. in reality – I had to “beg” my managers for more voluntary, unpaid work..not picking flowers in the field, but counselling troubled people (dont get me wrong- I love the job). .but this, considering my financial situation is quite a thing. This is another topic on it’s own and i’m not going there.

I did not want to complain and nag here, but it seems like I did. Anyways, my point is that D.Psych students need to be informed and prepared what challenges to expect from placements and collecting client hours early enough so that they can plan their progress. I hope this example reaches those who may eventually fall into a similar trap, and helps them avoid it.

 

A.

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