Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Week two started almost as if there had not been 7 days between lessons. The class had still maintained its open friendliness - from refectory to classroom. I made a conscious decision to move my seat - from the front of the class in week one, to the back - so that I would be next to my "buddy". This enabled me to get to know a further four people better than if I had stayed in my original seat and partook in only group exercises.

The first exercise of the evening, to pair up with an as yet unknown and write down a list of four facts about yourself, at least one of which being false, helped me get to know someone I had in the first week stereotyped. Since the exercise required us to talk to each other about the kinds of preconceptions we had of each other to discern which fact was the falsehood I gleaned not only the truth but also their humanity - any ice on my part was broken. As it was, I ignored my preconceptions and selected an item to be false purely because I felt it was unbelieveable. The two I did get right were a hollow victory.

In the discussion on groups my adopted group were very sharing, allowing each other to speak, never talking over the top of one another and being open with our feelings. All the while we were giving over a piece of ourselves to the rest of the group, a nugget of what makes up our persona. For me that includes a quietness in bigger groups, a more proactive role in smaller groups, feeling happy in either and having a position in my family that is far more equal than most of the others who felt that they have suffered from some kind of older sibling/younger sibling syndrome. We identified that bigger groups would tend towards a single person taking control, a necessity to keep the group focused: the class environment. However, some characters often take up such a position in order to be in control or to get things their own way.

Personal strengths and limitations gave me an opportunity to, in my mind, readdress a couple of my own limitations that I had touched upon in my week one reflective log. Whilst it was put forward that many people find it easy to list their limitations and often struggle with their strengths, I did not; listing almost double the amount of strengths. Though, I took the task to be more about identifying in ourselves points of awareness, reminders that we're all human, and no better than the people we intend to help; that we all have our own hang-ups. This was reinforced by the brief discussion upon Carl Rogers' Core Conditions: empathy; unconditional positive regard; congruence.

I do feel that I am going to reach a plateau at some point in this course where I will feel that my learning and the practise of counselling is tying my hands - I am proactive in everything I do, helping others by showing them first hand (watching someone struggle with something I can do quicker or better gives me an itch). It's something, like the rest of my reflection, to be aware of. I believe that as long as I acknowledge it, I will be prepared to face it and move on from it.

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