I entered the group this week feeling very positive. The class held that feeling throughout the evening and the interaction between everyone was a good experience.
The task to analyse our initial reactions towards five different people was interesting not only from the point of view of looking at ourselves and our own hangups towards character types; for example: in response to a working class Irishman who swears a lot, doesn't declare his taxable income and suffers from depression brought out in me a defensive reaction - I didn't like the idea of this person, automatically thought they'd be aggressive, blunt, a possible drinker, and I'd be worried for my own safety.
In a wider group discussion in response to a lesbian who'd attempted suicide in the past six months, the issue was raised as to whether a counsellor or at least we, as counsellors, would be prepared or should take on the case. More's the point: would we be comfortable with that responsibility and should we have it? But, then, isn't that what a counsellor's supervisor is for?
In my tutorial, my own issues were raised as a point of focus, and it was suggested that I might let the group know when I am feeling particularly vulnerable because of this. My initial response was that I wouldn't - a sense of my problems are nothing when compared to those of other people, and that everyone has emotional baggage - although I am only to happy to discuss my problems in roleplays without any fear of protecting my personal information, as I am aware that others might be. That said, it makes sense that letting others know that I am feeling low is personally beneficial as others will make allowances for you, will make you aware that you aren't alone - a problem shared, etc.
From the triad, I learnt not to be afraid to ask the same question more than once. I attempted to ask where the client had last felt vulnerable, and they couldn't remember. After persuing a different line of questioning I felt as if I had run into a wall, but, as the observer picked up on, and agreed by the client, had I returned to that question, sufficient time had allowed their memory to jog and for them now to be able to answer that question, thus leading to more avenues.