Tuesday, January 17, 2006

I was already feeling in a slightly depressed state during the lesson, when I was reminded of people I resent. The class had, again, revolved around everyone's anxiety over dealing with the marking criteria of the course, and although I can understand this fear of the unknown, the repetition of the topic has begun to bore me. I feel that it's detracting from our learning, taking up a good amount of our allocated time. I feel, however, that because this is a group situation, and seems to be a group problem, it is wrong of me to express my feelings in this matter, because people quite clearly need to feel that they've addressed the situation to clear their worries. The fact that many of them do worry puts me in the minority, and I need to acknowledge that. It is far more important that people feel comfortable enough to continue, and learn, and therefore, they must be allowed to speak through this worry.

The discussion came round to the lifelines - something I have been struggling with, in that I am keenly aware that I spend a lot of time considering my past anyway. I want to be able to commit enough time to the lifeline in order to get everything down that has defined me, and I don't want to rush it for fear I will miss things out - this will be inevitable. So, I put it off, knowing it will be a particularly long process.

One of the others mentioned the patterns they could see, another introducing the concept of dealing with all their resentments towards people, and I turned my own thoughts towards my previous job and the situation I had tried to escape. I have such resentment surrounding the job, the people, my leaving, and the ongoing situation with my brother that I was soon consumed in such an inwardly focused anger that I was no longer part of the group.

I was feeling hot, flushed, anger; I was reliving everytime I had been bullied, shouted at, made to wait, forced to do something that wasn't my job, made to follow my boss around like a puppy; more recent additions include the betrayal by people I'd considered friends, the animosity I feel from then when they see me, the sense that they are avoiding me. I was tense, tight fisted, anxious, fixated on negativity. I was recounting the very same emotions I'd had whilst working there, the frustrations and the lack of expression, the way I returned to the office and physically attacked equipment and furniture just to release my anger. Burning inside me are difficult, negative feelings: resentment, anger, bitter, hatred; and I had honestly thought, had been told by others, that I could/should let it go. But, I can't.

I am caught between revenge and karma; wanting to let these people know how they've hurt me, to hurt them back. But, karma has really begun to enter my world. In this new year I don't want to hate or resent anyone new. I don't want negativity to run my life; I don't want to take revenge only for karma to come around again. Surely I believe that karma is there to make them feel, in time, some of what they've made me feel? Underlying those thoughts are the ones that suggest they will never feel it, or that when they do, they won't connect it with what they've done to me. Worst of all, I want to be there when they fall - but I want to be a better person than that.

On the flipside, I want to separate such negative emotions, such a bad experience, from the rest of the evening. I have made a concious decision to consider the lesson as positive. I have highlighted something that burns deep, that is yet to heal. I need to be mindful of that; until I'm healed I won't be able to deal with it, or them, objectively.

The practical work, the triads, were helpful to channel my energies, to turn about the negativity into something positive. I found that my counselling skills at present have a mostly even quality - listening, attentiveness, awareness, expression of paraphrasing, focus of situations and linking of past experiences with new. What I've yet to develop are my long pauses - my moments of worry that I've run out of things to say, that I've taken a path of questioning that has led me to a deadend becuase I was expecting a different response. Also, I tend towards closed questions, requesting agreement from the client, and not listening to the clients use of words: they say what they are feeling and I ask questions regarding thinking.

I need to attune myself, not just my physical responses, towards their needs, and engage them upon the sense that they are using, not remove them from it. All of these stem from my own, selfish, inner need to fix the problem - something that is not for me to want or to do. I must maintain the counsellor's integrity and remain empathic and impartial - to allow the healing process to take its time, to allow the client to deal with their own emotions through my prompts of expression. I must stop attempting to guide the session, and I must attempt to lose my agenda of getting to a specific point.

A good example is in one of the others, when they counselled me. At the very end, they were able to pick out the two most important points of the session, recount it back to me, and show an interest in the development of them - positive engagement that reiterates the problems without directing, and without agenda.

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