Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A lot of discussions made mention to where members of the class had used counselling skills at home or in a work environment, discussing how they were at odds with their initial feelings of wanting to fix the problem or tell the helpee to "buck their ideas up", but ultimately using their skills to talk through the helpee's problem. I am very aware that I haven't managed to bridge the gap between my lessons and my life in a similar fashion.

Recently several colleagues have been having problems with management expectation or bullying. In every case my involvement has stemmed immediately from a: "You must protect yourself," "you must sort this out as soon as possible," stand point. This is instead of taking an objective standpoint and discussing the issues.

Having dealt with my brother's case I am now more proactive in the ideology of both protecting members of staff and dealing with a situation as soon as possible - my brother had no support, didn't know what his rights were, and his case went on for 18 months. In situations of management malpractice it's the employee who comes off worst and suffers all the stress. I think that if I get involved in the beginning and lay what I believe are the foundations of support, my colleagues will be safer and on an even footing with management. However, I have an emotional interest in this - I have my own agenda - I want them to turn around their problem, succeed and be happy with the outcome.

Whilst this countermands the principles of counselling skills the work environment doesn't leave me with the opportunity to spend time talking the problems through. I feel that the situations require a more proactive response from me. I can’t ignore the fact that at the present time and because of my history I am taking on part of the emotional stress of their problem because I know what it’s like. It’s because it raises too many issues for me that I am unable to carry out an objective view and would be unable to help until I was able to be empathic without taking on the stresses.

Further to this, I witnessed first hand the repercussions of loose boundaries and ignored ethics. In one instance of a work colleague with problems I was discussing the issue with a family member – I had wanted to highlight a specific point within the incident that related to my brother’s case – unfortunately, the family member discussed the issue with someone else, who works in the same department as my colleague, and who just so happens to have been part of the incident.

This upset my colleague since it removed all power they may have had in dealing with the incident and took away any and all decisions as to whether they wanted to deal with the situation altogether. Regardless of my impact on the outcome, I must be more aware of my place in relations, and the tenets of counselling skills. This has highlighted for me that even the smallest of disclosures to unnecessary third parties, can yield almost devastating results.

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