Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Preparing myself for the presentations held none of the stress I thought it might. Anxieties over being able to follow up the other class members' presentations were not present within me, which I think has a lot to do with representing my brother's case and my learning to come to terms with speaking in front of people - empowering myself to get on and talk rather than worrying about talking. I did have a slight fear that my topic wasn't in line with those of the others, but felt that it had an important role in the schema of the course, which was further highlighted by one of the students saying that in her school she had no idea what work Education Welfare did. If we do move into helping work I think now that we will think more about whether or not Education Welfare involvement might assist helpees.

It is good to get an overview of the various agencies and organisations available to support people across society - and for me in particular the realisation that these services run small courses that may fill the next year while I decide where I wish to take my skills next in the absence of pursuing a course as I have done this year.

In the triad work I observed both helpers, and provided a level set of feedback that highlighted for me, and I hope for them, that their skills are there and they simply need to relax more into their roles. Both lacked in reflection and summary, and they needed to approach paraphrasing with a little less speed, but they did have knowledge of them and good call upon them for use.

Both communicated effectively the levels of their expertise and the boundaries of confidentiality and time. I understood that one of the helpers in particular was at odds with the needs of the helpee. She kept her own agenda to herself throughout and it wasn't until afterwards when she explained this that I was able to relay my own views on the matter and how I perceived she might be feeling about that difference.

Monday, June 05, 2006

I attended my first session of counselling today, in order to resolve the issues still up in the air regarding my brother’s case. I didn’t feel entirely at ease going into the session, which I found quite strange at first. I’d spent the past two years talking to anyone and everyone about my problems and now faced with a stranger (admittedly one I knew the purpose of – to listen, support and counsel) I felt self conscious. I can understand the fear people have of going into a counselling session with no prior knowledge of what to expect, of what the counseller will be thinking.

She was friendly, supportive and set out the boundaries of the working relationship, explaining the bounds of confidentiality with regards to my employer (since my employer was covering the costs they would hear of me as a code number, but never my name), the counsellor’s own therapist and of course general confidentiality. She offered up a lot of reflection. At one point she commented that she herself felt burdened by my story and that she could only imagine what it was like for me.

She didn’t seem entirely comfortable with constant eye contact and often she would be looking to the side of me, which was slightly off putting. Though I don’t know whether this is a personal issue with her or whether she attempts to keep pressure away from her clients in this manner.

After the initial length of my explanation about the whole case (in its most basic form) we discussed the differences between myself and my brother – the lay of responsibility and the burden. We covered our treatment by the LEA and the difficult position in which I had been placed, and the betrayal I have felt from the work colleagues I had once thought of as friends.

She probed with questions about how I had felt towards certain individuals, my old boss, my brother; the relationships I had had and how they stood now. We talked about my want for revenge and how that had changed. She asked me to comment on why I no longer wanted revenge on my old boss – who’s own failings, lack of integrity and lies have had a large contribution on the case – whilst I wanted revenge on the LEA.

My entire issues with anger, my anxieties and the stress I have felt comes down to one very simple need – the need to be understood. We had admitted the truth on all quarters, had spoken to everybody with a fair degree of respect and remained honest and open. All we wanted in return was the same. All I wanted with regard to my old boss was that people acknowledged that there is enough evidence to prove her involvement. All I wanted from her was to admit that she knew. The difference between her and the LEA is the level of people I want to understand. The LEA has more people involved, more people who have lied and cheated because of their personal beliefs about the case. The fact that I still wish revenge would only be sated if everyone involved understood the true facts and knew how badly we had been treated. I just want recognition.

Realising that I’m not sure how much use a counsellor can be to me. She asked me how I thought I could change my feelings and pursue a solution. Simply, it is to leave my current employment, move on and drop my ties with Bracknell Forest, tro focus on my writing and let it go. Especially since everything that I built up for the 5 years of my work has already gone in the past 3 years, and I just haven’t let go yet.

I know what I want and I know how to get it. I know that the kind of revenge I want against my employer will never be and I want to restart my life. There will always be those niggly moments of: what could I have done? How could I have dealt with it differently? How far could I have pushed? Could I have spoken to the press? Would it have made it better? Does it matter?

Nobody cares but me and my family. The justice we wanted for ourselves and the prevention of the LEA from doing this to others in the future are two separate issues, and the last of which I have no control over.
I don’t need a counsellor to tell me that it rests with me to let go now. It’s still a difficult choice, but I have to make it.