It’s been a bit of a year, again, hasn’t it? Doesn’t look like it’s going to be any easier in the next few weeks (possibly insert swear words here if you fancy). I hope there have been good times for you as well this year though and the memories of these times will help sustain you over the next few weeks.
I am currently recovering slowly from Covid. I managed to avoid it the whole of 2020 and nearly all of 2021 but it caught me mid Nov and felled me. The Festive period will be a time of rest for me personally in the hope I can begin 2022 feeling truly well and raring to go (I have no raring in me presently!).
I hope whatever you, my fellow counsellors, are up to it’s a time of peace and tranquillity for you all, cos I am sure there have been moments in the last year when it’s all felt exhausting and confusing and etc etc…………….. and some peace and rest is called for.
I am trying to hold on to the fact that these times will eventually pass (and I shall see clients without a great big plastic screen between us) but some days it does currently feel like we have been on the playing board for a long time and for some I am aware it can feel like we went to jail, did not collect the money and are back at the beginning again. Sometimes it’s hard to hold onto the hope for 2022 to be different but I hope our breaks over this time will see us return with, well, some hope and vigour, safe in the knowledge our work can change lives.
Even though my brush with Covid is taking a while to recover from, I do feel blessed to have avoided hospital and the dreaded brain fog hasn’t been too bad and I have been able to continue working.
I’m counting all the blessings I can find!
One huge blessing over the last two years has been the growth in our accredited online courses. We have all worked hard at CBCT Ltd HQ (our various homes still!) to bring you great quality, supportive, courses and we have been truly blessed with the cohorts we have worked with.
Sometimes it is stressful (my Admin Assistant could tell you tales of really stressful times, like when emails repeatedly don’t get through to the recipients, something just feels too insurmountable, or our online conversations go down repeatedly – our houses must both be in black spots! I fear my face must sometimes look a picture when we meet on WhatsApp video. Sometimes we do all the emotions in one call!
Those times aside, online ways of working becoming the norm has been a blessing for CBCT Ltd during this really difficult time.
The complications of the last, almost, two years meant that we took our courses online and whilst it’s different and there are losses involved, it’s working really well for our learners and we can now work with learners from across the UK and beyond, which has been wonderful. I am proud that my team and I felt the fear but got on with it anyway.
Whilst others around us were cleaning cupboards, making sourdough starters or binging on boxsets, my team and I were getting our heads around ‘flipped learning’, finding new resources, adapting our courses and carrying on as best we could whilst on a steep learning curve.
I will admit to feeling a bit jealous of the downtime I could see around me but the results of our work back in lockdown one has been the ongoing improvement to our courses and our learners’ experiences. More blessings!
Side note: huge blessings to all my fellow counsellors who worked their butts off in those lockdowns and over the last two years keeping the therapeutic spaces open and available to their clients from wherever they could.
Back to our courses. Whilst our learners don’t get to know me so well now I am not hosting the courses in a building or providing home-made cakes, but am more beavering away in the background, it has been great to meet counsellors from all over Great Britain (and beyond occasionally, so far Ireland, Sweden and the Cayman Islands!) during the online interviews.
There is real passion for high quality counselling and supervision out there I am happy to report and I love hearing about our learners’ passions for their work. The team and I love encouraging our learners to reach for the stars in their professional lives and over the last two years they really have been doing so, whilst working through the Pandemic, alongside their studies and for some ever increasingly challenging working and private lives. I salute you all!
The fortitude of our team but especially our learners to carry on and improve their knowledge, gain new certificates, make new colleague friends, and support one another over the medium of Zoom has been amazing to watch (I get to pop in now and again to the online courses and witness all of this happening, whilst I quality assure each course regularly).
At the end of our Level 5 course in Counselling Children and Young People in November I was lucky to witness our learners’ ending discussion (Ok, I timed my quality assuring so I could listen in!) and I was humbled to hear how much the course meant to this group of learners, coming at a time when they were all busy counselling children and young people, some in very difficult circumstances.
Whilst there wasn’t a poem this time (see previous post about our Summer School ‘21) it was great to see how the learners expressed themselves and I was particularly touched by one of the cohort’s reflections, which I have her permission to report here.
This counsellor spoke with great emotion and referencing an article she found on the Counsellor’s Café (link below) about how, whilst counselling, we can often feel like a Lone Wolf, especially if a lone counsellor in a school or private practice and this being her previous experience.
This counsellor now feels she has found her pack within her training with us and she reminded us that your pack doesn’t have to be in the same physical presence as you, it can be in an online training arena or in the resulting WhatsApp group.
I was left with all the feels and have been reflecting on this over the last few weeks. Our courses provide teaching, reflection, discussion, growth and ultimately many achievements, but now I fully grasp just how transformative they can be in helping counsellors move from lone wolf to being part of a pack, which can in turn see our learners change how they go forward in their career psychologically.
From day one of a course new enthusiastic, talented fellow counsellors are there to gradually become colleagues, maybe even friends. What a blessing! Just as important as ‘getting the piece of paper (certificate)’ if not more so.
Whilst our learners have been enjoying this sense of professional community, and our tutors have adapted to Zoom and have continued to inspire new discussions, ideas and learning, for me personally as Director of Courses it’s been a year of fighting some fires, dealing with huge levels of admin (good job I like admin tasks, I sometimes think I was born not only to counsel but to work my way through mountains of admin), recruiting an Admin Assistant to help with the mountains, continually improving and quality assuring our courses and workshops, working with new colleagues and having lightbulb moments.
It’s all been enriching, fascinating and sometimes exciting, but I am looking forward to watching some boxsets over this Festive season. I won’t be cleaning out cupboards or making sourdough starters but there may be cake involved as it’s been a long, long time since I have made a cake.
After this period of reflection, I am really looking forward to next year’s programme of events and courses.
Our new Level 6 Supervisor’s course has just begun, and I am looking forward to seeing the twelve learners on my screen in the New Year and I am particularly looking forward to getting back into a hall in the Spring with our Sand Stories short course. As stated, (many times!), moving online has been great, but circumstances allowing we will always try to have some ‘in a building’ training, whenever we can.
There will be lots of sand, lots of miniatures and cake! Hopefully some laughter and fun along the way and new working relationships forged. The hall the other Carol and I have chosen to use is beautiful and opens on to a field and is in a beautiful small village. Lifts available from Haywards Heath Station.
Finally, to finish my musings, to all of those of you who are currently on our courses, keep up the good work, it’s a pleasure to work with you all. To those of you who have previously trained with us I hope all you learned and experienced is seeing your career go from strength to strength and to those of you who are yet to join us I look forward to meeting you at some stage, hopefully 2022 and wish everyone a good (Covid free) wintertime break.