Monday, 11 October 2010

Busy bee...

Tuesday October 4th

Busy day today! This is my third Tuesday working in Despatch – part of the Enquiry Unit. Tucked away in the far corner of the car park at the Mansion Hill is Studgroom cottage that , as the name suggests, was the home of the head groom when the original mansion was the centre of a huge, very posh blingy estate. Behind us are the old stables now used for storage.

Alan and Richard the two full timers are joined by a different student for each day of the week. It’s yours truly on Tuesdays! Letters to students come through Web CT with different number codes for all information requested. These codes relate to trays containing different types of leaflets and prospectuses. We put it all together, bag it up and off it goes.  It’s a lovely peaceful place to work tucked away from the hurly burly and when we need a bit of breather, we can step outside to enjoy the view of  beautiful trees around us changing into their autumn colours. We also have our pet spiders in the hedge by the door. We can feed them with tasty flies and watch their amazing web work - just like Charlotte’s web.

I finished my ‘shift’ at 2pm then headed for the library to get the readings needed for  the group tomorrow.  Whenever I go there, I am amazed at the staff – they all seem to be blessed with endless patience, and courtesy. I have never had a bad experience! Were they trained in customer service by those who may remain nameless – who put the fear of God into us during our clearing training? I then jumped on my scooter and headed off to Chistlehurst for an hour and a half of ‘group supervision’ at my course placement.

A bit more about my course:  It has three components – theory, skills training and personal development and each component has its allocated slot on our one day in college. We have a placement in a counselling practice and are required to complete 80 hours of counselling clients. For each 8 hours of practice we have one hour of individual supervision and one hour of group supervision arranged within the counselling practice. We use this time to discuss the clients and seek guidance and support in our work.  We have reports written about our performance there and we have to present case studies to our case discussion group, write up placement assessments, professional logs and theory papers. Lastly, we have to complete 40 hours of personal counselling by the end of our second year. That bit seemed , and still seems, strange to me attending counselling as a requirement of the course, not because I have burning issues that need sorting. I’m sure I will adapt to it and see the benefits.  We have no exams for this course; it is all essays and reports – a lot of work but suits me far better than having to memorise a lot of stuff then try and regurgitate it in a coherent manner in a fixed amount of time – ahhh! Even telling you about it leaves me feeling exhausted!

This was the  first time I had had to ride my scooter from Avery hill to Chistlehurst. I carefully wrote all the directions out and made my way there only having to stop once and retrace my steps. That was great but then trying to get from there back home to Hither Green (a 15 minute journey) had me doing a grand tour of south east London. Eventually I made it back in 45 minutes, via Bromley, Beckenham and Lewisham to be greeted by a bemused Ian just serving out a beautifully cooked chicken risotto – what a petal!

Thursday 7th

Last night was our second week of the course. I feel we are now settling in together. The mysterious Keith who was on our list but not there in person turns out to be a phantom and doesn’t exist and we met Sharon, the last student joining us for the year.  That means we have a cosy group of 16 – perfect. I did my first case discussion where I had to sit back and have others read out my script of a client session (suitably anonymised) and then stay silent while they all discussed it. I felt like a nervous wreck by the end but it was wonderful learning and such great comments from everyone. 

It was specially helpful as I was back in my placement today seeing that client and also a new one. I am really starting to relax into the work and I enjoyed today immensely. The material brought by the clients is so rich and I feel incredibly privileged to be trusted with it. I’ve just coming back from my personal counselling session and after writing to you all, I am going to stop all this thinking stuff and go off to my stained glass class. That is my treat for the week. I am restoring an old Victorian stained glass window so I’ll tell you all about that in another blog!

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