Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Back to study!

It’s the morning before I start my first day of my third and final year of my MSc.  It seems only yesterday that I was a newbie, anxiously preparing for my first day at Greenwich.  I have mixed feelings as I write this.  I found my second year really tough and having to complete six or seven papers over four months to June left me feeling pretty exhausted and ready for a break.

I feel a sense of trepidation at the thought of picking all those books to study again … but him-at –home reminded me that, actually, I am always like this!  When I do get back into it I really enjoy all the new learning.  I am looking forward to seeing my fellow third years again but there will be some faces missing and some new ones to meet.  We have a very fertile group as three out of our original 18 have become pregnant! They have ‘interrupted’ their studies for a year to concentrate on their new babies. Our course is designed so that if you exit after the second year having passed all modules and completed 100 clinical hours rather than 80 required for the masters course, you are awarded a post graduate diploma.  This is different from ‘interrupting’ where you take a year out from the course rather than ‘exiting’.  It may not be possible to rejoin the programme for the third year if you have exited but if you have ‘interrupted ‘ and do not return to the programme you can ‘exit’ as long as you have done the extra clinical hours. 
For our third year we can choose between two pathways.  One is the long research pathway where we present a long project while the other is the CBT option.  This is where we have specialist training in using cognitive behavioural therapy.  We have to complete 50 clinical hours using it and 50 using integrative ‘methods’.  We also do a shorter 8000 word project which is a reflective piece about our development as a counsellor.  I have chosen to do the second pathway as I find CBT a really useful tool and would like to become more experienced in its use.  I do not have a passion for a particular research topic and I know that unless I feel pretty engaged with a topic I will struggle to keep going with it.
I have started back in my placement and on Saturday attended a really interesting continuing professional development (CPD) morning there.  Our speaker was Christine Sanderson and her topic was ‘The Dynamic of Memory – Working with Traumatic Memories’.  Her book, published in 2006, is entitled ‘Counselling adult survivors of sexual abuse’.  In those 21/2 hours I learnt so much and I left with my head spinning.  She presented the main theories of memory: how we remember, how we forget, types of memory, the fallibility of memory.  She then moved on discussing the implications this has for us as counsellors working with adults.  Christine spoke of the controversy surrounding the subject of ‘recovered /false memory’ presenting arguments to support the seemingly polarised views.  It was a morning well worth attending especially as it was accompanied by hot drinks and home made cakes!

Well, now time to sharpen those pencils, polish my glasses and hop on Priscilla to get into college on time – back soon!

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