Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Presenting under duress!

I’m now in week 6 of first term - half way through already and time seems to have flown. I had a nasty shock on receiving an email from the course tutor to say that I needed to prepare a presentation about my Personal Development Project(PDP) , an 8,000 word piece due in on 1 October next year. This is meant to be a research project with the subject being ME and how I have developed as a counsellor over the three years of my course.  The problem is that most of the course involves reflection on practice, keeping personal and professional logs, case discussions, supervision about my practice etc so there is quite a lot of thinking about me, writing about me, talking about me... to the point where I’m getting very bored with the subject of ME!  I have already written four 3000 word professional logs about ME and my response to taking part in the experiential group relating it to theory, my practice and my cases. I feel like I have been reflecting on practice and ME for the last 30 years -  aaahhhh!
 Of course I had done nothing about beginning it at all.  I have been feeling so uninterested I had  gone into ostrich mode – if I don’t think about it for long enough it might go away!  
Unfortunately my strategy was never going to work so with deadline looming accompanied by a rising level of panic I downloaded the handbook then emailed my project supervisor to arrange a meeting.  That was enough to concentrate my mind and I started by looking at the seven points that had to be covered by the project.  I figured I treat this quite mechanically and just write 1000 words on each point and use the last 1000 to tie it all together into a conclusion.
I went to my meeting feeling thoroughly grumpy and laid out my plan for a straightforward ploddy piece only to be told that I would be very bored with it and find it ‘difficult to engage’.  My tutor knows me only too well and can easily detect when I am in tantrum mode – digging my heels in and screaming “nooooo”!  So we began to talk about my thorough resistance to doing the project and why I have decided before I start that I am going to be bored, find it too difficult or make it as unpleasant for myself as I possibly can – ie if it isn’t painful I am not working hard enough!  It is often my default position – dread it for ages, use avoidance behaviour, ie procrastination,  get grumpy at everyone around me ...then finally settle down to it and get it done.  Then I, and everyone else around me who had suffered as collateral damage, wonder what all the fuss was about!

So there we have it - my working title is ‘Doing a counselling course from the back foot’. The two students presenting before me were really positive with wonderful power point presentations  and I began to feel worse and worse.  I had written one page that seemed to be completely negative and had visions of everyone feeling like slitting their throats by the end of it.  I was pleasantly surprised to have my proposal received very positively.  Blimey – you could have knocked me down with a feather!

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