Monday, 27 February 2012

Orchids, Etymology, Essays and Other Essentials

Last weekend I travelled to my daughter Kate’s place in West Sussex on Sunday to celebrate Jack’s and my birthdays which fall 5 days apart.  We were thoroughly spoilt with wonderful food, and my love of flowers and plants was completely indulged by a stroll in the local Petworth Park and lots of floral gifts. My kitchen now resembles a flower shop with a corner filled with beautiful orchids, spring narcissi and a bright red amaryllis in all its overblown glory.  The bright yellow cheery Daffodils and Narcissi are very special to me as they remind me of Jack and Kate’s births in February and March and herald the end of the greyness of winter.

My birthday corner

We amused ourselves on the drive down by my reading extracts from my birthday book that has become my new addiction.  The Etymologicon is subtitled ‘A circular stroll through the hidden connections of the English Language’. Written by Mark Forsyth, it is based on his wonderful blog The Inky Fool.  The preface to his book sets the tone where he recounts his experience with an unsuspecting victim who, while eating a biscuit, happened to wonder out loud about the origins of the word biscuit.  After regaling his victim with his etymological findings, the poor man was left begging for mercy and Mark’s family began to investigate the financial implications of his admission to a secure unit.  A blog was a far cheaper option and so The Inky Fool was born.
If you have ever been kept awake at night pondering such weighty questions as:
  •  What is an antanaclasis and is it catching? 
  •  Why does the proof lie in the pudding or the worm turns?
  • How serious is it to be affected by wamblecropt?
 …then this book and blog is for you.
I am lucky that Cherie is nearby so that I have a fellow enthusiast to wax lyrical with.  Everyone else just glazes over and consigns us to the Enquiry Unit’s pedants’ corner.

Consigned to the Pedants’ corner

I have now had my first piece of third year work back and I am pleased with my mark and feedback.  This was my first submission since my final second year submission in May 2010 so I felt rather rusty with my academic writing.  A master’s programme is very different to an undergraduate degree where there are lots of essays to submit regularly throughout the year.  Our course includes clinical work and case presentations.  In third year we have two case studies to submit. We need several weeks of clinical work on a case within that year so our first case study is due in early March and the second in April. In one of my placements clients can be seen for up to twenty four weeks and in the other, up to twelve. With cancellations, illness and holidays, it can take several more weeks to complete the required number of sessions with a client. Having started my placements in late September, I am now beginning to discharge clients and to be able to step back and look at the cases as a completed piece of work.  I find that really interesting and quite satisfying.  I had one client who came for the first session and then rang the charity to say s/he did not want to come again.  I found it quite difficult and frustrating not to know any more and I had to remind myself not to take it personally.  Other clinets have difficulty with ending the work and will stop attending before the final sessions, leaving me with a feeling of work incompleted.  These are only two of the many issues important to explore and is the reason we have supervision.  We spend an hour for every eight clinical hours sitting with the supervisor, going through our case work discussing any difficulties and exploring different ways of working.  It is an incredibly useful time and I really look forward to it. I find my clinical work absolutely fascinating in the same way I loved my clinical midwifery work . There is always so much to learn and all counsellors working ethically will have regular supervision.  Even our tutors, who all carry clinical caseloads, have supervision and talk with great enthusiasm of the insights and support gained during this precious time.

…as my mother would say “Two heads are better than on, even if they’re sheep’s heads” – but… she is Australian.

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