So it been almost two years since my last blog post...where did the time go?? A friend recently told me how much he missed my posts so I'm going to attempt to rectify this now that my life has quietened down somewhat....
So, a quick catch up. What have i been doing? Well, finances got the better of me and i had to find myself a paying job. I got a job with Swanswell who are a drug and alcohol support service. just an admin job at first working on the Accredited Programmes team. What are Accredited Programmes i hear you ask? Well, as part of their sentence some offenders get a requirement to do an Accredited Programme - these can range from Sex Offender and Domestic Violence programmes to Thinking Skills programmes. In the West Midlands Swanswell provide programmes to do with substance misuse on behalf of the National Offender Management Service so my role has been to liaise with probation officers to ensure that their offenders are motivated and ready to complete their programme and then to enrol them on the courses. i really love this job - i work within a probation office within Birmingham City Centre where the staff are lovely albeit that they are going through some (in my mind) short-sighted and scary changes thanks to Mr Grayling and the Ministry of Justice. Anyway, although i love the job it doesn't tax my brain (but keeps me very busy!) so I've recently been through some national assessment centres to become a tutor for the courses that we run. I have been successful in becoming a Drink Impaired Driver Programme tutor and a Lower Intensity Alcohol Programme tutor - the link above shows who these course target. I will still continue to perform my admin role but will also do the tutor role so I've increased my hours from part-time to almost full time and start the tutor role within the next few weeks.
So, what about the counselling i hear you ask? how can you fit that in with the increase in work hours? Well, I've finished Uni (big cheer please!) and handed my two final assignments in today. these assignments have been the culmination of five years hard graft and were pretty tough. I had to write about my emerging integrative approach (as my field of therapy is integrative counselling) and a case study based upon one of my clients. Its been an interesting five years where my approach has changed - i started off thinking that i was a person-centres counsellor but ended up being far more psychodynamic with a bit of person-centred thrown in (with a fair bit of Transactional Analysis, Gestalt and redecisioning therapy). Its been an interesting journey! When you start counselling training you are warned about how, as you become more self aware (personal therapy is a requirement), your relationships change and can even break down. My partner has been incredibly supportive and our relationship has just got better but my friendships with certain people have changed along the way.
I'm currently doing a placement which provides open ended NHS counselling (almost unheard of these days) with the LGBT community in Birmingham. I love, love, LOVE it!!! Its not without its troubles and i have an amazing supervisor who supports me incredibly, but the privilege of being with people and getting to know them so intimately is so rewarding. I still have 18 hours of my placement left to do for my uni course (we have to do 100 client hours in total) and then i have to submit my portfolio and undergo a viva but then i will be a fully qualified counsellor. Woop! Go me! I have an option to then undertake a BA top-up degree to get a full degree but have decided to take a year out from studying as i want to concentrate on the new role at work and my clients (i will continue in my placement as i love it so much). Oh, another good thing about the new role at work is that the Accredited Programmes are based upon CBT principles (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for those not in the know!) and as CBT is not a therapy im naturally drawn to (and it has very little place in my therapeutic work) I'm quite looking forward to practising it with offenders as the research evidence shows that it really does work for substance misuse problems.
On a personal note my partner has now moved in with me (a big step for me!) and my lodger continues to live here too....we are a happy little family...especially after our most recent addition.....
Say hello to TJ :)
TJ came to us just before Xmas from Portugal - its a long story - but his family weren't able to look after him anymore...i saw a photo....fell deeply in love and the rest is history. This blog may start to contain many dog photos in future....
So, i realise that this is a long entry but the last two years have been action packed! I wont bore you with anymore for now other than to ask you, dear reader, what you want to see on the blog? I have been asked to make sure that i still do some cookery posts (am more than willing to oblige!) but any other thoughts are most welcome!!
Much love to you all,