Therapy for student counsellors

At this time of year potential counsellors are signing up to colleges and universities and preparing themselves for the next two to three years of studying. Having chosen a college or university there are the inevitable questions like, 'What will my fellow students be like?' 'How will I fit in?' 'Will I feel comfortable and be able to build trust and respect with my fellow colleagues; allowing myself to be open and honest about my own issues, my upbringing, and background?' 'Will I feel supported in my times of vulnerability?'

Then there are the practical issues to be dealt with like, 'how will I fit college hours in with work, studying, reading, writing essays and journals?' In many cases there is the financial burden as well. Training to be a counsellor is expensive. On top of tuition fees there is often the added expense of BACP or other professional body's membership fees. Also most colleges and universities require a minimum amount of hours for students to be in personal therapy.

Apart from the practicalities of training to be a counsellor, there is also the emotional side to be considered, the hours spent sitting with your therapist (most colleges require a minimum amount of therapy hours during training) getting to trust and build a good working relationship with him or her, and feeling supported, heard, validated, challenged and encouraged.

There may well be time when you think "Why am I doing this - why am I digging up painful stuff about myself in the process of discovering who I am, and having some understanding of why I am like I am?" Therapy allows you to work through your issues and make the changes you want to make.

Despite the expense, pain, and a multitude of emotions and thoughts, therapy can be a really good experience. How often in our busy lives do we have someone's undivided attention for a whole hour, and not just attention, but non-judgment, empathy and respect. With the right relationship between therapist and student, work and change can take place in a very special "Safe Place".  It can be in that safe, open and honest place that change can really happen.

Good luck to all potential student counsellors, yes it is often a difficult journey, and yet can be so rewarding. Enjoy!

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