Have you heard of the term reflective practice? For counsellors it is incredibly important and plays a big part of our work.
As counsellors we have duty to provide the best service possible to our clients. You trust us with your inner thoughts and feelings, we have to respect that by ensuring that we give you the best of ourselves.
We have a number of ways to do that. The first comes during our initial training. We explore our own history in detail and attempt to identify our sore spots, the parts of ourselves that are difficult to revisit and cause us pain. This includes our prejudices and why we want to be counsellors.
But as we are only human we have to keep checking into these things and watching out for new things that may come up in our lives.
If a client brings something into a session that we can identify with but haven’t worked on in ourselves that will block the client from being able to deal with it. For example if we have had a bereavement that we are still struggling with we would find it very hard to stay in the clients frame of reference.
So we spend a lot of time reflecting on our practice and the sessions we have with clients to pick up any areas we need to develop. This can start with some initial reflections after each season but we also have supervision.
We are duty bound to our professional organisations to have a minimum of 1.5 hours a month supervision. During this time we look in detail at some of the things coming up in our work to ensure the client is getting the best service we can provide. This can be one to one with a supervisor or in a group environment to get different perspectives. Our clients anonymity is still held in this space, by that I mean that although we may discuss some of the things they bring to sessions they are not identifiable. Confidentially is still covered.
We also engage in a great deal of training each year to ensure we keep are professional knowledge up to date and we are working on the areas that we feel we need to develop. We identify these from our own reflections, from the sort of themes our clients bring and feedback both from clients and those we have supervision with.
All of this effort put into reflective practice means that as counsellors, we are working safely and within our competency levels. It also means that we can identify our limits and recognise when self care is required.