109 – Counselling Angry Clients

109 – Counselling Angry Clients

Working in Two Agencies – Making Peace with Our Failures

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In episode 109 of the Counselling Tutor Podcast, Ken Kelly and Rory Lees-Oakes talk about the pros and cons of working in two (or more) agencies as a student or qualified counsellor. Next – in ‘Practice Matters’ – Rory looks at counselling angry clients. The episode ends with the presenters offering tips on how we can make peace with our failures, and learn to see failure as a positive tool for learning.

All three topics follow questions asked in our Facebook group (where you’ll find over 22,000 others involved in counselling and psychotherapy, including students, qualified counsellors, supervisors and tutors).

Working in Two Agencies (starts at 2.256 mins)

Some student therapists may consider taking on two (or more) placements – just as qualified counsellors may work in more than one context or agency. Is this is a good idea or not?

There are a few potential downsides to doing so:

  • You will have to be aware of and up-to-date with more than one set of policies and procedures, which might be confusing.
  • You may need to go through more than one Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) process; even if you have paid for the Update Service (technically making your DBS portable between organisations), not all agencies may be willing to use this.
  • You need to be fully aware of your awarding body’s requirements on placements – having more than one can make it a little more onerous and time-consuming to meet these.

However, there is also much you can gain from having more than one placement:

  • You may be more assured of getting the practice hours you need to pass your qualification.
  • You could be exposed to – and so gain experience of – a wider range of client presentations and issues.
  • You will see different ways of running a counselling agency, which may be useful for your future work.
  • You will have more opportunities for networking, meeting more people and maybe hearing about more potential job opportunities.
  • You may be able to access a larger number and wider range of training opportunities.

Counselling Angry Clients (starts at 10.34 mins)

Rory talks about working with angry clients, in particular focusing on:

  • what anger is: a secondary emotion that is often maligned and misunderstood
  • what anger is about
  • how to work with anger
  • how to welcome anger as an equal emotion in counselling safely
  • how anger can be deceptive unless you take the time to understand its origin and purpose

Making Peace with Our Failures (starts at 17.27 mins)

Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, had to make 1,000 attempts at creating a light bulb before he found the right formula.

When asked how it felt to have failed so many times, he responded that in fact he had learned each time how not to do it – so enabling him to succeed in the end.

Indeed, success is always born of failure – and Ken says that if he doesn’t fail at least two to three times every day, then he’s not trying hard enough!

Failure is part of the road to success – and is how we learn.

Rory says that he sees the word ‘FAIL’ as ‘First Attempt In Learning’. The important thing is not to let yourself become stuck in self-defeating cycles, or to be afraid of failure.

Ken and Rory offer some tips on how to learn to see failure as a positive rather than negative experience:

  • Don’t compare yourself with others: we are all different, and it’s impossible to make any meaningful or worthwhile comparison.
  • Many systems that do measure our performance relative to others’ (e.g. those in education) may be rather narrow – but there is always a way of learning how to get through these measures. Rory refers to how he learned to meet educational criteria effectively through working on techniques for writing assignments.
  • Think about what failure means to you, and how you view it – both in education and in life more widely.