135 – Preparing for Counselling Breaks

135 - Preparing for Counselling Breaks

Your First Client Hour - Planning for CPD

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In episode 135 of the Counselling Tutor Podcast, Ken Kelly and Rory Lees-Oakes offer tips on how to plan for counselling breaks. In 'Check-In with CPCAB', Rory talks to Kelly Budd about feelings as you approach your first client hour, and how to prepare for this. Finally, the presenters discuss the importance of CPD, and an exciting new way to access this online.

Preparing for Counselling Breaks (starts at 2.15 mins)

This topic is especially relevant as the winter holiday season approaches.

Ken and Rory offer the following tips when taking a break from counselling work:

    • Think about timescales for informing clients about any break you plan to take. In general, a minimum of one week's notice per month of work together is considered about right.
    • Always assess each client's individual needs, mapping the support you suggest to these. Some clients may need more support during the break than others.
    • Before taking a counselling break, consider whether you need to make any arrangements for clients to access alternative support during your absence - e.g. do you need to make a referral to another counsellor or service?
    • Always discuss any plans for interim client support with your supervisor and practice manager.
    • Some counsellors like to give or lend clients a transitional object that helps them remember the joint work during the break.
    • Give your client some 'homework'. Some modalities (e.g. cognitive behavioural therapy - CBT) naturally do this, but even in those that don't (such as the person-centred approach), you might, for example, be able to encourage the client to do some journaling during counselling breaks.

Check-In with CPCAB: Your First Client Hour (starts at 11.15 mins)

Feelings relating to the very first time you counsel a 'real' client once you start your counselling placement are a common topic of questions and conversation among students of counselling and psychotherapy on the Counselling Tutor Facebook page.

Rory talks to Kelly Budd (Head of Qualifications) about the fact that it is natural to feel nervous as this time approaches - indeed, this can be positive as it shows you care how it goes and helps you do your best.

There is no expectation that you will be perfect - we are all growing and learning all the time.

Do try to have faith that you are good enough (after all, you've been signed off as fit to practise) - and remember too that your client is likely to be feeling more apprehensive than you are!

Kelly lists some of the thoughts and questions that may be going around in your head, gives tips on how to prepare, and reminds us of the importance of marking the completion of this very first counselling hour with some kind of treat or celebration!

You may also want to check out this resource on first counselling sessions. It contains helpful information on topping and tailing a first session, as well as on contracting.

For more information about CPCAB, please see its website. CPCAB is the UK's only awarding body run by counsellors for counsellors.

Planning for CPD (starts at 23.05 mins)

Ken and Rory talk about the importance of continuing professional development (CPD) both for maintaining professional standards (a requirement of ethical bodies) and for serving our clients as fully as possible.

There are different ways of getting CPD, including through both face-to-face and online modes.

In January 2020, Counselling Tutor will be launching new products aimed at providing CPD opportunities for qualified counsellors.

CPD is not just about theory, and this new product will also cover:

    • skills
    • personal development
    • working with different client groups/presentations
    • professional practice (e.g. note-taking)
    • the legal aspects of counselling practice (e.g. data protection, such as the General Data Protection Regulation)

So watch out for more news in due course on this exciting development from Counselling Tutor!