084 – Counselling Study Reading List

084 – Goal-Setting in Study – Fundamentals in Counselling – Reading Lists

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In episode 84 of the Counselling Tutor Podcast – the first of season 4 ­– Ken Kelly and Rory Lees-Oakes offer tips on setting goals for the academic year ahead, and describe the support they can offer with your studies. ‘Practice Matters’ goes ‘back to basics, covering the fundamentals of counselling. Last, the presenters discuss reading lists, and how best to tackle the academic reading you need to do for your course.

Goal-Setting in Study (starts at 1.59 mins)

In this first segment of the podcast, Ken and Rory offer a number of tips on setting goals for the coming academic year:

  • Remember that without a goal, you can’t score! In other words, setting goals is really important. Try asking yourself: ‘Where will I be one year from now?’
  • When setting goals, think SMART: make sure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.
  • If you haven’t already, join our Facebook group, where almost 19,000 people interested in counselling and psychotherapy share knowledge and discuss relevant topics.

Fundamentals in Counselling (starts at 17.41 mins)

In ‘Practice Matters’, Rory talks about some of the basics in counselling, reminding us of key lessons to remember in our practice:

  • Always try your best to arrive in good time for client sessions – this helps both you and the client begin the session as calm and prepared as possible.
  • Be attentive, ensuring you keep the client at the centre of your attention.
  • Don’t just listen – try hard to hear ‘the music behind the words’, i.e. the underlying feelings of the client as suggested by what they say, how they say it, and their body language.
  • Make the most of silence – this can be extremely valuable in supporting the client to gain clarity about their issues and to work out the best way forward for them.
  • Ensure that you use the core conditions – empathy, congruence and unconditional positive regard – to help build trust in the therapeutic relationship.
  • Meet your client where they are, following the pace that the client sets for the session.
  • Make sure that you finish on time, to ensure that you maintain boundaries and start your next client on time, ideally giving yourself time between clients to write notes, clear your mind, take a comfort break etc. Summarising what the client has brought to the session can be a really effective way of bringing about a timely end.

Reading Lists (starts at 29.50 mins)

Many counselling courses – especially those at level 4 and above – have lists of recommended reading and other resources. Rory will soon be releasing his suggested reading list: keep your eye on our Facebook page for this.

Rory shares his top tip on reading academic textbooks: start at the end rather than the beginning! In other words, reference books are best read via the index – where you can look up the terms you need to find out about and then go straight to the relevant pages.

Meanwhile, Ken’s top tip is to use sticky notes to mark potentially useful quotes, writing on the top of these what topic the quote relates to. Ken also likes to write in his books, for example highlighting important parts to make them easier to return to.

It’s good to be well prepared with your reading, not leaving it all until the last minute. So do try to read ahead of assignments, meaning you have the material you need already prepared when it’s time to start writing.

Last but not least, while it’s fine to buy second-hand books for topics that are timeless (e.g. classical theory), it’s important always to get the latest edition in areas where there is continual change (e.g. ethics, law and new ideas in counselling theory).