A Day in my Life as a Counselling Tutor
by Sara Childs
How my day begins
I have three boys at school, so I try to get up before everybody and get a short workout and a meditation in on good days when I haven’t got to bed too late the previous night. If it’s a rush, I’ll do it later, but that doesn’t always go to plan. My children are 9, 12 and 16, so they are getting better at making their own breakfast and packed lunch, but still need chivvying.
First part of my day
I practice as a counsellor on some days and teach counselling skills on others, so every day is a bit different. On Thursdays, I fire up the laptop at 8.45 and check my lesson plans for the morning session, then make a proper coffee. I’m running a Welsh Government-funded Level 2 Counselling Skills course for people working with violence against women and girls, domestic abuse and sexual violence in Mid and West Wales. They arrive on Zoom pretty promptly at 9am and then have a check-in with each other. Building a relationship of trust is so important in this type of course, and it’s an aspect which the learners really seem to enjoy.
Then we’ll do a bit of theory – some discussions on diversity, using silence or empathy for example. After a coffee, the rest of the session is given over to practising their skills on each other. When the session is over, I’ll grab some lunch and write up the feedback forms for the skills sessions I’ve observed. I’m a pretty healthy eater during the day, and I’ve become addicted to these amazing (really!) lentil pancakes during lockdown – evening snacking is my downfall.
I quite often have professional supervision on a Thursday and I really cherish the time to reflect on my patterns of relating and my work with clients. It is very nourishing to have that one-to-one attention, and helps me enormously to be generous with my clients and learners. I’m a person-centred counsellor, but my supervisor is Gestalt-trained, so it’s interesting to learn about different approaches.
I work flexibly, so I take some time off to collect my youngest son from school – a chance to take a short walk too, and get some fresh air. Then I prepare dinner. My husband has a decorating business so we can usually work things out so one of us can do these tasks.
It’s always a rush to shovel in some dinner before the evening group at 5.30. Each of my groups has a different character. Running the same course with different groups gives me lots of feedback on what does and doesn’t work well and the opportunity to modify anything that falls flat! It’s been a huge privilege getting to run this course. I’m amazed by what a personal journey it leads the learners on -having that time and space to explore themselves and the way they relate to others in the group, their friends and family is very precious.
Again, when the session ends, I’ll try to write up any feedback while it’s fresh in my mind and make a note of anything I need to follow up in the morning, when I’m feeling more alert. I try to be finished by 9.30ish, so I can kick back with Netflix and some peanut butter and crackers. I call Wednesday and Thursday the hump – I work long days on those days, but that means I’m almost done for the week and can start to wind down for the weekend. Teaching is tiring but there’s no buzz like it, especially teaching counselling, which is the best subject in the world.
If you are interested in studying a counselling course with us, please visit our counselling page (click here) or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information; in 2022 we are running counselling courses from Level 2 to Level 6.