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“My training course has benefited the whole team”

Michelle works in one of our 16+ semi-independent services in London. She has been studying for a Level ​2 Certificate in Counselling Skills after applying to St Christopher’s fund for staff development.

Using counselling skills to support care leavers

“Since September I have been studying for a Level Two Certificate in Counselling Skills, an 18 week course. I have always been interested in exploring more about what counselling involves in regards to helping people and how I could develop my existing skills in helping young people I work​ with.

The course covers a range of areas including classroom learning, group work, activities and practical triad sessions, which has meant coming out of my comfort zone and into my learning zone to role play the three roles of helper, helpee and observer. The course has also consisted of writing weekly journals, which has increased my reflective skills and self awareness.

It has been very interesting learning ways of communicating with people within in a helping interaction without the use of advice, which is something I initially found challenging due to the differences in my role as a Support Worker. However, as time went on, I learnt to be more comfortable and confident in being able to sit in a helping interaction as a helpee without providing advice.

The course has equipped me with new skills and developed existing ones like active listening, communication, reflection and self-awareness. These skills have already been very important in supporting young people and I have positively put these skills into place when communicating with young people, such as by getting young people to take responsibility towards exploring the feelings they wish to bring to a helping interaction. For example, one of my first hand experiences of using some of my counselling skills with a young a person consisted of them engaging in a conversation whereby they explored how they were feeling about a specific issue. At the end of the conversation the young person expressed their surprise that the conversation had been very deep.

I have learnt a range of skills that have benefited the young people I work with, but has also impacted my working relationships with colleagues by providing knowledge and ideas we can use in our practice and as a team. I have been able to share my ideas of counselling skills in team meetings, discussions regarding young people and our approaches in regards to working as team. I will also be taking part in sharing more of counselling skills with my colleagues in our upcoming team day away.

Overall, the course has been very enjoyable and I feel that I have embarked on a journey, not only learning new skills but also one that has explored non-stop reflection, building relationships and learning more about me. Since completing the course, I have decided I would like to progress to Level 3 Certificate in Counselling Skills, which I hope to start in September 2018 and develop my skills even further.”

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