|When autumn falls it will be time to hit the books again|
Yesterday I received the news that I have just been elected to membership of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, or BACP. While it's not nearly as exciting as being a member of The Society of Authors, it has still given me a bit of a buzz, nonetheless, because it is some kind of recognition for all the work I have put into my training thus far. I'm looking forward to receiving my new BACP membership card, which will sit proudly alongside my Society of Authors card - the duel aspects of my working life.
It means that I am now officially part of the psychotherapy profession - I have my foot in the door and a second career awaits, a new aspect of my self-employment and possibly even my own private practice. The option to set up on my own is always there.
BACP membership is another small stepping stone behind me, as I make the crossing from my past into my future, and its also a bit of a two finger salute to the medicine man who told me I'd not be accepted without his help and sponsorship. As if!! Don't you just hate it when a spurned suitor tells you you'll never get ahead in life without him? Isn't always fun to prove him wrong?! ;-)
Now I'm just waiting on the DBS check to come through and then I can sort out insurance and begin my placement next month, which is something else I'm looking forward to, as I will finally be able to help soldiers, which has been my plan since the beginning.
In addition I have just applied to do an extra six week training course with Cruse Bereavement, because they offer training on military bereavement which I think will be really useful in the long term. It's an additional expense I could do without, but it will also be an additional Qualification Certificate, adding to my professional credibility and should win me a few Brownie Points with my placement provider too. Cruse is also a good back-up plan for a placement, if the one with SSAFA falls through - I like to have a contingency plan in place, just in case!
As I have mentioned before, paying for the courses and all the additional expenses attached to training in psychotherapy, is the hardest part of the journey, so if you are considering signing up for a counselling course this September, you need to bear that in mind. There is no funding help with course fees for the first three levels of training - you have to pay every penny yourself. At level 4 you can get funding to pay part of the course fees, but you have to pay the rest yourself and you will also have to pay back the funding too, once qualified.
Additional expenses include a certain number of hours private personal counselling (the NHS doesn't count towards your course - just as well because you'll be waiting months for a counsellor!), legalities such as the cost of a DBS check and insurance policy, the purchase of a recording device so you can record your sessions to add them to your student portfolio, the cost of text books and paying for private supervision sessions throughout the placement. You will also need to pay extra course fees with specific organisations, such as Cruse, Relate etc, if you want to do their training in tandem with the main course.
It all adds up and there is no financial help available whatsoever; there are no student grants, no maintenance loans and no training bursaries offered to student counsellors. This effectively means that you're on your own financially, so you will need to keep your real job, or live off your partner's income for a minimum of four years, if you're happy to do so, though very few independent women would want that!
I'm lucky in that my writing work has paid for my training, and my training in turn has inspired articles and features etc, but it has not been easy and one of the reasons I will be glad to complete the course is because I will be able to afford to have a life again! Horse riding, piano lessons, ice skating, dance classes, even holidays, have all been put on hold while I pay my way through psychotherapy training. So sacrifices have to be made to make room for your training. It can be tough so be prepared.
That said, I can now begin to see my way ahead a little bit and providing my SSAFA placement goes well, I can see that a whole new chapter of my life is about to begin. I have that feeling of
excitement, nerves and anticipation - I just know a new phase of my life is about to start, new doors will open, new experiences and adventures are waiting in the wings for me.
If everything goes to plan then come September I will be starting three new ventures; the final year of my psychotherapy diploma, a placement in a Military setting and an additional six week training course with Cruse Bereavement. It's going to be a busy autumn!
Wings are made to fly...