It's 3am as I start to write this post. I have been up all night writing essays for my counselling course, which I am happy to report will soon be at an end. I have only five classes left to attend and a couple more essays to write, and then the training will be over. I am looking forward to crossing the finish line!
It will be nice to get my freedom back. When I embarked on the course I didn't imagine that it would infiltrate so much of my life, but it feels as though everything else has had to be put on the back burner for the past four years. It will be nice to have free time again, where I'm not thinking about the latest college assignment.
I miss day-dreaming. I miss being able to sit in reverie, without feeling guilty because I'm not writing essays! I miss reading books that are nothing to do with psychotherapy. In the past four years, I have had to think of my course as a priority. This doesn't sit well with my rebellious, Bohemian spirit. I like to be free to drift through the days, doing what I want, when I want to.
I hate writing essays. It is the most tedious writing I have ever had to do. Essays leave no space for self-expression because every word has to meet a certain target and you are shackled to the criteria. This academic hoop jumping has really stifled my creativity. The best way I can describe is, it is like writer's block, but instead of being blocked out of writing, you are boxed in to a corner and a particular kind of writing - a kind that is zero fun to produce and feels very much like a complete waste of your time. It's not that it is hard intellectually - it's just very tedious to keep repeating the same thing over and over, because all essays are simply a variation on a theme. At least I keep passing them though, that's a blessing.
I feel less like myself because of it, which is surprising because I was assured that this course would make me much more self-aware - so shouldn't I feel more like myself then? Apparently not.
All this will change once I have my life back in July - I will no longer have to wear the student hat, and I can go back to just being myself. I won't be trapped in a classroom every week, bored and fed up of endless navel gazing. Instead I will have my freedom once more - freedom to look up at the stars and dream magically, rather than examining all the crap in the world and trying to identify where it came from! Freedom to focus on my real job of writing once again, taking it in a new direction; freedom to take the dance class that I've had to put off because it falls on the same night I'm in college; freedom to play, to be filled with wonder at the beauty of the world, rather than focusing on that one inevitable imperfection and discussing it to death!
There is one good aspect to the course though and that is my placement. I love doing my clinical hours. It is the only part of the training that makes me happy, and which validates my original theory that you really don't need a diploma to help people - counselling is little more than basic common sense and human kindness. I said as much at the beginning of my training, and four years later I stand by that assessment. I have used nothing I have learnt in class on my placement because each organisation has its own way of working. My placement is with a counselling organisation and totally separate from the college, so it is a nice break from the lectures.
I never expected that working for free as a psychotherapist would be the best part of the course, but it is. Obviously it would be better if I was getting paid for my time, but that will come eventually, just like it did with my writing. I love my placement.Because everyone is voluntary there is no hierarchy, and people are nice! There is no bitching, no snottiness (some counsellors I've met in the past can be quite snotty) and no veiled put-downs masquerading as 'concern' like you sometimes get with doctors. It is just a really nice environment. I enjoy working there and I come home feeling elated that I have played a small part in helping my clients through a very dark time in their lives. It is the one part of my course where I feel like myself again.
Of course helping people with their troubles is all part of being a witch, so despite the academics trying to remould me, I am still doing exactly what I have always done - and that is, I help people, bringing a glimmer of light into their darkness, as any wise woman of old would have done. As a messenger, I can sometimes bring comfort to those who need a sign, but mostly I help people to keep living, as best they can, when they think that their life is over.
I see it as banking good karma - I help those who need me, for free, and that skilled kindness will be returned to me by the threefold law at a later stage. Its a win-win situation. I wish all good things for my clients, just as I do for my readers. Spreading kindness and gentleness helps to shine a light in the world and it makes a positive difference. But I'd be lying if I said I'm not looking forward to the eventual cosmic pay-day! Good things come to those who wait.