KPC Module One: Units 10 & 11

The beginning of November was a rather busy time, with the end of the module in sight.  As part of the assessment process, we had to participate in a videoed triad, in the presence of the tutor. After each interaction occured, we then watched the video back to further discuss how the Listener had done, and look at specific parts which the tutor wanted to show us.

I was surprised to discover that I really enjoyed the process, although it was distinctly weird watching myself back, while in “listening mode”!!

To remind myself of this in my knitting, I chose to represent the videoed session as a diamond pattern – the pattern produced a nice, regular, even result, which reminded me of putting into practise everything we’ve been learning, and it all coming together to create a beautiful whole.

KPC Module One: Unit 9

After a couple of weeks off, we recommenced the course last week. This time, we were looking at Ethics, and how it relates when using a counselling approach. Specifically, we were looking at the six ethical principles which have their origins in Hippocrates.

These are Beneficence (do good), Non-maleficence (do no harm), Autonomy (respect the Speaker’s independence in decision making), Justice (be fair, avoid prejudice), Confidentiality (respect the Speaker’s privacy), and Veracity (be truthful with oneself, and with the Speaker).

We then spent some time looking in more detail at the fifth principle of Confidentiality, and how that relates when using a counselling approach, how it relates to a formal counselling situation, and also how it relates to our group (those of us on the course together).

So this week, my knitting comprises six pillars, representing the six ethical principles, as a reminder of what they stand for, and how they apply to us, where we’re at now.

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KPC Module One: Unit 8

We were back into the normal swing of things this week, with a normal Wednesday evening session. This evening, we were looking at feelings and all the different methods we ourselves employ to hide our feelings from others. From there, we were then able to think about how a Speaker may try to hide how they feel about what they are talking about. We also discussed the cues we can use to pick up on how a Speaker might be feeling, even if they haven’t recognised it themselves. Another angle we discussed was the need for genuineness and openess within ourselves, which helps a Speaker to feel safe and valued, and can encourage them to open up.

We then did some more skills practise, in the form of triad work, and got to try this out.

Working out how to represent this in my knitting, was a bit tricky, but I got there in the end. On the left, in the centre of the the section, is the Listener’s feelings – depicted with an open, lacy texture, encouraging the Speaker to open up. On the right, is the Speaker’s feelings – often hard, or difficult or knotty feelings, and so represented with some lumpy bits (more nupps!).

We’ve got the next couple of weeks off, so the next installment won’t be until towards the end of the month 🙂

KPC Module One: Units 6 & 7

Saturday saw the first all-day session of the course, covering two units. It was a fun day, but there were a few intense moments too. During these two units, we were looking at Carl Rogers’ Core Conditions – Empathy, Congruence (genuineness) and Unconditional Positive Regard (acceptance).

The morning session focussed mainly on unconditional positive regard – or acceptance. We discussed what this looks like in a counselling session, and how when we are able to convey this to the Speaker, it can help them to feel safe, valued and respected. We then had the opportunity to practise this in a triad setting, while the Speaker was invited to discuss a time when they hadn’t felt accepted!

To symbolise this, I decided to represent the Listener on the left hand side, who was attempting to convey unconditional positive regard to the Speaker, with a support ribbon (like those you see supporters of various causes wearing on their jackets). On the right, I represented the Speaker’s feeling of being accepted, with a heart.

After a break for lunch, Unit 7 commenced. We were looking in more detail at the other two Core Conditions – those of Empathy and Congruence. Prior to the day, we had been asked to complete a couple of questionnaires (to get us thinking about how much we share with people, on a whole range of different subjects), and had also been split into two groups. The group I was in was looking at Congruence and we were also asked to bring in a prop relating to that subject.

On the day, both groups were given 45 minutes to produce a short play (~5 mins) about our given subject, using the props we had brought in. Trying to pull together seven vastly different props, and make them make sense of the topic was definitely challenging. Our props were two photographs, a magnifying glass, a set of Russian dolls, an onion, and an emojii cushion (smiley face). I took in M’s emojii cushion – both to symbolise putting on a brave face, not letting people see our true feelings, but also could be used to express genuine happiness (as a way of letting people know how you feel on social media). In our play, we used one of the photographs to provoke the internal discussion that can go on when we decide whether or not to share our pain with someone else – will I be genuine with the person, or not?

The other group was looking at empathy, and their play was about a scene about a bartender interacting with various people who came into his bar and offloaded their problems onto him as he got them their drink. In each case, they explained his empathic response.

So, to remind me of these performances, and the discussion they prompted, I have depicted a wine glass representing empathy, and a smiley face representing congruence.

 

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KPC Module One: Unit 5

Last night’s session was about the essential connection between self-awareness and using a counselling approach. We spent a significant proportion of the evening learning about the Johari Window, a personal development tool that can be used to improve our own self-awareness and communication. The key principle is that as we open ourselves to others, we become more free and open.

So, on to the knitting…

This time, I divided the section into four quadrants, with each quadrant reflecting a box in the Johari Window.

Box 1: Free and Open – an open lacy pattern.
Box 2: A flat stockingette background, with some Estonian buttons, reflecting the things we don’t see about ourselves, but others do.
Box 3: A flat stockingette background – with nothing on show for others to see.
Box 4: Seed stitch – a fuzzy mass, which no-one knows about.

KPC Module One: Unit 4

We’re at week four already!

Module One is all about Advanced Communication Skills, so practising these skills is a pretty integral part of the course.

This week we were focusing on “Responding” skills – discussing the importance of responding appropriately to a speaker, the negative impact that responding inappropriately can have, and finally learning about the different ways in which we respond to the people around us, for example through affirmative noises, tone of voice, body language, eye contact, being empathic, and paraphrasing what the speaker has said.

Then it was time to practise! We were back in the same triad as we were last week – and the process was the same as last week, with each of us taking it in turns to be the Speaker, Listener, and Observer. The focus this week for the Listener was to practise their responding skills (but they were still not allowed to ask any questions!).

So, on to this week’s knitted aide memoire. On the right side, I have knitted a variation of Old Shale (a traditional Shetland stitch pattern) – Old Shale forms a lovely wavy pattern, in this case representing the sound waves emanating from the Speaker! On the left side is a pattern called Ear of Wheat – the “ear” being a reminder to the Listener to really listen to what the Speaker said, and then to respond appropriately.

Here’s the pattern I designed for this week, and below is a picture of the actual knitting…

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KPC Module One: Unit 3

This week has been something of a challenge!  Coming up with a concept was easy, knitting was easy, but actually designing it was a bit mind-twisting!

Fortunately, I’ve found a great website, Stitch Fiddle, which I think will make future designs much more straightforward (now that I’ve figured out how to use it, that is…).

During my course this week, we had our first experience of the dreaded “triads”.  In this context a triad is a useful technique for allowing people to practise their counselling skills. It is formed by a group of three people, with each person taking on a role of either Speaker, Listener, or Observer.

Tonight, the Speaker (“client”) was asked to talk for ten minutes on “something important to me”. The Listener (“counsellor”) had to listen and demonstrate that to the Speaker that they understood what was being said.  However, the Listener was not allowed to ask any questions! Any questions had to be re-phrased as comments. Affirmation of what the Speaker was saying could be communicated via body language, and affirming noises, and occasional comments.  At the end of the alloted time, the Listener had to sum up what the Speaker had told them. All of which sounded pretty challenging!

The Observer was to observe what was happening, with a particular focus on the Listener.  At the end of the process, the Observer gave constructive verbal feedback to the Listener, and recorded their observations down in the Listener’s handbook.

At the end of this part of the process, we switched places (with the Speaker becoming the Observer, the Observer becoming the Listener, and the Listener becoming the Speaker) and then repeated the entire process again. And then again for the third time, so that we each had the opportunity of being in all three roles.

Somewhat to my surprise, I found the whole experience to be really enjoyable (even being the “Speaker”, which was the part I least looked forward to).  At the end of the evening, we were asked which role we preferred and I realised that I couldn’t make a choice. I had enjoyed being in all three roles, albeit for very different reasons.  That said, I was pretty exhausted by the time I got home 🙂 .

So, how to reflect this in this week’s knitting block? 

I chose to depict the triad scene: on one side, a triangle facing towards the other side (representing the Observer); and on the other side, two triangles facing each other (representing the Speaker and the Listener).

Below is the pattern design, and a picture of the actual knitting.

Looking forward to next week!

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KPC Module One: Unit 2

My yarn finally arrived 🙂 🙂 .

I’ve chosen Drops Baby Alpaca Silk, which is 70% Peruvian baby alpaca and 30% mulberry silk.  I love knitting with alpaca – it’s so soft, doesn’t contain lanolin (which my sensitive skin is grateful for), and has a lovely sheen.  I recently read an interesting article written by another knitter on the sustainability of alpaca, which is another big plus. I forsee more alpaca yarn knitting in my future!

So, onto the course. This week’s unit was about understanding the difference between formal counselling, and using a counselling approach. Formal counselling being an interaction, usually between two people, for the specific purpose of counselling. It usually takes place in a private setting, allowing for confidentiality and creating a safe environment.

By contrast, using a counselling approach is normally more informal and is about using counselling skills appropriately in the context of a supportive relationship. This might be voluntary, take place in a befriending environment, or might be used amongst family and friends.

This course is about developing our counselling skills, and how we use these skills in our everyday interactions. It will involve increasing our understanding of counselling theories, while recognising that people are complicated, and there is no one-size-fits-all.

This week’s section of my project reflects this. This week we put in place the foundations of the course, understanding what it was about, appreciating the differences in approach, and familiarising ourselves with the terminology that will be used. This week’s knitting section involved casting-on (the foundations), understanding the basic structure of the piece, and familarising myself with the stitch-patterns involved.

As a wee bonus, while I was looking at the photograph, I noticed the two distinctive blocks of stitch patterns (just plain and stockingette at this stage) which in turn made me think of the two different styles we looked at this week – formal counselling and using a counselling approach – and that, while they sit alongside one another and are similar in many ways, they are also quite different.


 

KPC Module One: Unit 1

Module One, Unit 1 of my Counselling Skills course was mostly about introduction. Introducing ourselves to our fellow classmates, and our trainer; getting to know the venue; learning about the content of the course, and the format it would take; and discussing our hopes and expectations, and fears, relating to the year ahead.  Handing in paperwork, and other bits of admin rounded out the evening.

In a nutshell, as Unit 1 was really about putting everything in place, and getting set up and ready for what lies ahead, this week’s KPC (KnittingProjectCounselling) is the same.

Firstly, the decision of what to knit: well, the answer is easy – one of my most favourite projects to knit is a shawl. Lace lends itself to interesting stitch patterns and motifs, so that seems a natural direction for me to take.

Next, the yarn. What weight? Which colour? How do I incorporate the four different modules?

I spent a happy hour browsing my favourite online suppliers, and selecting some yarn which I think will work.  I’ve chosen 4-ply, which lends itself well to lace knitting. Unfortunately (and the reason for the delay in publishing this post), the yarn I’ve chosen hasn’t yet arrived, so you’ll just have to wait (albeit you will be far more patient than I currently am!).

After considerable thought as to the design, I’ve decided to adapt Ysolda’s Follow Your Arrow shawl.  I joined in the original mystery Knit-A-Long in early 2014 – five clues were released at weekly intervals, but each clue had two options, so there were 32 different combinations.  This was the final result..

I don’t plan to follow the same sequence of clues as I did the first time, so this should be a fun adventure!

A new era

Well, I’m back!

While the blog writing ceased a couple of years ago, the knitting certainly didn’t! Life has moved on however, and I’m starting an unusual new knitting project that I want to keep track of, and I’ve decided to use this blog in order to help me to do so.

I’ve just started a part-time course in Counselling Skills – it’s split in to four modules, each with twelve units.  At the end of each module, we will be required to give a short “creative” presentation analysing what we’ve been learning throughout that module.  As my creativity usually expresses itself through my knitting, it seems to me that the best way I can do this is to create a special project.

My idea is that I will add a new section to my project each week, incorporating a particular motif, or stitch pattern, or shape, that will symbolise for me what I’ve learned.  At the end of each module, when it comes time to give my presentation, I plan to take my project in to show the rest of my classmates, and use it as a visual aid.

I intend to keep track of this project via this blog, so expect a weekly update, containing my notes, plans, and hopefully some pics!

So, that’s the idea. Now on to the reality…