KPC Module Four: Units 11-12

So, the final Wednesday night of this course has been and gone! I have thoroughly enjoyed the last three weeks of skills practice – being in a two, rather than a three, has given me so much insight into what a real counselling relationship could look like. On our final evening we were also given a proper counselling room, rather than a spare office, so it felt really real!

Thinking back to where I was a year ago, I can see I’ve come on quite a journey – a year ago I was beginning to emerge from a pretty dark place emotionally. I had just applied for the job which I finally started in February this year (yes, it took a long time!). I was beginning to contemplate applying for a place on this course, and was quite uncertain of the direction I wanted to go in. One year on, and the course is nearly complete, I’m enjoying my job, I’ve begun the Diploma course, and we’re about to move house. It certainly feels like I’m entering into a new phase, and it’s looking likely to be another exciting one!

Endings can be sad, but I’m very grateful for the people on my course who have been traveling alongside me – for listening, sharing, discussing, challenging, and learning together. While I’m looking forward to having my Wednesday evenings back, I am sad that this phase is reaching its conclusion, and I will very much miss being part of this special group of individuals. As a farewell gift to each of my classmates, I wanted to give each person a part of my shawl – so I’ve used the remaining yarn to crochet them all a friendship bracelet.

Crocheting is a new skill which I’ve learned this year and reminds me of the new skills we’ve all been learning.
The pattern reminds me of the net I knitted in Unit 7 representing my “replenishment network”, and I want to thank them for being part of mine this past year.
The bracelet is tied together with a knot as a wee reminder of the need each one of us has to take care of ourselves:

β€œRest and self-care are so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” — Eleanor Brown

At times it has been difficult and challenging to complete my self-imposed knitting task – but the time I’ve spent making this shawl has been time to reflect, to learn new techniques, to be creative, to really think through what the lessons mean, and to work out how I can put them into practice. It’s been worth all the time and effort.

I won’t be doing a similar project while I’m doing the Diploma (although I might well get back into the habit of sharing what I’m creating with you from time to time – it may even involve more than knitting and crochet!), but I’m really glad I have this memento of a very special and important time in my life.

Thank you all for sharing the journey with me! I will definitely pop back and let you know how I get on tomorrow and if I’ve passed the course.

To bring my KPC project to an end, I chose to knit the final sections using each of the different colour yarns I’ve worked with over the last year, to remind me of the journey I’ve been on, and to bring this phase to an end.

KPC Module Four: Units 8-10

We’re nearly at the end of the course! Units 8-10 have been all about skills practice. It’s been a lovely experience actually, and I’ve really enjoyed it – we’ve been listening for longer than we’ve ever done before, and it’s been fun to realise how much you can accomplish with more time!

I’ve been really busy these last few weeks – we’re moving house imminently, and I was concerned about timings so I asked if I could complete the final course assignment and hand it in a couple of weeks early (in case I needed to make any ammendments). Happily my tutor obliged, and I wrote and handed in my essay a couple of weeks ago. She kindly read it, and has told me that it’s fine as it stands so, although I won’t get my final report for another couple of weeks, I’m reasonably confident that I’ve passed the course…

Tonight, we have our last skills practice, then on Saturday the course ends with a morning of giving our final presentations, and then lunch together.

To represent skills practice in my shawl, I used the design from the original pattern, and just did the same thing over and over again – practice practice practice!

KPC Module Four: Unit 7

Last night’s unit was the last teaching unit of the course! We were covering Ethics: Listeners’ Responsibilites in Context. This simply means that we are able to take care of ourselves, that we have sufficient sources of support around us, including proper professional supervision in line with COSCA’s guidelines, and that we are self-aware: able to know when/if we need to take some time out.

Part of the discussion this evening was aimed at encouraging us to identify our “replenishment network” – to know ourselves well enough, to understand our own needs, and how we replenish our resources.

To represent this, I knitted a net of stitches, reminding me of my support network – the family and friends around me, the activities I participate in, which allow me to replenish.

Tech Details

I formed this using the Filet Net Stitch pattern, found on New Stitch A Day.

KPC Module Four: Unit 6

I missed the course last night – we went to a wedding instead πŸ™‚ . However, not being there isn’t an admissable excuse – I still needed to cover the work! Unit 6 was, appropriately enough, all about stress.

Stress can be both a positive and a negative thing. A certain amount of stress can give us the drive and determination to accomplish tasks on time, however, too much stress obviously can have long term negative effects on us – both physically and emotionally. One thing I’ve learned recently about stress is that we all carry stess in different places in our bodies. I definitely feel it in my stomach and in my shoulders. But I know others carry theirs across their foreheads, or their neck, or even in their feet!

The course asked us to complete the Holmes-Rahe Life Stress Inventory, and think about if there’s anything we can do to reduce our current stress levels. According to this, my stress levels are pretty high right now, but there’s nothing I can do about any of them (my hip problem, continuing to adjust to a “new line of work”, starting the new course, moving house…), but I think stress can often be more about how we handle these things. Right now, although there are lots of stressful things going on in my life right now, and physically I’m very tired and sore, I’m actually feeling quite calm and peaceful about life in general.

To represent this week, I’ve knitted a series of knots – reminding me of how my stomach feels when I do get stressed!

Tech Details

Step 1: Insert your working needle into the next three stitches on your main needle, purl wise.

Step 2: Wrap your working yarn around your working needle and purl the three stitches together.

Step 3: Yarn over around your working needle.

Step 4: Insert your working needle into the next three stitches on your main needle, purl wise again.

Step 5: Wrap your working yarn around your working needle and purl the three stitches together, again.

Step 6: Slip all the stitches off the main needle.

With thanks to New Stitch A Day for the knot-making instructions.

KPC Module Four: Unit 5

We spent some time learning about Transactional Analysis during Unit 5. TA is a theory and method of therapy which analyses our behaviour and how we relate to others, by determining which ego state each person was in during the interchange. TA defines three ego states – Parent (critical and nuturing), Adult (rational), and Child (adapted and free).

Examining each transaction in this context enables us to deepen our understanding of what was really happening during the interchange, and also increases our understanding of ourselves. As our self-understanding improves, so also does our ability to choose between which ego state we would wish to adopt in future exchanges, which can in turn improve our relationships, and our ability to communicate more effectively.

Given that TA is all about closely observing what is actually happening, this week I’ve adapted a lovely wee pattern I found on New Stitch A Day, called The Fauns Eye. I’ve repeated the pattern a couple of times, and I love the way it looks like lots of sets of eyes looking out!

Tech Details

Row 1 (RS): Ssk, k3, yo, k1, yo, k3, k2tog, k1
Row 2 (WS): P1, P2tog, p2, yo, p3, yo, p2, p2tog tbl
Row 3: Ssk, k1, yo, k5, yo, k1, k2tog, k1
Row 4: P1, yo, p2tog, p7, p2tog tbl, yo
Row 5: YO, k3, k2tog, k1, ssk, k3, yo, k1
Row 6: P2, yo, p2, p2tog, p1, p2tog tbl, p2, yo, p1
Row 7: K2, yo, k1, k2tog, k1, ssk, k1, yo, k3
Row 8: P4, p2tog tbl, yo, p1, yo, p2tog, p3

KPC Module Four: Unit 4

Our learning this week focussed on Social Inclusion, and we were considering some of the factors influencing whether or not a person experiences social exclusion. We discussed genetic factors, personality factors, and upbringing factors. We also thought about how these factors affected us personally – were there potentially excluded people which we would personally feel uncomfortable working with when using a counselling approach, and how we might handle that situation, should we experience it?

During skills practise, we had to talk about when we ourselves had experienced social exclusion, and how that felt. At present, I have a problem with my hip which means I am unable to go to church as sitting in our church pews appears to be making the problem worse. The lovely people at my church have offered to bring a chair in for me so that I can attend (thereby not feeling excluded!). What I’ve realised is that for me, right now, sitting on a chair, stuck out at the end of a pew, without the freedom to choose where I sit, or with whom I sit, with attention drawn to the fact that I am somehow “different”, is not something I feel I can deal with. The effort to include me actually leaves me feeling more excluded. So, for me, for now, I am choosing not to attend the service, but to join everyone for coffee afterwards.

So, given that this is very much a live issue for me, when it came time to work out how I felt, what I had learned during Unit 4, I realised that I felt blank, perhaps numb. I expect that this is partly to do with the fact that last week was all just a bit crazy – I started my Counselling Diploma course on Tuesday, and work was unusually demanding on Wednesday and Thursday. And then, of course, we’re in the process of selling our house! Given that this shawl is there to represent my learning and how I experienced the course, I felt that the most accurate thing I could knit would be to leave the space blank. So, that’s what I’ve done:

KPC Module Four: Unit 3

Suffice it to say that trying to find the requisite available brain cycles to design a project, whilst trying to buy and sell a house, is not easy!

This week we were looking at Ethics: Boundary Issues and Violations. We spent a lot of time discussing power, and how this can be used in both positive and negative ways. We also spent a long time discussing Boundary Violations, and how they can come about. Finally, we worked through a specific situation in which a boundary had been violated, and identified Peterson‘s four characteristics of boundary violations, and how they contributed to the process. It was an interesting evening!

To represent this week, I’ve chosen to knit a lightning bolt to symbolise power!

KPC Module Four: Unit 2

This week we were looking at another of the Humanistic/Existential Perspectives – Gestalt Therapy. Gestalt Therapy appears to be quite a polarising type of therapy, with some people extolling its virtues, and others hating it!

The Gestalt approach centres on enabling a person to become much more aware of themselves, thereby improving their understanding of what’s going on in their lives right now. The therapy uses techniques designed to increase that awareness, to enable the individual to realise how their own negative thought patterns and behaviours are affecting the way they live their lives right now.

Gestalt Therapy can be very helpful for those dealing with specific issues, such as anxiety, depression, or relationship difficulties. But some of the techniques can often seem quite harsh, as the counsellor attempts to help the person become aware of what’s really going on.

I don’t think it’s an approach that I would choose to use myself, but I found the session very useful in giving me some new tools which may be useful when using the more person-centred route I am more drawn to.

So, to represent this week, I chose to use two colours of yarn, and a stitch pattern called Bee stitch. The two colours remind me that I need to look closely, become more aware, of what’s actually going on; and the stitch name reminds me that sometimes just allowing ourselves to “be”, and become aware of what is going on in our bodies, is really important.

PS Our next session isn’t until the 9th May, so the next post won’t be until after that! Hope you have a good couple of weeks πŸ™‚ .

Tech details

Following Follow Your Arrow Clue 5B as set. But instead of the garter section in the middle, I used Two-Colour Bee stitch, as explained here.

KPC Module Four: Unit 1

I’m pleased to announce that I passed Module Three, both my essay and presentation went well, and I received positive comments on both πŸ™‚ . Which brings me now to the start of Module Four. Already!

As is normal for the start of a new module, we did a brief recap of the previous module, during the first unit. Following on from that, we spent some time reflecting on Maslow’s heirarchy of needs, and how that might relate to when we are using a counselling approach. Then we spent some time doing skills practise in triads, during which we were invited to reflect upon the personal journey we have been on as we have gone through the course.

Initially this seemed a bit of a strange topic to discuss on our first night back after a four week break, but actually it’s a bit of preparation work for our final essay. In one of the segments of the essay, we will be asked to reflect on our own personal journey, and I think Unit One’s skills practise was really to get us thinking about it now. I actually found this a fairly straightforward thing to discuss, although I’m aware that others found it harder. The process of creating this shawl has required me to think quite hard about what each session has meant to me, and for each presentation and essay, I have reflected at length about my journey, so to then describe it in the triad, I found I already had a fairly coherent story to tell.

Module Four is titled Integration, which makes me think of taking all that we have learnt and integrating it into one cohesive whole. For the knitting, the final clue in the pattern is also knitted on to the edge of the body of the shawl as you saw in Module Three, and the pattern forms a series of points along the outside edge of the shawl. So, my plan is to follow the pattern for the points, as written in the clue, which I hope will help to bring the pattern together, and make it a harmonious (integrated!) whole. The section between the knitted-on edge, and the actual point, will be where I put my own interpretation of each week.

So, as I thought about Unit One of Module Four, I had a real sense of being on the home strait – the end is in sight! So to represent this I have knitted a bunting/flag pattern, to remind me of the flag waved to indicate the beginning on the last lap.

KPC Module Three: Units 11 & 12

And so, the end of Module Three. Another busy three months, but one which has flown by. If Modules 1 and 2 were about exploring my journey so far – beginning in my teenage years until the more recent past. Module 3 has been about understanding this current phase, beginning with my decision to begin this course, and ending with taking a much bigger step – that of interviewing for, and being offered a place on a course which puts me on track to become a proper counsellor. In mid-May, overlapping with the second half of Module 4, I will start my Counselling Diploma course! A big step, but an exciting one!

Units 11 & 12 incorporated writing a self-reflective essay, based on a transcript of a recorded triad session, and the usual end-of-Module presentation. Both went well – I actually really enjoyed writing the essay this time, describing my thought processes as I took part in the triad.

I thought I would end this Module with a flower bud, because there is something lovely about feeling like you are going in the right direction, even if you don’t quite know how it’s going to look, or what colour it’s going to be, once it blooms!

Tech Details

Rows 1, 3, 5: (RS): K6, k2tog, k3, yo, k1, yo, k3, sl 1, ssk, k to last stitch, SSSK.
Rows 2, 4, 6: (WS) Slip 1 stich purlwise, purl to end.
Rows 7, 9, 11 & 13: k7, yo, k3, sl 1, k2tog, psso, k3, yo, k to last stitch, SSSK.
Rows 8, 10, 12, 14: Slip 1 stich purlwise, purl to end.

With thanks to Purl Avenue for the pattern!

To work the final increase block, on the penultimate row of this block I knitted the following:

K to 4st before end. Turn; P to end. *K to 4 st before gap. Turn; P to end.* Rep from * to * until only 4 stitches remain. Knit across the row, closing the gaps as you go.

Finally, I worked the edge:

Row 1: (YO, K2tog) – last k2tog joins to body of shawl.
Row 2: Purl
Row 3 – 5: K1, P1 to end

Cast off using the Channel Island Bind Off, to create a picot style edge, to match the previous border.