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: