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Lisa's story

Lisa's story

I learned about the importance of debriefing after sessions

Lisa shares her experience of being a school counsellor on placement, and the importance of debriefing after sessions to talk about anything she was affected by, or unsure about.

"I have always been interested in understanding people. From an early age I tried to remember and interpret my dreams and loved reading agony aunt columns in magazines. I wanted to study psychology at university, but didn’t have the science A-levels that were needed. I ended up studying languages and my career went in a completely different direction until I felt the pull of counselling almost 20 years later.

"I studied counselling in the evenings while working full time. In my third year of study, I got a placement at Place2Be. I did this during term time which appealed to me as I have a six-year-old daughter.

"During my placement I learned that the most important thing to do at the start of a new session is to set boundaries in a way that is easily understood by the child.

"It’s been really amazing to see how each child develops over the course of several sessions, from often being restless and unsettled, to then being able to sit down and focus on a specific task.

"One child I worked with wasn’t able to choose what he wanted to do at first. After several sessions, he decided he wanted to do and made eight enormous paintings. Using large brushes, rollers and his hands, he mixed all the colours with vigour. He said he was showing me how he felt. This was a breakthrough session. In the weeks that followed, he was much calmer and produced quite different pieces of art – he used one colour at a time and produced detailed paintings with a small brush.

"The placement helped to reinforce that every child is different in how they cope with their emotions – and that it’s important to meet them where they are at.

"At the end of the day, I have a one-hour supervision session with the School Project Manager. In this session, I talk about anything in the session that’s puzzled me or that I need help with to explore some of the issues that came up. I can also talk about anything that might have affected me during these sessions.

"Being able to talk about the sessions on the same day and to feel fully supported has been a highlight of the placement for me. It is a relief to be able to share whatever is on my mind and to be helped to explore meaning and relate this to theory."

This blog was written in a personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the view of the organisation.