So it’s been a while since I posted on here, and this will 100% be the last. Today I’ve come to the end of my journey and training to become a Cognitive Behavioural Therapist. Yay!! As part of our ending today we all had to share a “learning statement” – a little 5 minute talk about our experience on the course and our growth/learning/development over the past 2 years. I’ve decided to share it on here, as my final post on here. I started this blog 8 years ago when I was 18/19, and it gave me a place to write and explore my feelings and whatever probably unexciting things I was going through at the time. From being at Strathclyde starting a business degree, to leaving and feeling lost before fumbling my way through a psychology degree. There was a lot of whinging, lots of searching, exploration of faith and friendship and various aspects of life. But as I move into this new chapter, I want to leave this and all the ramblings of my younger self behind. They don’t represent who I am or where I am now. I do think I might start a new blog, but it’ll be about who I am now and my experience going forward. Clean slate. So below I’ve written what I shared today to my class over zoom. Feels right to share it when the inner workings of my brain and my thoughts were so often posted here in my journey to this point, and it’ll give a little insight into what my journey’s been over the past 2 years. A nice full stop at the end of this chapter, as I move into the next one.
When I think about my experience of the diploma as a whole, lots of the words that come to mind are related to movement – journey, path, rollercoaster, whirlwind – and I think that represents my experience on this course pretty well. Movement in the sense of change, development, growth, improvement even. In some ways I almost don’t recognise the girl that started this course 2 years ago.
The biggest change for me has been my confidence, and this shift is evident for me in areas of my personal life and my client work. I’ve gone from rejecting all phone calls, rehearsing what to say if a call was unavoidable – for fear of getting it wrong or saying the wrong thing and embarrassing myself – to having done almost 20, hour long therapy sessions over the phone. It’s something that sounds a bit random but it’s a monumental shift in me, and something I never could have predicted.
One of my biggest fears going into counselling was that I wouldn’t know what to say to clients – Ive always been comfortable listening, but I feared my sessions would be littered with awkward, panic filled silences. What I’ve learned is that I don’t have to have all the answers – I don’t need to be an expert, that’s not the role, and that’s okay.
There’s no denying I’ve always been the quietest in this class, something I viewed really negatively, and I think most of you know how difficult I found speaking out in the big group. It’s something I’ve struggled with since primary school, and while I’ve not got to the root cause, I now understand the beliefs I’ve got around not having anything worthwhile to say or add, somehow being less than everyone else, and the rules I’ve built around me to protect myself from feeling all of that, well they were freaking hard to break down. It’s taken to the back end of second year to feel comfortable contributing without a bucket load of panic, anxiety and rumination going with it, but I’m proud and thrilled to finally be making changes that make me feel more like ‘me’. I’ll never be the chattiest in a group, but I’m finally okay with that. I can see that quiet doesn’t mean stupid or pathetic or any of the 20 other negative things I associate it with. I won’t always speak up, but the difference now is that I know I can.
I might be the youngest in the class, but I’ve spent my life so far searching for something I’m passionate about, and searching for ‘me’. I’ve still got a long way to go but for the first time in years I feel comfortable in my own skin, and comfortable being myself. This course has been life-altering in the best possible way, and I’m grateful to all of you, and to all the tutors we’ve had along the way for all of the encouragement, feedback, friendship, and for helping me find what was missing.
Practically, I don’t know what I’m going on to next – but I’m so excited to have found something I love doing. I’ve found a lot of the last year overwhelming – physical health and mentally, but I always feel the most “me” – the most comfortable and at ease, when I’m in a session with a client. And that feels like a sign that this is what I’m meant to be doing, or as it came up in skills this morning, that I think I’ve found where I belong.
I love a quote and I found this one last week that I think sums up where I’m at and how I’m feeling right now:
“This is your day to shine, your day to let your sparkle out into the world. Now is the time to go towards your dreams with abandon. Now is the time to lust towards your goals with fire in your bones and passion flowing through your veins. The journey you’re about to take will not be everything you want, but it will be everything you need. Now is the time to nourish your mind and body, and take care of your spirit. Now is the time to celebrate all that you are and prepare for everything that’s to come. Now is the time to let your wonderful and unique true self out…now is the time to let yourself SHINE….”