Jonathan Long joins us for counselling student placement (Part 2)

Jonathan joined us here at the Federation in October 2021 on placement whilst he studied for a master’s degree in counselling and psychotherapy. We’ve been following Jonathan’s journey with us through a short series of blogs in which he has shared how his placement has gone and some of his experiences. 

Here’s Jonathan’s second and final blog, where he tells us how his placements has gone, and what’s next on the cards for him…

The End

Hi again, I’m sorry to be signing off the blog series with my second and final blog. I am now in my final week of my placement at Bolton GP Federation, which has been a rewarding and successful experience.

Before I leave you with a few counselling impressions from my 30-week journey here, I would first of all like to thank Bolton GP Federation for allowing me the opportunity to build up some real client experience at their surgeries in Bolton.

I would also like to thank the reception staff and the GPs at these surgeries for logistically making it possible with patient-bookings and providing the facilities for me to see their patients.

And finally, I would like to give a big thank you to the Bolton GP patients (clients), who trusted and respected me enough to attend the counselling sessions to talk about their worries or issues, which hopefully allowed them to process their concerns and the thoughts and feelings these concerns provoked.

The Journey

As a student counsellor, my main feeling about the 30-week placement is that it has been a bit of a roller-coaster ride!

I feel the start of the journey, as you would expect, was the most challenging with some nerves and maybe a lack of self-belief hindering my presence in the sessions, which I felt was completely understandable.  However, I feel as those early weeks passed, I found I was able to adapt and overcome those early challenges. I feel the first few weeks were quite stressful with feelings of frustrations about my counselling skills, such as picking up / identifying the client’s feelings during the sessions or maybe intervening with more insightful paraphrases and summaries to accurately reflect the session’s contents.

I feel as the placement went on and my counselling experience increased, I started to make a breakthrough from those early frustrations. I feel this breakthrough was reinforced further when I started to observe noticeable improvements in a number of my clients – sometimes it seemed after just a few sessions – which made me see first-hand the benefits of talking therapy and the power of firstly, being open about your feelings to someone who you can trust, and secondly, being comfortable to talk to someone about something which will no doubt be difficult, personal and upsetting, whilst experiencing a feeling of warmth, non-judgement and genuineness from that person.

What next?

The final year of my master’s degree starts later this year which will be the final part of this journey. I am still unsure about the subject of the thesis, but I feel I want to do something with men and mental health despite most of my clients being female. I am interested in looking into counselling for males, as I feel men are often accused of not talking enough with each other, which I would like to explore further to see if I can help by getting involved into this field of counselling.