By Christie Hyland — In one of my courses this semester, we have been involved in a counseling exercise in which students pair off, one as the counselor and one as the client, while our professor and the rest of the class observes their 30 minute mock session.
Recently, it was my turn to be the counselor. My classmate and I sat in a small room with a large mirror, our classmates and professor seated behind it. That, along with counseling a “fake” client and not having practiced my skills since before Christmas break, allowed for a strange and anxiety-provoking situation. After a bit in our session, I tuned out my worries of being watched and tuned into our session.
Reconvening at the classroom, I received verbal feedback for the first time. The comments and suggestions from my classmates and professor were very helpful. While I had an idea of how the session went, things I did well and things I could have improved on, the others brought up great points that I had not thought of. My professor even brought up how he observed my counseling style to be, something I had never thought of before. I realized that my style is very important, and how I come off to clients can help our relationship or harm it.
While receiving feedback isn’t always easy, it is one of the most important facilitators in developing your counseling skills. I realized that our 30 minutes of discomfort in the counseling rooms are worth the invaluable learning and growth that occurs afterward.