Personal Development Statement

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1 - DO NOT COPY - THIS ASSIGNMENT EXEMPLAR IS FOR REFERENCE PURPOSES ONLY Many organisations, including awarding bodies, use software to check that your content is original. Use this assignment exemplar as a reference to guide you when compiling your own original work. Assignment Exemplar 3 Personal Development Statement The facts are always friendly, every bit of evidence one can acquire, in any area, leads one that much closer to what is true - Carl Rogers Reflecting back to the beginning of the course I remember feeling a mixture of trepidation and excitement. I felt apprehension at meeting a new group and felt that I may not fit in, nervousness about meeting a new tutor and perhaps a wondering of how I would be perceived by that tutor, it strikes me now as interesting that I placed more importance on what the tutor may think of me and not what I may think of the tutor. I also felt excitement about moving forward with my studies and a determination to put everything I could into the process with anticipation of the personal development I may find along the journey. Reflecting on the first evening I felt reassurance at seeing faces from my concepts course, I noticed how almost subconsciously we grouped together and I remember feeling almost advantaged at having people I knew and trusted. By the end of the first session I felt part of a different group, I felt the beginning of a new journey as opposed to the continuation of a journey that began in concepts. The good Life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination - Carl Rogers 1

2 A number of changes within self have become apparent from my journey, some appear outwardly as significant while some changes are internally processed and are profound to self. I recognised I was incongruent to self with regards to my vocation. I openly admitted feeling trapped and smothered in a job that was unfulfilling. Reflecting, I am now aware of what I was not openly saying. I developed a fear based on interjected values, if I were to leave this job I may not get another, I would be unable to support my family; I would be a failure and prove irresponsible yet again. I now recognise that these self defeating, unrealistic feelings start from childhood. I recall the teachers words condemning me to failure in life, the disappointment of my parents on receiving a bad report card. I adopted conditions of worth like, to be successful you have to have a good job and work hard. The incongruence to self was preventing me from accessing my actualising tendency. I displayed characteristics of the child ego state of Erick Berne s Transactional analysis as in the mornings I would not want to get out of bed. I mimicked the actions of a child not wanting to go to school. I needed to stop fooling myself, become congruent with self and realise that my worth was not based on outside influence but on my inner feelings, I needed to except myself for who I was and afford myself unconditional positive regard, I guess I needed to be hedonistic as Albert Ellis would have put it. I had grown sufficiently to be able to leave my job in January I was able to recognise unhealthy practice in my relationship with Annie my wife. Annie is twelve years younger than me and I found I was taking on a critical and nurturing parent role. I was constantly correcting Annie and showing her how it should be done I was constantly trying to prevent Annie making the same mistakes I had made, rationalising that I could save her the pain by pointing out the pitfalls. I felt frustrated at the fact that she would not listen I saw Annie making the very mistakes I warned her about and I felt it my duty to step in and clean up the mess. Reflecting back I see I was not allowing Annie to develop a sense of self, and I was giving Annie an external locus of evaluation. I needed to allow Annie to make her own mistakes, to stand on her own feet and I could be a better partner by just staying in her frame of reference. That was the theory but in practice it took time for me to break a habit of over ten years. Now I try to stay in Annie s frame of reference, if she gets hurt I am there to hug her and understand that it may be a difficult time, if she has success I am there to celebrate with her. I am free from the 2

3 responsibility of having to make everything ok and Annie is succeeding doing things her way. Annie was unaware of my light bulb moment as I am aware that this is my journey and I cannot expect her to understand it as I do, the change resulted from my understanding and as a result my behaviour. I feel I moved from the Parent roll into the Adult roll. (I think it is ethical to mention that I have asked Annie s permission to include this example.) Most significant to me is a change of being. I feel a significant change in the way I interact with people, situations and most profoundly myself. This personal growth is difficult to explain, I feel it is as a result of the theoretical insight combined with the results of the personal development group and the integration of this in my life. The direction I now take seems calmer than before, there is a tranquillity that is almost spiritual in nature. I try to no longer evaluate my life and actions on the opinions of others, I sometimes still do but I am self aware enough to question my reasoning and address it. I used to feel an uneasiness towards people in authority, it was almost as if they had more right than me to exist and I suppose the interjected value of respect your elders had something to do with it, not that people in authority are always older than me. I now look at people in authority as people in authority, that s it, they just happen to hold a job that is authoritarian in nature. As Sigmund Freud said sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. There is a tremendous feeling of freedom in that for me and it permeates so many aspects of my life, for example. I have started a new job and was recently in contact with the commercial Director who was briefing me on an assignment, the director said something that I disagreed with and I felt free to let them know this, nothing remarkable or life changing happened but the fact remains I was able to disagree without fear and that for me is life changing. I feel I have actualised as a person, this continues to happen on a daily basis, last pd session someone in the group said how their child sometimes bosses them around, I instantly saw how I boss my mother around and was grateful that this was now in awareness as its something I can look at. I was never happy within myself I wanted to be liked and craved the approval of others, its different now and this quote sums it up Carl Rogers the curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change. 3

4 Feedback received Feedback has been an integral part of my development on the course and without it I would not have had an honest reflection to consider when building upon both positive and negative aspects of my skills. Positive feedback such as using questions to focus, accurate paraphrasing and skilful use of an open question has been useful in pointing out areas that are working. I have received feedback that I am calm and easy to talk to with good rapport building and I feel more confident in these areas. I have had occasion where positive feedback made me uneasy, I was told by someone that they perceived me as a very together person who stood out in the class. I found myself saying that they were mistaken and that I was not like that inside. On reflection I wonder why I was so unwilling to take this as that person s point of view and I wondered why I felt the need to diffuse the feedback with self depravation. Even through this reflection I was able to learn. Constructive criticisms have been useful in developing weaker aspects of my skills and to be honest it is sometimes easier to except than positive criticism, again I question why I feel this way. There have been times that I did not stay in the client s point of reference, the client made reference that a Liverpool football shirt made them feel a strong emotion, I took this as a light-hearted football jibe but to the client this was important and real. This was then clarified through feedback and we discussed how I might avoid this in the future by just staying with the client in there frame of reference and maybe clarifying anything I may be confused about, for example I could have said It sounds like the shirt brings up a strong emotion in you and let the client lead. I found through feedback that I sometimes use humour inappropriately For example where I was the speaker I said I never did well at school, I was never there and laughed, in reality I was feeling embarrassed and venerable at the time and it was not funny at all. In examining this I found it to have been a trait in my day to day life, I would often use humour to diffuse a difficult or embarrassing situation, the feedback identified this trait and I am now aware of it and find this happens less. Feedback has been and still is a valuable tool for my development. I have identified a list of skills that identify my strengths and limitations. On the strength side I will put empathy as I truly feel with the client, a good personal manner which I think encompasses UPR and builds rapport, an honest congruent approach, I feel comfortable using open and closed questions to clarify, I feel I am able to 4

5 engage the speaker where they are at and use paraphrasing and summarising to good effect. There is no doubt that practice will improve my ability to better stay within the client s frame of reference and avoid using inappropriate humour. I recognise that I feel confident with my skills at a level three grading but I acknowledge that even the areas I feel are strong will need development and practice before engaging a real client. I had occasion to see a skilled counsellor at work recently and I was impressed at the skill level at which she operated. All in all I feel my biggest strength is the ability to learn. I am able to learn theory and build on what I have; I am able to learn from feedback and constructive criticism but most of all I am able to learn from my own thoughts experiences and interactions. The course has taught me how to learn, question and discover and that is a strength that will overcome any limitation. Where from here? I wish to continue to learn and grow, to take this journey as far as it goes without imposing or impressing too many expectations. I acknowledge the ending of the level three certificate and welcome the beginning of the diploma course, if that is meant to be. The truth is I think I had more defined plans for the future at the beginning of the course than I do at the end. This is not because I have lost drive and direction it s more that through the course I have come to except the true meaning of Rogers quote The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination Carl Rogers Now it s not about where I m going anymore, it s about how I get there. Bibliography Carl Roger Reader edited by Howard Kischenbaum and Valerie Land Henderson 2008 Skills in Person-centred counselling and psychotherapy, Janet Tolan Person-Centred Counselling in action, third edition, Dave Mearns and Brian Thorne Websites:

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