Toni says: Here’s Part 2 of Alex Baldock’s piece about the work he does in HMP X, his insights and reflections about his growth as a counsellor in response to the experience:
“The cycles of change being what they are, the popularity of the 12 Step approach didn’t last and I returned to the CBT based treatment. In ten years little has changed in this area. The names change of the courses that are offered, but the content remains markedly similar. For a long time I was really frustrated by this. I felt like it was Groundhog Day, churning out the same stuff. I accept that this was my issue, but for a while I was quite angry about it. How can it have not changed in that time? Is this the best we can do?
It was during this time that I decided to try and give myself a route out and began formal training to be a counsellor.
It quickly became apparent that I had actually been working as a counsellor since 2008, without being able to call myself one. The skills were the same, the application was the same. The names and theories were new to me, especially looking at it from a Person Centred approach, but I found I could apply them retrospectively to the work I had been doing over the years. This made me more confident in the decision I had made; that this was my way forward.
In December 2017 I completed my counselling diploma. I believe that all therapy is rooted in Person Centred, but everything else can be layered on top. I love the psychology behind people’s choices and decisions. I find if fascinating that how we are living our lives now could have been created in our early childhood. And the challenge and privilege of being part of helping to find out why and trying to change how we perceive that, is the inestimably complicated part of what can be seen as a simple therapy. Counselling.
Right now I don’t know what I will be doing in ten years time. The last decade has flown, so in my head these relationships suit me. Whether in prison or out, whether with addicts or a wider clientele, I feel that, I hope that, I will continue to meet my needs and those of others by building rapport and developing therapeutic relationships. It has served me well so far.”
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