The importance of counseling cannot be gainsaid as far as the psychological health of individuals is concerned. Indeed, this may be tied to the economic wellbeing of individual and the country at large, especially considering that only healthy individuals have the capacity to create wealth. Counseling sessions may be individually held or in group sessions, both of which I have attended (Nelson-Jones, 2008). Group counseling revolves around a therapy format that approaches issues pertaining to personal growth using interpersonal interaction. In this case, individuals would interact with each other in an effort to identify, as well as comprehend their maladaptive patterns, as well as how they can modify them (Nelson-Jones, 2008). These interactions come with a chance to build relationships, as well as receive interpersonal feedback pertaining to the manner in which individuals experience one another. Individual counseling, on the other hand, would involve individual interaction with the counselor on an individual basis.
Feeling about the individual versus group counseling process
I feel extremely happy about both the individual and the group counseling sessions. Both of them allowed for immense interactions between the individuals, sharing the thoughts and issues that are deep-seated in the heart of an individual. Individual counseling sessions triggered feelings of security and trust especially in instances where the counselor would encourage me to talk about issues that I considered as relatively embarrassing. This, was undoubtedly, bound to increase feelings of trust and prompted me to explore feelings that I have always been afraid of exploring, as well as realizing and feelings issues that I have never thought existed in me.
However, I felt more excited about the group counseling sessions as they allowed for more openness and increased interactions than the individual counseling processes. Indeed, the individual counseling sessions brought out feelings of burn out, which may have emanated from the hectic nature of my life, as I have to juggle from terrific work to studies. Individual counseling sessions brought out feelings of burn out as it is often difficult to get a rapport with the counselor. Strong feelings especially emanated from the openness that the group sessions came with, as well as the fact that individuals could always discuss issues even when they did not particularly concern them.
As much as group sessions made me feel more relaxed, I would feel happy to attend individual sessions more than the group sessions in the future. This is especially considering the intricacies surrounding future life, especially with regard to family, spouses, marriage life and others. These issues would be better discussed in private with individual counselors rather than I group sessions.
What I have learnt about myself
As much as the sessions may have been extremely different, they brought out incredible lessons about my own nature. First, I learnt that I am incredibly impatient with other people especially in instances where I hold a relatively higher position than them. This can always trigger feelings of exasperation and frustration especially in instances where the people do not seem to catch up with me or get in line with my thinking as fast as I would want them to.
In addition, I learnt that that I cannot afford to be alone. Indeed, I like it when I am surrounded by people. Somehow, having people around me triggers feelings of happiness. From this, I learnt that I am always willing to listen to the feelings and opinions of other people and may, in fact, feel inclined to strive to meet the expectations of other people. As much as this may seem to conflict with or contradict the aspect of being impatient with people, it could explain why I never give up on people easily despite my frustrations with them. Indeed, I seem to derive immense happiness striving to meet the expectations of others and following their likes and preferences.
While all this may be true, I learnt that I usually question myself as to whether I derive as much happiness from doing things that please other people, or rather doing things for other people. However, this does not negate the fact that I never reject other people and I usually go an extra mile in an effort to assist people or save them from their problems. Unfortunately, this often leads people to take advantage of my kindness, facts that I realize much too late into helping them.
Theses lessons would come in handy in my interpersonal interactions. It is evident that being impatient almost always makes other people less comfortable with me, which may affects their capacity to open up to me. On the other hand, being always willing to do things for other people even when I am not comfortable with them is likely to hurt me as it makes me vulnerable to having my generosity exploited. To salvage my sociability, it would be imperative that I take my time to evaluate my reaction to issues and determine the best way to assist individuals without giving people a leeway to exploit my generosity.
What my individual and group counselors do that was helpful or not so helpful for me
While there may be some reservations about the techniques that the counselors used, I deemed a lot of the things that they did as helpful. The individual counselors clearly went out of the way to ensure that they allowed me to express myself and delve into my feelings as much as possible. They went out of the way to listen to every issue and probe it as much as they could irrespective of how minute an issue seemed to be. While the group counselors were applying their listening skills as well, they excelled more in allowing for the exploration of every issue and trying to apply it in the life of every person irrespective of the individual that raised the issue (Nelson-Jones, 2008). Nevertheless, group counseling allowed for easier flow as other people could always chip in when I had no comment to make. Indeed, other people could always bring out issues and incorporate another dimension of looking at issues, which allowed for comprehensiveness in the discussions.
In addition, the discussions and interactions allowed by the group counselors enhanced interpersonal skills and shored up the confidence of individuals thereby allowing them to open up even on issues that may have tagged at their deepest points. In fact, individuals realized that they did not have to go to the counselors themselves, rather they could open up to other people who they trusted or who were willing to listen. Indeed, counselors in both types of sessions underlined the therapeutic nature of talking or opening up to a friend as soon as one can to avert the possibility of deterioration of psychological and emotional states. Group counseling, therefore, came as more of a discussion rather than self exploration. In addition, group counselors gave every person an opportunity to make a contribution. It is often understood that people have different character traits, with some being more confident than others. In most cases, the more confident and talkative individuals can drive a discussion to a particular direction, sometimes ignoring their less talkative and more reserved counterparts. Indeed, they may tend to bulldoze their counterparts to agree with their points or their opinions. However, the moderating efforts of the counselors came in handy as they underlined the importance of the opinion of each member, as well as the importance of engaging constructively with each other. Indeed, this seemed to allow me to gain specific skills and strategies that would allow me to meet personal goals, gain encouragement and support from other people, as well as explore areas that may present an immense personal challenge to me.
Influence of my PDS sessions on my counseling style in the in-class role plays
The PDS counseling sessions came as extremely helpful to me. Indeed, they instigated immense changes in the ways in which I would approach counseling sessions whether as a counselor or as a subject. Indeed, the PDS counselor identified the weaknesses that I had with regard to relating with other people and assisted me to become more firm and speaking my mind in simply, respectful but firm manner. In addition, the PDS sessions enhanced my time management skills and emphasized on the importance of undertaking a critical analysis of every course of action that I took. This would allow me to make decisions not to please other people or to meet their expectations or according to their likes and preferences rather because I felt they were right. As much as she did not make an express statement on what I am supposed to do, she took me through a step-by-step process that allowed me to sort out my thoughts and feelings pertaining to the issues that troubled me, the things or course of action that I wanted, as well as the things that I should expect from the issue, thereby coming to a conclusion on the most appropriate course of action. In addition, the PDS counseling sessions enhanced my listening skills, which essentially involved enhancing my patience with people even in instances where they seemed to lag behind in their comprehension of issues or in agreeing to my line of thinking. Indeed, I could as well examine the positive aspects pertaining to their line of thinking and take them up. In fact, I am more willing to reach a compromise by incorporating the best of their ideas and combining them with mine, thereby coming with a mix that would satisfy all individuals.
Nelson-Jones, R. (2008). Basic counselling skills: A helper’s manual. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications.