It was Sunday morning of the conference, and I was in Roberta Neault’s session on “Counsellors’ Career Journeys”. Roberta said [hoping I’m recalling accurately], “I encourage you all to set aside time on Monday to reflect on what you learned at this conference”. After all that was the theme – Reflecting on self and practice. And the past few days had given me much to reflect on through those who spoke in both the concurrent and plenary sessions and those I met and talked with inbetween sessions – new inspiring ideas, fresh perspectives, challenges, affirmations, salutary reminders to be purposeful in my work and intriguing possibilities to explore.
I resolved to do exactly what Roberta suggested. Set aside time on Monday to reflect on the conference. And I did. I sat down, reviewed my notes from all the sessions and gathered up my swirling thoughts. This conference was unique in my experience in that I feel it spoke to my mind, heart and spirit. Thank you again to the CCPA and the organizing committee.
Here’s some of what stood out to me.
I was reminded of the enthusiasm, energy and excitement those who are new to the profession bring. Counselling in Canada has a bright future indeed if the students I met at the conference are any indication.
Marc Gervais, Jeffrey Kottler and Judith Jordan (whose plenary sessions dovetailed so well) emphasized – The work we do is about compassion, it’s about caring, it’s about connection, it’s about love [pulling all three together]. Love? Jeffrey Kottler said it’s not a word we use in conjunction with counselling.
Phrases that stood out to me from those talks:
“Trust in the relational process of helping others”
“Who I am as a person is as important as what I do”
“We are hardwired for connection”
“Listening and empathy heal isolation and disconnection”
Jeffrey Kottler’s session on “Changing People’s Lives While Transforming Your Own” – exploring ways in which our clients can be our most valuable teachers was profoundly moving for me. His story about his own journey and his work with Nepali girls and his statement that ‘sometimes our service chooses us’ struck a deep chord.
As with other rich learning experiences it will take a while to fully process all that I have learned. I will continue to reflect on and apply what I have learned in my practice, in my research and in my own career journey and service.
Dawn Schell, MA, CCC, CCDP is an affiliate of Worldwide Therapy Online Inc. http://www.therapyonline.ca
*The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA