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Personal Reflections of Recent Associates

Associate Counsellor 2016/17 – Lisa Alexander

I started as an Associate in October 2016 after graduating at the university in June 2016.

I had previously only worked with long-term clients, so I was keen to gain some experience working short-term. The clients at UCS are of a diverse background which has broadened my experience in an extremely positive way. I have been fascinated by the speed in which clients are ready to engage and this added to the work being rich with learning.

Fortnightly supervision has been a huge support and has encouraged me to not only share my learning but also to celebrate and recognise when the work had significant impact.

The administration team together with the database are absolutely first class and their ‘nothing is too much trouble’ approach is both welcoming and invaluable.

I have felt part of the team since day one and have been very fortunate to be a part of a Cascade Training day. This has added to my confidence as the team are friendly and encouraging.

If you want to work within a dynamic team and experience a varied client base then an Associate role is just that!

My experience and development as an Associate Counsellor for the Academic year 2016/17 - Jennifer

Working as an Associate Counsellor at Warwick University has been an invaluable and rewarding experience. As an Associate you are very much considered part of the counselling team and with that comes a full diary and a breadth of clients and issues. Over the course of my time here I have come to understand better the opportunities and challenges that arise from working in a higher education setting, which are very different from other settings that I have worked in. Adjusting my practice to work within the brief therapy model has been, and continues to be, exciting, thought provoking and stimulating. At the same time I feel very well supported by the service, the team and my supervisor. The pace is fast but there is always an open door if needed and shared team times provide a time to touch base and a welcome respite during the course of the day.

My experience and development as an Associate Counsellor for the Academic year 2016/17 - Rupinder

I have worked in many different settings as a counsellor over many years working with a wide range of clients. However I did not have much experience working with students in a Higher Educational Environment/Institution such as a University. Hence joining Warwick as an associate to gain a different type of experience working with students, using short-term

counselling.

I found the team to be very welcoming supportive and patient with my many questions particularly with the data base and different ways of recording data. This gave me the confidence not to be shy of asking when needing or wanting help from the team.

Short-term counselling was a new way of working for me, initially I thought I would struggle however being able to work flexibly and integratively with the students gave me the confidence to use my different counselling approaches from humanistic and CBT to holistically with some psycho-educational work thrown in as and when required.

The different challenges and problems the students experienced and the diversity of cultures including different ways of communicating and behaving gave me a better understanding of their complex issues. This in turn has contributed towards my professional development and on-going learning within the counselling team.

I would not have been able to adapt and adjust as quickly as I did without the help and support from my fortnightly supervision sessions. I found the sessions to be hugely supportive and helpful giving me the opportunity to have the space to talk about my case load, sometimes getting guidance but also exploring why I may work in a particular way with a client to exploring my own professional development.

Finally I would have to say the counselling team as a whole including the core team the banking staff and the tremendous administrative team do an amazing job with not only providing individual support to students but also group work, email counselling, having the opportunity to gain their own support from supervision to professional development opportunities.

I feel privileged and honoured to have had the opportunity to work in this environment both with the students and counselling team, and now that I am coming to the end of my experience as an associate I can see that I have developed more of a rounded approach as a counsellor.

Associate Counsellor from October 2015 - My Experience - Jackie


I joined Warwick University Counselling Service in October 2015 on placement for one day a week from my counsellor training at Keele University. I had gained some experience working in HE at another local university and really enjoyed it. Warwick UCS gave me the ideal opportunity to build on that experience by working in larger counselling team at a much bigger university.


I found the team very welcoming and supportive and as my confidence grew, I started to build up a number of client appointments with students. I found that if there was anything I was unsure about, the team were very approachable and quickly able to help me sort things out.


As part of my training, I need to accrue hours towards my qualification and then towards accreditation by the national professional body, BACP. I initially started working with 4 students a day but after Christmas, having completed my qualification hours, I became and Associate Counsellor and increased my appointments to 5 clients a day and so my hours quickly built up.


I have found it very stimulating and challenging to work with the huge variety of issues that students have brought to counselling ranging from personal to academic and often a combination of both. I have been amazed and humbled by some of the challenges students face in their lives. I have equally been impressed by the levels of resilience many students show at this point of significant change in their lives and transition to adulthood. In the spring term, I also began to work with members of staff and this has given me a different perspective, adding to the richness and variety of my experience at Warwick


The work can be emotionally demanding at times and I have learned a lot about how to manage the impact of client material, including the importance of self-care, in order to provide the best service possible to students. I have found the regular meetings with my Supervisor who is also part of the UCS Warwick team, invaluable as part of this process. It has enabled me to learn a great deal more about myself and as a consequence, I have been able to refine my practice and develop my own confidence and resilience.


At first, I found that it took a little while to get used to the ebb and flow of the academic year. I learned quickly that I needed to make sure I stayed in tune with the demands of the academic year and the impact it could have on students. I noticed for example a spike in the level of anxiety experienced by many students around exam time and also when they received their results. Being aware of this meant that I was better able to support them.


As I come to the end of my time at Warwick University Counselling Service, I am sad to be leaving but will do so with very fond memories. I am immensely grateful to have been given the opportunity to work here with such a dedicated and professional team. The highlight for me has been working with the student community and feeling that I can make a positive difference to their well-being while they are at university; it has been a real privilege and has helped to confirm my passion for the work and my ambition to work in HE.

Associate Counsellor from November 2015, My Experience: - Galia

I joined the UCS in November 2015 and from the start I noticed the high level of organisation and the sense of inclusion, which helped me to settle and feel as part of the team. It took some time to get use to the record keeping system and all the different forms and procedures, but someone was always there to help me if I get stuck. The booking of the initial appointments are taken care of, and the administrators are always willing to send any follow up e-mails from your behalf, which takes a lot of the pressure.

Seeing up to 5 clients a day can be quite challenging and emotionally demanding, but at the same time this has helped me to become more organised, and to manage my diary and work more efficiently. Having to adapt my person centred approach to the brief work at the service was challenging at first. Once I realised that I don’t have to change my person centred values and be more directive, I just needed to be more focussed and proactive, and I was soon amazed by the transformation within some clients only after 1 or 2 sessions. At the same time I also valued that I had the option to have a long-term work with some clients.


I found that having supervision every other week has been extremely valuable for my development, as it helped me become more flexible, and to integrate different practical elements into my practice. Also having your supervisor on site is very helpful when you are faced with a problem or an ethical dilemma. The UCS is a very dynamic and vibrant place, and there are no 2 days that are the same. The clients present with a wide range of issues, so you never know what the client might bring, which makes it even more interesting and diverse place to work.


My time at UCS has been an invaluable and very rewarding experience, and I am extremely grateful for having had this opportunity. I feel that it helped me expand my knowledge and skills, and it enabled me to develop and grow into a more competent and confident practitioner. I would highly recommend joining the service to any trainee or newly qualified counsellor.

Associate Counsellor from October 2015, My Experience: - Rebecca


I’ve really enjoyed my year so far at Warwick – the counselling and admin support staff are all very friendly and welcoming. I have always been interested in working with a student client group, and was looking to widen my counselling experience. It was a new challenge to carry out informal assessments in first sessions, and also in adapting my integrative approach to work to flexible, short-term contracts. My previous counselling experience was at a woman’s centre and a bereavement counselling service where the contracts are open-ended and often long-term, so this was a complete change.


I have found my fortnightly individual supervision invaluable in helping me continue to develop as an integrative practitioner – to continue to have the therapeutic relationship at its heart, but incorporate more solution-focussed elements into therapy sessions where appropriate. In my first term especially, I found it difficult to adapt my personal centred principles to be more focussed with the students I met, working to brief contracts, but I have found there is a difference between being ‘proactive’ and being ‘directive’ and that holding person-centred principles need not be lost at all in short-term work.


There is no such thing as a ‘typical day’ at Warwick, except a guarantee that it will be busy, with five counselling sessions during the day and meeting my supervisor fortnightly at the end of the day, alternating with an ‘admin’ slot to catch up on notes and record keeping. What I have enjoyed most about the Associate position so far is the wide range of students you meet from all over the world and from all kinds of backgrounds, both undergraduates and postgraduates, and also occasionally members of staff too. They come with a wide range of issues, for example anxiety/depression, or homesickness or relationship difficulties, to more severe difficulties such as eating disorders, self-harm or addictive behaviours. I find it touching and encouraging how willingly many clients here open up quickly and focus on their most pressing difficulties, often finding solutions and inner resources themselves with just the smallest amount of guidance and encouragement. It is also helpful to have so many other resources within and beyond the University to refer clients on to where appropriate – for example group counselling and specific workshops.


While this has been a busy and challenging year, I have enjoyed the close-knit support of the regular counselling team here – biscuits, coffee and gentle humour at our break times are therapeutic in themselves! The counselling hours and experience are accruing fast, and I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending the UCS to new counsellors looking for a new challenge.

Associate Counsellor from October 2015: - Cathy

Working as an associate with Warwick University Counselling Service has been a great opportunity to gain experience in the field of higher education and accrue 5 hours per week towards BACP accreditation. I have really enjoyed working mainly with students this year and have found it an enriching experience, whether working with someone for just one or two sessions, or for a few more.

The location and set-up of the department is fantastic and there is a great deal of administrative and supervision support which I’ve found enormously helpful. I always feel that if there is anything I need advice on, there is someone I can go to. The computerised integrated record keeping system takes a bit of getting used to, but is a really helpful tool which I’ve come to value and I now find it easy to use. The days are usually extremely busy but the excellent organisation and support help to make everything run smoothly and allow me to focus on counselling. I really appreciate how the days are structured to incorporate specific time allocated for supervision, administration and breaks. Having access to my own on-line diary of commitments has been very good discipline for working effectively as a practitioner in an organisational setting.

As a newly-qualified person-centred counsellor, it has been refreshing and interesting to have contact with counsellors using other approaches. From the supervision sessions I have begun to learn how I might incorporate other practice elements into my work with clients. Everyone here has been amazingly helpful and friendly, and even though I’m only in once a week I have been made to feel part of the team, which I really appreciate.

Overall I have really enjoyed the year and ideally would like to do a second year before I move on. It has taken a while to get used to all the systems and I feel I am just getting into my stride!


Associate Counsellor from October 2013, 2nd year update: – Catherine

I am very glad that I worked a second year at the UCS. In my first year I gained experience and familiarity with the service way of working, but in my second year I felt much more established and have really flourished and grown in confidence as a practitioner. I continued to feel welcomed and valued by the friendly, warm and supportive team at UCS, and to enjoy working with a wide variety of clients, both students and staff, who come from a range of backgrounds with a wide variety of presenting issues.

This year a new paperless system was introduced. Notes and data are now all kept on computer and there is a shared database. On the first day of this being introduced I was nervous about new procedures – but the system proved to be very easy to use, and it is so much better to be able to access and share data and resources, and not to be grappling with heavy files and paper.

Associates are invited to contribute to the UCS website and this year I took the opportunity to write a couple of specific information sheets which have been published on the website.

This year I was given a new supervisor. I enjoyed working with a great supervisor during my first year so I was apprehensive about changing, but with my new supervisor also I received excellent supervision, and it has been helpful and enriching to experience different styles and ways of working. I very much appreciate my supervisor supporting me this year with my accreditation application by helping me reflect on casework, giving me constructive feedback on material for submission, and writing a supervisor report.

Within the UCS different ways of working are embraced and the team value and learn from one another. I have experienced this with cascade training days, management and clinical supervision, and peer supervision sessions which I really enjoyed and which broadened my perspective. Excellent administrative support has also been invaluable.

I now feel more in tune with the pace of work at the UCS. I find short-term work promotes focus and energy in client-work and for many university clients this is appropriate and effective. However, I have also valued having flexibility and the option of seeing clients for longer-term work as needed. I am a person-centred practitioner but with experience I have learned to adapt my approach to short-term working, integrating aspects of other approaches when helpful, and signposting to other support available such as in-house workshops and therapy groups, and wider student support.

Overall working with the UCS has been an amazing experience and I will very much miss working with the team as I now move on.

Caatherine Cour-Palais

Associate Counsellor from October 2014: My Experience - Liz

After qualifying as a counsellor and having worked for different charities I was keen to gain experience of working within higher education in a more structured environment and learn more about in-house and external referrals. Working towards accreditation by building my hours was also an important consideration and with five clients each week my hours soon built up!

My typical day starts at 9.15 with my first client and ends at 3:45 with my last client. For the last hour of the day I have either supervision or admin time and this alternates each week. A client’s first appointment is booked in ready for me and after meeting with the client I have the opportunity to arrange follow up sessions based on the individual needs of the client. It is great to see all my slots fully booked each week and being busy means my day flies by. At break time and lunch time I like to sit with the team and catch up with everyone or I may take a stroll around the campus through the trees to the local cafe for coffee (and cake!).

We work to a predominantly brief model here and so that was a personal challenge for me coming from a person-centred background. A large part of my learning has focused on being able to work in a person-centred way meeting the needs of the service and the clients as well as my own needs. Being able to offer clients a range of support services such as workshops, specific information sheets, email counselling and group work feels really helpful and allows clients to seek the support that feels right for them outside of face to face counselling.

Although I work with staff, most of my clients have been students and I have gained valuable insight into some of the issues that young people maybe experiencing at this time in their life as well as those issues related to being a student in higher education. It has been extremely rewarding for me and a privilege to work with so many young people.

The team here is very friendly and supportive and there is always someone around to discuss issues with as and when they arise. Professionally and personally I have learnt a lot about myself as a counsellor from working here and thank the team for the opportunity.

Liz Harrison

 Associate Counsellor from October 2013: My Experience - Claire

After recently qualifying and relocating, I was keen to find a position in a University as I had previously worked in another University and had enjoyed working with this particular client group. I wanted to continue to work in this area to grow my experience and gain hours towards my accreditation.

As I looked for associate positions I really liked the fact that Warwick not only offered me the opportunity to work with students, but also with staff as this is not a client group I had previously worked with. I also liked the fact that I was being given the opportunity to be first contact with clients.

I found these new opportunities daunting initially, but was also excited that they offered me new challenges. I had a good sense from the interview and meeting the team at the induction day that I would be well supported so felt confident I would be able to meet these challenges and gain some valuable experience along the way. This has indeed been the case.

My typical day consists of generally seeing 5 clients for fifty minute sessions and then bi-weekly, an hour for admin or supervision. Each week I have a new client scheduled in and the rest of the diary is for me to manage with my client needs. I have really enjoyed the flexibility that this has allowed me and the clients that I see. Initially when I started working this way especially with being first contact I was nervous about how it would work, determining whether a client would have one session or more. However, I have found this to flow quite naturally, with clients in the main having a good understanding of the support they need. The fact that the university counselling service offers a wide range of additional help through their workshop programme as well as additional student support across the university I feel also enables the clients to determine what will work best for them which has assisted in this process.

There have however, been times when I have been unsure about a client’s needs and this is where supervision and regular interaction with the wider team have been invaluable. There have been some changes in supervisors over the year as there have been staff changes but this has been managed well and I have remained feeling supported and able to explore in supervision as I have needed to.

I have found this year and exciting and interesting experience. I have learnt so much from working with so many clients and working with different supervisors in the team. This and feeling a part of team with regular interaction over lunch times and breaks has enabled me to really enjoy this year and opt to come back for a second year next year. I am looking forward to the challenges that a second year can offer.

Claire Thomas

 

Associate Counsellor from October 2013: My Experience - Helen

I have been working at Warwick UCS as an Associate since October 2013 and, as I approach the end of the current academic year, I can honestly look back and reflect that I have gained much from the experience.

I was immediately struck by how smooth and organised the service was, certainly from the perspective of the practitioner – we underwent a friendly and informative induction day and this provided an opportunity not just to meet the other members of the team but also to begin to get to grips with the way in which the service operates. Each day is divided up into five 50 minute slots which are allocated to clients, plus then alternating fortnightly supervision and administrative time. Scheduling of appointments is done centrally by the highly efficient and very approachable Trudy, so that counsellors are able to concentrate on their time with clients.

The majority of clients are students but I have also worked with a number of staff, from very different areas within the university, during my year. The service operates as a brief therapy service, with clients initially being offered just one appointment and then it is for the counsellor and the client to decide together whether any further appointments would be helpful. To start with, this way of working really challenged me – it didn’t seem to sit comfortably with my person centred training and philosophical beliefs and I very much expected to feel as though we were ‘short-changing’ clients. I soon realised, however, that this was not the case. The majority of clients who attend are well prepared and focussed once they arrive in the counselling room and this then means that sessions are often intense but highly productive.

I would say that perhaps half of those I’ve seen have found this single session to be all that they needed, at that time and have chosen not to return. Others come for another session perhaps and then a smaller number feel that they need a longer period of sessions; for those I found that fortnightly sessions up to around five or six in total, were usually sufficient.

I admit that this surprised me and I have spent much time with my supervisor working out how and why the service operates the way it does and then also how this impacts me, the counsellor – my conclusion at the end of the year is that I have managed to remain true to my philosophy and my own way of working, but at the same time have worked in the way that the students and users of this service clearly want to work – what could be more client centred!

The experience has been invaluable and I have enjoyed working as part of the UCS team. Everyone has been friendly and supportive, particularly my supervisor, who I feel has really given of herself to help me with my own process as I’ve worked through this year. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the Associate programme to any newly qualified counsellors who wish to broaden their experience and gain valuable hours toward their accreditation.

Helen Macdonald

 

Associate Counsellor from October 2013: My Experience - Catherine

I am finding working as an Associate Counsellor at the UCS to be a stimulating, rewarding and challenging experience. I enjoy working with a variety of clients, both students and staff, who come from a range of backgrounds with a wide variety of presenting issues.

I qualified as a counsellor in June 2013 and wanted to gain experience and work towards accreditation. I had an interest in higher education so working as an Associate with the UCS seemed a great opportunity.

At the UCS I received a warm welcome from a friendly and supportive team. This began with a very helpful induction day where I met members of the UCS team, and learned about administration and protocols. For me the best advice was that ‘all would become clear once I got started’! This was true. On my first day or two I made some slips with administration. However it was easy to get help. Everyone was very approachable, questions were welcomed, and support given generously. I soon found my feet.

Once a fortnight I have an hour's clinical supervision from an experienced practitioner in the UCS team. This has been supportive as well as challenging - helping me gain new, refreshing and helpful perspectives on my client-work, myself and my way of working. I also have a termly meeting with the service manager which provides a helpful space for reviewing how things are going and future development.

The UCS typically undertakes short-term work. Clients may attend for as little as one session, with the option of extending this if needed. Initially I found this challenging and wondered how my person-centred approach would fit with such short term work. However, I have been surprised by how positive this way of working can be. It is quite energising and focussing for both client and counsellor, and often it seems one or two sessions are sufficient. Where longer term work is indicated clients may have further one-to-one sessions, or access UCS group-work, wider student support, or in-house workshops.

I always feel that I am respected and welcome to contribute at the UCS. I have been invited to social and networking events, to in-house training, to give a presentation, and to contribute to information to the UCS website. I have done some but not all of these yet! There is no pressure, but the opportunities are there.

My typical day is five fifty minute sessions, allowing ten minutes in between clients for note-writing. Also there is an hour's session of clinical supervision fortnightly which alternates with an hour's admin. session. There is a short morning and afternoon break, and an hour for lunch. When I am not catching up on admin, it is good to relax during breaks in the staff area and chat to colleagues. Even so the day feels intense. At the end I usually leave tired but with a sense of fulfilment.

Catherine Cour-Palais

 

My experience as an Associate Counsellor at the UCS, from October 2012.

"Following a year working as a trainee at the UCS, I was keen to apply for an Associate position to further my understanding of the role of a counsellor in a university setting and I knew that at Warwick UCS I would be well supported in an established and professional service.

At the start of the year, I felt a little apprehensive about the next step as this involved counselling members of staff as well as students. These fears proved to be unfounded and I continue to enjoy the challenge and rewards of working with both students and staff, and the vast array of issues they bring.

As an Associate, I see five clients in a typical day and on alternate weeks, I have either supervision or administration time. This feels quite manageable with ten minutes between clients to catch up on writing notes. I benefit from fortnightly supervision with the team's CBT practitioner as she continues to enlighten me and I highly value her input and encouragement.

My biggest challenge has proved to be adapting to the new service delivery model. This has introduced offering single sessions, following a successful pilot scheme. I initially found it difficult to assess which clients were the best fit for a single session and can recall many discussions in supervision about this! Over the year, I have become more adept at identifying clients for whom this is appropriate and I have increased my knowledge and skills in assessment and sign-posting which has helped me develop as a practitioner.

As an Associate counsellor, I have been given the opportunity to write information sheets for the counselling website and to attend training days on issues relevant to working with young adults. This – alongside the friendly coffee breaks! – contributes to me feeling part of a very organised, and friendly and supportive team.

Alison

Associate Counsellor with the UCS in post since October 2010 to June 2012

"I found out about this opportunity by a flyer sent to the University at the end of my Foundation Degree course and decided to apply for the position. I particularly wanted something which would enable me to continue building hours towards accreditation. The initial interview consisted of a group case discussion with other applicants and it was an opportunity to share how I might work with a client in a particular situation. After passing this first part I was asked to return for a more formal interview with the Head and Deputy Head of the UCS. This gave me the opportunity to talk about my approach and learn about what was expected from me as an Associate Counsellor. There was plenty of opportunity for me to ask questions and clarify things I wanted to know. I was fortunate to get this position and since October 2010 have been working as an Associate with the UCS.

A typical day is usually busy as I have five clients to see and on alternate weeks either administration or supervision. I arrive around 8.50 and prepare the room for the first client at 9.15 am. The room has a desk, computer, photocopier, telephone etc and contains everything I need to make my day as effective as possible. The working environment at the UCS is very quiet and each counsellor is responsible for meeting and greeting their own clients. The client work is with students and staff and is both challenging and rewarding. I work with a range of presenting issues, which include anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, sexual difficulties, OCD, academic and work related issues.

There is ten minutes between clients and this gives me time to write down some notes, which I can always return to later if there is anything else I want to add. The administration time on alternate weeks also provides me with ample opportunity to complete any outstanding administration tasks.

I work alongside experienced counsellors who work from a range of orientations and I find this is very useful especially if I need to refer a client to another type of therapy, or signpost them to an alternative source of help which may be more appropriate. The opportunity to briefly discuss my thoughts with another more experienced counsellor is very useful in helping me to clarify my own thoughts and make a decision.

Supervision is provided by the UCS to all Associates and is one hour every two weeks. My experience of supervision is extremely positive as I feel they have a breadth of experience in working with students and staff and I feel fully supported. I must admit to being fairly apprehensive when I started my supervision at the UCS and have now realised that these were my own insecurities and concerns about being ‘good enough’ to work in this field. However, I have always experienced my supervisor as open and honest and very approachable and that has indeed helped to overcome some of my own insecurities.

Alongside the counselling duties, I am able to have an input in writing Specific Information sheets for the Counselling Service website and I find this a very useful way of learning more about different issues. I have recently completed a paper on Working in Groups and another about Managing Anger and I am looking forward to writing more. There is also a small library of books at the UCS, which are always useful to dip into if a client can’t make an appointment, although I the DNA rate is very low.

Although this position is un-paid, all my colleagues treat me as an equal and feel appreciated and valued by the department and would recommend this as a very valuable way of gaining experience post-training."

At the end of her second year, Amanda wrote:

"I have gained much experience from my two years as an Associate Counsellor and it has offered me the opportunity to work towards BACP accreditation.

Since joning the UCS team I have gained skills which include being able to relate to young adults empathically. I have been able to listen and understand what they have to say as autonomous human beings and helped them find ways to become as fully functioning as they would like.

I think i have made a valuable contribution to the department both as a therapist and a member of a busy team. I have written three information sheets and hope these have contributed towards establishing a greater information database on the counselling website. I have also completed 206 counselling hours with clients. I have carried out my work in an organised way and believe that I have always been approachable and willing in my work as a member of the team.

My supervision sessions have enabled me to explore aspects of myself and the way I work. I experienced my supervisor as real and very open to whatever issues I bought to supervision and this approach has enabled me to trust in the process of my own thoughts and feelings as a therapist. I have been able to discuss any issues without fear of judgement and this for me is what supervision is about."

Amanda

 Associate Counsellor in post with the UCS throught the academic year 2011-12

"I find it very difficult to find anything “constructively critical” to say with regards to my experience as an Associate Counsellor within the Counselling Service over the past year, because I’ve genuinely experienced the service as quite outstanding. Liaison with students is fast and efficient, and always sensitive, both to confidentiality and potential emotional vulnerabilities. Trudy does a remarkable job of co-ordination and organisation in this regard. The system of matching availability between clients and counsellors seems to work very smoothly. As a counsellor, I felt trusted and respected, and fully welcomed into the team from day one. From a clinical perspective, I really appreciated being kept busy, and having the opportunity to see five clients in a day, though occasionally tiring, was just what I wanted in terms of further building my skills and experience. The shared coffee area, and opportunity to chat during breaks and lunch, created a real sense of community and collegial atmosphere. It made for a very warm and friendly team culture. My perception of the service as a whole is that it is both proactive and thoughtful in its efforts to meet student needs (whether through workshops, groups, outreach activities, etc). The weekly newsletter always communicated to me a sense of seeking continuous improvement as well. Supervision, with Shirley, was excellent as well, providing a very calming and non-judgmental space in which to explore and fine-tune my approach. I always left feeling my own anxieties about the work had been defused, and that I had greater clarity about how to proceed. In summary, I will look back on my time at Warwick as one where I fell fully supported, both personally and professionally. I will also remember that wonderful Christmas lunch in Kenilworth, and many good conversations with everyone on the team!"

 Adam

Associate Counsellor in post with the UCS from 2010-12

"Being an Associate at the Warwick UCS for the past 2 years has provided me with an opportunity to work with a wide cross section of clients. As the clients are not assessed prior to the first session, the fact that you never know what your client will bring, is a way of working that I find both challenging and rewarding.

I have enjoyed working with the majority of clients and had a real sense of progression and a confidence that they will be successful in their time at university. My experience of working with both staff and students has developed my counselling practice, in both self-awareness and confidence. I feel that the professional and structured environment has been very beneficial in supporting my own progression within the counselling profession. Being involved in the Facebook page was really good and a pushed me into reading and exploring articles on mental health that perhaps I have skimmed over in the past, so I will make sure I remain a friend on your facebook page. Supervision has been great, and I have valued the chance to work through client issues in order to provide counselling to the best of my ability. My knowledge has increased and my reading list has also grown.

The diary and appointment system is great and Trudy is brilliant at making sure that it all runs smoothly."

Bally

Counselling Service Associate October 2011 – June 2012

Management and administration: I found the organisational framework very easy to understand and all the terms and conditions of my work here were clear. I thought Trudy was amazing - so well organised and helpful. She was always on the ball with appointments and extra boxes of tissues when needed and I felt confident that I could ask her for help with any procedural or administrative matters.

The Clients: I really enjoyed the wide variety of material brought by the students and I have learned a great deal. Issues to do with transition, homesickness, drug addiction, low self-esteem, assertiveness and self-acceptance have been high on the agenda and I have found that CBT techniques have been successful with many of these clients. However, I have also seen several bereavement cases for which I have found my experience working with Cruse Bereavement Care very valuable.

Supervision and my personal development: I think that I have grown in confidence over the year and have got into the routine of the five appointment day which seemed so daunting at first, having only done a maximum of an afternoon before! Fears about being overwhelmed by the intellectual capacity of the clients also proved groundless and in fact I have enjoyed working with those clients whose approach was most rigorous and challenging. After initial concerns about having a supervisor from a different modality I decided to go with the flow and be open minded about what I might learn. I found Hanya to be a supportive and challenging supervisor. She helped me to consider both my own and student issues from a more Person-Centred perspective which was interesting and illuminating .This approach fostered the development of a very productive supervisory relationship which I have valued.

Heather