I’m writting from my home office and it’s a warmish day here in South West UK, We’ve been under lock down from COVID 19 for what seems like years. I’m not enjoying it one bit as I have a very poorly wife who is missing travelling and getting away from civilisation and I don’t blame her, we keep joking about selling the house and hitting the wide open road to go travelling around the globe, I look at this idea with excitement and dread but I know that it would be a growing experience for me and her and my girls. I work as a administrator for the UK goverment and to be honest it’s dull and repetitive, the pay is not great and everyone tells me “its a wage” yes they are correct it’s a wage but a rubbish one at that. I can’t stand it when people who earn more than you can say put up with your low wage.
I’ve come to realise in the past couple of years that I want to escape this Island and explore Europe and the Americas and maybe the middle and far east. I would document my travels on this blog and add videos for those who hate reading. My wife is an abpsolute legend when it comes to teaching and creativity, I cannot fault her for this and her skills are really valuable and I think when or if we do go on this big adventure she could teach from her laptop in the motorhome. If you have kids that want real interactive teaching my wife is the person to go to. I trained as a Chef but work primarily as an IT engineer but I would love to get into building Websites as this would allow me to get creative and control my own projects and work loads.
If anyone has any hints tips on travelling with a young family and the pro’s and con’s that would be great. I’m realively resourceful and handy with tools and guidance from youtube.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.John’s Gospel chapter 10 verse 10. At the age of 11 my life was stolen from me part of me was killed and I began a 21 year path of destruction. No I am not from a war torn country and no I was not abused at a young age, I simply went onto the family computer when I was home alone one evening and typed 4 simple letters into the search engine “porn” and from that point the self abuse started.
The human brain is the most powerful most complex thing known to man, when you hear of someone addicted to something, anything, you automatically think of the thing they are taking, the drug, the wine/beer, the food, the porn/sex. This preconception is so wrong, in fact a drug addict is not addicted to the needle being inserted into the skin, the alcoholic is not addicted to the smell of wine or beer and neither is the sex addict addicted to the videos pictures or magazines they view. The addiction is the chemicals streaming into the blood and around the brain, for sex addicts the chemical mix is so strong it has been known to beat that of illegal street grade hard drugs. The chem mix contains Serotonin, Oxycontin, Dopamine which is released in such a large quantity that the brain is so overcome that it begins to create a direct neural pathway so that when the brain creates the mix the hit is quicker and more intense and lasts longer.
Instead of hanging out with friends I would go out and explore my home town on my bike which bake in the mid 90’s was fine to do. When my parents found out that I had been looking at porn or a naked pin up from a newspaper they dismissed it as a phase of growing up that would soon pass, if you are a parent reading this I and you have caught you child or teenager in the act DON’T DISMISS IT don’t push it under the rug your child is crying out to you and the predator will always go after the young. Get your youth minister involved with your child and reassure them that they are loved beyond their imagination. Build their self esteem and help them to understand that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. Listen to your child and understand their worries and insecurities and for goodness sake do not try to tell them what to do, as parents we are there to counsel our children and that means listening and bringing out ideas from our children and sometimes it means sitting there in silence and letting them rant rage cry moan and groan.
This you could say is a straight forward chapter to talk about the obvious don’t tell unless it could hurt the speaker or their wider circle. we were given 2 articles to read over and I was given the marital affair within the church article and it was really interesting because in some cases if an affair happens in a church leadership and it got out into the public domain the damage would be catastrophic. I gave the analogy of a spider diagram with the affair couple in the centre and all the other potentially affected parties around and if confidentiality is not upheld within that diagram you can visually see the effects. I came to the conclusion as did my other colleagues that this would be better discussed with someone above the elder-ship of that church and that the affair can be vaguely alluded to in way such as this “suppose hypothetically that there was an affair within the church elder-ship “. We also discussed the option of the elder getting counselling too and if we as councillors could approach another councillor for assistance in this area.
The other article was dealing with a mother who was struggling with depression who’s husband had disappeared and left her with 2 young children she has not seen a GP since moving into the area and is nervous about getting help from professionals. In this case in reality social services would be called and her children would be rehoused but what about the mother? Was the question going through my mind and where does her emotional state come into it? And how would this effect her young children being torn away from their mother? I would be very careful in disclosing this information until I could find someone who I knew I could trust to do the right thing. In my experience a doctor has to be clinical and by the book in most cases they see and in cases such as this emotion and compassion go out the window, I would be looking for charities or mothers help groups who could come and look after the children whilst the mother was receiving effective counselling treatment. In this setup not only would you be maintaining the family unit but you would be giving that unit a fighting chance of survival in the long term.
during our speak and listen time I spoke about when I was bullied outside school and it was a painful experience which I didn’t really take into account how much it would have affected me. The short of it was that it did hurt me bring it up and I felt exhausted and I felt sorry for the listener due to the gravity of the subject being discussed, I came away knowing that I had to be more careful about what I was willing to share during those exercises.
Tonight was painful for me and I know exactly why because I shared during my speaking session something that was painful for me I will will cover that later. We were asked “when I am in emotional pain, I…” and my answer was this, I feel angry and in some cases confused about this pain and that confusion leads me to want to withdraw my emotion almost like taking your hand away from a hot tap or mug you don’t want to feel the heat or the pain. I feel exhausted sometimes because with pain it produces so much stress because of the different emotions being felt.
The next question was “when I am listening to others in emotional pain I”? and this took me a while to answer because naturally I want to help them by trying to understand why they are feeling they way they are feeling and the IT engineer in me kicks in and want to troubleshoot a way to answer that feeling with a resolution or solution which may not be what that person is wanting at the time, in most cases I want to build people up or reassure them but only if it is appropriate at the time to do it.
Pain can be a great way to understand someones story if the person is down right angry listen to their words or if the person is tearful then words are not needed we looked at Reparative responses to pain and from my perspective this is for the speaker and listener to walk down together by starting the journey at accepting that the pain exists and is real acknowledging it and then experiencing that pain which in itself is painful but needed and for the listener to listen to what that pain is saying and encouraging the speaker to share that pain and that is essentially journeys end by walking through those steps you bring the pain to the spotlight and walk with the person, after hearing this teaching I began to see pain as the infection of a wound and with all infections it needs to be cleaned out but in this case the infection can take a long time to clear. I feel that I will come across a lot of hidden pain from men of all ages who are addicted to pornography and I feel that through the pain that I have carried I can relate and feel their pain too and will be able to help clean those wounds.
Tonight was really great because I honestly don’t think I have really thought about how I feel about myself and how that can have an effect on listening and responding to others, I find that within me there is a lot to deal with my self esteem isn’t as high as it could be and there is a reason for that and it goes back years and in some cases this can help me relate to self esteem issues because I am dealing with that in the here and now. What I really liked about tonight is the affirming truth that we are fearfully and wonderfully made and that we all have our issues but it is how we deal with them and how we can use them to help others through sharing that to some extent. My first listening role went really well I actually engaged with what was being said by the speaker and I found that in what the speaker was saying I was able to relate to and to provide not advise but encouragement into that situation, I found the feedback was brilliant and constructive which is very helpful in allowing me to hone my skills as a listener. As the speaker I chose a real life issue that had or has been with me for a while and I found it hard and in some cases painful to talk about but I am grateful I have understanding and caring students. I felt as I began to talk that I could share and not feel like I am going too far, I felt like the issue I was talking about was being understood and the questions or reflections were opening the issue which allowed me to explore the answers almost like untangling a knot.
Tonight was really interesting, we studied a few scenarios of different issues people were sharing and from those statements we had to try and pick out the emotions and feelings of the speaker. This session for me was the start of learning the fundamentals of listening to someone, we touched on what we hear initially ( the emotion of a person, how they are speaking and how the story is being told. What we hear again is how do we relate from our own experience what the speaker is saying and in some cases there will be times were we cannot relate because we haven’t experienced that issue yet! But this doesn’t mean we are not an effective listener it means we have to listen more closely. We need to ask ourselves what am I feeling from hearing this and if what is being shared is shocking trying to contain that emotion if it is appropriate. Our faces are like mirror to our emotions and reactions to what people say and do and this in a counselling session can be good and it can also be very bad but we need to remind ourselves that we are there to listen and not judge or condemn anyone who has come to seek help. I love what KirkPatrick says about listening in the pastoral and counselling sense that it is a spiritual process meaning it is more than just the emotional pain we are helping to fix but the process is also attuning ourselves as listeners to the unknowns and deeper sanctuary of the human soul. For me as a Christian this really spoke to me because I had never realised that as people we could connect in such away and coming away from this session I realised that if we are created to be spiritual beings and we converse with a greater spiritual being than us surely we can heal one another on the spiritual plain believer or non believer. This session excited me because we got to the 3 core skills of effective listening Re-stating, Paraphrasing and reflecting and being able to watch Natalie and Joy set up an example of how these skills are used was really helpful, being able to see visually how a professional would behaving in a counselling environment helped me to set my mind. I felt like I was on the start of the path to the career I wanted to be in and tonight I had been handed the tools to do that job.
Tonight we looked at the way our body language tone and focus on people can have a dramatic impact on how that person shares information through conversation. As an observer to the practical exercise carried out I could see a vast contrast of emotions so much so that the atmosphere in the room changed. I could visibly see that the listener who was playing the disinterested party was forcing answers onto the speaker in a manner that was causing the speaker to withdraw the listener was using words that affirmed a negative self belief that the speaker was confused and that nothing could be done about it. As humans we are always striving for an answer to the problem any problem. we can’t help it it’s in our nature and this can become an issue when we reach out for help through council, the very fact that we don’t have the answer to everything means that counsellors and psychologists are safe in their jobs, if humanity had an answer for everything then people would not have these soul searching issues to share and life would be very dull. In some cases people who say “I’m depressed to their GP are more likely to handed anti-depressants to deal with the issue rather than being sent to talk with someone about the issue and this is very common. In the past decade the happy pill has been popped more times than ever before leaving the big question what about counselling? What I learnt from that evening going through the practical lessons was that I still need to learn to listen to the key points that speakers make when addressing their issues and keeping answers to an appropriate minimum. I am hopeful that I can change during this course and the more practical lessons I do and the more I challenge myself in this area of counselling the better I feel about myself and the conversations I will have in the future.
|Akouo is the Latin for listen something which in our society amongst all races and sexes we all struggle to do. In a world of ever increasing technological reliance to feed our daily lives we forget what listening and being listened too is like. I for one cannot listen to a person intently when there is music on or the radio is blaring or a television is on, I find that even in a crowded room I still get half of a conversation even though I am looking at the speaker directly in the face. The only time I have been able to really truly listen to someone is in a quiet place where I am comfortable and so is the speaker. As a person who has had the need to be counselled I now see how important it is to make the time and to prepare and environment where a person or people can truly share. I am super excited about becoming a councillor and yet a little bit nervous as to what I am getting myself into not just exposing myself but being exposed to others. I want to be able to learn to be more empathetic to people and become more receptive to emotions. I felt almost embarrassed when I was asked why am I wanting to become a councillor and getting to the point of admitting that I want to help those who have been or are still struggling with the same issue that I am currently struggling with (porn) was hard and I could sense from the other students in the class a mix of surprise and embarrassment. I know there are people out there who need help and from my experience I can see that the UK is woefully lacking in support for this issue because it is still seen as taboo or an age thing that teenagers go through, I would like to be able to lobby government on behalf of addicts to systematically shut down the pornography industry in this country and shut down and remove websites from the UK web network and to setup a program of rehabilitation and decent education of the differences between sex and love or porn and love. We owe it to our children and their children to make this change now for the better.
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