Just had the second session in my course in Pregnancy Counselling. Part of the course involves writing a journal: I, in my characteristically extroverted way, have decided to do this on this blog. I am keeping any personal information, or things said by other members of the group strictly confidential.
Obviously, feel free not to read on unless you are interested!
Session Four talks about the “Attributes of a pregnancy crisis advisor”. It kicks off with a discussion of the attributes one would wish to see in an advisor, if one were a young woman visiting a pregnancy centre.
You end up with a list of characteristics that I think we all aspire to: Grace, empathy, experience, insight, genuineness, honesty. For me, the key was not just that we should have those qualities, but they must be visible on the outside; someone should be able to meet us for 5 minutes and immediately know them.
We looked at Galatians 5:22-23:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
Always distressing. Self control being the hardest. I fight to show all of those things, but all of them fly out of the window in bursts of anger when I lose my self control. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Whatever is begun in anger ends in shame”. I can definitely relate to that.
We were then asked to consider in what ways our personal attributes will affect our counselling. I think, if I consider this honestly, I don’t feel that my attributes will have a huge affect on my consultation style, for two reasons:
- I am quite self aware, aware how I come across to others, and good at being disciplined with others. My anger is rarely unveiled to anyone except my wife, who I completely do not deserve.
- 5 years of medical training has taught me a great deal about having a supportive, non judgemental and non intrusive consulting approach.
The final thing that really spoke to me came at the end of the module: Desires and Goals. The difference between a desire: “I want some new shoes” and a goal: “I will go out today and buy some shoes“. In counselling, that relates to how your overall desire for a woman to keep her baby should translate into goals to give her impartial advice, make her aware of all her options, and encourage her to make her own choice, as opposed to goals to tell her about why abortion is murder, to pressurise her and to attempt to convince her.
I realised that I have often been guilty of confusing goals and desires. When I have wanted to see someone step out and take control of their life, I have tried to make that happen, setting them up with a job, for example, rather than being a supportive friend to help them make their own decisions.
The course pounds on, so, thanks for reading!