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Eyes in the Back of My Head

 As we approach the Festive Season, Fifi Cook, Director of Training looks back over the past year, reflecting on all its ups and downs. Enjoy Fifi’s blog post…

Sometimes I find it useful to look back in time and see how far we have come in Physis Scotland; to review what experiences we have navigated and learned from in terms of good experiences and also the not so good experiences, because we have had encounters with both this year.

I have had to train my brain to look at and account for the good experiences regularly, hence wanting eyes in the back of my head to help with this activity. I know my script process might tend to discount these good times, tending to focus more on the less positive experiences to reinforce my script process.

In terms of success, we have had a good number of students sit and pass their Diploma exam with distinction this year; we have four core years of students on the counselling/psychotherapy journey with their amazing core tutors Sheila, Jennie, Ronen and Les Fis. We have two exam prep groups in place together with a reading group led by Helen Rowland, we have an extended training group led by Ronen; we have a Diploma in Counselling Supervision programme run by Nicky Worrall and the Certificate in Couples Course led by Jennie. We have colleagues in place to advise on placements for students Lisa Cherry Byrnes, and also an academic support advisor Mary O Neill. We offer a Connect group for former students which Sheila oversees and in the background our administrator Olivia, our marketing consultant Fiona and website developer Fraser, finance colleagues Hilary and Sheryl and finally our It support colleagues at Illuminate are all there to help us steer our ship.

When Fi and I started out 5 years ago there was just the two of us – doing everything on our own. As we have grown, we have brought more people on board without whom we could now not possibly manage. Physis Scotland is quite an enterprise, and this was acknowledged by UKATA during our Quinquennial review this year when our auditors were full of praise for what we have co-created with no recommendations or requirements to be put in place following their visit.

However, with all the successes, we also want to account for some of the tricky issues we have faced on a personal basis. All of the Directors have had to manage some personal human stuff this year. Bereavements, illnesses and family stuff all prevailing whilst trying to keep the good ship Physis Scotland afloat. There was a moment in the summer where we were using the metaphor of the Titanic to describe our feelings about just trying to keep the show on the road; sinking at one end whilst the orchestra was still playing at the other. The difference between us and the orchestra in the movie, who were possibly discounting the danger they were facing was that we did want to account for what was happening to us individually and as an organisation and reached out and invited support from each other, our supervisors and therapists to help us navigate previously unnavigated seas. And we have come through.

Life can be challenging for us all. Things change, we change as a consequence. We can become vulnerable, and this is ok if we let it be ok, because we can look back and learn from our situations and emerge more strongly. Asking for help, accepting help and support is important and key. Having eyes in the back of my head to look back.

Many years ago, I used to tell my children I had eyes in the back of my head so I could see what they were doing at all times even when I was not looking at them.  They actually believed me!

Now I know that I don’t have eyes in the back of my head, but I am glad I have looked back on this past year and seen the good, and the not so good times, to get them into perspective.  Something I will do more often.

Christmas and the beckoning of a New Year might invite you to do the same for your own life to see how far you have come with all the joys and challenges life offers us. Feel free to use metaphor of eyes in the back of your head!

Go kindly; go well and have a joyful Christmas Season.

With love from us all at Physis Scotland

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