I am due to qualify this summer. I have one shortish assignment left to write and 19 counselling hours left to get in order to have fulfilled all the requirements of my course.
I’m hearing a lot about finish lines, and ‘finally theres’ but it doesn’t feel that way to me. Of course a few things will change overnight when I get that piece of paper – my BACP membership will become a full membership, I can apply for paid positions if I wish to, I can remove the word ‘trainee’ from this blog.
I think there is likely to be an emotional shift too. It’s difficult for me to predict how that will feel; I imagine there will be a sense of accomplishment as well as trepidation; university has provided me with a valuable support network and I will have to adjust to no longer having that weekly connection with friends, peers and tutors. I plan to top my PG Diploma up to a masters next year and I think a small part of my motivation for doing so relates to my attachment to the academic element of my learning as well as a desire to continue to touch base with the university.
But in a strange way, during my learning journey I have already become so accustomed to ongoing change that qualification does not seem like the huge shift that I thought it might. Almost every week my perceptions about myself and about psychotherapy have been influenced and shifted by some aspect of my learning, whether that be client work, personal therapy, supervision or university. I am constantly discovering, and I don’t anticipate that will ever stop. I feel that I am in this process for life.
So what I see ahead is a checkpoint. An important checkpoint certainly, but not a finish line – it is a continuation of a journey which I feel began when I first walked into a therapy room as a client.
As I reach graduation, I will take time to celebrate my achievements, and reflect on my learning and growth so far. I am proud of what I have achieved over the last few years and grateful for the friends and mentors I have met along the way.
And at the same time, I will also celebrate what is to come – the unknown future paths of this remarkable journey.