Training diary of a volunteer: Sessions 1 & 2

Volunteering with us is a great way to contribute to the community while gaining some serious self-satisfaction – believe us, there’s nothing more enhancing that helping people and seeing your work make a real difference.

But what about the training to become a volunteer counsellor? We asked one of our trainees, Libby Clifton, to make a diary for us, to explain her thoughts and feelings throughout the process.

In the first of five instalments, Libby opens up about some pre-training apprehension, and how that quickly changed across sessions one and two of 10.

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By Libby Clifton

I felt a little apprehensive on arrival for my very first training session at Northampton Rape Crisis (NRC) but this was quickly dispelled by the warm welcome of the CEO and Counselling Team Co-ordinator gave all the new trainee counsellors.

An unusual and excellent ice breaker exercise helped the group to feel more at ease and get to know all of our peers and the trainers! An overview of the induction was presented with the exact requirements we would need to meet, in order to complete the training and gain a placement at NRC.

After agreeing a group contract including issues such as confidentiality, respect, being non-judgemental, time-keeping, supporting each other, for example, and having fun together!

For me, I realised how lucky I was to gain a placement at NRC as the training programme is comprehensive, extensive, and very professional. Training, Continuing Professional Development and Monthly group supervision would be provided for the term of our two-year commitment.   

I appreciate the opportunity and privilege Northampton Rape Crisis has given me, of counselling people, who have experienced trauma/s. We were all informed that it can be very challenging but extremely rewarding.

Session 1

An overview of Rape Crisis (England and Wales) and Northampton Rape Crisis (NRC) was presented. I feel ‘s always important to comprehend the structure of an organisation as I feel it helps me to understand why certain stipulations are in place (i.e. BACP membership, internal Policies and Procedures at NRC). As a trainee counsellor, it’s also essential, for me to understand how I can help the clients with the services offered at NRC. For example, providing emotional support or counselling for female or male clients (on a separate floor). I completed my homework on the National Rape Crisis website and found this a very informative website, which added to my knowledge.

Session 2

Session two was on sexual violence, with definitions, Sexual Offences Act 2003, and statistics covered. I found working in groups was very helpful and helped all the trainees to bond as a peer group. There are very low percentages of convictions (only 6%) for rape.  I think that people and their stories are far more important than their representation as a statistic but its useful information to know, just in case a survivor decides to press charges. For this session, we had to complete a report on a News article. I chose The Guardian’s story on the death of Alesha McPhail. I feel I have a lot of empathy for survivors of trauma and this session did fill in some gaps of knowledge on sexual violence for me.

Check back next week for the next instalments of Libby’s diary!

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