The Student Experience
Hi, my name is Laura Porritt and I am a third year student working towards a BSC in Counselling & Psychotherapy in PCI College.
I was always interested in the reasons why people behave the way they do. It was never black and white to me; I always seemed to be in the grey area wondering… On leaving school I went on to work as a receptionist in the hotel industry for 12 years. I loved this, every day I met new people and enjoyed the interactions. I eventually moved to work in administration in a company because the hours suited me better, as I had fallen in love and we went on to have two lovely children and I had every weekend off!!!
While I enjoy my current job I felt that I wanted to do something different, counselling had entered my mind over the years and eventually at the age of 35 I decided it was now time to move on it. Counselling and Psychotherapy appealed to me as I wanted to help people, to try to aid them to make a difference in their lives….so I completed a foundation course and that was me hooked!!
I chose PCI, not alone for the content of the course, but also because it was on every second weekend (Friday & Saturday) and it was facilitated in Limerick not too far from where I live in Shannon. I remember my interview; I was so nervous, but decided that if it was meant to be it would happen, which thankfully it did. Going back to school wasn’t too bad, my worries were around the academic side, studying, writing essays etc… but thankfully PCI ran essay workshops and I had access to a reader who reviewed the essay prior to the deadline and would refer back to you with advice on areas that required more work.
Right from the beginning there was a friendly atmosphere, the tutors were approachable and the small class size helped me form great friendships. I love being in the classroom and interacting with the group and tutors, it is good to spend time with people who have common interests. It also helps that the tutors are all qualified counsellors themselves and all have experience of working with people which makes their lectures more interesting when they share their own experiences. The course goes at a nice pace allowing for learning of theorists and engaging in experiential role-play, we don’t just learn about the theorists, we also try to experience their writings.
I would also like to mention the staff in Corrig House in Dublin, they have been very helpful with any queries I have had which helps me feel supported.
Personally the course has aided my personal development and awareness immensely, it has allowed me space to examine and process my own journey in life. And more importantly learn from it. My experience so far has benefited me greatly. While I’m sure the learning is never ending, I now feel I know who Laura really is, what I like, what makes me tick and why.
The content of the course covers a wide range of subjects such as Personal & Lifespan Development, Humanistic & Cognitive-Behavioural Approaches, Skills & Strategies of Counselling, Personal Development & Advanced Counselling Skills, Universal Issues in Counselling: (Loss & Sexuality), Abnormal Psychology & Psychodynamic Perspective, Family/Systemic Counselling: Theory & Skills, Research Methods, all of which promote personal & professional development. My favorite was Sexuality, the tutor introduced it saying that it was like a spilled sugar, that it touched every aspect part of our lives. After doing the module I feel that this is a very apt way of describing it. I think the modules have not only given me new personal insights but have also given me new skills that will help aide my in the counselling role.
While I really enjoy the course it can be challenging at times to fit all aspects of the course into my life e.g. meeting assignment deadlines, personal counselling, client work, attending supervision, study and participating in workshops can all be a balancing act at times. Thankfully I have a supportive husband and family who put up with me when I am trying to write essays!! When times get difficult I have a saying on my wall that inspires me:
“History is written as we live it, Slow steady progress inevitably, inexorably takes each of us forward, But sometimes….when we reach for something much higher, When we stretch our resolve even further, where we push past previous limits……to beyond, just sometimes……It is possible to exceed all expectations…..-to realise our very dreams”
My dream is to become a counsellor and hopefully make a difference in someone’s life - the course has already made a difference in mine. I am now closer to that dream and look forward to the day when I receive my Degree. I hope to embark in further training, gain more experience and work towards IACP accreditation. I have also thought about becoming a tutor, but for now I plan to enjoy the journey I am on and somewhere in the future this course will take me to places I only previously dreamed about.
3rd Year Student, PCI College