MEd Adult Guidance and Counselling Graduate, Elizabeth O'Byrne talks to us about her experience of Adult Guidance and Counselling.
I was in my forth year working as a teacher in the Irish prison system when I applied to undertake the Higher Diploma in Adult Guidance and Counselling. While I had been working in an unofficial capacity in career planning, I believed that the Higher Diploma (now Postgraduate Diploma) would offer me knowledge and skills that would enhance my practice, but moreover the qualification would place me well to advocate better on behalf of my students/clients.
The Higher Diploma in fact proved a personally and professionally transformative experience. It was initially very challenging for me to acknowledge that many of my practices and behaviours
were unhelpful both to my clients and myself as a practitioner. However this awareness came in a supportive, safe and helpful environment, facilitated by wise and knowledgeable tutors. I was only beginning to ‘crack the code’ as one might say when the course was coming to an end, and was left with a strong sense of unfinished business. The MEd in Adult Guidance and Counselling, therefore seemed the natural route for me to continue my journey.
Receiving an academic and professional qualification was a strong motivator for undertaking both the H. Dip and the MEd, and holding the parchment in my hands at my recent graduation was very important. However the certification is only one very small part of what I take with me from my three years in this Department. I also take a sense of personal and professional growth and development, new found self confidence and self-esteem and a myriad of new skills and knowledge to enhance my practice. Despite the hard work, these courses also afforded me time-out in a safe space to reflect both personally and professionally. I also made some great friends who supported and helped me through both courses.
As you begin or continue your own journey with this Department I wish you every happiness and success. I would like to suggest that you focus not so much on the end of your journey, as I initially did, but to savour every moment in between. However, be aware - studying here can be an addictive experience!