Sharon’s Magic Mountain

Once upon a time…

There was a little empath named Sharon, who had witnessed many troubled times as a young girl, teenager, and young woman. She realised at an early age that she had special powers: a desire and the skills to help other people feel better.

Her dream was to reach the top of the Magic Mountain where she would achieve her Diploma in Counselling Skills. From here, she would be able to see far and wide across the land, and she felt she could reach out to help others as a qualified Counsellor. But first, she must climb to the first level of the Magic Mountain by successfully completing the COSCA Certificate in Counselling Skills. The little empath set off on her first quest.

The COSCA cave

She found a reputable course provider with excellent reviews and travelled far, into deepest darkest east end Glasgow. There, she was met by her two empath Godmothers, Alison and Claire. They were both very wise in the ways of counselling and they were to be her guides. Through the glass doors, and into the COSCA cave, she met a lovely group of other empaths. She was soon to realise that they too, had the same special powers to help other people. Very soon, the little empath felt right at home.

Lots of learning

For the next ten weeks there was a lot of learning to be done. The little empath thought she had always been a good listener, but, working more intensely with her supportive triad she realised there was much, much more to it. Always the one to give advice, she saw that she must quietly listen with a range of attending and responding skills. She must not ‘fix’ things and instead, must truly be there with her speaker. After all, the answers lie within. It was just her job to help the speaker reveal them. She loved using the Guided Fantasy and has used this back in her own kingdom with the young people she teaches. They were then able to uncover some feelings they had not known were there, and were also able to put a name to an emotion that they were unable to talk about in traditional one to one discussion.

The wise Godmothers

Soon, the wise Godmothers bestowed another gift. In order to reach level one of the quest, the little empath must truly know in her heart the core principles of counselling: Acceptance, Genuineness and Empathy. Luckily her magic powers allowed her to feel empathy for others readily. Sometimes this was a bit too much and she knows she has to protect herself in order to not feel drained and be of more use to her speakers.

Remember to relax

Genuineness was interesting to learn about as the little empath thought she came across as open and interested. However, her study of her recorded video clip revealed a stern face and closed body language. Her supportive triad said she just looked professional and was maybe a little nervous in front of the camera, and that she didn’t look stern to them at all. The little empath was relieved to hear this as she really wanted to look as genuine as she felt inside. She made a decision to remember to relax her body and face and to never cross her legs or lace her fingers again.

Acceptance

Acceptance was the real stumbling block as her deeper judgements of others were revealed. The Godmothers gave out tiny pieces of folded paper, but they held monumental discussion points. Emotive names were inside and this made the little empath shudder. Could she honestly put her triggers to one side and help the horrible trolls or the wicked witches of the world? After all, they have feelings too and someone has to help them. A lot of self-reflection is needed to answer this, and suddenly for the first time, the Diploma at the top of the Magic Mountain seemed out of reach. Would she ever get to the top to achieve something she was once so certain of?

Disaster struck

Then, one day, disaster struck! The land was cursed with a virus and all the empaths and the Godmothers were banished to self-isolation and social distancing. What was to become of them? Luckily, the Godmothers found a way to sprinkle magic Zoom dust on all the laptops and the empaths rejoiced as they were reunited by way of digital media. Hurrah!

The little empath misses the energy of her tribe in person, but is thankful for the mystical power of technology to help her continue in her quest.

How things changed…

In the beginning of Module 2 of the Certificate in Counselling Skills, the little empath and her tribe had settled into a ‘stay at home’ routine. She could not believe how quickly the sands of time had passed in the last ten weeks, and she settled down to review how that had been for her.

Having spent fifteen long weeks staying safe at home, the little empath also conducted all of her full time work as a teacher online. In addition to the COSCA course she also committed to another online distance learning course. The amount of screen time was proving to be a challenge for her and left her feeling a little overwhelmed at having to be such an integral part of the digital world. Sometimes she feared that the prophecies were coming true and that human and machine would indeed merge as one. She made a promise to herself to allow more study time for the next module and try new ways of learning to help overcome the intensity she felt around being online so much.

Positive energy…

Her new triad provided a calm and positive energy from the beginning. She loved watching the confidence of her triad grow with each skills practice as she herself even started to feel more relaxed watching her recordings. After consulting the ‘feelings wheel’, she could now identify with a feeling of optimism rather than being critical of herself. Progress already?

The cycle of change…

The middle of Module 2 was proving to be more in-depth in terms of content and discussion. Complex topics around sexuality, feelings, the grief cycle, change, values and ethics sparked lots of interesting discussion for the tribe. The cycle of change and the change curve were insightful tools for the little empath to consider. It helped her see some reasons why she had not been able to make the changes she wanted in her life, and she was eager to try this out for herself, and also within a counselling approach. The little empath likes to think about change from all possible angles and this can sometimes leave her feeling exhausted about all the ‘what if’s. She found the motivation grid very useful for this and has used it to make a decision about looking for another job in a different school. This gave her clarity and more confidence in her decision and she was thankful to her godmothers for bestowing these gifts.

A wave of emotions…

Sexuality was a topic that opened up a wave of emotions for the little empath. She realised that a wicked witch had tried to poison her mind with untruths in the past around what it meant to be a sexual being. By challenging her thoughts, she uncovered deep-rooted feelings that she had forgotten about. While saddened by this at first, she now sees it as a positive as she has been able to look back at her changed attitudes more deeply and this will hopefully help her to be more genuine and empathetic in a counselling approach.

Time to reflect…

The ending of Module 2 was mixed emotions for the little empath as she was invited to consider how to say goodbye to her triad. Following what felt like a more intense part of the course the triad had time to discuss how they felt and what progress they had made. Through this safe space the little empath realised that while she felt on one hand that the module went by so quickly, she also discovered that she had soaked up so much information that it was likely to be slow burner for her as she allowed herself to revisit the theory and reflect on how it has affected her personally as well as in a counselling approach.

Looking forward to a two-week break to recharge, the little empath knows that another beginning is just around the corner in the form of Module 3 and she is eager to explore the content with her tribe and another new triad.

The End

By Sharon Kirman

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