“As a trainee counselor, one of the issues that will often arise with clients and indeed in your own personal development is the need to examine the way significant past life events have impacted upon behavior and personality. Many of the established psychotherapy models have at their core a historical approach to personality development and psychopathology (Corsini, 1981). By discovering and examining the past, we are able to lay foundations for the future and to address problems, conflicts or negative patterns that may have otherwise gone unnoticed or unchallenged. In many cases, simply acknowledging or naming a particular life event can be enough to allow us to ‘make sense of’ the event and to change the way it is impacting upon our lives. Research suggests that many of our established belief patterns about ourselves and society as a whole are related to our experiences and perceptions of past life events (Beck, 1976). As such, these events can significantly affect self-esteem and self-concept and in some cases impose false limits on our beliefs of what we can or cannot achieve. Furthermore, an unresolved family conflict or emotional family issues can taint the way we perceive similar problems. This may be particularly relevant when we are faced with a client whose problem resonates with an unresolved issue or life event that we ourselves have experienced.” (Cross & Papadopoulos, 2001).
TASKS THAT SHOULD BE WRITTEN IN THE ESSAY:
Task 1. Think back, identify and write about three events that occurred-one during childhood, one during adolescence and one in adulthood-that you feel have significantly impacted upon your personal development and how.
Task 2. For each of these events that you have identified, discuss why you thought it was important, and what effect, if any, you think this event had on other members of your family.
Task 3. Speak to your triad members about the event and compare their perception to yours. If possible, compare also your perception of the event with the perceptions of people who were involved in the event (e.g. family members, peers, classmates etc). How are they similar or different? Whose stories/perceptions are the closest to yours and whose are furthest away? If appropriate, you can also compare your own situation/event with what was happening to other triad members. For instance, if there were family conflicts in your case and there is someone else also in your triad having experienced a similar difficulty, think about similarities and differences in coping
Task 4. Explain how you were feeling and what you were thinking doing this exercise and try also to identify connections with how you explain life in general as a person.
Purpose of the Essay: To allow you to examine which events have significantly affected your personal development, and to examine their potential for affecting your professional development.
The reflective essay will be assessed on the basis of how well you have
a. Demonstrated understanding of your past material and the ability to make critical evaluations
b. Reflected on the emotional, cognitive and behavioral material and related it to self and relationships-both personal and professional
c. Checked grammar and spelling