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[Nov. 12th, 2012|12:34 pm]
[mood |stressedstressed]

Hello internet!

I'm guessing not many people read this anymore, which given the context of this post, I'm strangely relieved about. It's not a private rant, but I do need to at least write this out if for no other reason than to get it out of my own head.

As some of you may know I finished a Diploma in Psychodynamic Counselling and Organisational Dynamics at Birkbeck in July, with a view to continue studies next year by doing the combined Psychodynamic and CBT degree. This is a completely unique degree - Nowhere else offers a course that studies both disciplines, and is hugely important in terms of modern counselling.

In theory this was all fine, but I've really been stressing over the details and time/money problems this will cause me.

Firstly, Birkbeck specialise in evening learning. So the Diploma was one evening a week, with coursework based around this. I was also working full time, and the stress of this (I expect mainly due to my job at the time) was quite awful.

The degree will also be part time; the first year will involve two evenings per week, one focusing on Psychodynamic theory and practices, the other on CBT. Around this I will also have to complete coursework/essays/case studies and it will be required that I have a job. This is so that I can carry out case studies with an observational nature, not to mention that fact that I will also have to live. In the second and third years, contact hours will remain at two evenings per week, but at this point, due to the nature of the course, it will become mandatory to have my own counselling. It will have to be absolute minimum once a week (often it is recommended more frequently) which will cost around £30 - £50 per session. The approach to this from staff is generally 'the sooner the better', and I'd agree.

In addition, I would be expected to attend and fund supervision for a placement of around 1-1.5 days per week.

While working as full time as possible/having miraculously found somewhere to work which will be OK with this.

To get on the course, I have to have completed the Diploma (or equiv) and have substantial volunteering experience in the field. I am currently volunteering one day per week at a residential home for severely mentally ill people, with a view to obtaining paid shifts (probably as frequently as the volunteering itself) in the future.

So I'm working in a call centre on a shift basis after quitting my job at Dolce & Gabbana due to stress, which was around the same time I finished my course. They threatened to P45 me today as I haven't gone in in a couple of weeks and I'm panicking about what the hell I'm going to do.

The reason I'm working there is because it's incredibly flexible and it's the only thing I can currently find that will allow me to continue to volunteer one day a week - my working experience sadly lies in accounts, and not only are part-time accounting jobs quite difficult to find, it also feels like a step backwards in terms of a career in mental health.

This is also not sustainable as it is evening work, so will clash with the course, should I decide to do it. I'm just not sure how it's possible to pursue if I have, at least by year two, such little time to actually earn a living around the course and the related commitments.

Not to mention despite the fact that it's part time, by the time I will have completed it, I'll be in nearly £30,000 worth of debt from that course alone. The idea of the masters I'd love to do suddenly becomes a kind of laughable idea.

If you managed to read this far, thanks! I just needed to think about this in more depth and any other possible options.

[User Picture]From: gothicfreakgrrl
2012-11-12 09:34 pm (UTC)
I don't have any practical advice to give, but wanted you to know that someone had read this.
I have great faith in the world for making things work out eventually, so I will send good vibes and crossed fingers in lieu of any practical assistance.
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[User Picture]From: burritob
2012-11-13 05:27 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: jisha78
2012-11-13 08:57 am (UTC)
Firstly, well done on the diploma!
Now, your current situation sounds very hard and very stressful and you're doing the best you can. Debt is inevitable sadly, you just need to minimise it best you can. It may not help much, but this website contains a massive database of volunteering opportunities, in case changing your volunteering to other days or the weekend helps - http://www.do-it.org.uk/ If you volunteered at weekends, you'd have more time availabe for work.
The website might also reveal companies and charities that are looking for people. If you search for counselling under the advanced search some supervised placements come up with Place2Be, so maybe you can get that free.
I had to work full-time while doing my post-graduate course, and I had no idea just how exhausting it is. Good luck to you and I hope you get through it all ok.
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