Graham Higgins Illustration - Literate Graffiti Dept.


July 3, 2013

3-7-13 We’re here to help

We’re here to help – 3-7-13


Communication is when we interact with others. Communication is when we share information with others, both giving and receiving information.”

I’ve just finished a Level 2 Counselling course with Birmingham Adult Education Services. The helpful guidance above gives you a fair idea of the expectations of Level 2 students; the inclusion of this definition as a header for the worksheet on Forms Of Communication constitutes a pretty clear communication in itself.

It may be apparent already that I wasn’t swept away with the demands of Level 2, especially after a visiting Senior Lecturer popped in to assess our progress and delivered the judgement that the collective work was of a ‘high standard’ (meaning…? In the absence of any elaboration this was a pat on the head, in the cow-pasture sense) but that we needn’t answer at too high a level. Here he helpfully illustrated the quality of the superfluous high-level: apparently at about forehead-height – compared to the required standard: somewhere around trouser-pocket height.

To illustrate just how simple it was to achieve accreditation at this level, he suggested that to answer Criterion 1.1.3 – “Identify own motivation for helping others” – it wasn’t necessary ‘to analyse it with reference to world religions’ (?… one of the group was certainly affiliated to a religion; was this a ‘tactful’ reference to her homework?; did she identify a vocational calling or duty? Problem?). The sample answer suggested was: ‘I like to help people’. So you can expect a credit for ‘My motivation for helping others is that I like to help people.’

Oh, and although the word ‘Counsellor’ appeared on some of the worksheets, we should amend this to ‘Helper’ or ‘Practitioner’. ‘Counselling’ should now appear as ‘Helping Skills’. I did try to point out that for our purposes the roles of Client and Counsellor in these theoretical homework submissions were a simple clear shorthand but the trouser-pocket answer seemed to be that some committee had at some point decided that this is how we do things round these parts, stranger.

This was the evening, about three-quarters of the way through the course, where he also announced that anyone proposing to move on to Level 3 would have to find 700-odd quid in comparison to the 200-odd for the Level 2. Shrug. Sorry ’bout that. Bye now…

One of the aspects of the course was the opportunity to observe highly-qualified skilled communicators at work.


Last time I approached my blogspace with trepidation, expecting to have to sluice out huge heaps of random responses accumulated in my absence. Akhismet however saved the day – thank you, people – so that there were few enough to read with only that vertiginous spamoramic sensation of the language in freefall. Needless to say, the reviews are breathless with admiration…

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