update: I was a test subject in a counseling session at work and now I regret it

Remember the letter-writer in August who had participated in a videotaped counseling training session for students and later realized that two of her student workers would be viewing the video as part of their training? She was feeling awkward about the emotional content of the session being viewed by people she managed. Here’s her update.

After sending in my question, I did a little bit of quiet investigation to learn exactly how my counseling sessions would be used in class. I was relieved to find out that my sessions were discussed only by the four students who counseled me and a professor, not by the entire group. Like one insightful commenter suggested, the students were FAR more concerned with their own performance than they were with my problems, which is understandable at this point in their training and a big relief to me.

However, one of the students tried to offer me some post-session follow-up. While her offer was coming from a very kind and genuine place, I really didn’t want to have a friendly lunch with her to further discuss my problems. I declined her invitation and discreetly mentioned it to the program administrator, who was horrified. In the next class period, the professor gave some very clear direction on how to act towards clients outside of the clinical setting, and any strange follow-up conversations were nipped in the bud.

Months later, I’m really glad I participated in the counseling sessions. While some of my student counselors were better than others, some of the advice I received turned out be really helpful. Furthermore, the school has had trouble with cross-department collaboration – so my offer to help out a different department when they needed it was definitely noticed and appreciated. In fact, I’ve been shocked at how far this one action has gone in smoothing out tensions between my department and the counseling department.

Thanks again for taking my question. Your sound advice – and the advice of the AAM community – was really helpful and kept me from overreacting.

{ 12 comments… read them below }

  1. ThursdaysGeek

    It sounds like the training was especially good. In addition to the good advice received (both in class and here) and the better working environment between the departments, the students would perhaps not normally have an opportunity to see a counselee outside of their class, and fixing that inappropriate behavior while still students was an added benefit to their training.

    1. Elsajeni

      I was thinking the same thing! That’s such an important thing for them to learn, because it’s so likely to come up at some point in their careers, and while I’m sure it would have been discussed at some point, having the opportunity to put it into practice will really help cement into their brains the right way to handle it.

  2. Celeste

    That’s really great about the better relationship; what a happy accident this all was! Excellent update.

  3. Jillociraptor

    This is a great update! Thanks for writing back, OP! That must have been such a vulnerable position to be in. I’m so glad everything worked out better than well.

  4. Not So NewReader

    I am glad this landed in a good place, OP. And bonus, eh? You put down some building blocks for better relationships between departments. Nice.

  5. Observer

    I’m glad it worked out well.

    I can just imagine how horrified the instructor must have been when you told him about the attempted follow up. It’s a good thing you mentioned it.

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