Before you head out into the jungle…

Aide Memoire for Linda

Hi Linda

I am writing this as a reminder for you of our meeting on Monday.

I am a professional careers adviser. I have certain listening and counselling skills that I use in the course of my work. I use those skills to get a better understanding of the young persons I am working with. Without that understanding I would just be giving out unhelpful, off-the-peg standard advice to every one.

An interview is a conversation with a purpose. Interviews with me are about your future career. A person’s career is not just what they do for a living it is also about how they want to live. So often my interviews are about a lot more than how many GCSEs you need to be an IT engineer or a teacher etc.

At the same time I have to remain aware of my professional boundaries. I am not a therapist or a health professional. I have to take care not to suggest activities or to give advice that cuts across or complicates what might be a carefully designed recovery programme.

In our discussion today I decided to talk a just little about my own experience in an effort to reassure you that people do make progress – even if it can take more time than they’d like – and that sometimes the experience can be valuable and enable them to offer some support and understanding to other people who might be going through an illness or a very difficult time.

Everybody has a different experience, different circumstances and different strengths but going on the evidence of our discussion I believe you will continue along the path to your own individual wellness and unique achievements.

We did not go into the detail of what happened to you or around you over the years from when you were a small child but we did agree that whatever bad things happened were an intrusion – a trespassing – on the life a child and young person should expect and which people might expect for them.

The experience a child or young person has is their only experience. As young humans they are particularly vulnerable to unfortunate events, negative interventions, upsetting emotions and decisions. I am confident that – with the appropriate help – you are dealing with those issues with the advantages that your intelligence and self-awareness bring.

The fact is you are where you are now and it is now you always have to work from. We discussed the varied aspects of your life now: family, school, friendships, anxiety, medication, artistic activities, your enjoyment of music, song, writing, ballet, trees and the countryside.

I talked about you being a writer right now; not simply as someone with an ambition to write. I suggested you carry a private little “commonplace” notebook to record ideas, thoughts, situations, bits of conversation that you can use later in longer pieces of your work when you are ready. Keep your notebooks safe. They are your own personal archive that you can revisit later. Sometimes you will see how much your writing has developed and how far you have come.

You told me about your creative sides; the things you really enjoy. These are particularly important and I hope you continue with the writing, the ballet, the art, the music and the singing in whatever context is safe, supportive and affirming for you. The work you produce is unique to you and of great value. I suggested that you might like to find a writing group or an art group where you can meet other talented people and share your work in progress.

I talked about the YHA and how it might provide a way for you and selected friends to get out of the pressure of the city and into the countryside in safety. Their website is here.

And then we talked about what to do about school and next year etc. You generally feel OK in school and think that your attendance has been improving slightly. I think it is important that you continue with the improvements in attendance.

Your school provides a place of stability and belonging in your life. You should use it and build upon it. However you feel about it on particular days, it provides you with opportunities to learn and also a source of identity and engagement with society.

At the moment you are a Post-16 student with teachers, acquaintances and friends.

Without school in your life you might well be more than a little adrift. Losing school without having planned a next step into college or employment would be very unfortunate and leave you vulnerable to isolation, negativity and serious ill-health.

I know you have an Annual Review at some point soon. I will speak to school and ask them to do what they can to offer you a further year here from September.

Whatever is decided I will be back in school in May and would like to meet you again then to find out what happened, how you are doing and to help you make more plans for your future success.

In the meantime I’m sending you some information

about careers in writing, dance and acting.

My contact details are attached

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