Advice to twenty-one year old self

One thing I know about being twenty-one. i was certain about what I wanted.  looking back I couldn’t have been more wrong.

It wanted to be a clinical psychologist. I could easily have made it happen. I had a training place in Manchester.

So, given that you won’t end up where you think you will, how do you add value to your degree.

When I worked with young offenders I discovered that many of them were really into horses.  In Dublin at the time there was a strong culture of urban horse ownership. I liked them too, so horses gave me a shared common interest with these lads. Over time I developed a horse riding and horse management programme which contributed towards the rehabilitation programmes of some of these young men.

I could see the impact of working with horses had on these young men.  The communal gallops in the dunes were something else – flying hooves, swirling sand and grit in the mouth. For some that was enough. Others buckled down and mastered stable managment. They developed sense of purpose and direction which stood to them when they returned back to their communities.

If I was starting over again, here is how I would prepare for this experience.

First thing would be to develop some coaching skills. This would teach me to conduct more productive conversation. Where ever I worked this would help me achieve. Later again, this would have help me become a better researcher, particularly conducting semi-structured interviews.

Morever, being coached by fellow class mates as we mastered these skills would have helped me become clearer in my direction as well as help me become more goal oriented.

Adult and Continuing Education run a short course on coaching. It is delivered by Ken O’Byrne and Ultan O’Callaghan.  I trained with both of these, so I could not speak more highly of them.

The School runs a module in Coaching Skills, which is an option the the Masters in Work and Organisation Psychology. Zelda co-ordinates this module. I work with her and have very high praise for her.

You could apply to do this as a flexi-module.  It is taught in groups of 10, so if there was room in a class, or sufficient applied to form another group.

But I would have gone further.  I would have done some training in equine assisted coaching, and now you can do in Ireland.  The Festina Lente Centre run a course on equine assisted facilitation.

And, you know, it’s still not too late for me to do it!

 

 

 

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