Saturday, 19 May 2007

Behind the Scenes

Before I began a blog, I used to read the BBC's Ouch! website. I even commented a few times, but my comments were never published. I thought, as one does, that there must be something I didn't know that was an essential ingredient in order to have one's comments published on the Ouch page. Ho Hum.

Before my year group began our three year Psychodynamic Counselling training with the Wessex Counselling Service (affiliated to WPF the Westminster Pastoral Foundation) we were given a few rules; all sensible, all grounded in the experience of those wiser and more experienced course Directors, who had trained many other year groups before us:

Rule No. 1 - All contact between members of the year group was to be within the boundaries of the self awareness group sessions that were the foundation of the training course. No contact outside of the training course, to discuss the content of the self awareness group, or other members of the group, would be tolerated. Anyone violating this essential rule would be dismissed from the course and their (substantial) course fees would not be reimbursed.

At the time we thought that a bit unnecessary, but we chosen few who had made it through the selection process were so relieved to have made it thus far, that we signed our agreement to that rule.

As the months, and then years, went on, we understood the Rule. We trusted the Rule and because we trusted the Rule, we felt safe and boundaried by it to explore ourselves, our relationships both in the training group and in the outside world, and to equate our own life experiences to the theoretical framework of our training. It was also an essential grounding in keeping strict boundaries around counselling relationships, so that when we began seeing clients, we were used to a contract based on this trusted up-front relationship.

We soon came to understand that to deal honestly with each other, and to trust to the process of the training, we could rely on the Rule.

Blogging is not so ruled. Bloggers can email each other behind and beyond what appears on their blog. Other bloggers of course, if not in the loop, know nothing of this, and can only deal with what appears on other bloggers' pages.

I am picking up clues that there may be a connection between my comments on Ouch never being published, my memory of the Rule, and early experiences in my blogging life, where I seemed to be actively unwelcomed by one blogger. I have remembered that discomfort and always been open, welcoming and encouraging to anyone who has come newly to reading and commenting on my blog. Thankfully no other blogger has repeated that early snub to my blogging involvement. On all other bloggers' pages, I have been welcomed and openly interacted with. It has been, and mostly continues to be, a joy.

Blogging is not an analytical process or a counselling arena, despite my tongue-in-cheek attempt to argue that IT IS SO. But in this disablist world it is a space where I, and many other bloggers that I have met and communicated with here in the blogosphere, trust the process of blogging and trust the bloggers met on their computer in that process.

Until something happens that shows that, in some arenas, there is far more going on between bloggers than appears on blog pages. That shows there is at work a personal process that is not up front and obvious. That is not necessarily what is seems.

Life is complex enough outside the frame of the laptop screen, without another blogger messing it up behind the scenes. This is where we come for contact, support, friendship, information, encouragement, fun, laughs, shared problems and shared joys. With two exceptions (and he has only ever commented once, and she has only ever commented once), I love you all and love your contact with me.
Stuff the rest of it.



Blogger BloggingMone said...

I find it quite difficult to put strict rules on something as dynamic as human relationships. I mean, take these people from your group, who have broken the rule by getting in contact with each other outside the group hours. You wrote they have never been trusted again. In the end for them nothing changed at all, they still trusted each other. But the rest of you has deliberately given up contact to people, who may have become good friends to you as well. Probably this rule was justified in the setting you have described, but I am very certain it would have put me off the whole thing during the first meeting. Maybe it is just me having a problem with rules...

Sunday, 20 May 2007 at 09:27:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Good Morning Blogging Mone:

My using an illustration from another scenario to illustrate a current situation in blogging, works for me but perhaps made little sense to others.

The counselling training was a complex situation, and we had to trust that the training organisation had good reasons for making the rules. Within those rules, which were only applicable to that situation, we learned what was required in order to be trusted with counselling clients and trusted to follow the code of ethics of our chosen profession. And after the training course, and the self awareness group, ended, we were of course free to make whatever contacts and friendships we liked, always following the code of ethics in working and client relationships.

For those two who had not followed the training course rule, what changed for them was they had forfeited the possibility of being trusted colleagues in the field they had paid enormous fees to train in. During training we were required to follow the profession's code of ethics, but they didn't think it was important.

We didn't give up contact with them, we just didn't trust them professionally. I met one of them a few years later in another scenario and enjoyed the contact with her, but she was not working in the profession she had paid to train in.

I was reminded of that past Rule because now, as then, I have found myself in the middle of something going on behind the scenes that I knew nothing of. Then, as now, I dealt with people from what I knew on the surface, and later had to revise my view in the light of the behind-the-scenes new information.

And I used it to illustrate the enormous difference between that and blogging.

Of course it is right that there are no rules in blogging, anyone can make whatever contact they like, and lots of bloggers have met in person, which I think is wonderful, and there are lots of reasons for emailing and things to email about that are not relevant to the blog.

But I have recently found clues that explained the one blogger that had snubbed me in my very first week of blogging, and discovered that I had been involved in an ugly behind-the-scenes event that I knew nothing about.

As I said, I was not in the behind-the-scenes loop, and did not know who was, so I can only deal with what appears on others' blogs. It was a shock to find it.

I am not commenting on behind-the-blog friendships and contacts, but on finding myself mixed up in something ugly I knew nothing about, which may have been going on for a long time. One blogger has snubbed me from the very beginning of my blog. As I said, I love contact with everyone else.

(Deep breath, and relax.)

I found it very stressful and I was distressed, so I made my statement on how it had affected me. I hope this is a better explanation.

Sunday, 20 May 2007 at 11:00:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Lily is back, and her comment explained where she had been (not Siam) and where she had got back to, listed on my links. Her comment relevant to 'Behind The Scenes' ended with: " Ditto your last bit, by the way x"
Thanks Lily. No more reincarnations, you hear, just delete !

Sunday, 20 May 2007 at 11:03:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

Beklopptess Blogger

BM, I think if you go to your Edit Posts page, at the bottom of your last post, will be a check box on whether to allow comments. Previously Charles has said his has changed without reference to him, so that may be why your Liberta post does not currently allow comments.

And to say, what a beautiful boat. I think 'driving' is applicable to anything with an engine, but often we say 'boating' for inland waterways, and 'sailing' for sails both inland, in harbour and out to sea. You may know this, but here inland the canals were an early form of transport of materials in the industrial revolution but were narrow, hence 'narrow boats' but natural inland water ways and rivers have narrow boats, comfortable luxurious boats like yours and small sail boats.

Poole harbour near here is the largest harbour in Europe, and has plenty of room for boats. So if ever you get this far, may I join you at the Harbour for coffee ?!

Sunday, 20 May 2007 at 15:46:00 BST  
Blogger BloggingMone said...

Hi Sally, I understood now, what you've been explaining about rules. Interpreters do habe a Code of Ethics as well, so I am not saying that all rules are rubbish. I just thought the one you have mentioned was a bit strikt. I think it is OK to have mail contacts aside the blogs and comments especially if the issue is off topic or a bit too lengthy or detailed to be appreciated by other readers.
In your case I totally agree with you. Conspiracy behind the scene and making up stories about who said what to whom are a bit childish. this is the blogsphere and not a virtual kindergarten.
BTW: I have solved the comment problem and have deleted my "Beklopptes Blogger!" remark.
My brother has been to Poole several times. He has been working there as a travel guide for groups of German school kids, trying to brush up their English during their holidays.

Sunday, 20 May 2007 at 19:57:00 BST  
Blogger Sally's Life said...

The world is a very small place - BM's Brother in Poole - !

Thanks, for commenting again on this awkward topic.

I may delete it soon, so if anyone else would like to comment, please do so soon. I would appreciate hearing from you.

Sunday, 20 May 2007 at 20:22:00 BST  

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