Monday, 28 January 2013

Week 37 - The Wellington Cup Races, Wellington summertime events & working with UPR - Unconditional positive regard!

Hey Everybody! The sun has been shining brightly here in Wellington, and NZ in general, whilst fires rage through Australia and the UK in covered with snow - what a varied world we all live in! I want to share a little of the Wellington Summer this week, and talk a little about some of the issues we face in the kind of work we do.

Firstly though, I'd like to say 3 random things:
1) Carl & Jade - good luck with the birth - fingers crossed for you both!
2) Congratulations to many of my South American OT friends who have all finished their studies and are now fully qualified OT's.
3) What the bloody hell happened to Liverpool today, (losing 2-3 to Oldham in the FA Cup)?! This seriously had me in a grumpy mood all day! 
The 'sound shell' venue - Botanical Gardens
 Ok, back to business! I have to say that I am loving living in this amazing little city - once called the 'coolest little capital in the world' (by the lonely planet guide). I'd have to agree that walking around the city, especially on a sunny day, is such a relaxing and chilled out experience. Yes it's small compared to major cities. and most capitals, but the wonderful relaxed vibe, live music, buskers, people diving into the ocean, easily observed wildlife (seals, sting-ray and jelly fish), plus the multitude of water front activities mean there is plenty to do for every budget! It's so safe and family friendly too, that I simply couldn't ask to live in a nicer place. (Now if I could just transport my friends and family here, it's be perfect!)
Beautiful summer days - Wellington
Summertime in the city! 
So to give you a little idea of why I think so fondly of my new home town. Wednesday night after a relatively long day at work, I had added my name to the event list for "Doubtful Sounds' concert in the park, with the 'Wonders of Wellington', social 'meet-up' group, (not to be confused with adventure Wellington, who I did the climbing with last week).  The city council (government for me non- English friends), arrange a series of 3/4 weeks of FREE summer concerts in the beautiful Botanical Gardens, here in the city. The group I was with all had a 'pot-luck' picnic (i.e. bring a plate of food each to share), and so about 10 people, none of whom I'd met before, enjoyed the sounds of a fun, little choir and string quartet, who sang a range of pop/rock songs through the night! It was a little windy, but not too bad for Wellington! Here's a few pictures & videos of the event! 
Concert gets into full swing! 

LIGHT SHOW.... as the concert drew to a close, the Botanical Gardens really came to life with a stunning show of colour! The area surrounding the concert venue had been lit up with a whole variety of colour and imaginative decorations for the trees and flowers... have a look for yourself! 

As if the near perfect 'windless' weather wasn't enough to get excited about, Wellington Cup Day had arrived. The train journey alone promised much, as the tracks run right next to the water (see the 2 pictures below!)  
Train views!
Train views of Wellington
The venue for the Wellington Cup is a place called Trentham, in the Hutt Valley, just a 30 minute train ride from the city. I was amazed to get off the train quite literally at the door to the race track....
Trentham Race  Track, Hutt Valley
 Once inside the gate, we (myself, my neighbour Kala, and the 'Social Establishment' meet-up group), were directed to the Hospitality area, but first had to cross the race track itself, which almost tempted me to gallop my way to the finishing post - which I thought was a fun idea, but no-on wanted to join me! 
On the Race track
 It was expected that people got dressed up, and the ladies in our group did not disappoint, nor did most of the crowd, who seemed to enjoy being dressed up - which is not something I see too much of here in Wellington. I love the fact that people can get into most places in most styles of clothes, be it casual or smart, but it's nice to have an event where everyone wants to make the effort!
The ladies of our group!
 I honestly took this next picture to demonstrate another fashion 'must' - ladies hats! A you'd expect at the races!
Look at the hats! 
Kala & Me
There were 10 races across the day, and I won money on none of them! In fact the last horse I bet on, during the big race finished second last! Still with minimum bets at just $1, I didn't lose out too much! Good job, as the drinks were pretty expensive inside the ground. The setting was pretty incredible and here's a few shots (and videos) to give you an idea of the day! 

Needing a drink / 'Ice shavings' 
Grand Stand views! 
At the finishing post! 
 Interestingly, just before the big race (Wellington Cup) everybody stood up whilst the national anthem was played, with words on a big screen (see below). I mention this because the anthem was played twice, firstly in Maori Language, and then in English! A lovely respectful touch I thought! 

Having all these wonderful, free & cheap things to do around the city most weeks and weekends, has definitely helped me enjoy life here! Also it has helped me to deal with some of the more emotionally challenging aspects of my job. That brings me to the issue of having UPR - UNCONDITIONAL POSITIVE REGARD - for the people we work with. 
(Unconditional positive regard, a term popularly believed to have been coined by the humanist Carl Rogers (see notes below), is basic acceptance and support of a person regardless of what the person says or does. Rogers believes that unconditional positive regard is essential to healthy development. People who have not been exposed to it may come to see themselves in the negative ways that others have made them feel. Through providing unconditional positive regard, humanist therapists seek to help their clients accept and take responsibility for themselves. )
Throughout my career, I have met with people, whether it be clients or families, who have behaved in challenging ways, had very different values to me, both personally and professionally. As any therapeutic relationship requires us to acknowledge the feelings we experience within that relationship, it can be hard to put personal feelings aside sometimes, and try and remain objective - and have UPR! I've certainly had some testing experiences in my time so far, and had to rely on the support of my colleagues and the joys of the city, to deal with feelings that might affect my ability to maintain UPR within my work! 
Of course, some people may argue that having UPR is a theory that can never be truly sustained in a constantly moving therapeutic dynamic!

Regards from New Zealand

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