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  • I was in a group training session in which the problem of dealing with students who monopolised discussions was being discussed. One method put forward was that a tutor should sit next to the problem student and put a hand on her shoulder thus physicaly restraining her from interrupting another person.

    I started talking at the same time as my colleague, Janet; as we both had strong ideas on this subject. Janet put her hand on my shoulder to silence me and carried on talking.
    “That worked well. I soon shut her up!” she joked.

    I started feeling very strange. Time seemed to slow down and I felt dizzy. I got up without excusing myself and walked out of the room and into the street. I started breathing slowly to calm down. The breathing did not work. I felt panicky. I walked back into the building and found the ladies room and stood inside a cubicle and wept. My tutor came looking for me.
    “Diane, what is it. You are really weeping. Look at all those tears.

    “I’m sorry,” I replied. “I don’t know what happened. I felt really ill when Janet stopped me from talking.”

    “Janet is feeling really bad that she upset you.”

    “It’s not her fault. I wish I was as confident as she is.”

    “You really need to develop a thicker skin Diane.” my tutor told me.

    From there on I went on a journey of discovery to root out the cause of my moment of panic. I found the answers in Erik Erikson’s stages of psycho/social development ‘trust versus mistrust. Erikson states that if a child does not receive the emotional, social and physical care they need to feel secure they will feel mistrust or very insecure when certain triggers occur in adulthood.
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