Wheat, Rye and Counselling
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- Counselling and the art of giving back1st February 2017
- And this year I will…..1st January 2017
- Social Anxiety, Counselling and Christmas1st December 2016
- Couple Counselling – and just when is a discussion an argument1st November 2016
- Therapy, Mobiles and the Challenge of Choice1st October 2016
- Counselling, September and an Ellison’s Orange 1st September 2016
- Counselling – A room with a view1st August 2016
- Counselling: Choices and Decisions1st July 2016
- Counselling, Musee d’Art et d’Histoire and the Inevitability of Change1st June 2016
- Counselling and the art of Ambiguity. 1st May 2016
- Repetition; Normality or Folly. A Counselling Perspective1st April 2016
- Lions, Lambs and Therapy3rd March 2016
- Valentines Day, Counselling and the Great Unknown1st February 2016
- Janus Faced? The New Year, Counselling and Psychotherapy1st January 2016
- So which road do we travel this Christmas...1st December 2015
- Counselling, Guy Fawkes and Scapegoating1st November 2015
- Counselling Work and Narrative Therapy1st October 2015
- Counselling, Therapy and the end of Summer1st September 2015
- Wheat, Rye and Counselling1st August 2015
- Counselling and a break away3rd July 2015
- Counselling and the unexpected1st June 2015
- Counselling, Elections and our opportunity to choose1st May 2015
- Therapy, an April fool and the art of lost memory1st April 2015
- A Spring Clean Therapy and Counselling1st March 2015
- Couple Counselling & Valentines Day1st February 2015
- Nothing changes if nothing changes but this year can be different!1st January 2015
- Social Anxiety Disorder A Christmas Concern1st December 2014
- SAD & those dark Winter nights1st November 2014
- Existential Counselling A useful approach or pretentious jargon?1st October 2014
- Counselling, Therapy and a return to work1st September 2014
- Holidays, Counselling and your Shadow1st August 2014
- Couple Counselling and Choice1st July 2014
- Counselling, Jules Rimet and you A therapeutic perspective1st June 2014
- Counselling and Mayday A different take on a familiar story?1st May 2014
- Useful Therapy and not an April Fool1st April 2014
- Counselling, Floods and Pandoras Box1st March 2014
- Counselling and the art of being normal1st February 2014
- The New Year and a time for change?1st January 2014
- Christmas & Counselling The first Noel1st December 2013
- Counselling, Broomsticks & Halloween1st November 2013
- Couple Counselling and just what is a successful relationship?1st October 2013
- Counselling An issue of choice?1st September 2013
- Existential Counselling From Yalom to Basingstoke1st August 2013
- Counselling and the art of reframing1st July 2013
- Counselling - Change or Conformity?1st June 2013
- May Day Counselling - Celebration or Conflagration ?1st May 2013
- Summer Time & the Counselling Room1st April 2013
- Depression a useful diagnosis or an unhelpful label?1st March 2013
- An Emotional Timeline3rd February 2013
- Resolution, Revolution & Counselling1st January 2013
- Christmas, Carols & Counselling2nd December 2012
- Seasonal Affective Disorder and the SAD Season4th November 2012
- Psychotherapy & Counselling A Stoic Perspective17th October 2012
- 10th October 2012 - World Mental Health Day5th October 2012
- A First Meeting Explanation or Exploration?5th September 2012
- CBT, Mental Filtering and the Olympics19th August 2012
- I am not an angry man 14th July 2012
- Art, Counselling & Interpretation26th June 2012
- Murder Mysteries and Psychotherapy25th May 2012
- The importance of choice in therapy29th April 2012
- Reflections on Spontaneity6th April 2012
- A personal trainer for the mind 12th March 2012
There is some attractive countryside close to my office which provides good walking opportunities. During a recent stroll my walking companion and I were looking at fields of wheat, or was it oats, or barley or rye? As a natural urbanite I struggle with various country issues and any formal identification of grasses (or are these cereals?) lies well outside of my sphere of competence.
The conversation drifted from wheat to the various uses of grasses, to animal foodstuffs and then onto hay. As the sun started to slip away, somewhere within this lazy meandering conversation, the phrase ‘make hay while the sun shines’ gently wandered into our discussion.
After the walk that phrase stayed with me perhaps because that afternoon the crops had looked ready for harvesting – and then next day the rain poured down!
‘Make hay while the sun shines’. We can interpret those words in many different ways but perhaps one clear interpretation is an exaltation to take action whilst one can. To act, to be or to do whilst one is able to.
That resonates with some counselling approaches. Counsellors and clients continually wrestle with different styles and techniques. There has been too much time spent within the therapeutic world in a rather self-serving discussion as to what counselling approach is be regarded as the real panacea. CBT wrestles with an inferiority complex by shouting loudly to drown out all other strategies. Psychoanalytic and psychodynamic work struggles to provide evidence to doubting funders with sufficient rigour while existential ideas continue to face accusations of pretentiousness.
I have remarked before that all strategies can have a place and all can help clients if used at the right time in the right way. Yet I am also aware that my personal readiness to distance myself from some CBT thinking perhaps betrays an unconscious concern about a technique which can sometimes appears just a little too directive and too structured despite the protestations to the contrary.
Given this inbuilt bias it feels important to acknowledge when CBT or perhaps the earlier variant of behavioural therapy, is clearly seen to provide very real support to clients.
‘Make hay while the sun shines’. There is a clear behavioural imperative to that comment. The benefits of action, of doing, are made manifest in those client comments which can follow participation in an event particularly if there had been earlier wavering.
‘I did not want to go but I am glad I did.’ ‘I could not be bothered to go out but I forced myself – and it was worth it.’
I will often hear these and a myriad of other similar comments from people who had an opportunity to do something, have hesitated, equivocated, and then found that extra something, that additional motivation which has encouraged them to go and do. And it has helped to lift the mood. Action assisted in reaffirming a sense of self.
Life provides opportunities. These can be to do, to meet, to talk, to travel, to love, to explore or just to think and consider. The regrets I usually hear in the counselling room are often from people who did not do it – whatever it is – rather than those who did and then had to live with regret.
If we have the opportunity to, then why not go for it. The saddest words are those that are thought and not expressed. One day for you and I the words will fall silent, our lips will cease to kiss or smile and your arms will not embrace. But for now. Right now there is still time.
Sometimes however the reality may be that it all just feels too difficult. The fabled cry of ‘yes you can’ becomes a ‘no I cannot.’ It happens. And that is when some additional support may be requited.
If an extra push is needed from somewhere to restart life then search that out. Look for a catalyst and perhaps that is where the visit to a relative, friend, or even a therapist will can provide the spur. (And why the therapist? Well there just had to be a subtle nudge towards the counselling world somewhere in this note!).
‘Make hay whilst the sun shines’. There is a message here which talks to all of us.
Country, town, village or city. Wherever. There will be lots of time for regret later. For now just go and do. The sun is there and under the sun it can be done and done now. And for tomorrow – who knows about tomorrow?
But just before you go and make that hay or whatever the equivalent is within your world, I would welcome advice. Walk backwards with me through that meandering discussion on a warm summer afternoon.
Now I am okay with hay. I can understand hay. Just. But all those others. Wheat, rye, barley? There are no labels. How am I supposed to know which is which. How am I to identify, to recognise, to know….? Grasses, fields, rural life? It can be a very confusing world!
added on 1st August 2015
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