Counselling and the art of Ambiguity.
- Counselling; A time to end and a time to begin1st March 2017
- 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
“I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence
Two road diverged in a wood, and I –
I took the one less travelled by
And that has made all the difference"
When someone mentioned to me that they were looking forward to the ambivalent month of May I must have given a puzzled response. My colleague continued with a broad smile to think out loud that in the month to come, they may do this or they may do that. Eventually the penny dropped as to what they were talking about. My only excuse is that it had been a long day!
So maybe I will and maybe I will not. Indecision, ambivalence and uncertainty can find a ready presence in the counselling room. People come into the therapy room for many reasons. Sometimes this will be to find a new way to look at an ongoing personal issue where there are different options and decision making is difficult.
Those issues can be life changing around relationships, work and careers. Relationships can create challenges of whether to begin, to end or just persist. Career change can evoke concerns as to where to work and whether to take the new role. Do we move and explore anew or just remain forever in the same location. These and a myriad of other issues come up time and time again in life.
On many occasions we will be sure in our own minds as to how to go forward. We will have our own understanding of what is the right decision to make and we will act on that. On other occasions we may be less certain. Friends, relatives and neighbours can often be quick to provide advice. That may prove really helpful but there are also those other occasions when what is needed is not advice but a new way of hearing our own voice.
Those significant others of friends and family might hold a firm view about the particular issue and you. In seeing your indecision they may want to quickly march you to a decision point where things can be resolved but that may not always be the best place to stand. Sometimes it may be sensible to choose to delay, wait and think. And that can be where counselling and therapy can prove useful.
It is not of course that counsellors do not have a view or that psychotherapists are somehow switched off from the world. We care for our clients. We may have an intuitive feel as to what is right for them and we are concerned that things work out as the client would want. We will have a view but perhaps we work particularly hard to mask it.
That professional distancing means that as therapists we can be just a little more objective. When the relationship is a professional one it may be a little easier to contain those comments and encourage the client to continue to explore new option and ideas before coming to that decision.
But we should always make clear that this therapeutic support and help may come with a price. And in considering issues of cost, I do not necessarily mean financial cost. The price paid can go beyond the sessional fees and the opportunity cost of time spent in the therapy room. Therapy should always come with a general warning about consequences.
As therapists our contribution can sometimes be a disruptive one. Sometimes that extra reflection and that deeper insight can result in an unexpected decision. Clients may then move to a choice of action which will not be the one expected by others.
Clients may use the therapy room as a place to build additional resolve from which to then go on and take risks in opting for the decision that others have been praying they would avoid. The decision to end the relationship, the decision to take that new post in a fledgling organisation or the decision to just walk away to that other place wherever that may be. The decision to change. Change creates ripples. And ripples can spread out to very distant locations.
I introduced this note by quoting from the New England poet Robert Frost. That final verse of his evocative poem The Road not Taken is preceded by lines which read;
‘Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back’
Occasionally the road that is chosen is not the one others were expecting the client to walk. And that choice can have consequences. There can be concern, bewilderment and sadness. But perhaps it was simply time for change and for that decision to be taken.
Sometimes things can be just about okay until therapy provides a sense of clarity which then demands action. And that action may lead on to unexpected places. Way leads on to way. And sometime we never do come back.
So that is a health warning about therapy and disruption to the status quo. Something that you may wish to consider when thinking about future counselling.
And now? Well right now this is May. Perhaps this a time when you may wish to…..?
added on 1st May 2016
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