Counselling: Choices and Decisions
- 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
With all important news stories there seems to come a point when for the public enough is enough. A saturation level is reached with regard to news and information which begins to turn readers away in search of other topics.
Given those thoughts and the blanket coverage I hesitate to add further comment on the referendum. Nevertheless the various links from the referendum across to counselling and therapy work are just too strong to ignore. There are three particular aspects of the debate which mirrors the work which goes on in the counselling room.
There is for example an obvious parallel between Brexit and couple work. Much has been made about the ending of a relationship between the UK and the EU. In particular concerns as to whether a split will be carried through in an angry acrimonious way or whether a more gentle parting of the ways can be achieved.
This reflects some couple work when the therapy room can be used as a place to work through what is happening when a relationship is ending away from the influence of others involved in the drama. Within the counselling room there is often the palpable anger of those who feel rejected and also a ‘fear of freedom’ from those who have now attained an exciting but potentially disruptive state of individual freedom.
Counselling is also used by clients to work through issues around decision making. The referendum provided many people with the opportunity to make an important and far reaching decision. Some people had already made their mind up on which way to vote before walking into the voting booth but for many there was apparently much last minute agonising over what was clearly for the country a very important decision.
In our personal lives we can also be faced with crucial decisions which can have an overarching impact on our lives from an emotional but also a pragmatic, quality of life perspective.
Do I stay or do I go. What do I tell and to who and when. The issue could be a relationship, a company, a friendship or a location. It could involve a university place, a training opportunity or just an invitation to a party. There is a choice and there is a decision to be made. Usually we decide what to do through personal reflection or via discussions with friends and family. Sometimes however others may have strong views as to what should be done and will waste no time or energy sharing those views with you, deliberately trying to ensure that your decision mirrors what they feel is the right course.
The therapy room can provide a safe alternative place for those reflections. This can be helpful when there is ‘some thinking out loud’ to be done, when words need to be spoken and heard but by an objective listener who may comment but in a non-judgemental way. That is very much counselling in the moment. For some can prove to be a good way of carefully deciding which way to walk or whether to stay or go.
A third link between the recent referendum and counselling is around that issue of ‘why’. There was much surprise on Friday morning at the referendum result. Yet commentators accept that there were societal fault lines which had been visible for some time and just ignored.
Some forms of contemporary counselling work may also just focus on what lies ahead and ignore any issues of causality. There are often suggestions particularly with short term work that there is no point in looking back into an individual’s past experiences. Yet there can be very real value in trying to understand why things have turned out as they have if only to inform what may happen in the future.
Contemporary therapy has moved a long way from complex Freudian, Jungian or Kleinian analysis of the human condition. To sit with a therapist and to try to understand why a relationship collapsed, how that breakdown occurred or why a depression has taken hold, does not necessarily demand hours of introspective analysis of early family relationships. Nevertheless open minded reflections on the relationships and forces that has shaped our personal way of being and our emotional world can help inform our view of how we wish our future to be.
If we are able to understand why we act and function as we do, this enhanced self-awareness can help us to steer a future path along the roads that we wish to travel. That may on occasions be a difficult journey but at least it will be one of our choosing.
And that thought of difficult journeys brings me back to how I started this piece and with those thoughts on the referendum.
What is clear is that decisions have consequences. I have a great respect for those who carefully thought about the issues and then made their own considered decision whether to go for in or out and stayed with that despite the increasingly shrill verbal histrionics on both sides.
The country and the elected leaders are now working through the consequences of that referendum vote. In a similar way we can sometimes also find ourselves working through the consequences of the important decisions that we make with regard to our personal journey. It is on those occasions that a therapist can prove to be a useful support.
added on 1st July 2016
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