Counselling and the art of giving back
- 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 am always concerned to avoid lapsing into any form of generality when working with clients. It is important not to make any unfounded assumptions. Everyone who comes into a counselling room is unique with a set of life experiences and issues which are specific to that individual and we as therapists should continually recognise that.
Nevertheless there are certain themes which do reappear in the therapy room and there are some lines of thought which make a very regular appearance. A key one is around how quick we can be to help others and yet how often we will shy away from accepting the same type of support when it is offered to us.
Let’s take a really commonplace example. A good friend of yours is at home alone late on a Sunday night. There are tears and despair. Perhaps a relationship has ended or there has been a failed application for the ideal job. The friend is not suicidal but just miserable. The world is a gloomy place and there is a sense of despair.
What would be helpful for your friend is to be able just to have a talk with someone. Perhaps a telephone call to help gain a sense of perspective that there is life and hope out there. And your friend thinks of you as someone who it would be good to talk with.
And yet. It is late on a Sunday. Your friend knows that you will be getting ready for work. You may have already turned in for an early night and he or she feels it would not be right to disturb you at this time. Your friend decides that you would not welcome the call. It would not be fair on you. And hence no call is made and your friend sits alone with sadness and the isolation.
I wonder what your response would be if you somehow heard your friend’s internal conversation. My guess is that you would have told your friend not to be so silly. Of course you would take the call and you would be happy to talk with her or him. And then, once the call ended and your friend had thanked you for listening, you would understandably have an enhanced sense of wellbeing at having been able to help a friend.
Now let’s try a variation. This time you are the one who is down. It has finally ended. That relationship. Or perhaps you are worried about the job and the threat of redundancy. Or you have just an overwhelming sense of being alone. Whatever the cause just now the world seems a dark and lonely place. There is no one to talk with. Or is there?
Your friends could help because she always makes you laugh and he always brings a smile. But it is not right to bother either of them. Not now. It is late. Neither one will thank you for disturbing them at this time of night. Anyway someone like you should be self-sufficient. The last thing you want is to appear is in any way needy. And so the call is not made. The night drags on and you slip just a little deeper into that melancholy place.
I wonder if on reflection we can allow ourselves to acknowledge that this decision not to bother others, rather than showing a generosity of spirit by putting others before ourselves, is actually just a little selfish. By remaining in our isolated silo and refusing to reach out and ask for support, we stop our friend from helping us. We prevent our friend from gaining that sense of wellbeing which comes from providing help to a colleague. And we know that feeling of well-being because we have felt it when others have allowed us to help them.
So what does this tell us?
Perhaps just that when winter seems to have been around forever, when evenings remain dark, folks remain huddled indoors and the world seems just a little less friendly that perhaps it can be acceptable to reach out and ask for some help.
And that by doing so not only will you help yourself but you will also enable someone else to feel valued and useful. You will actually brighten the day for a friend. Or even a late Sunday evening!
added on 1st February 2017
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