Paul Cockayne – 07791 970406 – firstname.lastname@example.org
This blog is intended to give you a flavour of how I work as a counsellor. You can find more information about me by clicking one of the links above.
People come to counselling for different reasons. For some, there are specific goals. For example, it could be that they want help to deal with an addiction, or to deal with their anger in better way. Or it might be that there are patterns in their life that they want to change; maybe they keep choosing the same sort of partners, and then their relationships go wrong. Maybe they find it difficult to hold down a job. Or there could be patterns in their relationship – patterns of repeating arguments, for instance – habits that they want to break.
Some people come to counselling with less clearly defined objectives. It may be just that they feel confused, or depressed, or numb, and want to talk things through to see what emerges. Or it may be that they want to explore past events, perhaps as a way of processing them and coming to peace with them.
I was recently talking to a client who said that her reason for coming to counselling had changed. She described counselling as a process, or a journey. When she originally contacted me, she had a clear objective in mind; a question that she wanted to answer, a confusion that she wanted to untangle. But then things changed. It was a bit like untangling a ball of wool. Strands were pulled out from the tangled mass, and gradually the mass became less dense, and more ordered. But what was at the centre of the tangle? Just as with a ball of wool, there was nothing there – the tangle was all there was.
For the client, clearing the confusion – untangling the wool – left her with the realization that the question she had brought to counselling was not the real question – or was only part of a bigger question that she needed to answer. She said that she was on a journey, and it felt that the route she was following was rather like a spiral.
Imagine yourself travelling along a spiral, circling a central point, and on each lap, moving closer to the core – closer to the answer. What can you see? In looking at the line ahead of you, you are never looking at the centre of the spiral – in fact, you are always looking “across” it, at right angles to the centre. And my client said that it felt as if an attempt to look directly at the centre of the spiral would throw her off course. She had faith that the spiral would lead her to the centre, but needed to follow the track she was on, not attempt to head straight for the centre.
I found this explanation of her counselling experience very interesting. It reminded me that different clients need different things from counselling. For some, a direct approach is the best way. For others, it is a much slower process. The important thing, for me as a counsellor, is to remember that the pace of counselling needs to be right for the client. The client needs to find, to define, the counselling style that works for them and I, as counsellor, need to be sensitive and responsive to that.