Counselling in Wokingham – Naked Problems

A Naked Problem

Paul Cockayne – 07791 970406 –

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.

Counselling is a serious business; at times it can be upsetting or distressing; it may make you angry and certainly it is likely to challenge you.  On the other hand, counselling is not totally humourless and indeed humour can be an important part of counselling.

A well-known technique that can help us in dealing with people we find intimidating is to imagine them naked.  This technique is useful, I think, because it makes that person seem ridiculous and vulnerable themselves – and in general bullies are very insecure and vulnerable people.  In picturing a naked bully, then, we can diminish the power they have over us, so that it is easier to shrug off their threat, or even to laugh at them.

We can do similar things with other issues that may seem really difficult.  We can’t exactly imagine them naked, but we can certainly look at them in a different way. Sometimes it can feel like our problems are bigger than we are, that they engulf us, and leave us powerless.  If we can look at the problem from a different angle, as something we can look at from a distance, we can start to reduce the hold it has over us.  It can to visualise the problem; at first it may look dark and threatening, like a monster, perhaps.  But having visualised it, we can start to control its appearance; just as we can mentally strip a bully naked, we can also make our problems look ridiculous, and that makes them much easier to deal with.

Couples can potentially do something similar, though there is a trap here.  It is one thing to laugh at your own problems, but quite another to laugh at your partner’s problems – that can seem patronising and dismissive.  So it’s important not to make light of your partner’s problems – they need to find a way to do that themselves.

But in a relationship, problems are most often shared; both of the couple contribute to them.  So it is important that you are able to see your problems as joint problems, that you both share in.  For instance “we argue about little things that are not worth arguing about”; “Fred talks and talks and Gladys goes quiet”; “Fred is too hard on the kids and Gladys too soft – and we try to compensate for each other”.  In having shared problems, you can step away from them together and look at them from a distance; you can laugh at them together; you can help each other to do it differently.

Counselling can help us to do this – to take a step away, to look at the problems differently, maybe to laugh at them.  All these things can help up to feel that we are bigger than the problems, that we can deal with them, that we have control over them, not the other way around.

About Paul Cockayne

Counsellor, musician, iPhone developer, games-player, cheese-lover....
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