Paul Cockayne – 07791 970406 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to my counselling blog. You can find more information about me by clicking one of the links at the top of this page
Life can be a complicated and confusing experience at times. There can be so much going on that your head is spinning – or thoughts are spinning in your head. Like being on a merry-go-round, you are trapped in an infinite loop until someone intervenes to help – to turn off the power, stop the ride so that you can get off.
Sometimes it’s not that there’s a lot going on at the same time, but one particular issue that is important to you may seem insoluble, so things may feel completely stuck, like being imprisoned in a dark and dreadful cell. Again, you need someone to intervene – a gaoler to unlock the door so that you can get out.
Often, getting off the merry-go-round, or getting out of the cell, is not the whole answer. You can be so wrapped up in what you don’t want, that when you then gain some freedom, when you find yourself in a position of choice, you don’t know what to do. What do you want? Where are you going? This situation is rather like being stuck in a huge maze, and you can wander around in it for a long time looking for the exit. You know it’s there somewhere, but you’ve no idea how to get there. The experience of exploring the maze and searching for the exit may not be unpleasant in itself, but probably we don’t want to be doing that forever.
If I bring this back to counselling, is the counsellor the person who operates the merry-go-round, or the gaoler with the key to your cell? No, that’s not it, it’s more that a counsellor can help you to figure out how to stop the carousel yourself or maybe to help you find ways to may your stay in gaol more bearable, until you’ve done your time.
To take the maze example, there are some general techniques that can help you thread a maze (one is to follow a wall, for example) and a counsellor will be able to help you in this sort of way – it’s a sort of methodical trial and error – “let’s try this and see what happens; if nothing changes, we’ll try something else”.
A counsellor will not have a map of the maze and a little flag that says “you are here”, but they will hope to help you draw such a map – to understand what is important and what doesn’t matter so much, to help you prioritise, to help you decide whether to wander round the maze for a while understanding it – drawing your map, or whether to look for the shortest possible route out of the maze.
One technique for finding the shortest route out of the maze is to follow someone. (I won’t go into detail of why this works, but in a busy maze, it is effective). That’s great if the maze has only one exit, but what if there are multiple exits? What if the person you are following is heading for the wrong exit? In real life, of course, there are many different possible objectives, and the problem with taking advice from friends and relatives is that they will tend to want to direct you to the exit they would choose, which is not necessarily the one you want for yourself. A counsellor, on the other hand, will try to help you decide what is right for you. This can be challenging – it’s nice, sometimes, just to follow the crowd without having to think, but you can end up making choices that you later regret.