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
Isn’t it annoying when you do a jigsaw puzzle only to find that some pieces are missing? But suppose you were only given half the pieces? Or only a tenth of the pieces? You wouldn’t be able to get anywhere, would you?
Some people have very few memories of their childhood, and often they will say “I just have a bad memory”. But often people who don’t remember much about the past will be able to remember other things very easily – like forthcoming commitments, or directions to somewhere they go to rarely, or names, or faces, or phone numbers.
Of course, some people find it easier to remember things that others, but I have a theory that memory is something that needs exercise. By that I mean that if we tend reflect on the past, we will retain memories more readily. If, on the other hand, we tend to draw a line under past events and move on, then memories will fade much quicker.
Our brains are all wired somewhat differently and we will find it easier or more difficult to remember various things. It is also about practice. If, as a child, we were encouraged to talk about the past, we will be much more likely to retain memories. If, on the other hand, we were encouraged not to dwell on things, it is likely that we will retain less memories – or less clear memories – as an adult.
Sometimes clients feel that they want more of an understanding of why they behave as they do in the present – perhaps why certain things make them angry or frightened – perhaps why they hold certain beliefs and ideas. In trying to develop more understanding, it is important to assess the impact of past events on our present behaviour. It’s rather like a jigsaw puzzle – individual pieces don’t necessarily make a lot of sense, but put together in the right way, they give us a complete picture, or at least, a more complete picture.
For those people with few childhood memories, the jigsaw can be difficult to complete, but I don’t think that forgotten memories are necessarily lost completely. I think that our memories all sit in our heads somewhere, and counselling can help to rediscover them – as can other things such as looking at photos or talking to family members. There’s nothing mystical or sinister about this, it’s just a matter of exercising one’s memory, of kicking it back into life.
It can also be that you have many of the pieces of the jigsaw already, but you have never put them together in such a way as to make a coherent picture. So the memories exist, but the connections don’t. As a counsellor I can’t necessarily see the picture any more clearly than you can, but I can help you to construct it. I can suggest ways in which things might connect, or give some ideas about how your present behaviour is influenced by events from the past. I won’t get it right all the time, but you will know when I get it wrong, and that may help you to think about another idea that seems better to you.
Two heads are better than one, they say, and when you’re trying to do jigsaw puzzle, it’s great to have another person who can help. They sit on the other side of the puzzle, so they see it differently, and that can help you too see it differently as well. Gradually the picture takes shape and it starts to make sense. And even if a few pieces are missing, you can still see the final picture.