Paul Cockayne – 07791 970406 – paulcockayne3@
Welcome to my counselling blog. You can find more information about me by clicking one of the links at the top of this page
People come to counselling for many reasons, some with a focus on dealing with past events, some to deal with present problems, others to think about the future and what that may hold.
These three time “divisions” – past, present and future, are intertwined. Our past experiences influence us in the present and shape our view of the future, obviously. But the future also influences the past – not the events of the past, but our view of the past, our interpretation of past events. If we feel optimistic about the future, bad experiences from the past will seem less significant – which will leave us feeling happier in the present and in our vision of the future. If we are looking at the future with foreboding, that will tend to mean that past events take on more significance, perhaps even leaving us with a feeling that we lack control over our future because so many things have gone wrong in the past.
The present can be overwhelming. If things are going badly, if we are under great stress, it can be hard to think about anything except how awful things are. It’s a bit like a horse wearing blinkers, it can only look at what’s immediately in front – it can’t see anything to either side. And for us, the present can become all-consuming.
Often when clients first come to counselling they are totally absorbed in their present issues. I remember one client telling me that she couldn’t think more than about one minute ahead. Life was simply about surviving into the next moment. It rather put me in mind of soldiers in the WWI trenches, forced to survive in such horrendous conditions that the only way to cope was to take things one day, or one hour, even one minute at a time.
As I worked with my “one minute ahead” client, she started to find her time horizon extending to a day, a week, a month, and we used this as a way of gauging the progress she was making. Survival was certain, the future was in view, change was possible.
Exploring these three time divisions, and how they interrelate can be an important part of counselling….it can be a very rich and surprising experience!