At times in our lives, and often with the onset of the winter months, we can feel more deeply and acutely the challenges that life often has a tendency to throw at us. It may mean that we experience sadness, anxiety, depression, addiction in any form (substance, person or behaviour), being stuck, being lost, just not knowing where to turn to next. These times in our lives can feel debilitating; this is when the relationship of talking and really being heard comes into its own and can be incredibly healing.
An individual is made up of thoughts, emotions, body and spirit, each of these resonate or communicate with a very subtle difference. It is useful to understand that as individuals we can favour one or two of these aspects of communicating but as a consequence can drown out the others. To hear what each aspect of the individual is communicating the counsellor has to finely tune her/his hearing, observing and sensing skills. The emotions can be saying one thing, yet the body showing something else; the thoughts could be expressing a need for logic yet the spirit also has a message in there too; it could be just the merest slip of a word. This is when the counsellors sensing skill comes into its own.
There are a group of people who are ‘highly sensitive’, Dr. Elaine Aron, in her research, have called these people ‘highly sensitive people’ (HSPs) of which she claims 15 to 20% of people are ‘wired’ this way. These are people who feel emotions deeply, sense others emotions, startle easily, can be affected by weather, seasons and lunar cycles, can find the world overwhelming, and at times have a need of a quiet place. Due to this feeling of being overwhelmed their real message can often be more hidden. With this group of people being heard at a more subtle and sensitive level is of the utmost importance.
A wonderful quote by an ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, says: “At the centre of your being, you have the answer, you know who you are and you know what you want”. When you are being truly heard and what is heard shown back to you, an individual can begin to learn to listen to their own ‘messages’ so then learn to make choices in their lives that are healing rather than a hindrance.
About the author
Sue Ward is an experienced Counsellor who is a 'Highly Sensitive Person' herself. Over the years Sue has learnt to recognise her sensitivity, chose to embrace it and use it as a skill in her work. This has allowed her empathy, depth of sensing, use of imagination and metaphor to become more enhanced.
Related articles from our experts
Food For Thought Eating Disorders Counselling - Lynn Moore BA(Hons), MBACP(Reg.)February 23rd, 2017
Amanda Perl MSc Psychotherapist Counsellor MBPsS BACP (Accred) CBT PractitionerFebruary 1st, 2017
Angela Holt (Mindwell Therapy) PGDip, MBACPFebruary 20th, 2017
Andrea Harrn Psychotherapist and Author of The Mood CardsMay 13th, 2011
Imi Lo: Psychotherapist, Art Therapist, Supervisor (MMH,UKCP,HCPC,MBPsS)March 29th, 2015
Keeley Townsend BA (Hons), Ad.Dip.CP with Distinction, MNCS (Acc)December 14th, 2009
Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.