Using visualisation to solve problems
Clients can often use metaphors to describe their situation. If you feel like you are 'wading through treacle' with the problems you are experiencing, you may like to use visualisation to create an 'anti treacle suit!' Use your own metaphor to describe how you feel about your situation. Starting with the words "I feel like I am....." will help you to find a metaphor which suits how you feel about your situation. Examples are "I feel like there is a wall between me and my PhD" (a student struggling with a dissertation), "I feel like I am in a car heading towards an accident which I can't prevent" (a pregnant woman's description of forthcoming labour).
'Wading through treacle' feels agonisingly slow, the description gives the counsellor an understanding of how you feel. By visualising a solution to the metaphor, a change in the brain is made. Think about what you can create to prevent the treacle from holding you back. How can you go over, under, round or through the wall? How will you slow the car down to avoid the accident?
Once you have decided on your creation, in this example an 'anti treacle suit'. Use your imagination to make it come to life. Describe what it looks like, what colour is it? What material is it made of? Do you need boots and gloves? What does it smell of? Is it soft or hard wearing? Is it waterproof?
Now imagine putting it on, how do you feel when you are wearing it? What is life like when you wear your 'anti treacle suit?' What happens when you are in the treacle? Does it make a noise when you move in it? How do you breathe when you wear it? Repeat this exercise and you can even draw it if it helps to bring it to life. Whatever you create to overcome your metaphor doesn't have to be a real thing. The best part about the solution is anything is possible in your imagination, you can really let yourself go!
Are you thinking this sounds nuts? Well I agree, however what have you got to lose? If you try it and it works, you win. The problems which seemed insurmountable now feel solvable. If you try it and it doesn't work, what have you lost? You may find life isn't so much like wading through treacle, but more like 'walking through water!'
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About Nicola Griffiths
My background is with people who have experienced trauma, childhood abuse, domestic violence, depression and anxiety. I have an interest in dissociative identity disorder. I was a children and families social worker and I worked on the leaving care team. Dip in therapeutic counselling, BA Hons in applied social studies, Dip in social work, NNEB.