So far, as a counsellor, there have been one or two moments that will stay with me. For example, a client who - having previously acted on their former therapist's advice - went on to suggest that doing so, in the end, had not really helped. And then, more generally, the ones who have shown something over time - a previously hidden spark, perhaps, or a desire - that, for whatever reason, was more difficult to see in the beginning.
So, what do these moments tell us? Well, I like to think they point to something really important in any course of therapy, which must always centre on the autonomy of the client, where they themselves not only discover the right answer/s (albeit, with my help and support), but also, as a result, really own them as well. And, ultimately, it will always be this search for something deeper that really separates the person-centred approach; as it is, forever driven by an on-going desire to hold up an honest, reflective mirror for the client.
Of course, this might sound scary, or even unsettling, where (for some), the idea of a more guided hand - along the lines of 'this is what you need to do...', or 'you should try this...' - is possibly more appealing. Mind you, the idea of social justice has always been important to me, where, for example, if it feels right to assist a client in the face of certain pressures, say, by writing a letter of support, then I will consider doing so. What's more, having been through a lot myself (e.g. M.E./Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), there is always a chance that a client's story will resonate in some way, at which point, certain pieces of helpful information may pop into my head, and from there, it may also be right to mention it - but only as an invitation (e.g. 'this worked for me...'). Nevertheless, the idea of empowerment - or rather, supporting the client as they move in this direction - is a powerful experience, and one that leads to a deeper, stronger healing process.
So, although trusting ourselves with the right answer might not be easy, or even challenging, deep down - is there really anyone else better placed to do so? As for me, well, if you are looking for support right now, and any of this resonates, I would love to hear from you... and who knows, maybe we can find those answers together.
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