Ariadne's Thread - Unravelling knotted feelings

In my last article I talked about the role of the counsellor as a kind of sleuth, a Dr Watson to the client’s Sherlock Holmes. Many clients think they are looking for someone to tell them how to fix their misery. Their quest could be compared to whodunits where there is a fabulous jewel which has gone missing and finding it will cause everyone to live happily ever after. However, most problems discussed in a consulting room are rather more complicated.

For example, someone may think they suffer just from panic attacks; but this might be connected to their relationship problems and in turn these may be traced back to experiences rooted in their childhood. Therapy can often turn out to be like following Ariadne’s thread.  Working back from an often chance remark that points to the existence of a particular thread, the counsellor and client explore where this leads. The counsellor might point out how two or more apparently disparate threads are actually tightly woven together. Indeed, when someone is really unhappy the threads may take the form of a large and complicated knot very tightly tied up. The counsellor will help the client to start unpicking the knot so that both can see more clearly what is so troubling about this situation.

R. D. Laing’s short book Knots describes a number of these experiences where clients feel several apparently contradictory feelings and one and the same time. It ties up their feelings in knots. A counsellor can help you with the gradual and careful unravelling process.

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