Out with the old - why counselling is like organising cupboards
If a period of time stuck inside gives me the opportunity to do anything, it’s to have a good clear out of my drawers and cupboards. Although I have to admit that I had many different options - tidying isn't my favourite of past times - there was one particular cupboard that had been taunting me with it’s haphazard fullness for a while.
So, feeling motivated and decisive, I decided it was finally time to tackle it. Bin bags at the ready, one for the tip and the other for charity, I dived in. After an hour or so, my task was complete. The cupboard had been tamed: neat piles of boxes, shoes and an ample amount of floor space had been created and I was already feeling better. I had even managed to find a favourite handbag that I had forgotten I had - result!
Looking at the results of my labours, I began to reflect on the similarities between having an ‘autumn clean’ and the therapeutic counselling process.
When working with a client who wants to clear out the over-full and haphazard space of their mind, you will go through many different processes together. Hopefully the information below will help to de-mystify the process a little.
Bag it up
When coming to counselling, you may feel burdened by the weight of unhappy and painful experiences. As a consequence, these events may have affected your self confidence or the way you relate to others. As a coping mechanism, you may have kept them buried away at the back of your ‘cupboard of memories’.
Counselling gives you the chance to explore those feelings in a safe and non-judgemental space. This emotional unloading can be an initial part of the counselling process. It can feel cathartic to open up about things you've previously felt unable to share with others. Acknowledging those feelings is the first step in letting them go. How good would it feel to tie up that bin bag of stuff?
Re-use or recycle
Counselling can help you look at your life and relationships from a new perspective. Looking at your workplace relationships, friendships and family interactions and the roles you play within them, can allow for growth and change. As you explore these patterns, you may find that although you want to maintain these relationships, you want to change the balance or dynamic within them - an opportunity to recycle the roles you play and show up differently perhaps.
Over time and with the non-judgemental support of your counsellor, you will feel the pressures of the everyday begin to ease. The space that has been created will allow parts of yourself that have been long forgotten to come back to the surface with renewed clarity and confidence.
You may begin to rediscover favourite past times, set yourself new challenges or goals of build in time for self-care. With a clearer head space, these aspects of yourself can finally take pride of place and be appreciated once more.
Is it time for a declutter?