The Mutuality of Counselling

I woke up in the middle of last night from a dream about work, something that rarely enters my dreams.  In the dream, I am listening to a client, and when he finishes speaking, I ask him what it is about our conversations that is of value to him.  His response is slow in coming.  I can see his mouth is trying to form a word, but something is keeping him from being able to do that.  I wait patiently ...

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Counselling the Darkness

I was recently in a conversation that intrigued and strongly brought home to me how much of what I call counselling is about basic human needs. I was speaking with a client, and he was telling me how important to him was the feeling of family, the feeling of belonging to something larger than himself and of which he was an intimate and valued part.  For him, not to have that meant he felt lonely, which he described as a ...

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Toward A Psychotherapy of Resurrection

Well, it’s Good Friday, and so, it’s not surprising that I find myself this morning musing about what is undoubtedly the central story of Western culture and its relationship to therapeutic practice.  The idea of renewed life after death has its psychological expression in the belief that painful experiences, those episodes in our lives in which we feel that we, or at least some part of our personality, is dying–that these moments are actually but a stage in a greater ...

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Relationship – The Art of Listening

 

“The more faithfully you listen to the voice within you, the better you will hear what is happening outside” –Dag Hammerskojld

Listening seems to be one of those things that is highly underrated in western countries.  It’s talking, having something to say and saying it effectively, that is valued.  And, of course, being an effective speaker is a great thing.  However, the results of such a lop-sided view of communication is that many of us have developed into superb talkers but ...

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Feeling Low in the Highlands

One in seven Australians suffer with some form of depression in their lifetime. Based on a measure of its negative effects on communities and individuals, it is currently rated as the world’s third most debilitating and costly illness. The World Health Organization has predicted that by 2030 it will be number one. Studies have shown that depression is implicated in the development of other conditions such as chronic fatigue, weakening of the immune system, heart disease and suicide. It attacks ...

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Counselling Humans

It started when I was reading some introductory paragraphs in a book about contemplation. The opening section of the book claimed the basic requirement for leading a thoughtful life is humility. My impression is that in our contemporary culture, humility is ranked low among qualities necessary for living a good life. It may have overtones of a world view belonging to the Middle Ages, or in our own day, with the small minority of people who do not choose marriage, ...

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Empathic Counselling

I was seated in the living room of a friend where a small group of us were just finishing up our monthly meeting of dream sharing and discussion.  As is often the case, we were all marveling on how much easier it was to make sense of our seemingly chaotic dreams when we are talking about them with others.  I was aware that it wasn’t simply others that was crucial to my ability to interpret my dream, but rather the ...

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Highlands Empathy Circle

A few weeks ago, at the end of a six-week course on depression I was giving, I asked if any of the participants would be interested in an on-going group that gave them the opportunity to explore more deeply some of the things they had discussed in the course. A few said they would be, and so I set out thinking about what form that group might take. How best might participants be served to explore their experience, make sense ...

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More on Counselling: Parts and Whole

I want to pick up on the question raised in the previous musing of how do we know when it’s most helpful to approach ourselves as a single, whole person or a person made up of many different and sometimes conflicting parts. My best simple answer is, for most of us, most of time, we can’t know. It takes a bit of trial and error, sometimes called floundering, to find out what’s needed.

Let me take this moment as an illustration. ...

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Counselling: Whole and Parts

Now and again, it happens in my work as a counsellor and in my personal life that the word, “holistic”, comes up. I like the word, I’ve liked it for a long while now, but it’s only recently that I’ve started to ask myself what exactly does it mean, and, more importantly, what do I mean when using it.

A dictionary is often a good starting point. My Macquarie Concise Dictionary provides me with the following for the word, holism: “the ...

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